Rod of Exorcism


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

Paizo Employee Developer

Rod of Exorcism
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 21,700 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Description
This rod of dark metal is carved with images of ghostly faces, their mouths agape in silent screams. The etchings glow a faint green and the rod grows warm when its bearer is within 30 feet of an individual possessed by a malignant entity (such as the victim of a ghost’s malevolence ability) or enters the room of a haunt. A rod of exorcism can be used to drive out possessing ghosts and other lingering spirits.

The bearer of a rod of exorcism gains a +2 sacred bonus on saving throws to resist the effects of a haunt. Three times per day, by tracing a circle in the air with the rod as a standard action, its bearer releases a burst of positive energy that deals 5d6 points of damage to haunts only.

In addition, the wielder of a rod of exorcism can touch it to a possessed victim to drive out the possessing spirit. If the possessed target is acting hostile in any way, this requires a successful melee touch attack by the wielder. The possessing creature is ejected from its host body, and must succeed at a DC 14 Will save or be dazed for 1 round. Once used in this fashion, the rod becomes ice-cold and loses all of its powers for 24 hours.
Construction
Requirements Craft Rod, detect undead, protection from evil, creator must be able to channel positive energy; Cost 10,850 gp

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

The abilities fit together well to create a thematic whole. The main problem here is that the auto-detection for possession is pretty lame. Maybe it should auto detect possessions only if the possessing entity's alignment aura was "leaking" from the possessed, basically by reading the hostile aura. That would tie it into the game's other abilities for detecting more solidly and thus give a good idea of how a possessing entity could protect against the rod (as written, it doesn't say it's a divination or how it detects, so it can't be stopped by anything because it doesn't tie into other abilities). Another option would be a Bluff or Disguise check for the possessing entity. I'm less worried about the ability to act on the surprise round with haunts, since some characters can already act on the surprise round whenever they happen (granted, that's a powerful class ability and this is a rod, but the rod is fairly pricey and pretty specific). I like how the rod deals positive energy damage to the haunt instead of insta-winning, so that the rod's wielder becomes part of the team effort to banish the haunt, rather than just stealing the show from everyone else every time. All in all, there are some things that would need adjustment, but it's a solid start to an item, so I'll go with 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
The descriptive text is just begging for a great illustration.
Usability
A host of abilities with some pretty amazing daily abilities. Sounds like this should be in every exorcist's kit.
Presentation
Being able to auto-detect possession and haunts falls in the "makes adventuring easy" category. Follows formatting and style guidelines.
Final Thoughts
It's almost too good at what it does—fixing the possession/haunt detection is my biggest complaint. 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.

I'm mostly really happy to see something that plays with haunts, and doesn't make them a total non-threat. I'd likely want to tone this down and make it cheaper for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to get some version of it in the hands of lower-level characters. No one is going to want this as their most expensive magic item, so the current price keeps it in the hands of higher-level characters only. It might be a case where minor, moderate, and major versions of the rod are in order, though that could strain wordcount.
In any case, it's a solid description and interesting theme, with good presentation and mechanics. Keep.

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, Jason. This was yet another of my favorites and, along with the psychopomp's crosier, made me realize how much I like haunt items. Keep up the good work, I'm looking forward to seeing your Round 2 entry.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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

"its bearer releases a burst of positive energy that deals 5d6 points of damage to haunts only"

Is there an area for this? How large a burst? I'm honestly confused.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

I dislike that this item is basically an "I win button" vs possession. It should probably grant a bonus to detecting possession and haunts instead of auto-detection and should definitely give a save vs the exorcism effect. Still I really like the concept of the item and the fact that using the exorcism ability comes with a severe downside.

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

I'll echo Jacob's comments, and note that this and the crosier were both favorites of mine, too. I liked the way that you brought something unique to a rod and tied it in with the haunt mechanic.

Congratulations!

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

I like this.

Simple design that fits the theme across a few game-mechanic areas and situations.

The name is a little weak, but really, it is what it does.

Nice to see something that interacts with haunts - though that may be problematic if GM's don't use them. Sad for them if they don't because this is a solid item.

And it shows that the designer has seen an area wherein their themed item can shine - I agree with comment above that there is something to be recommended in doing damage to the haunt rather than straight exorcising it. Which is why perhaps the name should be altered slightly. Antispiritometer just doesn't have the same ring. Nor ghostpunisher.

