Voting Trends & Personal Preferences


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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I'm not going to auto-downvote a class restricted item any more than I'd auto-downvote anything else (presuming the item is not simply disqualifiable)--there's always going to be exceptions to rules.

But I do find I am more likely to downvote a class restricted item not out of some arbitrary principle, but because many of them have a tendency to be "fix" items rather than items that display a good creative edge. An item that makes spellcasting faster or just multiplies a bonus granted by an ability or tries to get around alchemical extract restrictions etc. etc. generally feels like a workaround, not a creative item. Or sometimes the class restriction doesn't lend itself well to the item's flavor and just seems to be there because the designer wanted to make an item for his/her favorite class (for example, I've seen items that become more powerful in the hands of someone with a certain class ability, but the power doesn't actually connect well with the ability, e.g., an item that gives you a +2 to Craft (Charcoal Brick) checks if you have the bardic performance ability, rather than, say, something that enhances a bardic performance).

And by the same token, most of my favorite items do tend to be non-restricted because it means that they can be used/applied in a number of beyond by one certain member of a class, which makes things easier and more fun for me as both a GM (designing NPCs with interesting gear that turns into wanted loot for the party--I am delighted when a player is happy about a loot drop and not frustrated by its un-usability or feels they have to make a sacrifice to get something out of it--I prefer to use treasure as reward, not punishment) and as a player (finding things all of us can use and trading things back and forth as needed).

Absolutely class-restricted items have a place in the game and can be desirable, but making one that truly feels thematic and "superstar" is harder. And of course a well-designed, evocative, interesting class-restricted item will win a vote over an item that cannot compete in the creativity arena.

But honestly, if both items are equally quality in ALL WAYS, e.g., terms of writing, creativity, theme, mechanical correctness, etc. and one is a general item that can be used many ways, and one is very restricted in its application, I'll likely vote for the former because I find it more flexible to use as a GM and player.

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

DeathQuaker wrote:
But I do find I am more likely to downvote a class restricted item not out of some arbitrary principle, but because many of them have a tendency to be "fix" items rather than items that display a good creative edge. An item that makes spellcasting faster or just multiplies a bonus granted by an ability or tries to get around alchemical extract restrictions etc. etc. [b]generally feels like a workaround, not a creative item.

But that's why it's an almost "auto-downvote" for many voters. Class restrictions are almost exclusively used by competition designers as a clutch or substitute for creativity.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

Agreed, DQ. There are also ways of making an item geared more toward a certain class without making it totally restrictiveor useless to other classes.

Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

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Jaragil wrote:
To add a humorous comment into the mix: It's actually a great deal of fun as a GM to give the players an item that only a certain class can use, because then you can watch them struggle with the decision of whether or not to multiclass. Sure they can always just sell the item - in most campaigns - but if the item is just so good, they may not want to.

HYPERBOLE THEATRE PRESENTS: ITEM DISPOSITION - A HARROWING TRUE TALE

"I don't care what your 'character would do,' you have to sell that ring, dude. I know it makes you invisible, which is great for you, but we all need masterwork weapons and I could do with a bunch of ale. What's the purchase limit in... Bree, did you say it was called?"

"What was it that the lake nymph gave us? Excalibur? But I built a warhammer specialist! I guess we should sell that when we get to the next town and split the gold."

"A +2 shocking burst called returning hammer? Sorry, I built a wizard after my warhammer specialist died and we didn't have the coin for a resurrection. Sell it. Split the gold."

"And the armor was dipped into the River Styx so it... *snore*. Arcanist here. Sell. Split."

"I don't have ranks in Knowledge (whatever the heck a Niebelung is), plus I already filled up my ring slots with a ring of prot and a ring of sustenance. Sellsplit."

*curtain*

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

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Bravo! Bravo! Encore, encore!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

Garrick Williams wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
But I do find I am more likely to downvote a class restricted item not out of some arbitrary principle, but because many of them have a tendency to be "fix" items rather than items that display a good creative edge. An item that makes spellcasting faster or just multiplies a bonus granted by an ability or tries to get around alchemical extract restrictions etc. etc. [b]generally feels like a workaround, not a creative item.
But that's why it's an almost "auto-downvote" for many voters. Class restrictions are almost exclusively used by competition designers as a clutch or substitute for creativity.

There is a difference between a crutch and creativity, especially if the ability/power is thematically correct. Conan the Barbarian was many things and there is a whole thread dedicated to what his character breakdown would be. Isn't it more plausible that he had a magic item that granted him access to a limited amountof abilities possessed by other character classes? Or even more likely, an item that enhanced those types of abilities if possessed by the individual?

Was Conan part Barbarian, Warrior, Rogue, Ranger.... Or was he a Barbarian Warrior that had some skills in thievery and some items that enhanced those skills?

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

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For me the following will garner a near certain downvote:

-Breaking the 4th wall in a bad way (accidental racism, including a real life disease, using earth mythology, bad joke items.)
-Formatting errors + meh design = penalty.
-Backstory... seriously I do not care about how your NPC/PC used/created it...
-Soul stealing/switching items uhg.
-Items that target a specific character class or "magic" in an auto win type way.
-I can clearly see what IP your were "inspired" by. The more blatent the more I get annoyed.

