Soulshifter Staff


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

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

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Soulshifter Staff
Aura strong necromancy; CL 13th
Slot none; Price 90,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Description
This smooth, unadorned staff is carved of pristine ivory on one end and dark onyx on the other. It allows the use of the following spells:

  • Vampiric touch (1 charge)
  • Breath of life (2 charges)
  • Slay living (2 charges)

Additionally, this staff’s power can be used to control the flow of life energy beyond the normal limits of the spells listed above. When using the soulshifter staff to cast vampiric touch, the wielder may spend 1 additional charge to divide the temporary hit points evenly among any number of allies within 30 feet. Whenever the wielder kills a creature with slay living, he may spend an immediate action to cast breath of life, targeting any creature within 30 feet. Conversely, if the wielder successfully revives a slain creature via breath of life, he may spend an immediate action to cast slay living against any target within 30 feet, using a ranged touch attack instead of a melee touch attack. Spells cast as immediate actions in this way consume 1 more charge than normal.

Construction
Requirements Craft Staff, Quicken Spell, breath of life, slay living, vampiric touch; Cost 45,000 gp

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

I'm of two minds on this item. The good is that it manages a set of spells and special powers that tie together nicely and fit the theme, and the formatting and wording are good. The bad is that the pricing seems off. It at least does cost less than the formula cost for a staff, if it didn't grant immediate actions or have any other specials powers. I liked the theming and the way the staff's power worked, though, so after looking through everything, this manages to get a nudge up from the brink to a Weak Keep.

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

Hi there! I'll be one of the judges for this round, and I'll be looking at a couple of key points for your item: flavor, usability, and how the item is presented. For some background, I helped found the Wayfinder fanzine before I started working for Paizo, and I oversee every third-party Pathfinder Roleplaying Game product that makes its way onto Paizo.com.
Flavor
An alliterative name, but the abilities don't really shift souls around. Souls are big mojo, and this is more...shifting around positive and negative energy.
Usability
Sounds like an excellent choice for a neutral caster that isn't too picky how their friends get healed.
Presentation
Adheres to formatting and style guidelines, seems underpriced for the ability to cast slay living at whim.
Final Thoughts
I like the flippy floppy effects, and there could be some fun moral situations that rise up in game from its effects. I do recommend this item for advancement, with hesitation.

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

Kept.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

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

This staff is most useful for a fairly narrow range of characters, most notably clerics of the blood or daemon subdomains, because that's the only cleric who can use vampiric touch, and the other classes that get vampiric touch don't get breath of life or slay living. On the other hand, it does a great job of taking its spells and turning them into more than SiaC, and more interesting to boot. The ability to slay living when you successfully use breath of life is likely too much, and figuring out how to make this more broadly useful is most likely going to involve changing it from a staff to a rod. But the mechanics all make sense, and it's a strong thematic idea, so I give it a weak keep.

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

...do I get to say stuff yet?

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

About this item? Sure, you're in. Just remember that people (by which I mostly mean voters) are watching you now. :)

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

*exhales weeks of held breath*

Phew, I made it! Wheeee!

So I botched the price, eh? I thought I was following the formula, but I guess I goofed it somehow or other. Had I not been panicking about the power outages you guys were having at the time, I might've gone over the math again. *sheepish look*

But I made it! Thanks for the votes, everyone!

...What should the formula price have been?

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

Jacob Kellogg wrote:

*exhales weeks of held breath*

Phew, I made it! Wheeee!

So I botched the price, eh? I thought I was following the formula, but I guess I goofed it somehow or other. Had I not been panicking about the power outages you guys were having at the time, I might've gone over the math again. *sheepish look*

But I made it! Thanks for the votes, everyone!

...What should the formula price have been?

Given that I had this on my list of "hey, we should give this one a look", you actually most likely didn't botch the formula price (it looks like it's in the 60s depending on whether it's obscure domain cleric or witch who has breath of life), it's just really undercosted for the action economy advantage.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

When figuring the price, did you remember to add some for what it does beyond the list of spells it gives you? :)

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

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
When figuring the price, did you remember to add some for what it does beyond the list of spells it gives you? :)

I did.

