Staff of the Vanara King


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

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

Staff of the Vanara King
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 82,660 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Description
Vudran legend tells of a Vanera monk who used a staff that could drastically change size. This gold-trimmed black +1 impact ki focus quarterstaff recreates some of the properties of that artifact. As a standard action, the wielder can cause it to grow to a length of 12 feet and gain the reach weapon property. Alternately, it can be shrunk to the size of a pin.
If your size changes from an enlarge person spell or similar effect, the weapon does not get any larger. The maximum reach is always 10 feet, and only creatures of size Large or smaller can effectively wield the staff of the vanara king.
If you have the Quarterstaff Master feat, the staff can be resized as a move action, and you continue to threaten adjacent squares while the weapon is enlarged.
Construction
Requirements Craft Arms and Armor, enlarge person, lead blades, shrink item, creator must be a monk; Cost 41,330 gp

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
Nice nod to Sun Wukong, and follows pretty closely to the mythology.
Usability
A clear choice for a monk, but also has non-combat options.
Presentation
Misspelled "vanara" in the first sentence. Adheres to style and formatting guidelines. The mechanics regarding the how size changes don't affect the staff feels awkward and could be improved.
Final Thoughts
I appreciate the nod to mythology, but I really wanted more from this. I do not recommend this item for advancement.

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

Some wording issues, Price/Cost don't match. This is a neat nod to Sun Wukong's legend on Earth, made doubly fitting by the fact that the Monkey King is actually also a god in Tian Xia. Some of the wording around the size-changing could have been simplified, and the item was already short enough to add some rules for what would happen if you shrunk the staff to a smaller size that wasn't its minimum size (presumably, very small wielders can get it to shrink to work properly for them, for example). The weapon enhancements added to the staff also seem perfect for the flavor the author was intending, so good there too. The ability to threaten nearby squares seems to render the ability to resize as a move action mostly moot as written, and it's extremely powerful. However, the staff is also very expensive, and at the end of the day, it's a quarterstaff, which isn't the deadliest weapon around, so I may actually even be OK with that. In the hands of monks, the intended wielders, it won't even be too problematic, as monks threaten everything anyway. Just a little adjustment and this would have been fantastic, but it's still a Weak Keep.

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 really like the nod to mythology, and the core ideas here are solid and produce an interesting (and not overpowered) item. I'd want to add some notes on making it smaller (allowing it to act as a club, and maybe even a sap, and noting how big a bonus you can get to conceal it with Sleight of Hand), and I'm not sure it even needs the overly-complex size restrictions.
Aaaaaaand the ability to threaten adjacent and at range with the Quarterstaff Master feat would absolutely get cut. There's a reason we changed how spiked chains work in Pathfinder, and why we haven’t added magic items that do this already. That's my biggest red flag, honestly, and it would definitely result in a note to the writer. If it looks like we're intentionally avoiding a specific combat option, check with your developer before you try to add it back in.
But the concept will work well for a lot of characters, and cutting one line isn’t much work. Keep.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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

I don't have experience with monks in pathfinder (or 3.x), so I'll just leave this at congratulations...

Dark Archive

Mark Seifter wrote:
at the end of the day, it's a quarterstaff, which isn't the deadliest weapon around

I seem to remember a particularly deadly quarterstaff...

Congratulations on making the top 32!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Alanya wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
at the end of the day, it's a quarterstaff, which isn't the deadliest weapon around

I seem to remember a particularly deadly quarterstaff...

Congratulations on making the top 32!

That was a deadly d20, not a deadly quarterstaff!

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, Christopher. I have to admit I both upvoted and downvoted this one.

I was turned off by the bit of history to start and I just didn't feel like the size changing was that exciting. I also am not overly familiar with Sun Wukong, so the allusion to him without specific mention went by me. Still, you're playing in an area that doesn't get used that much, and that always intrigues me.

At any rate, now that you're in, I'm looking forward to seeing what you can do with Round 2. Good luck!

Star Voter Season 8

Congrats, I saw this one 3 times in the polls. It sounds just like Goku's staff from the Dragon Ball Z anime in retrospect. Good Luck in the next round.

