Crook of Unseen Forces


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

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Crook of Unseen Forces
Aura strong evocation and conjuration; CL 12th
Slot none; Price 42,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

Description
This iron staff, silvered and inlaid with diamonds, curves at one end like a shepherd’s crook. It functions as a +1/+1 quarterstaff and grants an additional +2 bonus on drag and reposition combat maneuvers. However, its true power is to summon and command invisible forces, allowing the use of the following spells:

unseen servant (1 charge)
spiritual weapon (1 charge)
spiritual ally (2 charges)
summon monster VI (3 charges, invisible stalker only)

The spiritual weapon or weapon wielded by a spiritual ally takes the shape of the crook of unseen forces itself and gains the crook's enhancement bonus to attack and damage. Moreover, any spiritual weapon or spiritual ally created by the crook is invisible as if by greater invisibility, gaining the usual benefits when attacking creatures unable to see it. The invisible stalker summoned by the crook is an unliving construct rather than a true outsider.

In addition, by spending 1 charge as a standard action, the crook’s wielder can create an invisible force in a 30 foot line. The wielder can make a drag, reposition, or trip combat maneuver against any one creature in this line. Each additional creature affected costs 1 additional charge. This special combat maneuver check does not provoke attacks of opportunity and uses the wielder’s caster level plus Wisdom modifier in place of his Combat Maneuver Bonus. The wielder can choose to use the staff’s caster level instead of his own.

Construction
Requirements Craft Staff, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, greater invisibility, spiritual ally, spiritual weapon, summon monster VI, telekinesis, unseen servant; Cost 21,000 gp

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

Wording issues. Price/Cost don't match. If it can affect more than one creature, it should say "one or more creatures." I'm extremely unthrilled about the use of Wisdom modifier for the final ability instead of allowing other casting stats, but this is in keeping with our current (less than good) ruling for the spiritual weapon family of spells, so I'm not penalizing this at all. The suite of abilities is actually a nice match. Despite the rough spots, I was leaning toward weak keep, but then the pricing is too low even for the formula price of the spells alone. A designer can't be Superstar if they can't calculate the formula price of a staff correctly (and given that the spells alone cost 48,000 gp, this is seriously off; it's like they didn't even attempt to look at how staves are priced but instead just picked something at random). That won't do, especially with the other issues. I still like the combination of powers enough to make this a Weak Reject though.

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 name doesn't quite work for me in light of its abilities.
Usability
"Behold my summoned flying invisible nuisance!" Sounds like a great way to piss PCs off—probably not in a good way.
Presentation
Two crafting feats? Goodness. Some word choices can cause potential for confusion ("create an invisible force"—is this a force effect). Not sure I like the reliance on Wisdom. Anybody could get use out of this crook. Underpriced for its abilities.
Final Thoughts
I like this item, despite some of its flaws. 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 idea of a magic staff that is a crook (a fairly humble piece of kit) that's made of iron and studded with diamonds immediately grabs my attention. There's a dichotomy there that appeals to me, and might appeal to a wide subset of players. It also has a lot more going on than a SiaC, which is good, though in this case I think it goes a tad too far with them. It's nonspell abilities would need a bit of rewriting, but not so much I'd give up on it.
What bothers me the most is the unseen servant. The crook most has spells clerics can use (and thus oracles and warpriests), but unseen servant is the odd man out. Wizards can use unseen servant, but they don’t get spiritual weapon or spiritual ally. That means no standard spellcaster can use all the elements of the staff. I could be okay with that as a conscious design choice, but the unseen servant is such a minor part of its abilities I'd likely just cut it.
With a little tightening, this becomes a solid entry and worth putting in a book I'm developing.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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

Staves are, by their nature, SIAC items - and SAK items as well. It makes it hard to impress me with one.

Yours has a decent theme, and yet...it just doesn't grab me.

As mentioned by the judges, the humble shepherd's crook as iron+silver+diamonds has an incongruity to it. It worked for Owen K C Stephens, but not for me. That's a taste thing, but I'm wondering WHY a shepherd's crook is made this way. I don't find any answers - or even clues - in the item or its powers. "I want it to look cool and powerful" seems the only answer available, and that's not enough for me.

