Staff of the Trusted Physician


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

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Angry Wiggles

Staff of the Trusted Physician
Aura moderate varied; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 57,600 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

Description
This roughly carved hickory staff is decorated with leather braids bearing soapstone figurines of small children. A Staff of the Trusted Physician can cast the following spells:

As long as a Staff of the Trusted Physician has at least one charge, its wielder can choose to ignore spell resistance when casting spells that specify spell resistance as yes (harmless). This ability functions regardless of whether the spell originates from the staff or the wielder of the staff. Using the staff to bypass spell resistance in this fashion does not consume charges, but it does require the target of the spell to be willing. If the wielder attempts to use this ability to bypass the spell resistance of a hostile creature, the staff is immediately drained of all charges and cannot be charged for three days.

Construction
Requirements Craft Staff, cure moderate wounds, remove blindness/deafness, remove curse, remove disease, remove paralysis, remove sickness, spell resistance; Cost 28,800 gp

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

Some formatting issues. Spells form a set that work together, though it's not a very creative set and bears similarity to staff ohealing. But of course, no staff is Superstar from spell set alone (a good thing for this staff and its boring spell set); the special ability makes or breaks it. The special ability of the staff is fitting and synergizes with the theme of the item and the other spellsl; it's wicked powerful for races like drow that have problems buffing their allies, but it's at least expensive enough not to be a no-brainer, especially since drow and the like aren't going to care too much for the healing aspect of the staff. It might have been more interesting to actually make the bypassing SR component cost 1 charge when not casting spells from the staff, so it becomes a resource-management choice for those SR races rather than an automatic use every casting. I'll edge this out, barely, into a Weak Keep. It would have been very easy to develop this staff with the charge use change I mentioned, and the synergy here, while it wasn't to the level of my favorite staff this round, showed that the author could rise to the challenge of a staff and bring game.

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
Very clean and elegant, nothing too flashy—which may be a problem for you in the long run.

Usability
Supersize, supersize my staff of healing, but with a lesser cure spell and more remove spells. That being said, I would want to have this variation handy because of its "fix this freakin' debuff" abilities.

Presentation
Ooh! Links! Nicely done (not necessary, but appreciated). Item names that aren't artifacts should not be capitalized (staff of the trusted physician, not as presented), mentioning specific things should be quoted ("yes (harmless)"). I am glad that you called out the target needs to be willing, and the effects when the target is not, though I'm imagining that this particular ability might be to cover a situation where a creature with spell resistance cannot take the standard action to willingly drop their SR.

Final Thoughts
It feels safe, which might be good enough for the early rounds. You're going to want to step up your game in the later rounds.. I do 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.

Conceptually, this staff isn't interesting. It's not bad, it's just not great. It's a staff you keep in some magic storage for when you need it, not one you keep on hand. It's technically well-done, but uninspired.
Until we get to the SR ability.
This is a neat power, and it's something that's extremely useful for people who have a lot of allies with SR (or have it themselves). That's not a lot of folks, and for them it might be TOO good - but it's a good solution to a real problem, and one that could be tweaked to hit exactly the level of usefulness I thought appropriate.
I don't think this level of unevocative writing will get to the last few rounds, so the writer needs to step up the description and wow factor, but the neat idea and mechanical twist is enough to get a weak keep from me in round 1.

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

Congrats Benjamin! This was one of the early items on my keep list, due to the name tying into the spell list and powers. I found the description at odds with the name/abilities and baffled by including remove curse since that is not really something to be healed.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't recognize most of the Top 32 items; bad luck voting I guess. But I encountered this one early on and liked it, largely because I felt it addressed an issue with the Pathfinder game: theoretically, SR is a cool special ability that someone would want to get, but the game's heavy reliance on friendly magic throughout most levels makes it actually detrimental to have SR as a PC. Your item helps address that flaw in the system, and in a way that makes sense (your item name really made a big difference there). Well done, and congrats!


I will buy this in every campaign I play in, forever. There is no reason to not have this in your bag.

You looked at what a P.C would want/need, and created a well structured and presented item.
The item is so good and so cleanly put together (safe as liz put it), that I cannot tell whether you have any actual talent ;)
Im gambling you have a sick round 2.