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

Thanks for the feedback, everyone!
I figured the Quarterstaff Master feat was a significant investment, and warranted a powerful ability(and accompanying price).
If I were to resubmit, I would remove the size restrictions, add options to use as a one-handed (club) and light (sap) weapon as it shrunk, and Slight of Hand bonuses. I'd also think about replacing the "threaten adjacent squares" (a red line, I see!) with a bull rush option to simulate the end of the staff hitting an enemy while it expands.

That being said, I can't believe I misspelled Vanara. Rookie mistake!

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

Congrats, Christopher

I've seen Wukong's extending staff homebrewed a dozen times, and it's almost as obvious as a Thor-inspired hammer. This combined with the clunky mechanics, the item's design did not impress me. But aside from your typo, the template work looks great. So make sure your Round 2 has that quality! I look forward to it.

Star Voter Season 9

Congratulations Chris!

Syracuse is rooting for you!

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

Couldn't get past this being a ripoff of Monkey's staff. And with Vanara spelled wrong.

I didn't see any creativity in this beyond trying to emulate a mythological character's signature weapon, however admirably.

Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Pretty surprised (and disappointed) to see that this item made it, with hundreds of other items that were actually original ideas and not obviously pulled from anime/mythology. Don't expect to be be able to coast through the rest of the rounds that way.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

This is one of my least favorite items that advanced this year. To me it doesn't feel superstar, it might be well written but nothing about it seems really special. It is basically a staff that can have or not have reach and a specific set of magical weapon upgrades.

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

Christopher, I remember this staff because I love monks!

That said, it wasn't my favorite staff because it focused so much on monks (although yes it could be used by Ninjas or multiclassed magi).

First sentence is more backstory than description, and I'm not a fan of being SO Golarion.

The growing and shrinking is fun!

I'm not sure why you put a restriction on the size of a creature, why couldn't a Huge creature use it as a Large quarterstaff?

Overall I liked this a lot. Not quite enough description for me and it isn't very "action-y" in the presentation but if you stretch some more in those areas I think you'll do well. Looking forward to see your R2.

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! Nicely done!

I have to admit to not being a fan of this particular quarterstaff. It's nod to mythology didn't appeal to me and an item intended to power-up monks goes against my instincts. The size-changing is very cool though, I liked that imagery a lot.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making the top 32, I saw this item a lot during voting and it definitely stood out as someone trying attempting something different in the weapon design space so I always took notice of it...however, I’m afraid to say I never really warmed to your quarterstaff. My key test as a voter was whether I would use this as a player or as a GM…and, for your item, I don’t think I would use it in either case.

I see a number of other comments have been made about the staff mimicking anime and/or mythology a little too closely...comments that I'd agree with...so you certainly need to think about demonstrating some real original thinking in the next rounds.

I was also wondering what your logic was on having Enlarge Person as a construction requirement? From what I have read / interpreted, the quarterstaff does not allow the wielder to change in size?

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

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

I was about 5 hours deep into voting one night and read this as Staff of the Viagra King.

The description then becomes pretty funny, and I got the giggles and it ticked my wife off.

I liked the Sun Wukong reference, but it wasn't an original idea and I was pretty surprised it cracked the top 32.

It's a testament to your technical writing however, as I doubt the judges would have overlooked a commonly seen item archtype ( a knockoff of sun-wukong or his monkey king staff seems to exist in many many mediums) and ran with it.

Congrats.

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

Unfortunately I also belong to the underwhelmed camp. The nod to the history is a nice one, though once again background doesn't really look good in an item description, though at least this was "inspired by" something, so it's not that bad. The actual ability is fine, and I could see something like this existing, but it just isn't that exciting or Superstar.

I also think monks don't need any more help to be overpowered. Though I applaud your effort to make it feel properly monk-esque.

Still, it's a good item in its own merits and I can see the judges' point of view. The best of luck to you as well!

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making the top 32.

I saw this item quite a few times and while I did not consider it among my very favorites, I do believe it got a some upvotes.