A ring doesn't have to justify silver and diamonds. It's part of being a ring. A crook? Yeah, I want something more and I just didn't see it.

That doesn't mean I'm not wishing you good luck for future rounds, however! Please do crook some ass (just not your neighbor's ass: there's some rule about that somewhere I'm sure).

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6

Well, this is a nice surprise! Thanks to everybody who upvoted me!

Thanks also to the judges for your feedback. Your comments look like some of my own concerns about this item: form factor, the wording of the force line ability, whether or not to include unseen servant, and the complexity of staff pricing. Glad I made it, good to have confirmed that I really do need to polish the things I thought needed polishing!

As I envisioned it, the crook was a bigger version of a pharaoh's crook, a piece of regalia allowing a ruler to command the unseen world as he or she commands the visible world. I probably should have written that to paint a clearer picture of why it's a jeweled crook.

I would like to share my notes on the pricing, in the hopes that someone more knowledgeable can help me pinpoint the problem.

Any other feedback, whether criticism or praise, is of course welcome!

pricing notes:

masterwork = 300
enhancement 2000 + 2000 = 4000
summon monster VI 400 (highest level spell) x 6 (spell level) x 12 (CL) x .75 (ad hoc for invisible stalker only) = 21600 /3 (charges to use) = 7200
spiritual ally 300 (second highest level spell) x 4 (spell level) x 12 = 14400 /2 (charges to use) = 7200
spiritual weapon 200 (3rd highest and below) x 2 (spell level) x 12 (CL) = 4800
unseen servant 200 (3rd highest and below) x 1 (spell level) x 12 (CL) x = 2400
Swag for the telekinesis-like ability and invisible spiritual things = 16000
Total 41900, round to an even 42000

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

There's your issue in being too low. For the staff component, you used what should have been the cost to determine the price, thus being off by a factor of 2. (Not matching between them is due to the fact that the MW doesn't double, so the price should have been 600 less than double the cost)

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, Charlie.

I really liked that your form -- the crook -- fit so well with the staff's abilities (and that you found one of the few similes for staff that worked so well).

It's great that you're aware of the area you need to work on. Fortunately for you, Round 2 looks to be pretty rules-light, so you've got time to buckle down on the skills for monster making if you advance. Good luck!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6

Yep, there it is in black and white. The formulas are for cost to create, not for price (the salient point that I missed). Of course price should be twice that. So I should have priced it at something more like 68,000 gp.

I wondered about figuring in the masterwork component like you would for a weapon, but decided to take my cue from the staff of power, since it is a Core staff that functions as a weapon. Probably a mistake there due to the multiple powers of the latter making its price basically ad hoc.

Mark, thanks for looking at my numbers and showing me what needed fixing.

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

Charlie Bell wrote:

Yep, there it is in black and white. The formulas are for cost to create, not for price (the salient point that I missed). Of course price should be twice that. So I should have priced it at something more like 68,000 gp.

I wondered about figuring in the masterwork component like you would for a weapon, but decided to take my cue from the staff of power, since it is a Core staff that functions as a weapon. Probably a mistake there due to the multiple powers of the latter making its price basically ad hoc.

Mark, thanks for looking at my numbers and showing me what needed fixing.

No problem. Pricing wasn't always a dealbreaker for me, but breaking the formula for a formula component was serious business for me (since in the end we're looking to keep such a small percentage of the entries each year). At that ~70k price, this would have had a chance to be a Weak Keep from me.

Star Voter Season 8

Congrats, Never saw this one in the polls. I like it a lot. Price seems way off. Should be almost double the price. Good luck in the next round.


I like the flavor and base concept of the crook a lot, and got it that it's a ruler's crook like egyptian/osirian "crook and flail". The name's pretty good, too. I'm interested to see your map—good luck!

Looks like you were close, but missed a factor in your pricing, as you pointed out. It'll be less of a factor in the map round, but if you make it to round 3, be sure to triple check your stats. For staves that are also magic weapons, price-minus-600 should equal two times cost-minus-600. This is because double-ended weapons cost 300 for masterwork on each end. For the rarer single-enhanced-end models, it would be 300. Special materials would change this, too.