Winning Keep, but lose the little children. For real.

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, Benjamin! I thought you had a really neat idea here -- that said, I thought it was too clearly intended to solve one specific problem (I can't heal my party member because he's got SR) as opposed to being something players could choose to use in different ways so I dinged it for that.

I hope going forward, you'll think more broadly. I'm looking forward to seeing what you'll do. Best of luck.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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

Ignoring spell resistance for the willing, having consequences for attempts vs. enemies, and then tying that into the name "trusted physician" was quite good stuff. Simple ability, but very powerful in the right hands.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Angry Wiggles

Before the individual replies, let me state specifically. Thank you for the replies, reviews, and remarks. I appreciate all of your criticisms, both positive and negative. As long as you are honest with me about your views on the quality of my work, it can do nothing but good for either of us.

Mark Seifter wrote:
Some formatting issues. Spells form a set that work together, though it's not a very creative set and bears similarity to staff ohealing. But of course, no staff is Superstar from spell set alone (a good thing for this staff and its boring spell set); the special ability makes or breaks it. The special ability of the staff is fitting and synergizes with the theme of the item and the other spellsl; it's wicked powerful for races like drow that have problems buffing their allies, but it's at least expensive enough not to be a no-brainer, especially since drow and the like aren't going to care too much for the healing aspect of the staff. It might have been more interesting to actually make the bypassing SR component cost 1 charge when not casting spells from the staff, so it becomes a resource-management choice for those SR races rather than an automatic use every casting. I'll edge this out, barely, into a Weak Keep. It would have been very easy to develop this staff with the charge use change I mentioned, and the synergy here, while it wasn't to the level of my favorite staff this round, showed that the author could rise to the challenge of a staff and bring game.

I was concerned during drafting that costing a charge in order to bypass spell resistance would be too limiting of an effect, particularly when combined with the draining of charges when used on a hostile target. I was expecting the staff to be used quite frequently, which would have made that level of resource expenditure quite difficult to maintain. Looking back, it seems increasingly likely that I may have priced the staff of the trusted physician slightly lower than I should have. Perhaps I could have included an alternate means of gaining charges to account for the rapid expenditure required by spending a charge to bypass spell resistance with every charge. It is something I will have to playtest in my homegames after the other rounds have finished and time is less valuable. Thank you again for the input.

Liz Courts wrote:

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
Very clean and elegant, nothing too flashy—which may be a problem for you in the long run.

Usability
Supersize, supersize my staff of healing, but with a lesser cure spell and more remove spells. That being said, I would want to have this variation handy because of its "fix this freakin' debuff" abilities.

Presentation
Ooh! Links! Nicely done (not necessary, but appreciated). Item names that aren't artifacts should not be capitalized (staff of the trusted physician, not as presented), mentioning specific things should be quoted ("yes (harmless)"). I am glad that you called out the target needs to be willing, and the effects when the target is not, though I'm imagining that this particular ability might be to cover a situation where a creature with spell resistance cannot take the standard action to willingly drop their SR.

Final Thoughts
It feels safe, which might be good enough for the early rounds. You're going to want to step up your game in the later rounds.. I do recommend this item for advancement.

I am ashamed to say that I didn't notice the capitalization issue until the day after voting began, when comparing my item to others in the voting list. The willingness of the subject was one of the most important issues to me in the design of this item. I wanted to ensure that it was included so that there were no unintended attacks like there appeared to be with the combination of skinsend and the injection spear. I was amused at the realization that the staff could not be used to bypass the spell resistance of an ally who was confused or dominated, but it felt like a fair trade to ensure that I did not incidentally create any dangerously large gaps in the rules.

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

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.

Conceptually, this staff isn't interesting. It's not bad, it's just not great. It's a staff you keep in some magic storage for when you need it, not one you keep on hand. It's technically well-done, but uninspired.
Until we get to the SR ability.
This is a neat power, and it's something that's extremely useful for people who have a lot of allies with SR (or have it themselves). That's not a lot of folks, and for them it might be TOO good - but it's a good solution to a real problem, and one that could be tweaked to hit exactly the level of usefulness I thought appropriate.
I don't think this level of unevocative writing will get to the last few rounds, so the writer needs to step up the description and wow factor, but the neat idea and mechanical twist is enough to get a weak keep from me in round 1.

