Keyhole Stiletto


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

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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Keyhole Stiletto
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 23,282 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This +1 adamantine ghost touch dagger is often used as a sort of punch to destroy the working of a lock or other mechanical device (and bestows a +2 to Disable Device checks when used for that purpose), but its true usefulness becomes evident when its wielder is confronted by force magic. The wielder of a keyhole stiletto can ignore armor bonuses granted by a force effect (like mage armor or bracers of armor), and once a day, upon use of its command word, the blade can be used to cut a single small hole in a force effect such as a wall of force or resilient sphere. The hole can be any shape, but the blade cannot cut a line longer than 3 feet.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, disintegrate and plane shift; Cost 13,142 gp

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

The wording is a bit rough, but I really like how these abilities flow together and synergize. The adamantine and ghost touch blend together to create a dagger hard enough to cut through force effects. So many potential uses for this, and at the price, it isn't game-breaking (though I suppose against someone who relies on mage armor and shield, it's a large accuracy boost, but then again, it's still a dagger, not a falchion or something). I like this brave little dagger. It's probably my second-favorite item this year, after the staff of the prime mover. 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
Good name with nice abilities.
Usability
Combat and non-combat utility, and force magic can certainly ruin an adventurer's day. I'm running through a few possibilities of "cutting a hole in a force effect" and a clever player could take advantage of this.
Presentation
Weak language choices, but fits style and formatting guidelines. Going through force effects can be questionable, but this doesn't seem like it gives a huge advantage to the wielder.
Final Thoughts
Focused, but not overpowered. 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.

The name is intriguing, and both the concept and mechanics deliver. There is some awkward wording, but that's something I expect would get polished out of the writer just through experience, without any real need for specific feedback on it. I'd want to get more precise with how big a hole can be cut, but that's a quibble at best. Strong keep.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Deeply honored, good sirs and madam. Glad you like the item, and I'd love some feedback about what in the wording is weak.
And now I've got a map to go draw!

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Off the top of my head:

"is often used as a sort of punch to" is awkward. You don;t normally pick something up and ask "Can I use this as a punch?"

"can ignore armor bonuses granted by a force effect (like mage armor or bracers of armor),"

When you say "like mage armor," you are saying it's similar to mage armor, but mage armor isn;t actually one of the rings in question. If you write "such as mage armor," you include mage armor as one of the things in the described category. (Look up like vs such in any grammar book and they'll give better examples).

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

I can't begin to say how happy I am to see this item in the Top 32. I always upvoted the keyhole stiletto for its creativity, tight design, and imagery. I love that it reasonably circumvents force effects in a way that, while powerful, nevertheless demonstrates your capacity for restraint. I look forward to seeing what you will bring us next, Scott!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Thanks for all the votes, Mikael! (I only got to vote for my own item once.) Honestly, I had originally intended this as a Wondrous Item with just the ability to cut a hole in a wall of force, and then when they gave us the curveball of new item types, I found myself thinking, this may actually work better as a weapon! And I added in the power to ignore force armor bonuses at that point. So I kind of lucked out on that one.

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Scott LaBarge wrote:
Thanks for all the votes, Mikael! (I only got to vote for my own item once.) Honestly, I had originally intended this as a Wondrous Item with just the ability to cut a hole in a wall of force, and then when they gave us the curveball of new item types, I found myself thinking, this may actually work better as a weapon! And I added in the power to ignore force armor bonuses at that point. So I kind of lucked out on that one.

Well you could have fooled me (and did!). The power just seemed like a natural aspect of the weapon abilities you gave it. As a little story, I was just talking to (my SO) Linda about my Top 2 items, and I told her "So this one item has really well blended abilities. It starts out as an adamantine ghost touch dagger, so what do you think its unique ability is?" and she said "Sounds like it can cut through anything, physical or immaterial. Does it cut through force?" If it fits so well that she can guess the power, that's Superstar. Starting with a wondrous and getting here is even more impressive (and I think you lucked out on the twist, as this was a stand-out brilliantly crafted weapon but would have stood out less as a wondrous I think).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

As my grandpa always told me, better to be lucky than good! (Don't think I actually believe that, but it sounds good anyway.) :-)
I'm just thrilled people like it. This is my 3rd try at Superstar, and I'll admit I had my hopes up for this one. And when my kids get home from school, their heads are going to explode.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka primemover003

My dungeon-delving, house-breaking rogues of gaming past, present, & future thank you for this! Just don't put your eye up to that keyhole!