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

Tight theme, and nice little bonus there to drag and reposition.

Not amazed by the description, nor do I understand why it is even an issue positive/negative for folks. Can always be reskinned - but as for design chops - it is serviceable.

The last ability seems like going for too much, but why the heck not, and I prefer to see that extra creativity - I would like to know what the (currently) untyped bonus is to those drag and reposition maneuvers….

I like that there are both craft arms and armor and craft staff - not sure it is necessary, but it shows to me that Charlie wanted to cover those bases. And if it is unnecessary, then it gets cut out of the description and saves word count. A mistake Charlie would only make once.

As for this:

Mark Seifter wrote:
A designer can't be Superstar if they can't calculate the formula price of a staff correctly

I feel that is an unnecessarily super-uper-dooper specific judgment. What else can't a Superstar designer get wrong? And seriously, pricing is not simple for everybody - all designers have strengths and weaknesses - I'd seriously question "inability to correctly price staffs" as an auto reject philosophy for freelancers or Superstars.

Points for "unthrilled" though Mark. :)

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Mark's observation may not be true (certainly someone could win this contest without ever facing staff pricing), but it's entirely reasonable. There are a lot of magic items that are tricky to price. The rules for magic staffs are pretty clearly spelled out. Not being able to apply them is a serious detail-oriented failure.

Obviously developers double-check pricing whenever possible. But it's much better if the price is right or nearly-right when we get it, in case we just don't have time to check pricing, and to prevent us from taking time to triple-check when we get a number wildly different from what a freelancer gave us.

Rules details matter, and a Superstar, someone who is being given a title stating them to not just be good but Super-good, shouldn't be pricing things at half cost.

I tend to think these are the kinds of details that good freelancers fix once you point them out once, and that's one reason for giving feedback. But it does need to be fixed.

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 should have known you wrote this Charlie! I loved this item. Not my all time favorite but I really, really enjoyed it.

I won't harp on the issues already brought up.

Name is great...Crook is a great word choice.

I am debating if I would have liked to see em-dashes instead of commas for the interjection in the opening sentence.

GRRR...you did the dreaded "its true power" bit! Noooooooo!

Great theme in the spells and theme parity in general.

Cinematic additional ability and I like the replacement calculation because I don't have to look up the original calculation.

Overall, this was a great staff, I upvoted it all 3 times I saw it. Even against one of my other favorites. I can't tell you much, except the couple of things mentioned above, since this isn't your first rodeo...you know better than I do. Can't wait to see your R2.

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

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:


I feel that is an unnecessarily super-uper-dooper specific judgment. What else can't a Superstar designer get wrong? And seriously, pricing is not simple for everybody - all designers have strengths and weaknesses - I'd seriously question "inability to correctly price staffs" as an auto reject philosophy for freelancers or Superstars.

Points for "unthrilled" though Mark. :)

There is a difference between just any freelancer and a Superstar. Even a Superstar might not be perfect on the fuzzy guessing part of item pricing (it's so hard, nobody is perfect on it), but a Superstar is superlative. They're the best, and that means they should not make a mistake on the formula component on their "interview" piece to me. I'm picking 32 items out of a huge huge pile of items. I can easily find 32 that didn't make that mistake. That also means no +3 weapon with extra powers that costs under 18,000 gp either. I'm sympathetic to Charlie's mistake, but if he was being careful, he could have tried reverse-engineering a simple staff or even just comparing his staff to other staves and see that his price was off (staff of healing, for instance, has the same charge structure, it costs more than the basic staff component of his item did in his notes, and it's clear from a casual glance that the spells contained within are weaker, since it's all 3rd or lower). We know from his notes that he did check the staff of power, so comparing to staff of healing or another staff would have allowed him to avoid the error.

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 and the repeat.

I liked your item overall, and it did a good job playing with the default staff mechanics.

However, while other items do sometimes combine a staff and a magic weapon quarterstaff, for most characters that might want to pay for the magic staff abilities, they really don't want to be in melee, and I generally feel that this is not therefore a good mix.

