Earthcracker


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

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Black Powder Chocobo

Earthcracker
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 20,340 gp; Weight 14 lbs.
Description
Molded and crafted from raw iron ore, this +1 thundering earthbreaker bears the coolness of loose soil while grasped.

Three times per day as a standard action, the wielder may slam earthcracker at the ground of an adjacent square, causing earth and stone to rise and fall from a violent wave that travels in a 30-foot line from the impact square. All of the affected squares become natural difficult terrain. The wielder may make a free trip attempt at a single creature within the affected squares and cannot be tripped back if the attempt fails. If the trip roll is a natural 20, the creature is also subjected to the thundering effect from earthcracker as the ground below it explodes in a cacophonous explosion that showers the area with earthen debris.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magical Arms and Armor, blindness/deafness, move earth; Cost 10,340 gp

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

This item was on the edge for me for a while, due to its similarities to the spell greater thunderstomp (which, while unlisted, is pretty similar), but there are a lot of cool little synergies in the way the abilities work and tie together to the original thundering ability, without completely overshadowing the weapon's role as a weapon and turn it into a paperweight that you pull out for that ability by making the 3/day ability cost vastly more than the base weapon. It was subtle and understated, but I grew fonder of those design choices over time. I particularly like how the natural 20 on the trip, which can't be a crit since it's a combat maneuver, nonetheless adds the thundering effect that normally occurs on a critical. It makes me feel like I'm using the weapon as a weapon even when I activate it for its power. The item probably needs a boost in price, but not a big one. 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
Someone's bringing the boom.
Usability
Shoanti Local Union #107 is going to want this. Does this work on a vertical, I wonder? That would really mess up somebody's tactics.
Presentation
Keeps to formatting and style guidelines. Does the trip attempt use the wielder's CMB? I presume so, though this should be spelled out, and the thundering on a natural 20 should be reworded to use critical hits.
Final Thoughts
I first thought this was going to be a spell in a can, but there's a bit more going for it. I do recommend this item for advancement, but I would advise the writer to not be afraid of additional word count.

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

Kept.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

1 person marked this as a favorite.

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

So this appears to be the year of earthbreakers that break earth, and I'm okay with that. There are some minor issues with awkward word choices and lack of specificity, but the core idea is strong, interesting to play with, and cool. Keep.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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

I didn't see this in voting, but I did see quite a few other earthbreakers. I agree that tying the thundering to the trip helps it retain the flavor of a weapon and not a wondrous item.

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

Thank you all for the comments and critiques. I am honored for the selection.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Nice job, David. I'm glad to see you in the competition this year, and I'm glad you got in with such a cleanly-designed weapon.

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

Congratulations!

All of the Earthbreakers this year I found to be interesting and generally got my vote for that as well as the clean presentations. The difficulty for all of you was in trying to make them stand out from one another (especially hard since there really was no way to know that so many other people would do a similar item). The nature of the weapon tends to lend itself to a pretty specific visual, which is what most of the mechanics presented showcased. I felt that yours did a slightly better job than the Mountain Crusher did- and for both, I really enjoy the visual and combat applications of creating difficult terrain.

Looking forward to seeing you step out and show us a bit more with 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

Congratulations, David. I think Cthulhudrew really took the words out of my mouth. An earthbreaker is expected to break earth and yours does that, but does it well.

Still, in Superstar, sometimes you need to push the boundaries. Make sure you're thinking big as you go forward! Best of luck.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liz Courts wrote:

Flavor

Someone's bringing the boom.

I liked this item a lot UNTIL Liz wrote those 4 words. Now the image of Kevin James almost ruins it entirely.

This item has a lot going for it. Great flavor and enough usability that it will allow players to get creative with it. Like the Crit hit inclusion.

I may make use it if I can stop associating it with Paul Blart Mall Cop.

Keep.

Silver Crusade

"Were may I perchase such a fine weapon? And can I get it with an emblem of Torag emblazoned on the head?"