--Vrock Superstar

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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

This is one of my favorite items, if not my favorite. I did have a problem with the 3' line, however. Does that mean the hole cannot be be greater than 3 feet in any dimension? Or does that mean a circular hole can never quite have a diameter of 1'?

That can be tweaked, however. The item itself is a thing of beauty.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Oh, except please, the phrase

"but its true usefulness becomes evident"

is far too similar to the so-overused-it's-trite

"but its true power is revealed only when..."

The first power is a true power of the stiletto. It is not more or less "true" than the second power.

And "true" has just been done to death. My eyes glaze over when I see it in any variation of your phrase.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Lol, fair enough, CripDyke. Regarding the 3' length the blade can cut, my intention was to keep the hole small enough that one could use it as an arrow loop, or fill a resilient sphere with water through it, or something like that, but not so large that a normally sized person could easily crawl through it. So yes, my thinking there was to limit the diameter of the largest circle one could cut with it. (I'm right in thinking that the circle is going to be the largest shape by area that one could possibly cut, yes? High school geometry was a long time ago :-p) But if other people can think of a clearer way to define the limitations on the size of hole the blade can cut, I'm all ears!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

And you know, thinking back, I remember thinking that the phrase "its true usefulness becomes evident" was pretty hackneyed, but I also thought that there's a certain way in which a little bit of cliche can be comforting. We've seen that sort of language in so many items over the years, it just makes you feel like you're reading a classic magic item description. And my hope was that some of that sort of glow of inevitability that surrounds classic favorite items might somehow hover over my item too. But it was probably one thought too many.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

The main issue with the 3-foot-line of cut isn't that it doesn't make sense, but that it's difficult to explain in a way that is easily understood. If I was developing this I'd probably allow it to cut a hole "of any shape that fits within a 1-foot-diameter circle." Yes, that disallows a 17-inch long, 1/2 inch wide arrow slit, but you could do a 12-inch one, so I'm okay with it in the name of clarity.

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

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
When you say "like mage armor," you are saying it's similar to mage armor, but mage armor isn;t actually one of the rings in question. If you write "such as mage armor," you include mage armor as one of the things in the described category. (Look up like vs such in any grammar book and they'll give better examples).

I'm no usage expert, but this is definitely not a black-and-white rule of English grammar or style. Obviously, Owen's in charge, so he's the arbiter of style here. However, in both formal and informal English, most writers routinely use "like" to mean "such as." OED and Merriam-Webster both acknowledge this usage, and Merriam-Webster explicitly defends it against the minority of writers who have declared it ungrammatical. According to the sources that I could find, objections to using "like" to mean "such as" only date back to the late 20th century, and have never been widely accepted.

I don't usually post to chime in on grammar, but with a sea of would-be freelancers hanging on Owen's every post thanks to RPGSS, I thought I'd venture a dissenting opinion. :)

PS: Congrats to Scott from the other member of Team Keyhole-Themed Dagger!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
The main issue with the 3-foot-line of cut isn't that it doesn't make sense, but that it's difficult to explain in a way that is easily understood. If I was developing this I'd probably allow it to cut a hole "of any shape that fits within a 1-foot-diameter circle." Yes, that disallows a 17-inch long, 1/2 inch wide arrow slit, but you could do a 12-inch one, so I'm okay with it in the name of clarity.

Ok, that makes sense, and I can see how it's simpler. I'd be happy making that switch, unless someone could show me an uber-cool application that required a longer, skinnier cut.

Question: what happens to these items now that the first round is done? If we revise them in light of advice and suggestions here, does that matter in any official way, or is it just for the benefit of anyone who wants to use them in home games?

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, Scott.

Since you asked about the writing, I also found "is often used" to be fairly weak. I'd argue you want to say what it can do rather than how it's used, if that makes sense. "Is" is also a really dull verb.

You can rewrite your item if you want -- it's been done before -- but honestly, I'd focus on future rounds rather than going backward. Get your map done. The moment you're done with that, start working on monsters.

Some of the Top 32 items may be printed in the winner's module (at least they were in Steven Helt's "Tears at Bitter Manor"); I have no idea if Paizo would be happy with you for rewriting the item or will just work with the original if they choose this as one of the items that gets that treatment.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Thanks to all!
Btw, Owlbear, I don't think I saw another keyhole-themed dagger in the voting that I did. What was your item like?