Overall, I liked the line of force effect for the free trip, etc. and felt this was a good addition to the spells being used. I wasn't sold on the benefit of making the effects invisible though. Sure it gives them a +2 to attack, but it seems a bit of a waste since they really can't be attacked, only dispelled. Though I guess a targeted dispel is out of the question if you can't see the effect.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

I feel like this staff is trying to do to much. It is a magic weapon, can cast a bunch of spells, makes most spells it casts better and it can make a ranged combat maneuver. This makes it to much of a SAK for my tastes. It is well written though.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

First of all, congratulations on making the top 32.

I saw this item a few times, though I'd have to look up my voting notes to tell you exactly how I felt at each point. In other words, I didn't feel captivated by it.

I like the idea of this staff and I do like the making it a non-staff item (a crook).

However, all problems aside, I just couldn't quite see this staff as more than a very large collection of spells and abilities, that tied together too loosely to really get to me.

Regardless, the idea has some shine and I wouldn't say I couldn't like this staff, but I do see issues, which when added to things like pricing, do find troublesome.

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 work!

This item, sad to say, left me a little flat. I liked the concept and the powers worked well in the theme, but it really was a staff that seemed-to-move-things-telekinetically-but-not-really. The powers could have been made to match the concept better.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

This was my favorite item in the entire line-up.

Like Owen, I love the dichotomy of the traditionally humble item with all the gold and jewels. Reminds me of the Catholic Church- Bishops tend towards stylized crooks, some of which are this ornate.

I actually voted against almost every staff due to the nature of them....even a tightly themed selection of spells is just too....meh...something an adventurer could commission on their own so why bother? The unique mechanic here and potential for all kinds of creative uses made this stand out brilliantly.

I've noticed several people have mentioned pricing and I'll openly admit that I have no idea how to price such items, but for what it does an the potential uses, I can see this being fair for what you get.

As far as the uses I've imagined for it, well.....

My DM is going to hate you.

Marathon Voter Season 8

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32!

This was a mid-level item for me. I downvoted and upvoted in about equal measures. And the reasons why it didn't really grab me is that I found it to be more than slightly overpowered and I've never been a fan of the spiritual spells. I have nothing against them really, but they lack that evocativeness that many other spells possess.

My main problem though is the invisibility effect. That just seems like it would be annoying and hard to overcome, no matter who uses the staff. It'd make the game more aggravating than anything else and that's always something to avoid. (Had it been just invisibility, I could have dealt with it, I think.)

Still, the item is well-written and I can see your skill as a designer. The best of luck for the upcoming rounds!

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

Congratulations, Charlie! Really liked the visuals for this item (which is ironic, given that they are unseen!), they made me think of a bunch of my favorite bad guys from film/TV. Well done, looking forward to seeing more of your work!

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

Congratulations, Charlie!

Your crook was definitely one of the more interesting staves and it had a cool theme. I found the description somewhat surprising - it makes me think of old crones with a lot of bling.
I really liked the combat maneuver possibilities this item offers, though you don't get a lot out of your charge (considering that you need to expend a 6th-level spell to recharge this staff).

Good luck in the next round!

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 usually voted for this staff when I saw it. Although I agree with the critiques that the invisibility would be annoying and that you tried to do too much, I still think it's a good item. All of the abilities make sense and would be useful. And the description and writing are excellent.

Congratulations!

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!

Crook of Unseen Forces
This is just kind of bland item, for me. There's nothing special about it to me. I like three of the spells in it (the first three), but I dislike summoning in general.

The +2 to Drag and Reposition is appropriate, but pointless. Not only is the user of this staff exceedingly unlikely to be fighting with the staff iself, but Drag and Reposition are two of the least useful combat maneuvers.

Making the Spiritual Weapon and Ally invisible works with the name, but it's kind of just weird in the end. Why not mention the benefits? It's just a +2 to hit and denying Dex.

I don't like the special ability, either. It is worded awkwardly when it comes to multiple targets. Further, a CL + Wis check simply cannot keep up with the way CMD scales by the time one could afford this staff, and the Drag/Reposition maneuver cause problems at range/on multiple targets.