Which I guess means either I vastly undercosted my special abilities, or really did botch the formula price. And unless I can find and verify my original math notes, I'll never know which. :/

Maybe I overvalued the timing restrictions on the immediate action stuff? I figured a 5-charge trick that requires events that you can't fully control/engineer was pretty situational, but maybe I went overboard. Memory's a little fuzzy on my thought process at the time. ;)

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

Jacob Kellogg wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
When figuring the price, did you remember to add some for what it does beyond the list of spells it gives you? :)

I did.

Which I guess means either I vastly undercosted my special abilities, or really did botch the formula price. And unless I can find and verify my original math notes, I'll never know which. :/

Maybe I overvalued the timing restrictions on the immediate action stuff? I figured a 5-charge trick that requires events that you can't fully control/engineer was pretty situational, but maybe I went overboard. Memory's a little fuzzy on my thought process at the time. ;)

I wouldn't beat yourself up. You're like me in that we tend to focus on the downsides. Instead look at the upsides—I liked your item enough to suggest that all the judges give it a solid look, despite the pricing concerns I had, and you then met with approval from all 3 judges (weak keep is still approval, especially from me)! I don't remember how many items got Weak Keep or better from all 3, but I think not many.

Or another way to look at it—If the ability is fundamentally something cool to have in the game, fixing pricing is the easy part (pricing becomes an issue when the item is so underpriced that everyone will buy it, but if you upped the price sufficiently, something else about the item causes it to be useless, and your item doesn't hit that problem). However, we can't teach mojo.

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

Yes Jacob! YES!

I liked this one a lot! It was totally in my top three! :D

My only (and I mean only) nitpick with this is that I wish you could allocate drained HP to any target in range instead of just allies. Just in case. Although that opens up a can of worms with the whole "can creatures save versus positive effects like healing?" thing.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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

I really liked this item. Like you, I thought that tying the powers together (and costing so many charges) made the immediate action reasonable. In fact, I **wanted** the spells to be cast in the same round, for flavor purposes if nothing else.

It seems reasonably priced to me.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mamaursula

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Welcome back Jacob! At least one of the Jacobs made it!

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

If one Jacob wins, they all win.

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

*fist pump*
Representin'!

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

One of my favorite items, made my Top 20. Loved the tight theme and unique mechanics.

Way to go, Jacob! :D

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

Thanks!

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, Jacob No. 1. Perhaps you'll be the first of us to disqualify yourself for future Superstars?

I don't think I saw your item much, if at all, in voting. Nice job coming up with a strong thematic power that really works well with the staff's spells.

Looking forward to seeing your Round 2 entry.

Star Voter Season 8

Oh it's Jiggy. Now I'm not surprised by how much I love this item.

Good work man and keep it up!

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

Soulshifter Staff wrote:


This smooth, unadorned staff is carved of pristine ivory on one end and dark onyx on the other.

See this I don't get. When you use "carved" that feels like the opposite of "unadorned". I could go with "fashioned/created out of", "crafted from". And yet further, how is it "carved" of two different materials? Where does it become one item? Is there a handle that is neither ivory nor dark onyx?

Soulshifter Staff wrote:
Additionally, this staff’s power can be used to control the flow of life energy beyond the normal limits of the spells listed above. When using the soulshifter staff to cast vampiric touch, the wielder may spend 1 additional charge to divide the temporary hit points evenly among any number of allies within 30 feet.

This right here is where the magic happens for this item. Even without the rest, this is design gold. And why I think soulshifter is not so bad a name. Soul gets misused all over the place, and in the West, is as much conflated with spirit AND physicality as it is used "properly". Given the soul-stuff it does, I'm ok with this.

I love this item - cool evocative and cinematic abilities tied in nicely to the mechanics (uber-mechanic judges comments notwithstanding). Nice work Jacob.

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

Amusingly, I had the same exact thought as OSW on reading the physical description of the staff, at least as regards wanting to know when one material transitioned over to the other. (I swear I'm not stalking you, OSW...)

The power of 'slay living-->(auto) breath of life' doesn't work for me, because I see it coming up pretty rarely, honestly:

Your party fighter just went down and is at 'dead' HP. You have the option to cast breath of life on him, and guarantee you'll bring him back to life... OR you can TRY to kill something else with SL, meaning you need to hit with both the melee touch attack, and the target has to fail its Fort save (or be low enough on HP you would kill them anyway), in the hopes you can trigger the BOL on your fellow party member.