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

I like the description of the weapon very much up…right up until the "coolness of loose soil".

I don't like earthbreakers as a weapon-idea. I just don't understand them, and obviously am unfamiliar with the Shoanti's love for them.

I completely miss whatever it is the judges like about this. It seems deceptively simple. And not very exciting.

Completely unimpressed by "three times a day" as a concept. Why three? Is that a balancing concept?

Being able to select one foe at distance to be struck by the thundering ability is ok, but why only one? I get that you can select one foe to be tripped, but the thundering feels like it might easily affect nearby opponents, or even, for that matter allies.

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

I agree with OSW that if you're sending a rippling line of bucking earth out from you, it seems logically like it might hit/affect every creature in its path, not just one particular one.

This is a very concise and clean entry, but I almost felt it needed something more to use up the rest of that word space. IDK, it's a straightforward item, does what it says on the tin... if I were to nitpick or redesign this, I think I'd suggest things like "the path of the rippling earth comes to a halt after the first creature it trips" or maybe "should the thundering ability trigger, all creatures adjacent to the target take 1d8 bludgeoning damage from debris" ... things like that, but, frankly, those are matters of personal preference and nitpick.

This item does not blow me away, but it's solid, and would be great in the hands of the right dwarf. Description was kind of meh.

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

dana huber wrote:
I agree with OSW that if you're sending a rippling line of bucking earth out from you, it seems logically like it might hit/affect every creature in its path, not just one particular one.

Well to be fair, that's what makes the item magical/fantastic -the ability to choose... "logic" need not apply - as much as I think it feels weird. My comment was also concerned with the attendant effects and who else might be affected. In my logical world. :)

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

Granted. :P

But there's still something to be said for internal consistency, I think. There comes a point where if the answer to everything is 'well, that's magic for you', it starts to feel like no elements of earth-logic can transfer over at all...

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

@OSW & Dana: Thanks for the critiques. The simplicity of the item is in fair part due to my previous RPGSS entry, where I had a cool concept that made it to the Top 100, but clunkiness with the item rules cost it a Top 32 seat.

@OSW: Looking back, coolness of loose soil definitely could be better woded, but I'm still lost to think of a good way to describe the sensation I picture in my head of the natural chill or earth that I feel earthcracker should have when held. If you have a suggestion to convey that, I'd be happy to hear it!

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

I like this earthbreaker less the other superstar earthbreaker, the wave traveling in a straight line doesn't make sense to me, I think it should have been a cone or radius effect. But mechanically the item is well executed.

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

Congrats David!

This item made my top-20 list. I loved the visuals, you expressed them well in your entry.

Looking forward to see what you do in future rounds.

Star Voter Season 8

Congrats. I saw this item 4 times but always voted it down because it seemed just to much like generic earth pounding hammer that knocks things down. Very unoriginal. Like a souped up Mattock of the Titans stuck with Mjolnir. Good luck in the next round.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making the top 32, I saw this item a few times during voting and I’m afraid to say it really didn’t excite me very much – I voted it up a few times during the pre-cull period but by the time the cull had happened I was fatigued at looking at the surprisingly large number of earth breakers and I typically down-voted them… having said that, the fact that two have made it to the top 32 probably renders my opinion moot!!!

This is a solid enough, well written item and I can see how players might get some fun out of using it…it’s just not terribly exciting or evocative to read although…

…just once in a while, you’ll trigger that extra effect with the ‘nat 20’ on the trip attempt and that’ll be the coolest thing that happened at the table that evening…

Good luck for the next round and I am looking forward to seeing what you can bring with your map.

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

The earthcracker made it to my Top 20!

Little nitpick, loose soil on a hot and humid summer day is not all that cool. Good evocative sentence though.

Great cinematics, ranged trip attempt (although since it is ranged you don't really need to say they can't be tripped back), and the natural 20 quirk are tightly themed and go well together.