Reposition, for example, says that "the target must remain within your reach at all times during this movement, except for the final 5 feet of movement, which can be to a space adjacent to your reach." Since this works up to 30' away, uh...what?

Drag is also tricky at range and especially on multiple targets: "If your attack is successful, both you and your target are moved 5 feet back, with your opponent occupying your original space and you in the space behind that in a straight line. For every 5 by which your attack exceeds your opponent’s CMD, you can drag the target back an additional 5 feet. You must be able to move with the target to perform this maneuver." Ok, so, I guess you can fudge it at range such that you move and they move the same distance, even if they're not in the space you vacated, but what happens when you drag multiple targets? If I drag 3 people one square each, do I move 5' or 15'?

Finally, there's once again no target audience for this. Arcane casters and Oracles don't have the Wisdom or the Spiritual X spells (well, Oracles have them, but for some reason, they were never errata'd to work with Charisma, so they're junky without houserules), while Clerics and Warpriests lack Unseen Servant and have much better weapon proficiencies than a quarterstaff.

If my party found this item, we'd sell it, and I can't think of any character that would have one made on purpose. Even with the incorrect price, it doesn't feel worth it. Overall, it's pretty "eh." It needs some work to be publishable, the writer did not seem to consider how the game really works (CMD scaling, the drag and reposition rules, etc.), and there's nothing especially interesting or innovative about it.

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 8

Congratulations, Charlie. It took some time, but the item eventually grappled me: It is perfect for old people (in my head it is currently looking more like a walking stick). To lazy to go outside and fetch the paper, or the remote, unseen servant make sure that your don't even have to get out of bed.
Children causing mischief on your lawn? Just shake your fancy stick and see them run away (invisible spiritual weapon means their parents can't come complain^^).

Young people entering your residence to steal from you/talk about their lord and savior cthulhu.... time to wave your stick, shut the door and hear them get murdered by an invisible stalker....


Hmm. The originator of this thread appears to be a military man, according to his profile at the time of this post. Not exactly a knight in shining armour, but I feel sufficiently inclined at this time to make an allowance for effort in pursuit of a thoroughly worthwhile career and to carry out a quick review of this particular item...

Charlie Bell wrote:

Crook of Unseen Forces

Aura strong evocation and conjuration; CL 12th
Slot none; Price 42,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

Description
This iron staff, silvered and inlaid with diamonds, curves at one end like a shepherd’s crook. It functions as a +1/+1 quarterstaff and grants an additional +2 bonus on drag and reposition combat maneuvers. However, its true power is to summon and command invisible forces, allowing the use of the following spells:

unseen servant (1 charge)
spiritual weapon (1 charge)
spiritual ally (2 charges)
summon monster VI (3 charges, invisible stalker only)

The spiritual weapon or weapon wielded by a spiritual ally takes the shape of the crook of unseen forces itself and gains the crook's enhancement bonus to attack and damage. Moreover, any spiritual weapon or spiritual ally created by the crook is invisible as if by greater invisibility, gaining the usual benefits when attacking creatures unable to see it. The invisible stalker summoned by the crook is an unliving construct rather than a true outsider.

In addition, by spending 1 charge as a standard action, the crook’s wielder can create an invisible force in a 30 foot line. The wielder can make a drag, reposition, or trip combat maneuver against any one creature in this line. Each additional creature affected costs 1 additional charge. This special combat maneuver check does not provoke attacks of opportunity and uses the wielder’s caster level plus Wisdom modifier in place of his Combat Maneuver Bonus. The wielder can choose to use the staff’s caster level instead of his own.

Construction
Requirements Craft Staff, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, greater invisibility, spiritual ally, spiritual weapon, summon monster VI, telekinesis, unseen servant; Cost 21,000 gp

Disclaimer:

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

Is the Item Decorative?
Diamonds are apparently a girl's 'best friend'. Now, I may well be somewhat more advanced in sophistication, wisdom, and much general experience than the delightfully naive couple-of-decades old slips of females of the prime material plane, but that's not to say that I can't appreciate something tastefully sparkly and expensive.
It's a pity though that the metalwork's iron (however silvered), and not mithral.
Decorative score? 5 out of 7.