So, in that situation, you can either do a guaranteed deny-death on an ally... or you can try for a kill that has two chances to fail, and hope that you trigger the deny-death for your ally. Note that option 1 would still let you cast the slay living after you did the BOL.

I suppose the circumstance where this would come into play is if you couldn't actually reach your ally due to terrain, or an enemy in the way, in which case it becomes a desperate 'let me try and kill this, so I can heal you from 30 feet away'. Which... IDK. I guess that works. It strikes me as a niche circumstance, though, for being one of the staff's primary abilities.

Also, I feel that Reach Spell should be a crafting requirement for this item, but that's pretty nitpicky.

This is not to say I don't like the item: I do, it's got a neat duality feel to it and is conceptually clever. I'm just hung up on that SL-->BOL thing, I guess.

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

dana huber wrote:
I'm just hung up on that SL-->BOL thing, I guess.

I wonder whether you might be mistakenly thinking BOL can only be cast on a dead ally? The idea here is that if you were already going to cast SL, and doing so really does kill someone, then you can decide if it's worth spending another 3 charges to throw some healing at an ally without having to spend your next turn on it.

But anyway, glad you still liked it! :)

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

Congrats Jacob.
I voted for this item most of the time. I didn't care for many of the staves, but this one was pretty good, I thought. Glad to see someone from the twin cities area make it in.

To nitpick a little, I was a tad put off by the utility of the vampiric touch + spend extra charge ability. In my opinion, by the time you are utilizing 90K gp staffs, it seems to me that the amount of HP you can split up will be quite low. (level 16 user, does avg 28 points, split amongst 3 allies is only 9 hp each).

Good Luck in round 2!

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

Jacob Kellogg wrote:
dana huber wrote:
I'm just hung up on that SL-->BOL thing, I guess.

I wonder whether you might be mistakenly thinking BOL can only be cast on a dead ally? The idea here is that if you were already going to cast SL, and doing so really does kill someone, then you can decide if it's worth spending another 3 charges to throw some healing at an ally without having to spend your next turn on it.

But anyway, glad you still liked it! :)

Beg pardon? I'm pretty sure it can only be cast on a dead ally.

Breath of Life wrote:


If cast upon a creature that has died within 1 round, apply the healing from this spell to the creature.

True, the target says: 1 creature touched, but the text of the spell would strongly seem to indicate that only creatures that are, well, dead, actually benefit from the healing effect....

I stand fully corrected. Jiggy is right, I was mistakenly thinking, and have been for several years, that BOL only affected creatures who were under the category described for death. I retract my criticism, Jiggy. *doffs hat*

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

The mechanical issues of who can use the staff have already been pointed out, I think where this item shines is its abilities other than spells. Though using those abilities gets really expensive charges wise really quickly.

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

Yeah, that's on purpose; if I'm gonna let you SL and BOL in the same turn, it's gotta be expensive and situational, you know?

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Jacob Kellogg wrote:
Yeah, that's on purpose; if I'm gonna let you SL and BOL in the same turn, it's gotta be expensive and situational, you know?

I completely agree with that, I was simply noting that its special ability is really expensive to use.


Very cool staff. Glad to see a Jacob got in the top 32.

Star Voter Season 8

Congrats, Well made but seems limited to only a few character types. Price is wonky but fixable. Good luck in the next round. I saw this item 7 times in the polls. Also feel likes a name change is in order.

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 really like it. :) As a player or GM, I'm not sure I'd ever use the "IF slay living BADGUY1 THEN breath of life ALLY(X)" function, but I'm drawing a blank on what I'd replace it with. Still, I like everything else, it's thematically tight, and something that pulls its weight for the price so the party cleric would likely keep it (or craft it) instead of cashing it in at the next S-Mart.

Being in the Top 32 is something to wear proudly; Top 32 twice is quadruply so. 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, we're all the Jacobs are counting on you! :)

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

I really, really like this item. This was by far my favourite staff. Its spell list is inspired and the theme is strong, but it really comes to life with the extra stuff it can do with its spells. Though yes, at first I was also thinking that I'd never use the Slay -> Breath combo, but then I re-read the spell description and suddenly it all made so much more sense.

If I had to nitpick, I'd say that the price will keep this from seeing much play, but I don't really see any other spells that would fit the theme as well, so I guess this is just a really good endgame item.

Great item and I'm very glad that the judges appreciated it as well. The best of luck for the upcoming rounds and I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

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

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Thanks!