I understand the comments about the writing not being very evocative, and honestly can't argue with them. Technical writing has given me a parcel of good writing habits as far as clarity is concerned, but regrettably this occasionally makes it rather drab. I shall have to work on that for future rounds. I appreciate the opportunity to continue and I will do my best to make the most of it.

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Congrats Benjamin! This was one of the early items on my keep list, due to the name tying into the spell list and powers. I found the description at odds with the name/abilities and baffled by including remove curse since that is not really something to be healed.

Thank you for the encouragement. The description was intended to draw out a mental image of a walking staff for a traveling doctor. I wish I had "pit crewed" the item, as some others had done, as the majority of my commentary seems to have pointed at the failing of this description. Looking back, it was likely both too muted and too vague.

The intention of including remove curse was twofold. Primarily, it was to allow the removal of magical diseases that were also curses, such as Mummy Rot. Secondarily, it allows the staff to be wielded by sorcerers, wizards, and arcanists, should they decide to follow a party support role.

Jacob Kellogg wrote:
I don't recognize most of the Top 32 items; bad luck voting I guess. But I encountered this one early on and liked it, largely because I felt it addressed an issue with the Pathfinder game: theoretically, SR is a cool special ability that someone would want to get, but the game's heavy reliance on friendly magic throughout most levels makes it actually detrimental to have SR as a PC. Your item helps address that flaw in the system, and in a way that makes sense (your item name really made a big difference there). Well done, and congrats!

Thank you for the encouragement, and best of luck to yourself. I hope to give you a review myself if time allows.

Phelps Tosscobble wrote:


I will buy this in every campaign I play in, forever. There is no reason to not have this in your bag.

You looked at what a P.C would want/need, and created a well structured and presented item.
The item is so good and so cleanly put together (safe as liz put it), that I cannot tell whether you have any actual talent ;)
Im gambling you have a sick round 2.

Winning Keep, but lose the little children. For real.

I had no intention of creating a "must have" item. I was mostly just excited to write something with the spell resistance rules. As I commented to Thomas, the description appears to have rung poorly with a good number of people. After the reveal was made, several people have told me that it sounds outright creepy, which had never truly occurred to me. I will have to consider the darker implications of these things in greater detail.

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

Congrats, Benjamin! I thought you had a really neat idea here -- that said, I thought it was too clearly intended to solve one specific problem (I can't heal my party member because he's got SR) as opposed to being something players could choose to use in different ways so I dinged it for that.

I hope going forward, you'll think more broadly. I'm looking forward to seeing what you'll do. Best of luck.

Thank you for the advice. I can assure you that I will take it into consideration going forward. I certainly can't ignore honest words with good intentions. Especially when they are spoken repeatedly by several people who's opinions I have learned to value. I hope I won't disappoint.

CripDyke wrote:

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

Ignoring spell resistance for the willing, having consequences for attempts vs. enemies, and then tying that into the name "trusted physician" was quite good stuff. Simple ability, but very powerful in the right hands.

Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate them greatly.

Star Voter Season 8

Nicely done -- the SR dodging ability is simply nice. Something only a player of the game would really recognize as a nuanced problem worth putting something into.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

This item was one of my keepers! As a person who loves playing the support role in the PC party, I can point at this staff and say, "I want to buy this!"

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

Welcome to the Top 32, Benjamin.

The game presents spell resistance as something a player would want, but deceives them with a horrible downside that makes it actually detrimental for the player. It's great to see an item that tries to fix it in a reasonable way. But that alone doesn't impress me. I've seen many items that try to "fix" a problem in the game. However, the theme really sells the whole package. Normally, I'd criticize the last line as an unnecessary "screw you" to the player, but it does reinforce that the physician must do his work in the best interest of his patient or be punished for malpractice. While the formatting has a couple of missteps, the description strikes me as fairly well written overall.

Well, done. I wish you luck in Round 2. Bring us bolder content that still manages to hold well altogether and I'm certain you will go far!