Does the Item have Any Obvious non-Decorative Use Around the Home?
The unseen servant effect has some minor functionality, but to be frank in a lot of cases it's actually preferable to have a semi-competent minion or retainer around to carry out housework and to do domestic chores which aren't important enough to merit one's personal attention - rather than to use magical gadgets. Minions and retainers are of course able to appropriately bask in the splendour of one's presence (when required to do so), whereas mindless spells generally make for unappreciative audiences. And regrettably the other functions of the item appear to be brawling-related - which aren't exactly commonly useful things to have available around the home, or not if one is an even remotely competent hostess.
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?
To be honest, not much unless any action gets to the landing beaches, and by that point it's most likely a case of mopping-up operations; in any case this being a 'staff' style item, with a strictly limited number of 'charges', one's not likely to last very long in terms of significant impact on a landing beach. Even assigning one such staff, per band of warriors, isn't likely to be that useful. (And with the whole encrusted-with-precious-stones thing, quartermasters would have tremendous difficulty keeping track of stocks of these, I strongly suspect; even 'familiarization' exercises with the equipment would be in some danger of seeing inventory go missing...)
'Sealion' score? 2 out of 7.

Total: 8 out of 21.

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

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

Congrats Charlie!

I thought this was decent item, but it got most of my votes due to what it was paired up against.
For the line "This special combat maneuver check does not provoke attacks of opportunity and uses the wielder’s caster level plus Wisdom modifier in place of his Combat Maneuver Bonus."
I don't like restricting last ability to Wisdom bonus. Also, in the case where wielders CMB is greater than CL+WIS, I would give them the option to use their standard CMB.

good luck next round!

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

Charlie Bell wrote:
Crook of Unseen Forces

Congratulations Charlie and welcome back!

I gave staffs extra time as it was what I entered and I want to make sure I was being objective, but mostly upvotes for me. I think you hit hard mode right, with the CM addition to avoid SiaC and the theme of invisible forces stretched a little thin for me, but not far enough to be SAK. CM at range is not totally new, but this works. Although greater invisibility makes it moot, I like the flavor of spiritual weapon, and spiritual ally's weapon being the crook itself.

EDIT (after reading others' comments: I see highly decorated crooks so that didn't bother me. But since this is a vaudevillian crook, the image borders on sight gag.

Good luck!

Star Voter Season 8

Charlie Bell wrote:
Any other feedback, whether criticism or praise, is of course welcome!

Disclaimer: I don't offer critique/analysis on items unless it is explicitly requested by the author. As that seems to be the case, I'll give some feedback.

First off: Congratulations on the Top 32! You've shown your creative mojo, and we look forward to seeing yet more talented people among the ranks of freelancers and Paizo contributors. Good luck!

Style: It's a shepherd's crook, an item designed to control, move and direct sheep, and enhanced to use invisible forces. Tightly themed and practical. The drag and reposition bonus is appropriate, and the modification to the spell effects is also very thematic.

Nitpicking: The fact that it's a solid iron staff that weighs only 5 lbs makes me a little dubious about how sturdy it is, given that it would need to be pretty thin. A typical staff is made of wood and weighs 5 lbs, I suspect an iron one might be heavier.

Usability:

  • It's a cleric/oracle staff, so it's probably it will be used in melee fairly regularly, and the drag and reposition bonus will come into play. Cool.
  • Clerics & oracles can't use the unseen servant function, so that is a portion (4,800gp to be exact) of the staff that is largely redundant :(
  • At a 42,000gp price tag (incorrect, I know) this item could be seen as early as 9th level without breaking the wealth/level chart, but the owner cannot recharge it until 11th level due to the 6th level spell. This means they'll need to go a few levels of not getting as much mileage as they should until they can fully use its staff functionality.
  • At a 64,000gp price tag (see Pricing) it would be around 11th level that the staff is seen, which is much more practical for the wielder, as they'll probably be able to recharge it.
  • Given the spiritual spells often struggle to hit due to the BAB + Wis attack roll, directly boosting them with greater invisibility and the weapons own enhancement bonus allows a character to really get some mileage out of those spells and this staff.