Heh, you're the second person to mention that BOL mixup. Isn't it funny how people can get used to how they typically use something, to the point that they start to think it's what the rules mandate?

Okay, maybe I'm the only one who finds that utterly fascinating. I blame my psychology background.

Star Voter Season 6

Nice staff, Jiggy! Congrats! :)

Although I also wondered about the transition from ivory to onyx, it wasn't a problem for me.

The use being limited to certain domain clerics is unfortunate, but what an awesome-scary encounter it could be to face a villain wielding this staff! (Or maybe that's just the heartless GM side of me talking...)

Star Voter Season 8

Congrats Jiggy!

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lady Firedove wrote:
The use being limited to certain domain clerics is unfortunate

People keep saying this; is there no love for Mystic Theurges? ;)

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

Congratulations, Jacob! Love the duality aspect of your item, and I upvoted every time I saw it (although that was admittedly only 2-3 times). Looking forward to seeing your growth from 2012!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Congratulations again on making Top 32!

I loved the way this item used its theme to move soul energy from one individual to others and back while using existing spells as the mechanical back bone. That is inventive and imaginative. Just fantastic overall!

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.

Thanks!

Now hand me your souls, nice and easy.

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

Go Jacob Go!

I remember this staff quite well. I liked it, it was thematic, but it wasn't quite in my Top 20 (but definitely my Top 32).

I don't have much to say in all honesty. It is put together well, and thematic and...just plain old good. If anything I would echo Owen about the chain of breath of life and slay living.

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 thought this was a very clever staff. The main downside for me is the name (I don't like it). I'm a little wary about items that disrupt the action economy, and I think I might have voted against this staff a few times for that reason. But I think the ways this can grant extra actions are limited enough not to cause any balance problems. While this wasn't my favorite staff, it deserves to be in the top 32.

Congratulations!

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

Mark Nordheim wrote:
The main downside for me is the name (I don't like it).

Truth be told, neither do I; it was a casualty of rushing. Ah, well.


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Jacob Kellogg wrote:

Soulshifter Staff

Aura strong necromancy; CL 13th
Slot none; Price 90,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Description
This smooth, unadorned staff is carved of pristine ivory on one end and dark onyx on the other. It allows the use of the following spells:

  • Vampiric touch (1 charge)
  • Breath of life (2 charges)
  • Slay living (2 charges)

Additionally, this staff’s power can be used to control the flow of life energy beyond the normal limits of the spells listed above. When using the soulshifter staff to cast vampiric touch, the wielder may spend 1 additional charge to divide the temporary hit points evenly among any number of allies within 30 feet. Whenever the wielder kills a creature with slay living, he may spend an immediate action to cast breath of life, targeting any creature within 30 feet. Conversely, if the wielder successfully revives a slain creature via breath of life, he may spend an immediate action to cast slay living against any target within 30 feet, using a ranged touch attack instead of a melee touch attack. Spells cast as immediate actions in this way consume 1 more charge than normal.

Construction
Requirements Craft Staff, Quicken Spell, breath of life, slay living, vampiric touch; Cost 45,000 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?
This is of course a very important question. Ivory is good, but 'unadorned' is generally very bad (and that's 'bad' in a fashion, or rather lack-thereof, which is by no means complimentary). And then there's the whole going-for-contrast with onyx thing which is *so* very-last-decade at present. I'm afraid that grotesque carvings of pixies - and various shades of green - are the current 'in' thing for necromancy items. All of which sums up to the fact that I'm going to have to mark this item very low in this category.
Decorative score? 1 out of 7. (You might have scored 2 if you'd specified what type of ivory was used and it was a variety either currently highly fashionable or simply eternally classy.)

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
Not around any of my homes. I don't hold *those* sort of parties.
non-Decorative Domestic Use score? 0 out of 7. (And a more insecure judge than myself would have deducted at least one mark for the presumed insult regarding social habits in one of one's own properties.)

Does the Item seem Likely to be Helpful in the Fantasy Setting of an Imaginary World where 'Operation Sealion' is taking Place?
So the (for simplicity's sake) Nasties are lining up with all their little boats to launch an invasion-attempt across a strait upon a nation of perfectly (socially) harmless tea-drinkers. And then there's this item.
So what impact is this item likely to have on proceedings?
Not much, really. We're talking huge armies, and massive fleet actions. Possibly even mighty battles in the air occurring at unimaginable speeds. This item isn't likely to be very helpful to anyone, in this context, except maybe to the mustachio'ed leader of the Nasties, as he rants and beats his subordinates mercilessly for failing to make any progress. Actually, on that count...
'Sealion' score? 6 out of 7. (I probably should have only given it five, as it's not really a genuinely pivotal item, but I was feeling generous.)