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

benjamin wilkins wrote:


I was concerned during drafting that costing a charge in order to bypass spell resistance would be too limiting of an effect, particularly when combined with the draining of charges when used on a hostile target. I was expecting the staff to be used quite frequently, which would have made that level of resource expenditure quite difficult to maintain. Looking back, it seems increasingly likely that I may have priced the staff of the trusted physician slightly lower than I should have. Perhaps I could have included an alternate means of gaining charges to account for the rapid expenditure required by spending a charge to bypass spell resistance with every charge. It is something I will have to playtest in my homegames after the other rounds have finished and time is less valuable. Thank you again for the input.

Honestly, it's going to be a one in a million occurrence when the staff drains from a hostile target, as the owner knows about that power, presumably, so it would only happen when trying to heal a disguised hostile target who was like "Screw that heal! I want to mess up that guy's staff, which I also know about."

The problem is actually with the bolded section (and make no mistake, you're correct about that!)—As I mentioned, allowing the spells cast through charges to bypass SR for free is no problem, but if you don't find a way to tie charges into the use of the staff to bypass SR with other spells, then it will quickly stop being about the staff at all, and among a group of characters with SR, someone who can't even use the spells inside like the wizard will grab it to cast haste and every single other buff spell with the staff (For many removals, like remove curse, your ally will have time to spend a standard action to lower SR, since you'll do it out of combat, so buffs are going to come up way more often). It stops being a staff and is now basically a wondrous item. If you look at all the other Top 32 staves (and a lot of staves made it this year), one thing they each share is that the cool part always involved using the staff as a staff.

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

Congrats Benjamin.

I have to admit i didn't really vote for your item that often , as I thought the spell list was rather boring and obvious, but at least had a good theme. I thought the whole SR aspect was very situational.

It isn't until now reading the comments that I see the more of the appeal of this item. Good thing I wasn't a judge ;)

best of luck in future rounds.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

As it is currently written this item becomes amazing if you have a player with spell resistance. Having the bypassing of spell resistance cost one charge would make it far better. Otherwise this staff is fairly good, if containing a few too many spells.

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

Congrats! I only made Dedicated, so your item was one of the items I didn't get to vote on.

...which is a bummer, because I really like it. :) While it may not be as visually/thematically awe-inspiring as other items, it neatly solves a long-standing, nagging problem I've had with races that have innate spell resistance. Even at its price, it's almost a must have for those races in combat, so my inner GM would also have wanted some limitation on the bypassing SR for spells not in the staff. I think you've aptly demonstrated your rules-fu and attention to detail, but can you really wow us in the following rounds?

Being in the Top 32 is something to wear proudly. You did it; good job! So take a deep breath, get the sugar and caffeine on a drip feed, and do your very best for Round 2! Good luck. :)


Personally I prefer the slightly terse writing style - always better than than too florid. I didn't get to vote on this item, but they key thing for me is whether it has a useful niche in many different types of game, which I believe it does.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Angry Wiggles

Abraham spalding wrote:
Nicely done -- the SR dodging ability is simply nice. Something only a player of the game would really recognize as a nuanced problem worth putting something into.

Thank you kindly. I appreciate the kind words immensely.

Brigg wrote:
This item was one of my keepers! As a person who loves playing the support role in the PC party, I can point at this staff and say, "I want to buy this!"

I've only recently been able to begin playing instead of running, and found myself adoring the support roles above all else. It's particularly satisfying to me.

Garrick Williams wrote:

Welcome to the Top 32, Benjamin.

The game presents spell resistance as something a player would want, but deceives them with a horrible downside that makes it actually detrimental for the player. It's great to see an item that tries to fix it in a reasonable way. But that alone doesn't impress me. I've seen many items that try to "fix" a problem in the game. However, the theme really sells the whole package. Normally, I'd criticize the last line as an unnecessary "screw you" to the player, but it does reinforce that the physician must do his work in the best interest of his patient or be punished for malpractice. While the formatting has a couple of missteps, the description strikes me as fairly well written overall.

Well, done. I wish you luck in Round 2. Bring us bolder content that still manages to hold well altogether and I'm certain you will go far!