Clarity: This is the "do I have questions about how this works the description doesn't answer" section.

  • If I increase the enhancement bonus of just one end of the crook later, do the summons/spiritual thingies get the higher bonus or the lower bonus?
  • Does the final power completely replace my normal CMB with CL+Wis? Do I gain any bonuses specific to the maneuver chosen (e.g. the crook's +2 drag/repos)?

Pricing: Yeah. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the "formula is for cost" has thrown a lot of people over the years, myself included.

Unnecessary over-analysis:
  • Masterwork quarterstaff = 600gp (it's a double weapon)
  • +1/+1 enhancement = 4000gp
  • 6th level spell x CL12 x 800gp x 0.75 (sure, it's hardly the best on the list) / 3 charges = 14,400
  • 4th level spell x CL12 x 600 / 2 charges = 14,400gp
  • 2nd level spell x CL12 x 400 = 9,600gp
  • 1st level spell x CL12 x 400 = 4,800gp
  • And to needless analyze the specials when your swagbag price is almost certainly appropriate:
  • +2 Drag/Reposition I'd ad-hoc at a 50% discount on a +2 CMB bonus: 50% x 2 x 2 x 1000 = 2000gp.
  • Apply greater invisibility to the spiritual weapon & ally... given they don't take damage anyway, it's mostly an attack bonus. My adhoc guess would be about as much as another 1st level spell on a staff = 4,800gp.
  • The AoE trip/drag/reposition sounds a lot like greater thunderstomp, so let's borrow that as a yardstick: 3rd level spell with half range (-1 spell level) but 3 maneuvers instead of 1 (+1 spell level) and not normally a cleric spell (+1 spell level), but costs extra charges for extra targets (call it 2 charge ability) = 4th level spell x CL12 x 400 / 2 charges = 9,600gp
  • Special = 16,400gp. So 16,000gp is pretty darn reasonable.
  • Grand Total = 64,200gp, rounded to 64,000 for simplicity. Cost would then be 32,300gp (don't halve the MW cost)

Summary and Comments: Slight (and painfully easy to do) gaff on the pricing aside, it's an interesting item that is pretty easy to use and creates some interesting options for the wielder with a creative approach to some existing spells. Could definitely see this coming out in some of my games :)

As for suggestions; A bit of clarification on the last power (and what you can and can't add to the check), as well as scrapping the unseen servant to lower the price a bit would be the only things I would really suggest.

Cheers, and best of luck with the rest of the competition!


My assessment, in terms of the figure cited for the 'Sealion score', in my previous post on this thread, was of course based on the assumption that it was possible to find people on that world capable of getting full use out of such a staff. That may or may not be entirely plausible.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 8

Charlie Bell wrote:
Crook of Unseen Forces

Congrats on making Top 32. As part of learning how to design items, I'm trying to take the time to review as many as I can and learn from the experience. Take anything I have to say with a grain of salt, because you clearly already have what it takes to impress the community and the judges.

I usually voted for this staff against its competition, but it had a few issues that kept me from really digging it. First off, giving your staff the "trip" special weapon feature would by default give the wielder +2 on drag and reposition combat maneuvers, as well as being allowed to drop the weapon to avoid being tripped back on a failed trip attempt. The wording on the special combat maneuver ability struck me as cumbersome and would need to be cleaned up a bit in editing, but I really liked the ability itself. For instance, it's not clear to me that you can use the bonus from the staff on these maneuvers, and I feel you should be.

Lastly, although it fit the theme in general, the spell unseen servant seemed tacked on as an afterthought rather than a key part of the staff. If it had been left off, or something done to tie it in with the other abilities, it would have made it a stronger entry.

I see that you made it to Top 16, so congrats again, and good luck! ^_^

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 liked your item, but it wasn't what I thought it was from the name (I figured another staff of force type item) but I think this is really a neat design. I might have left off the invisible stalker, as that feels like a different thing from the others but I can see why it was there...

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

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