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

Ghostbuster? *ducks*

Between the two, I like the other anti-haunt item better, but that's not to say this one is bad, exactly.

The "does damage but only to haunts" feels like a neat-but-kinda-pointless ability. Channeled energy will already do that, unless for some reason you had a pressing need to exclude the OTHER undead that were milling around?

Not keen on the auto-detection.

I think this has nice description and writing, though.

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

Congratulations Jason! All the Bayside Pathfinders are pulling for you!

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

This one is nicely put together and I really liked the overall theme. I found myself voting against it once or twice though, primarily because it does feel like it takes the bite out a possession a little. Well done though!

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

Neat, well-written item that works around a central theme with grace. The formatting and the writing definitely show a lot of skill and creativity, plus the various skills offer differing options for numerous situations while still keeping with the theme.

That being said, I rarely upvoted this item. It's just too much of a niche. The haunts are so rarely utilized at least in my games that my players would immediately sell this item rather than keep it. And I'd do the same were I a player, unless I was playing a very specific type of campaign. Possessions happen a bit more frequently, but I'd still hesitate to keep this one. Granted, that can be said about a lot of magic items, but personally I'd prefer a Superstar item to be more usable in numerous types of campaigns.

But, it's a good item no matter my personal likes and dislikes, and I can certainly understand why it advanced. The best of luck for the upcoming rounds!

Star Voter Season 8

Congrats, Not a bad item I think. I only saw it once in the polls. Price should be higher in my opinion for something that auto detects so much. Good luck in the next round.

Paizo Employee RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Thanks to the judges and thanks for everyone's feedback!

I'm a bit swamped at the moment with Round 2. Plus, you know, regular 9-to-5 work. Who needs it? Oh wait, I do to be able to trade money for goods and services. But when this weekend rolls around, I'll be back here to talk about some of the thoughts behind my design!

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 liked this one a lot during voting. I think haunts are a strange niche to interact with, because I'm not that big a fan of the haunt rules to begin with. I like the idea of haunts a lot, but the way they are implemented doesn't quite work for me. But I can't hold that against your item. Considering how haunts work in Pathfinder, your item does exactly what I would want an anti-haunt item to do.

Congratulations!

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

Congratulations, Jason! I love the niche you filled with this item, nice catch on finding something the overall game could use. Hope to see more of that eye for design gaps in later rounds!

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

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Congratulations on making it into the Top 32! Fantastic job!

This was my favorite rod and among my very favorite items of the whole contest. Thematically tight, good visual image, and well made mechanics. This was Superstar on almost every level. Well done!

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

I saw this rod more than a few times and I went back and forth on it each time.

Dark metal...but what kind?! Otherwise decent description.

Based off the first power alone this feels like a plot device item.

The +2...that could be any of the saves since there's not a generic haunt save attribute...so technically it is 3 +2's.

Interesting twist on channeling with the rod.

I don't like that the spirit can be automatically ejected...a 1st level could eject a 20th level something (touch attack is NOT hard to hit). Granted, that 1st level would likely die after the 1st round but still...

Overall this was a good and interesting and thematic rod, but I think you need to tighten up your wording and language. While the lynchpin ability is interesting...nothing is overly different. I like it well enough but you'll need to swing harder in subsequent rounds.

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 didn't see this in voting, which is a shame, since it's a pretty good item - glad you made it.

Overall, good, tightly themed item, but pricey for what it does. Being limited to haunts and possessions, many characters can go entire careers without being able to use this item.

In addition to needing to be cheaper, it should have at least one ability that's less situational - maybe protection from evil 3/day or magic circle against evil 1/day.

I don't have an issue with the auto-detecting possession, since that happens so rarely, and normally the problem with possession isn't figuring out what happened, but in dealing with it.

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

Congrats Jason!

I didn't see this one too much, but it got my vote most of the time.

Your line " enters the room of a haunt" bugged me a little as not all haunts are in rooms.

Otherwise this was pretty well done.

Looking forward to what you submit in the following rounds

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!