I debated making it harsher, and requiring that consent had to be explicit. The difficulty with that seemed to be in healing unconscious and paralyzed allies, as they were certainly willing, but unable to consent. It would certainly have been interesting, but perhaps less desirable. This was particularly problematic given that remove paralysis was one of my intended spells, although I could have easily dropped that and reduced the cost somewhat. It would have broken my theme of removing status ailments.

Mark Seifter wrote:
benjamin wilkins wrote:


I was concerned during drafting that costing a charge in order to bypass spell resistance would be too limiting of an effect, particularly when combined with the draining of charges when used on a hostile target. I was expecting the staff to be used quite frequently, which would have made that level of resource expenditure quite difficult to maintain. Looking back, it seems increasingly likely that I may have priced the staff of the trusted physician slightly lower than I should have. Perhaps I could have included an alternate means of gaining charges to account for the rapid expenditure required by spending a charge to bypass spell resistance with every charge. It is something I will have to playtest in my homegames after the other rounds have finished and time is less valuable. Thank you again for the input.

Honestly, it's going to be a one in a million occurrence when the staff drains from a hostile target, as the owner knows about that power, presumably, so it would only happen when trying to heal a disguised hostile target who was like "Screw that heal! I want to mess up that guy's staff, which I also know about."

The problem is actually with the bolded section (and make no mistake, you're correct about that!)—As I mentioned, allowing the spells cast through charges to bypass SR for free is no problem, but if you don't find a way to tie charges into the use of the staff to bypass SR with other spells, then it will quickly stop being about the staff at all, and among a group of characters with SR, someone who can't even use the spells inside like the wizard will grab it to cast haste and every single other buff spell with the staff (For many removals, like remove curse, your ally will have time to spend a standard action to lower SR, since you'll do it out of combat, so buffs are going to come up way more often). It stops being a staff and is now basically a wondrous item. If you look at all the other Top 32 staves (and a lot of staves...

That does make more sense. It likely is a little overwhelming to have it be usable without issue for all spells every round in that fashion. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I hadn't even considered the idea of having it cost charges to bypass spell resistance, but only in the circumstance of casting spells that were not already included in the staff. I do believe I will be redrafting this again after I finish the map round, and playtesting it further. I may consider reposting the item for review again after doing so, polishing further until it truly shines.

Grumpus wrote:

Congrats Benjamin.

I have to admit i didn't really vote for your item that often , as I thought the spell list was rather boring and obvious, but at least had a good theme. I thought the whole SR aspect was very situational.

It isn't until now reading the comments that I see the more of the appeal of this item. Good thing I wasn't a judge ;)

best of luck in future rounds.

No harm and no worries. Your tastes may not mesh perfectly with my tastes, and there are several items that I did not see the full potential of until later in the competition as well. Thinking about it, I might go so far to say that as this is a contest intended to draw out the best designers among those presented, it may be my fault if my item did not truly excite you. I will work to do better for future rounds, and thank you for the well wishes.

Browman wrote:
As it is currently written this item becomes amazing if you have a player with spell resistance. Having the bypassing of spell resistance cost one charge would make it far better. Otherwise this staff is fairly good, if containing a few too many spells.

I did worry slightly about the number of spells involved, but I wanted to be certain that I could remove a lot of the major status ailments (blindness, cursed, deafness, disease, nauseated, paralysis, sickened, staggered). Oddly enough, remove disease could be removed from the staff and still allow the disease to be suppressed for the duration of remove sickness. Spell resistance could then be willingly lowered after combat to allow the disease to be more permanently removed. I will certainly take your suggestions into consideration when I redraft this after the contest and/or between rounds. I very much appreciate the criticisms and critiques.

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

Congrats! I only made Dedicated, so your item was one of the items I didn't get to vote on.

...which is a bummer, because I really like it. :) While it may not be as visually/thematically awe-inspiring as other items, it neatly solves a long-standing, nagging problem I've had with races that have innate spell resistance. Even at its price, it's almost a must have for those races in combat, so my inner GM would also have wanted some limitation on the bypassing SR for spells not in the staff. I think you've aptly demonstrated your rules-fu and attention to detail, but can you really wow us in the following rounds?