Total: 7 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.

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

Hey, Ask a RPG Succubus is back! We missed you last year! (Or at least I did...)

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

Just smile and nod, Jacob, and she might not notice you.

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

*starts spamming slay living*

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 never saw this in voting, but if I had, I would have certainly voted for it regularly.

I like almost everything about this item, from the tight theme, the clever ways to enhance this beyond a simple, you cast a bunch of spells type of staff, and the name even works. If you're killing people to bring others back, or bringing people back to kill people, you're shifting souls around - even if it's not the same soul in this case.

Aside from agreeing with whomever said Reach Spell should be a requirement, the only change I would make is simply remove vampiric touch entirely. It's way less sexy of a choice than slay living or breath of life, and it's bonus adjustment is pretty lame - you're not really splitting a lot of hit points around, and for a 90K item, that's not really what you want to be doing most of the time. It also would remove the issue that most potential users don't have it on their spell list.

I don't have any issue with the 2 spells in a round, considering the limited resources a staff has. Each spell costs 2 charges, and if you choose to use the bonus immediate action version, that adds a charge, so 5 charges to do both spells in the round. With only 10 charges, that means you can do this twice with a fully charged staff, and then need 5 days to recharge to be able to do this again. Compare to a rod of quicken (regular strength, since it covers 5th level spells) it costs 37,500 and lets you cast 2 spells a round 3 times per day, every day, up to 6th level. If anything, this staff might be overpriced.

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

Joel Flank wrote:
the only change I would make is simply remove vampiric touch entirely. It's way less sexy of a choice than slay living or breath of life, and it's bonus adjustment is pretty lame - you're not really splitting a lot of hit points around, and for a 90K item, that's not really what you want to be doing most of the time. It also would remove the issue that most potential users don't have it on their spell list.

After having submitted, I wondered whether including it might be diluting the item. Given more time, I might have removed it.

On the other hand, "one" is a valid number of allies. ;)

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!

Though many people I spoke to privately felt this was the best staff in the competition, I kind of thought it was a pretty average item. I liked part of it, but the rest felt like "I didn't think this through!" The cost is also ridiculously high. I'm not saying it isn't priced correctly, just that, sometimes, the correct price isn't worth its effect.

So, what I like: Vampiric Touch and the alteration to share the THP. I wish it just gave it to all of them instead of splitting it, since Vampiric Touch deals pretty weak damage, but it's at least interesting.

What I don't like is the Breath of Life/Slay Living reciprocal proc. For one, despite being a two way proc, it will only ever actually happen in one direction. Triggering a Breath of Life following a successful kill with Slay Living just isn't going to happen. If you have an ally that needs a Breath of life, there's no way you'd possibly risk their life to Slay Living someone and count on the Breath of Life to proc, rather than using Breath of Life with your normal action and getting Slay Living as the proc.

A bigger issue, though, is that when this staff's ultimate power triggers (you breath of life someone and proc the slay living), you drain half of this staff's maximum juice. You can do this, basically once every 5 days. That's really sucky--I hate tedious resource management like this, as I would be very nervous to waste the charges when they weren't absolutely necessary.

If my party found this staff, we might sell it, but we might also just keep it as an emergency Breath of Life stick for our non-divine casters to UMD in emergencies. And, bonus, our arcane caster can recharge it thanks to Vampiric Touch. However, we might eventually replace it with a custom staff of Breath of Life at some point. I can't see anyone wanting to make it, though--if you could make a staff, you're better off just making a custom one with exactly the spells you want.

Overall, it's not bad--it's well written and I think it's formatted perfectly (or nearly so), so, you are a good writer. I just don't think it's practical at all (and I don't think you really thought through when the Slay Living -> Breath of Life proc would actually come up), so, I wouldn't rate it especially high.

Edit: Yes, I know Breath of Life can be used on still living targets, but I wouldn't "waste" Breath of Life on a target that wasn't dying. 3 Charges is crazy steep for an item that can't have more than 10.

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