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

Scott LaBarge wrote:


Btw, Owlbear, I don't think I saw another keyhole-themed dagger in the voting that I did. What was your item like?

It was called jailbird's sweetheart. Basically, it was a skinny adamantine dagger that the owner could pull from any keyhole, teleporting it from its current location. The idea was that you could ditch it somewhere, then retrieve it after being incarcerated or entering a secure location.

The resemblance between the two items is superficial, but still enough to make me do a double-take when I first saw yours during voting.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Now that you mention it, I do remember seeing that once, and I'm pretty sure I up-voted it! Glad to have the company regardless, and thanks for your support!

Star Voter Season 8

I have nothing to say other than I loved it each time this stiletto came up. Well done.

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

I found this underwhelming.

How often will you find a wall of force or resilient sphere? And why can you only cut into them once a day? Why do you need a command word? Just seems overly complicated, and "balanced" for the sake of it.

Cutting into mage armor is nice. So good for anti-casters. Is still a dagger, however brave.

Taken altogether, the theme fits the name. And the mechanics align tightly with the flavor.

Though I think I liked the shiv-what-comes-outta-any-keyhole a little more...

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Yeah, this item was a thing of beauty for me. I loved it, and I'm really glad it make the final cut.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

Really liked this one during most pairings, good luck

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
How often will you find a wall of force or resilient sphere?

I hear what you're saying, but I always imagined the wielder of this weapon working in tandem with a caster; if you were a rogue who could count on your wizard buddy to whip you up a wall of force once a day, you and your party could benefit from, for instance, a nearly impervious wall with an arrow loop in it when you needed it. I've actually imagined all sorts of interesting uses for a near-indestructible wall or sphere with a single small hole cut in it, and one of the things I liked about my item was that it made room for imaginative uses -- something I really value as a player. I'm just glad that some voters (and especially the judges!) saw it that way too.

But I certainly never expected to please everybody.

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I did not have this item on my keep list. The reason the item didn't resonate with me was the degree to which "The hole can be any shape, but the blade cannot cut a line longer than 3 feet." failed to mesh with any existing rules or mechanics. The fallback to physics can work if the rule is simple enough for the vast majority of GMs to arbitrate it effectively, but I don't feel this submission (as written) could be.

I suspect that I also did not view "cutting through anything" as a theme as strong as those used in other submissions, considering that it relied on adamantium for bypassing damage reduction. If given the germ of the item description, I certainly would not have jumped to the same conclusion Mark did.

Just because I did not see the theme as a strong one, though, that does not mean it isn't there--just that I myself may have a blind spot that this item fell into. Seeing others' feedback on the theme does make me reevaluate my own thoughts on this weapon, and I think I can see what they mean. I still have trepidation about the mechanics of sizing the hole, but I have other submissions on my keep list that I had similar concerns about.

Congratulations on making top 32!

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

Congrats Scott.

I thought this was a pretty good item and voted for it most of the time.

My only small issue is that the way the weapon is described, it seems that +2 to disable device is too small a bonus. For something made of adamantine and can occasionally cut through force, it seems to me that this could just outright easily destroy a lock as opposed to merely a 10% increase of disabling it.

But apart from that small thing, very well done!

good luck in round 2.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Petty Alchemy

I think only 2 of my keep list items made it, and this was one of them. Bravo. Agreed on the over-used phrase, but I was able to overlook it for the rest of the item.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

OwlbearRepublic wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
When you say "like mage armor," you are saying it's similar to mage armor, but mage armor isn;t actually one of the rings in question. If you write "such as mage armor," you include mage armor as one of the things in the described category. (Look up like vs such in any grammar book and they'll give better examples).
I'm no usage expert, but this is definitely not a black-and-white rule of English grammar or style. Obviously, Owen's in charge, so he's the arbiter of style here.

My position is that, at its best, rpg writing is creative technical writing. So, since it's possible for "like x, y, and x" to be read as not inclusive, and "such as x, y, and z" is clearly examples, I strongly prefer the current "formal" writing structure of "such as."

Even Paizo isn't 100% consistent on this issue, but I'll include it in a list of better writing practices every time.