Being in the Top 32 is something to wear proudly. You did it; good job! So take a deep breath, get the sugar and caffeine on a drip feed, and do your very best for Round 2! Good luck. :)

You have echoed a common concern with the design, and one which I do intend on addressing in my redraft. I did consider adjusting charges used and pricing it so that it would be commonly purchasable at approximately the same time as a mantle of spell resistance, but I felt that it was too late in the game for races with innate spell resistance, which you have already indicated need something of this nature for combat healing. Thanks again for the kind words. I'll do what I can to improve for future rounds, I assure you.

Palinurus wrote:
Personally I prefer the slightly terse writing style - always better than than too florid. I didn't get to vote on this item, but they key thing for me is whether it has a useful niche in many different types of game, which I believe it does.

Well thank you kind remarks. The writing style is definitely a side effect of my job. Before I took this role, I used to be much more verbose. I can still be rather long winded, but I've definitely faded away from my more embarrassing purple prose.

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

I actually like the spell list of this item, as well as the imagery. It tells of a man who likes to be able to heal people no matter what their illness, and thus serves as a great all-purpose tool. And I actually think the child figures beautifully straddle the line between creepy and endearing. Very nicely done.

Unfortunately I'm not a huge fan of the main ability. It's a good ability to be sure, but it felt a bit underwhelming to me, because I've never found SR to be such a huge problem. Then again, I can definitely see that if most of the party had SR, they would definitely want something like this to ease their healing pains, but personally I've never seen that happen. I could never see a normal party sacrificing the cash needed to buy or craft this.

Still, from the writing and creative point of view, this is a good item and I can understand the appeal. The best of luck moving onwards!

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

Congratulations, benjamin! I really liked how the special ability closely fit the item's theme without stepping on its primary role as a staff. It showed lots of insight and logical thinking, which is hard to come by in fantasy game design. Nice job!

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

People have a lot more to say about this one than mine apparently. :P

This was actually the first item I saw/voted for in the competition, and I'm not at all surprised to see you made it through. I'm totally going to steal this and use it in a campaign, just so you know. ;)

Good luck, Fellow Ben!

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

I think that I voted for this staff more often then not. On one hand, I like the ability to bypass spell resistance and think it's clever. On the other hand, on one level it feels like you built an item to patch a hole in the Pathfinder system. If SR blocks friendly spells, then that's how the system is and creating a magic item to 'errata' that restriction away doesn't seem like an appropriate use of the design space. Despite that reservation, I thought this was a well designed item and wouldn't be opposed to seeing it in print.

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

And here is one of my Top 2 staves in the competition. Actually, this and the Staff of the Seven Bells were the only two that I absolutely adored.

I like the description and take no exception to the small children bit. You'd probably get feedback to change that (or an editor would just change it) but I immediately thought of a housecall physician.

SiaC, as staves are, but these all fit together and make a cohesive theme.

LOVE the harmless SR power. You've got some clunkiness to the writing here but that will come with experience.

Overall, yes I love this staff. Well done. Keep thinking like you do, and work on your technical writing skills...and you'll do well.

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! Good work!

This staff was solid in theme and well crafted. No problems with the mechanics. But I didn't find it very interesting or different. You played it safe, but did it with a solid presentation. OK, but not spectacular.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

Hi Ben! Welcome to the top 32! I'm going to try to give everybody a short review, so here goes:

My first reaction is to the length of the spell list. I'm willing to forgive that if the rest of the mechanics back that up...

Hmm. That seems handy, but can't creatures already lower their spell resistance with a standard action? I suppose this is good in combat, where time and actions are precious and you don't want to lower your defenses.

I like the description, but the juvenile in me is shouting, "Don't trust him! He's not a real doctor!" With it only being useful in combat, I think you would have been better served with a combat medic angle than a pediatrician angle.

Good overall! It does have a neat flavor, you really put in the effort on the format and links, and you filled a hole in the game mechanics.

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.

Completely love the bypassing SR for friendly spells, it's a great design space to use for an item. Agree with Mark though that making it free for any spell the wielder has is a bit too much, and his suggestions on fixing it are spot on.