I could do something more impressive than the size changing, next to it, perhaps.

Well, regardless, congratulations.

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

Congratulations, fellow Chris! Love me some real-world mythology inspired items, and this is right up that alley. Keep tapping that same inspirational well for later rounds!

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

Congrats Christopher!

Like some others, I didn't vote for this item very much at all. It didn't inspire my imagination.

But now that you are here, make the best of the future rounds and good luck!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Amanuensis

Congratulations Christopher!

While I wasn't a big fan of your item during voting, I think you did one thing very well. Many other weapons in this contest could have doubled as wondrous items - they lacked the necessary synergy between the item's primary function (being a weapon) and its magical abilities. Yours, however, creates a strong connection, so I can somewhat understand why this one prevailed against other items people might have considered more innovative.

Good luck in the next round!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rusty Ironpants

I don't think I saw your item during voting but I do like the concept behind it. Yay resizing weapons FTW!

Good luck in the contest.

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

Mark Seifter wrote:
Alanya wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
at the end of the day, it's a quarterstaff, which isn't the deadliest weapon around

I seem to remember a particularly deadly quarterstaff...

Congratulations on making the top 32!

That was a deadly d20, not a deadly quarterstaff!

Sounds like Storytime to me. What's the story?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Scott LaBarge wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Alanya wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
at the end of the day, it's a quarterstaff, which isn't the deadliest weapon around

I seem to remember a particularly deadly quarterstaff...

Congratulations on making the top 32!

That was a deadly d20, not a deadly quarterstaff!
Sounds like Storytime to me. What's the story?

So we're on a mission, and we run into these guys. Thanks to faction missions, Torch wants me to get some info out of them, so I start trying to talk to them. Plot twist says otherwise, and they freak out and try to fight past us to freedom. I still want the info, so instead of attacking them I continue to try to talk to them. Out comes the quarterstaff, and oh look, I'm his favored enemy. Bam! Crit hit and I'm on the ground bleeding out. The paladin decides to solve that by healing me just enough to be conscious. Oh look, favored enemy is a threat again. Bam! Another crit hit and Alanya is dead dead.

The paladin did try to make it up to me by completing my faction mission, so I got my prestige point. My rogue then haunted them for the rest of the mission. "Does anyone speak this language?" "Yeah, the dead one." "Can anyone disable this trap?" "Um, the dead rogue?"
And that's the first time Mark killed this particular character (yes, there was another time!), and why I consider quarterstaffs deadly. Fortunately I had the prestige for a raise, and the paladin paid to remove a negative level, so death turned out to be only a learning experience. :)

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

Also the guy didn't even want to kill her. He just needed to knock her down so he could run past, since she was the only one blocking his escape and he was scared. He wouldn't have attacked if she stayed down, and even with the tentative heal to low hp, he couldn't have killed her without a high damage crit.

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

Yeah, I've killed characters before without really meaning to/wanting to, just because the dice had their own ideas. Makes for memorable stories, though, like this one!

Dark Archive

It was the favored enemy that did me in!

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'm afraid I have to count myself among those who don't understand the appeal of this item. I think its a fine adaptation of the mythological staff, and that it could be useful in play. But I'm not sure I see the superstar here. Regardless, the voters and judges liked this one, so I'm going to blame myself for missing something.

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 wasn't a huge fan of the weapon overall, which to be fair, I don't think any of the weapons I saw in voting really impressed me. It fit a theme of size changing, and I appreciate a weapon that lets you change from adjacent to reach, but overall this simply didn't wow me, and it felt over priced as well.

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.

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!

The Staff of the Vanara King
My first thoughts: I really dislike Sun Wukong fanboyism. Yes, the monkey king has a staff that changes size. We are all familiar with the myth. Yawn. Oh, plus Dragonball. Boo!

Anyway, the actual powers of the weapon appear to be:

1) Deal +1 average damage and get +1 to a combat maneuver nobody uses (Bull Rush), thanks to the Impact property (which is way overpriced at +2)!