I didn't have a bias against earthbreakers this year, even though there were a lot of them, but this one was head and shoulders above the rest of that category and against most of the items in general.

My only complaint is that the powers and theme were almost too obvious of a choice (earthbreaker) and almost too close to last year's boots that did much the same.

Overall, you did a lot that was right, just be careful of going for the obvious choice in theme and be careful to research existing things in your future rounds. Good luck!

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

A solid gem of an idea that reinforces the earthbreaker theme and takes it to its logical conclusion. I also like addition of thundering special ability, which raises this above its peers.

That being said, while I do like this item, I'm surprised to see it in the Top 32. It's a good ability, but not really all that creative or original. Had it played around a bit more with various uses for its abilities it would have been more than worthy, but as it is, it's a touch underwhelming.

Still, there's beauty to its simplicity, so I don't begrudge its advancement. The best of luck to you!

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

Congratulations, David! This was one of my favorite items in the round voting, and the first one to make my personal top 32. Love the cinematics and the straightforward mechanics!

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 job!

This one seemed kind of obvious to me. Using an earthbreaker to disrupt the ground? But for what it is, it is well constructed and does the job. Definitely one of the better made weapons overall.

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

Solid, simple, well executed items seem to have performed well this year. This is definitely one of those. It does what it says it does and does it well. I also like the wave imagery you invoked with this entry.

Congratulations!

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.

That being said, I'm not a fan of most of the weapons this year, in particular ones that have their main power not actually being used as a weapon. A magic weapon should somehow help you attack with it, not shoot a fireball or in this case a shockwave.

In addition, between spells and items out there, the concept of hitting the ground somehow and causing said shockwave to knock people down is far from original in Pathfinder. This might have been more impressive 3-5 years back, but that space is pretty full now.

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 had this item in the upper middle of the pack--not in the top, but still solid. It was one of the best earthbreakers in the competitions, but not really one of my favorites overall.

My first reaction was: "Thundering? Really?" Honestly, it's just one of the worst magic item properties out there. Something that only works on a crit (and only adds a little bit of damage)? No thanks.

I like the effect to a degree. I enjoy the creation of difficult terrain, but it's just a line, which means, unless you're in a narrow hallway or whatever, you can just walk around it--or across it (if you can position it well) at minor cost. It's a little underwhelming. And the trip thing...I don't know, I just don't think combat maneuvers are that valuable by the time 20k worth of items is floating around in the party. CMD scales REALLY fast--too fast--and tripping is such a weak control.

Plus, if you've seen my other critiques, I don't like limited daily resources. 3/day is just not enough, especially since the effect is just not that impressive. I like the idea of Thundering triggering on a trip crit--it's subtle and clever--but, not enough to save it in my mind.

If my party found the item, we'd probably sell it, but anyone who specialized in Earthbreakers would probably use it on the way to the store. It's cool, just limited and not worth the price tag--and yes, the near worthless Thundering property is part of that. I think a weapon that makes difficult terrain is awesome, but 3/day in a line instead of a burst, I just don't think it's worth this much gold.

That said, your writing is solid, the template looks good at a quick glance, it is overall pretty professional--I could imagine this in print, so, you definitely deserve to be in the top 32, even if I wouldn't have put you there because of taste reasons.

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

David Higaki wrote:
Earthcracker

Congratulations David!

This is the cleanest earthbreaker I saw and probably one of the cleanest weapons out there period. Innovation was not very high, (an earthbreaker called earthcracker, an earthbreaker that breaks the earth) a trip attempt along the broken earth). That said, the imagery for these effects is well done & I think it shows you can be innovative: unplugged that part of you for later rounds. Mechanically speaking it says what it needs to in a very short words and I like the thundering damage on a natural 20, that is a nice touch.

EDIT: after reading the other comments (I make my comments first), mine might seem a little redundant. Like theHeadkase I thought of loose soil as warm (my garden has raised beds to this affect :), but cool soil definitely brings an accurate image to mind (like when you are hunting for fishing worms :) nice job.