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

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

So, since it's possible for "like x, y, and x" to be read as not inclusive, and "such as x, y, and z" is clearly examples, I strongly prefer the current "formal" writing structure of "such as."

Even Paizo isn't 100% consistent on this issue, but I'll include it in a list of better writing practices every time.

Yeah, it's a matter of opinion even among experts, which is why I piped up. I'm certain there are editors (even grammar wonks) who'd revise "such as" to "like" in order to liven up stiff prose, provided that the meaning were clear in context. Nobody's strictly incorrect.

Except for the (fine) people at Evil Hat, of course, who would probably revise Scott's item to something like:

"So, there's this awesome knife: magic, adamantine, all kinds of stuff. You can use it to punch out locks or whatever, but where it's super-good is when you're up against force magic. It totally ignores all of that, no problem. You could cut a big old gash right in a wall of force!"

Star Voter Season 8

Congrats, I saw your item 3 times and always gave it a thumbs up. I have always loved a good dagger, must be the boyscout in me. Looking forward to your next round entry.


Scott LaBarge wrote:
Thanks for all the votes, Mikael! (I only got to vote for my own item once.) Honestly, I had originally intended this as a Wondrous Item with just the ability to cut a hole in a wall of force,

I freakin knew it. I figured this was one of the items people were saying was a reskinned wondrous item.

This is a great item with some sloppy writing, but I still feel should have been DQ as not being a magic weapon.

Some things are just too good to be held back, even by contest rules.

DQ

I am expecting a clever round two from this lucky bastard ;)

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

I am not a fan of items that go in a bag of holding for when its really situational abilities come up. That being said I like the concept of this item.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9 aka MillerHero

Very interesting item, Scott. Nice work. I was immediately asking how big the hole could be then realized that you specified a maximum perimeter (circumference) of 3 feet.

  • A square could be up to 9 inches by 9 inches (9*4/12).
  • Owen suggested a 17 by 1/2 inch rectangle (still have 1 inch left to use if desired).
  • You are right, a circle will yield the greatest area given a set circumference. This item allows an 11-7/16 inch (0.95 feet) diameter circle.
    math:
    (c = 2πr = πd; where c = circumference, π = pi, r = radius, d = diameter)

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

A mid-level item for me. I upvoted it a lot, but wasn't really a huge fan. I think that the main ability of it to ignore force bonuses is a nice one, if a bit uninspired, but the idea of a dagger that can cut through anything is a nice one, hoped you would have explored the idea a bit more.

And I also kind of wish you would have discarded the hole cutting effect altogether, because it doesn't feel that exciting, and there's really no reason why it cannot cut more, if it can already bypass force effects in the shape of armor and the like. Though I can understand that if that was your starting idea, you'd be loathe to give it up. Kill your darlings, as the writing rule goes.

Nevertheless, the idea has potential and is deserving of advancement. The best of luck!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Jaragil wrote:

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

A mid-level item for me. I upvoted it a lot, but wasn't really a huge fan. I think that the main ability of it to ignore force bonuses is a nice one, if a bit uninspired, but the idea of a dagger that can cut through anything is a nice one, hoped you would have explored the idea a bit more.

And I also kind of wish you would have discarded the hole cutting effect altogether, because it doesn't feel that exciting, and there's really no reason why it cannot cut more, if it can already bypass force effects in the shape of armor and the like. Though I can understand that if that was your starting idea, you'd be loathe to give it up. Kill your darlings, as the writing rule goes.

Nevertheless, the idea has potential and is deserving of advancement. The best of luck!

A big part of the reason I limited it to one cut on a wall of force a day is pricing; I think of cutting a small hole in a wall of force as disintegrate-lite, but even so that's a 6th level spell, and anything at that level is pricey. As it is, by making it a once-a-day ability and cutting the price for a disintegrate effect in half because of its limitations, I was able to keep it in a price range that mid-level adventurers could afford. (I know it's pretty rare that my own characters get loot worth more than that.)

As for the hole-cutting ability itself, to each their own, but personally I've had a lot of fun thinking up uses for it. A wall of force with a hole in it has a whole range of uses that a flawless wall of force does not, and as I said earlier, I like to fuel player creativity. If it only ignored mage armor, I agree, that's cool but kind of boring. A hole in a force wall, though, is an opportunity to strategize and invent.

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

Congratulations, Scott! One of my all time favorite items this round, easily in my personal top 32. Love the effect, flavor, and descriptive language. Really looking forward to your later entries!