2) Make a junky weapon into a junky reach weapon! And it comes free with needless restrictions, meaning, that, even though you're almost certainly using Enlarge Person, Lunge, or other effects to increase your reach anyway, you now get no further benefit from those things! You'll be able to punch farther than you can swing your magic staff whose only power is growing/shrinking!

3) Deliver Stunning Fists and ignore certain kinds of DR at reach (since any monk that can take advantage of Ki Focus can already do those things adjacent with unarmed strikes--that probably deal more damage)!

4) Threaten Adjacent when using a feat that is not worth taking, even though the primary wielders of this weapon (monks) can already threaten adjacent via unarmed strikes!

5) Argue with your GM about what effects shrinking your staff actually has!

6) Spend a ridiculous amount of money for very little benefit!

Seriously, a +1 Impact Ki Focus Quarterstaff should be ~32k. That means the ability to fight at reach (that won't stack with all the easier reach extending techniques you're already using) and threaten adjacent if you have a lousy feat which you could do with your unarmed strikes anyway costs 50k! WHAT?!

If my party found this item, we'd sell it in a heartbeat. I can't imagine anyone having one made. The clear target wieler is the monk, but they have no need of most of the properties. Anyone could theoretically wield a staff, but the strict reach limitations make it mostly pointless for fighting types, and the Staff Magus is near-trap level anyway.

I do think this was the best Sun Wukong staff in the competition for what that's worth (even though I'm stunned there was more than one Sun Wukong staff to begin with), but I think it needs some serious work. Maybe if shrinking it actually did something concrete and defined, or the powers were actually useful (Monks don't need to threaten adjacent, nonmonks don't need Ki Focus, nobody needs Impact), or if the price were at all reasonable, I don't know.

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

Christopher Donnangelo wrote:
Staff of the Vanara King

Congratulations Christopher,

I up-voted this about 50/50. Gaining reach just did not excite me (impact is more interesting). But this is tightly written, follows good form and had a bonus if "I" had a specific feat. That little touch is a nice reward for feat selection.

EDIT (after reading others' comments): I do not mind borrowing from myth and legend. The whole game as a construct is borrowed from myth & legend: just look at appendix F (?).

Good luck!

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 8

Congrats for reaching the Top 32.

I found myself voting for this item a couple of times, but I feel, that it could have used something else (maybe I watched to much Dragonball in my youth) as it ended up only a very small number of characters could make full use of this item. The impact ability is nice, but doesn't seem to work quite as well on this particular base weapon.

Good luck in the next round.


Christopher Donnangelo wrote:

Staff of the Vanara King

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 82,660 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Description
Vudran legend tells of a Vanera monk who used a staff that could drastically change size. This gold-trimmed black +1 impact ki focus quarterstaff recreates some of the properties of that artifact. As a standard action, the wielder can cause it to grow to a length of 12 feet and gain the reach weapon property. Alternately, it can be shrunk to the size of a pin.
If your size changes from an enlarge person spell or similar effect, the weapon does not get any larger. The maximum reach is always 10 feet, and only creatures of size Large or smaller can effectively wield the staff of the vanara king.
If you have the Quarterstaff Master feat, the staff can be resized as a move action, and you continue to threaten adjacent squares while the weapon is enlarged.
Construction
Requirements Craft Arms and Armor, enlarge person, lead blades, shrink item, creator must be a monk; Cost 41,330 gp

Disclaimer:

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

Is the Item Decorative?
The gold trim makes the item marginally decorative. Other than that it's just a rather long piece of wood.
Decorative score? 2 out of 7.

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
Well, it has possibilities for use as an impromptu rolling pin in the kitchen...
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?
Well it might be used as an impromptu probe for minefields during a 'beach' phase of any proceedings, but it's only made of wood and not likely to survive very many 'contacts'. Any impact it might have would be minimal.
'Sealion' score? 1 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!"

Publishable -- I liked this, but I'd kind have liked to see it mixed with the various monastic staff and other ki-powered "magical staves" that expend ki to do cool spells or other effects. What you wrote is still really solid.

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