Good luck!

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

Just wanted to say thanks again to everyone for your kind words and helpful critiques.

I think the only thing I'll say in my defense is that to me, this just seemed to be an item that should have already existed and felt compelled as such. I'll count my blessings that the overall clean writing and description made up for the lack innovative effects.

I will take these comments to heart for future rounds, and if my luck or skill isn't enough, for future RPGSS's so I won't be a 1-item wonder!


David Higaki wrote:

Earthcracker

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 20,340 gp; Weight 14 lbs.
Description
Molded and crafted from raw iron ore, this +1 thundering earthbreaker bears the coolness of loose soil while grasped.

Three times per day as a standard action, the wielder may slam earthcracker at the ground of an adjacent square, causing earth and stone to rise and fall from a violent wave that travels in a 30-foot line from the impact square. All of the affected squares become natural difficult terrain. The wielder may make a free trip attempt at a single creature within the affected squares and cannot be tripped back if the attempt fails. If the trip roll is a natural 20, the creature is also subjected to the thundering effect from earthcracker as the ground below it explodes in a cacophonous explosion that showers the area with earthen debris.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magical Arms and Armor, blindness/deafness, move earth; Cost 10,340 gp

Disclaimer:

This post constitutes the views of a CE inclined Very Advanced succubus. For those uncertain what that should imply, congratulations, you're at least thinking along the right track, but probably not worried enough. No: almost certainly, not nearly worried enough. Unless you happen to be that glovier from Magnimar that I had for tea last weekend, in which case it's a bit too late now anyway, but my apologies to your next-of-kin for the scorch marks on your hall carpet (but I *DID* put the tablecloth in to soak in good time, so the wine stains *should* come out).

Is the Item Decorative?
It's a big unwieldy hammer, and since the person presenting the item seems to be too embarrassed to call out anything as special about what it actually looks like, I'm going to go with 'no'.
Decorative score? 0 out of 7.

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
It's a big unwieldly hammer which causes small localised 'earthquakes', so no.
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?
None. 'Operation Sealion' involves naval battles, aerial combats, and long, very slow, advances across beaches (if things get that far) none of which (at least in my opinion) are likely to see much 'earth and stone' for this item to 'work with'. And to be frank, I don't think it looks flashy enough that the leader of the Nasties would equip his troops with it, nor has the versatility of use that the leaders of the tea-drinkers might require before distributing any to their troops. (And in which latter case what are they going to use it for anyway? To demolish their own defensive bunkers?)
'Sealion' score? 0 out of 7.

Total: 0 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.


I feel I should apologise for all those zeroes. The Earthcracker simply doesn't score in any of the categories which the RPGSupersuccubus is using to assess items, this year...

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on the top 32!

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

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

I feel I should apologise for all those zeroes. The Earthcracker simply doesn't score in any of the categories which the RPGSupersuccubus is using to assess items, this year...

I took the succubus post in stride. Perhaps making a mancatcher whip would appease the CE inclined Very Advanced succubus next year!

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

Congratulations for having made it to Top 32 AND Top 16!

Sorry I'm late to the party, I hadn't realized how big a task commenting on everyone else's items was going to be in the Official Critique Thread!

Seeing as how many other people have commented above me, and you've moved well on from this point... I'm going to keep my comments brief. To understand my rating system, see my larger post on my critique thread.

As an overall comment, each and every one of you that made it to the Top 32 must have had a "Publishable" item in my opinion because you appealled to not only the voters but also the judges -- so if I say "Rewrite" it's more to be "rewriteable to be SUPERSTAR!"

Publishable -- I think you set the curve for what a good magical earth breaker should be.

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2015 / Open Call: Design a magic armor, weapon, ring, rod, or staff / Earthcracker All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Open Call: Design a magic armor, weapon, ring, rod, or staff