I'd also quibble with the spell list a bit, I'd much rather have neutralize poison than remove sickness, since remove sickness is fairly limited utility overall. Also, remove disease, while thematically appropriate, isn't really something you ever need to use in combat where your ally couldn't drop their SR, and is something a cleric can easily prepare the next day, since diseases only impact their targets once per day.

Overall though, bravo!

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!

This was on my keeper list--the only staff that was, actually. It's just a wonderful little, practical swiss-army-knife that should probably end up in every party without a Cleric in it. The real beauty in it is not the healing (seriously, nobody will ever use the cure spells), it's the removal. Hit points just aren't that much of an issue, not nearly as much as nasty conditions like the one this staff removes. The ability to heal through an ally's SR is just icing on the cake.

I suppose one could argue that the item is a bit boring, but, I don't especially care--practical and useful trumps boring every time as far as I'm concerned. Several people I spoke with during the competition said they were creeped out by the soapstone children combined with the name "...of the trusted physician." I admittedly never read the flavor text before--I tend to skip over it in general, and I generally continued the trend during the competition. But yeah, having had it drawn to my attention, it does have kind of a kiddy-diddling vibe. A little uncomfortable, but I can easily see it being an honest mistake, too. With a different item name, one that that didn't sound so sarcastic (oh, he's a trusted physician ::WINK::)...

Still, though, yeah, if my party found this, we'd keep it. And we'd order it, or one just like it (maybe including delay poison, neutralize poison, and/or lesser restoration and leaving the cure off), if we lacked a Cleric (although, maybe the cure is there specifically to allow more classes to charge the staff...).

Overall, good item. Not exciting, but infinitely practical and useful.


benjamin wilkins wrote:

Staff of the Trusted Physician

Aura moderate varied; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 57,600 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

Description
This roughly carved hickory staff is decorated with leather braids bearing soapstone figurines of small children. A Staff of the Trusted Physician can cast the following spells:

As long as a Staff of the Trusted Physician has at least one charge, its wielder can choose to ignore spell resistance when casting spells that specify spell resistance as yes (harmless). This ability functions regardless of whether the spell originates from the staff or the wielder of the staff. Using the staff to bypass spell resistance in this fashion does not consume charges, but it does require the target of the spell to be willing. If the wielder attempts to use this ability to bypass the spell resistance of a hostile creature, the staff is immediately drained of all charges and cannot be charged for three days.

Construction
Requirements Craft Staff, cure moderate wounds, remove blindness/deafness, remove curse, remove disease, remove paralysis, remove sickness, spell resistance; Cost 28,800 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 staff being roughly carved hickory with soapstone figures on leather braids makes it decorative. That said soapstone figures are of children (no doubt of revoltingly-mannered, if mannered at all, prime material children, as opposed to adorable alu-fiends and high-spirited young succubi) makes it somewhat less so.
Decorative score? 2 out of 7.

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
I have to concede that there are occasions when one's domestic staff (especially if they are currently in an environment somewhat different from that to which they are native) do 'go down' with some malady or other which adversely impacts their health. And at times like that this would actually be a useful item to have around for what I take to be it's originally intended purpose. Especially given the prices that some priests and priestesses try to charge these days for magical healing.
non-Decorative Domestic Use score? 2 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?
Assuming that there's anyone to hand capable of utilising it, such an item would make a very brief contribution to the treatment of casualties, before running out of charges. We're talking drop-in-the-ocean time here, with war on this scale.
'Sealion' score? 1 out of 7.

Total: 5 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!!! -- I care not what others say, THIS is an item that should have existed all along, and the fact that you had to create it means you win. I might question little aspects about it, but I always felt like this staff needs to exist and its well done sir.

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

benjamin wilkins wrote:
Staff of the Trusted Physician

Congratulations Benjamin!

I think I up-voted this item more often than not. I appreciate the selected spells as all having the "yes (harmless)" SR entry. It ties it into a nice theme and took theme into the next step with the special ability power. I thought that ability was not too stellar however. A creature can willingly suppress SR, so this only saves the target a standard action. In short step up the mojo and keep focusing your themes, this is well done.

My apologies for getting to your item so late, hopefully this will help you for next year. :)

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