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

Scott LaBarge wrote:
I hear what you're saying, but I always imagined the wielder of this weapon working in tandem with a caster; if you were a rogue who could count on your wizard buddy to whip you up a wall of force once a day, you and your party could benefit from, for instance, a nearly impervious wall with an arrow loop in it when you needed it. I've actually imagined all sorts of interesting uses for a near-indestructible wall or sphere with a single small hole cut in it,...

I saw that exact combo potential when I first saw this item, and it was actually one of my fears in that I thought it made the item too potentially exploitable.

I personally see force effects fairly often in gameplay-- well, IDK about 'fairly', but, I DO see them (a local wizard in PFS uses emergency force sphere once every 1-2 scenarios in my experience), and I recently ran an encounter that was entirely built around a wall of force; a lot of the highest-level play I've done has included force cages and the like.

So: again still not exactly common, but I'm guessing I've seen more force effects in play than the poster who was dubious of how often you run into it.

Anyway, this weapon turns a battle-dividing wall of force quickly from "massive impediment for the PCs" right over to "sweet, the bad guys just gave us this amazing fortress to hide behind; let me poke a hole in it, then archer-or-caster, you come nuke the hell out of them while the rest of us remain largely safe..." ...and I'm torn about that, basically.

On the one hand, it rewards a character for carrying 'just the right item' to deal with a certain problem, and I do like that. On the other hand, it turns a 'normal' fight into a weird, bottlenecked version of rocket tag, where casters and ranged can each fire through this tiny gap at each other, but the melee-people are going to stand around not doing a heck of a lot. IDK. I guess it's not so much that it's too powerful, it just creates an unusual situation where many of the combatants might stand around with little to contribute. And I'm ambivalent about that.

I think the concept is very, very cool and fresh and interesting; I just don't know how fun a fight where that scenario happened would actually be for the table, I suppose is what it boils down to.

Still, props for creativity and versatility of the item. Congrats on top 32!

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! Great work!

I found this dagger a little too niche for me. I got what it does and it stayed focused on its theme, but the imagery and its utility were both sort of meh. Its very well designed though and I did up-vote it quite a bit.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

dana huber wrote:

Anyway, this weapon turns a battle-dividing wall of force quickly from "massive impediment for the PCs" right over to "sweet, the bad guys just gave us this amazing fortress to hide behind; let me poke a hole in it, then archer-or-caster, you come nuke the hell out of them while the rest of us remain largely safe..." ...and I'm torn about that, basically.

On the one hand, it rewards a character for carrying 'just the right item' to deal with a certain problem, and I do like that. On the other hand, it turns a 'normal' fight into a weird, bottlenecked version of rocket tag, where casters and ranged can each fire through this tiny gap at each other, but the melee-people are going to stand around not doing a heck of a lot. IDK. I guess it's not so much that it's too powerful, it just creates an unusual situation where many of the combatants might stand around with little to contribute. And I'm ambivalent about that.

That's interesting feedback, and I appreciate it. And I'm not trying to change minds here so much as work through the problem. But I guess I'd put it this way: imagine you've got 2 casters, a tank, and a ranged weapons type who carries the stiletto. There's 2 ways a wall of force enters the picture: (1) An enemy uses it to do something like shut out some or all of the party. (2) The party generates a wall of force for purposes of its own. Let's imagine it's the first scenario, and the enemy caster walled off the tank and the archer so he could focus on the squishy casters. In that case, it's not a choice between a full range of activity for the walled-off people or a limited range of activity through a small hole in the wall, it's a choice between a limited range of activity or effectively no activity (unless they have some other way around the wall.) In this case, the tank might find the situation confining, but provided he has some sort of ranged option (or can borrow one from the archer), he can make at least some kind of contribution, and he's better off than he was behind a hole-less wall. And of course the archer is perhaps better off than he was without the wall.

Ok, second scenario: The party creates the wall themselves. In this case, presumably they would act strategically to place each party member on the side of the wall that would best enable their contribution to the attack. In this case, everybody's got their full range of options available, and the party members who can benefit from it get some nice added defense. I can understand why someone might think the tacitical advantage this bestows can perhaps be *too* good, but I think there are any number of spells and magic items in the game of which that complaint can be made situationally, and in any case it's an advantage which the party can only enjoy once a day, given the constraints on the item.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

A lot of the item's criticism has focused on its description, and for the record, I agree I was lacking in that area. Looking back at it, I could have used more vibrant language, and I really don't *describe* the item in any substantial way at all. I'll try to do better in this area next time I design an item.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka ChesterCopperpot

Congrats, Scott!