This was definitely one of the best items in the contest. It fluctuated in and out of my keeper list, but I ultimately went with a "maybe." I really like what it does, and find it to be very useful without being over or underpriced. It's eminently practical and usable, and if I expected haunts or possession to be a problem, I'd want one.

But, I ended up not keeping it in the end because, well, if I expected haunts or possession to be a problem, I'd want one and my GM would desperately try to keep it away from me. I was under the impression that items making adventure safer would be voted down, and this kind of totally kills all "secretly possessed" stories--or, hell, even just regular "possession" stories, since it auto-ejects the possessing entity. It's not quite as bad as another item in the competition is with haunts, but it's still pretty dominant.

Sidenote: you should probably have given a range/area shape/targeting information/etc. for the positive energy burst.

I also wasn't a big fan of the nearly pointless DC 14 check for dazing (the DC is so low, I would never expect it to work), or the way the item totally ceases functioning for a time after using its signature ability.

But, yeah, overall, it's a good item with only some minor work needed (kill the auto-detection, please). While I didn't expect it to win, I'm happy that it did, and it's one of the few top 32 that I think really deserves it.

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

Jason Keeley wrote:
Rod of Exorcism

Congratulations Jason,

I did not up-vote this often, it felt a little SAK to me and the explanations felt like clarifications. The writing in general could have been neater (a malignant entity such a ghost with malevolence = a red shirt such as someone wearing a red shirt.) I think the imagery left little for the players or GMs to create at the table, but it is good imagery-would they need to create their own? The images are strong enough to be part of a narrative.

Good luck!


Jason Keeley wrote:

Rod of Exorcism

Aura moderate abjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 21,700 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Description
This rod of dark metal is carved with images of ghostly faces, their mouths agape in silent screams. The etchings glow a faint green and the rod grows warm when its bearer is within 30 feet of an individual possessed by a malignant entity (such as the victim of a ghost’s malevolence ability) or enters the room of a haunt. A rod of exorcism can be used to drive out possessing ghosts and other lingering spirits.

The bearer of a rod of exorcism gains a +2 sacred bonus on saving throws to resist the effects of a haunt. Three times per day, by tracing a circle in the air with the rod as a standard action, its bearer releases a burst of positive energy that deals 5d6 points of damage to haunts only.

In addition, the wielder of a rod of exorcism can touch it to a possessed victim to drive out the possessing spirit. If the possessed target is acting hostile in any way, this requires a successful melee touch attack by the wielder. The possessing creature is ejected from its host body, and must succeed at a DC 14 Will save or be dazed for 1 round. Once used in this fashion, the rod becomes ice-cold and loses all of its powers for 24 hours.
Construction
Requirements Craft Rod, detect undead, protection from evil, creator must be able to channel positive energy; Cost 10,850 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?
I'm unclear what 'dark metal' the rod is supposed to be fashioned from, and for etched faces to be 'ghostly' seems a bit of a contradiction to me, but the fact that there's an etched design there in the first place - and that it glows green - is moderately decorative.
Decorative score? 3 out of 7. (Might have been higher if adequate data on the 'dark metal' had been provided.)

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
Not unless a succubus' domicile is a house which is haunted. Now granted there are some succubi who reside in such locations, but it seems to me that - outside of such situations - the obvious non-Decorative use possibilities of this item are strictly limited.
non-Decorative Domestic Use score? 1 out of 7.

Does the Item seem Likely to be Helpful in the Fantasy Setting of an Imaginary World where 'Operation Sealion' is taking Place?
So the (for simplicity's sake) Nasties are lining up with all their little boats to launch an invasion-attempt across a strait upon a nation of perfectly (socially) harmless tea-drinkers. And then there's this item.
So what impact is this item likely to have on proceedings?
This item has no obvious use in proceedings, nor ability to have any credibly foreseeable impact, during 'Operation Sealion'. Ghosts and other forms of 'hauntings' simply aren't going to be a feature of the battlefields involved.
'Sealion' score? 0 out of 7.

Total: 4 out of 21.

Further Disclaimer:
Sighting of a post by 'Ask A RPGSupersuccubus' is by no means a guarantee that any further posts will be forthcoming anywhere, in this contest. Voters should obviously vote for whomever (if anyone) they feel like voting for.

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! -- This is an awesome item, and as a rod works well. I like that you have it interact with haunts. Its very useful if you face those at all.

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