I loved the last power of your item. I'm also hugely fond of rogue-ish characters, and I can well imagine one whose idea of picking a lock it punching out the works with an adamantine dagger.

Good luck with Round 2!

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'm glad this made it to Top 32. I loved it...but I did end up downvoting it somewhat.

Instead of my normal critique, I'm going to say that you did a phenomenal job putting together a weapon that is useful for sneaky types, in AND out of combat. You made some small missteps (true power revealed). You nailed the spell-nullification type thing with grace and without actually nullifying the total spell. Well done and I really am watching your next round(s) submissions!

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

There are already a ton of comments here, so I'll be brief. I agree with most here that the abilities were well designed but the writing was weak. The item is a little too niche to be one of my favorites, but it is very good at what it does, and I can see why it is in the top 32.

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. I hadn't seen this item during voting, but would have voted for it if I had.

Great use of special abilities to actually enhance the weapon when used as a weapon. The situational ignoring force bonuses to AC won't come up all the time, but when it does, it will be really handy. The punching a hole through force effects is a great lower price way to give more options when they come up. It will let you make a hole big enough to allow line of effect and target things on the other side, and it will let someone trapped escape by becoming gasseous, or Tiny, or whatever, if they don't have a way to teleport out.

The only rules issue with the item is the already discussed loosely defined cut can't be more than 3 feet, but that's easily fixable.


Scott LaBarge wrote:

Keyhole Stiletto

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 23,282 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This +1 adamantine ghost touch dagger is often used as a sort of punch to destroy the working of a lock or other mechanical device (and bestows a +2 to Disable Device checks when used for that purpose), but its true usefulness becomes evident when its wielder is confronted by force magic. The wielder of a keyhole stiletto can ignore armor bonuses granted by a force effect (like mage armor or bracers of armor), and once a day, upon use of its command word, the blade can be used to cut a single small hole in a force effect such as a wall of force or resilient sphere. The hole can be any shape, but the blade cannot cut a line longer than 3 feet.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, disintegrate and plane shift; Cost 13,142 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 dagger, and - in the absence of any poetic waxing lyrical on the part of the person presenting this item for our assessment - I'm going to take it as read that it's a dagger that looks pretty uninspiringly unextraordinary.
Decorative score? 1 out of 7. (It wouldn't have got even that if there hadn't been a passing mention of adamantine.)

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
Granted, it might be of some use in the capacity of a culinary tool in the kitchen, during the preparation of meals.
non-Decorative Domestic Use score? 3 out of 7. (Score upgraded by 1 point upon consideration of the toughness of some joints of uncooked meat, plus possible 'deboning' uses.)

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 noticeable. This item seems likely to be completely irrelevant on the majestic sweeping battlefields - in the sea, and in the air and (if it gets that far) on the land - of the imagined 'Operation Sealion'. Or at least no impact noticeable that cheaper, much more likely available, locally manufactured equipment could have used for any purpose for which this item might be employed.
'Sealion' score? 0 out of 7.

Total: 4 out of 21. (Score formerly '3', but raised due to increase in the non-Decorative Domestic Use score.)

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.

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 item is solid and useful, but, I'm a little surprised it won because it doesn't really seem to do a whole lot. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that's a bad thing--I rather like the simplicity--I just didn't think the other voters and judges did.

I think there's some awkwardness in your writing: "used as a sort of punch" is really messy language. I like adding in the +2 Disable Device, even though it's really minor, it ties into the name and adds a nice detail. I don't care for the "its true usefulness..." phrase, and the way you define the size of the hole/line is strange. But, I do like what it actually does. It's useful without being too useful.

I think it's maybe a little too expensive, but not so expensive that it's no good. If my party found this item, I imagine someone would want it. I can definitely see some people that would want to custom order it, but it's not a must have or anything, which is ultimtely good, because must haves are often too good.

In the end, I like it as a dagger that can cut through anything (ghosts, force, metal, etc.) and I'm happy it won, but I wish it was just a little bit cheaper or maybe just a little bit less niche.

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