The Following have a slight Bias against them but are not necessarily auto-downvoted:

-Joke items
-Formatting errors but solid
-Wall of Text
-SIAC and that's all you do
-SAK past thematic sense
-Under 120 words
-Over 275 words
-Overly obvious
-Basically Sci Fi items. I like both flavors just not mixed together.
-Anything over 100k gold I regard with suspicion

The following are likely to get an upvote:

-Evocative description of item or mechanics
-Cool name
-Unique mechanic that still feels pathfinder
-Tightly themed items
-Smartly Priced
-Cool consumables (they are more likely to make it in my game)
-Oddly enough a solid monster theme
-Ranged weapons- for some reason I'm finding I have a bias here.
-Shields, I fraking love shields and the game needs better options

Star Voter Season 8

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James Casey wrote:
Ashiel wrote:


Also, while talking about clerics and wizards. I hate items that only function for one class and/or race. I will always downvote any item that does unless it's obviously superior in every other area of design to the item it is opposed to in the vote. I have no interest in wasting time on a magic item that is only ever useful to a single class in the entire world. If your item is Magus only, Cleric only, Wizard only, it's...
I have seen this sentiment echoed several times and don't really understand it. I understand favoring an "open" item over a "closed" item, but auto-downvoting an item because it is a "closed" item seems wrong to me.

As I said, unless it's obviously superior to the other item. It's an instant-tie-breaker in the downward direction. If I have two items and no clear winner, the restricted item gets the axe. In many cases, the restricted item is getting double penalized because restricted is like a -2 for me. It's a strike against your item for being restricted and it's also a tie-breaker (think of it as modifiers and ties in Pathfinder :P).

Quote:
First of all, anyone can use an item via UMD.

Actually, no, no they cannot. Because many of these items specifically require some sort of resource expenditure (such as ki pool, or arcane pool, or grit or whatever) which you cannot emulate with UMD. No UMD check will ever give you an arcane pool to activate the sword's magic joo-joo.

Quote:
Secondly, there will always be items that only certain classes use and others won't. Do you hate all melee focused magic iems? Because most spellcasters don't benefit from those types of items. Even though the item itself may not be class exclusive, the very nature of the type of item it is does make it exclusive or discriminating.

It's like comparing a day in Florida to a day on the Sun. Yes, they're both hot but one is more extreme than the other. Literally any class can pick up a sword and use it (I myself have played 1/2 classes that used martial weapons, as have friends of mine). Even if you want to get less unusual about it, you've got most 3/4 and all 1/1 BAB classes as well.

To put it into perspective, using your melee-focused magic items as an example, let's look at the number of non-archetype-modified base classes that can use a magic melee weapon with a 3/4 BAB or better (because we can assume magic swords are good for them).

Antipaladin, Aristocrat, Barbarian, Bard, Cavalier, Cleric, Druid, Expert, Fighter, Gunslinger, Inquisitor, Magus, Monk, Ninja, Oracle, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Samurai, Summoner, Warrior.

But if you got to vomit up some KI or Arcane Pool to make your melee weapon do something cool, you're looking at: 1-2 classes tops. In the whole freaking world. The item may as well not even exist in any game without X class being played or run as an NPC.

Quote:
Most spellcasters aren't going to care about a +x sword that allows the wielder to do y and z combat related trick. In fact most casters aren't going to care about y and z even if y and z are non-combat related tricks because they can duplicate those effects with a spell. Why would I carry around this clunky heavy sword that does y and z when I can do y and z with a spell?.... Answer: I wouldn't.

Depends on what the sword does and why you're carrying one and why you are interested in said item in the first place. However the point is not that some items are better for certain classes than others, the point is that it's a matter of extremes. If the item requires a particular class it doesn't do anything interesting for the game as a whole and is too limited in its usefulness.

Quote:

Most magic items are exclsuive in one or another because they give the user a power or ability they wouldn't normally possess. Most, if not all, of those powers/abilities can be duplicated with spells or class abilities, so the item will be less useful to a class that already has access to that power.

Don't be so quick to downvote "closed" items.

I'm not going to get into a caster>everything discussion at the moment (that's a long, multi-layered discussion that requires some explanation on a lot of different levels and from different directions to really get to its core), but there are plenty of "caster" items like pearls of power used by martial-oriented characters (Paladins/Rangers), and there are "martial" items like any +1 courageous whatever that are used by caster sorts (though a spiked gauntlet is usually the most optimal choice :P), but there's only 1 class (barring some off the wall archetypes) that can use something that requires an Arcane Pool. >_>

Star Voter Season 8

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Jaragil wrote:
To add a humorous comment into the mix: It's actually a great deal of fun as a GM to give the players an item that only a certain class can use, because then you can watch them struggle with the decision of whether or not to multiclass. Sure they can always just sell the item - in most campaigns - but if the item is just so good, they may not want to.

If an item is so good that its mere presence would mean agonizing over dipping into an entirely different class to use it, I'd be willing to bet the item is probably grossly overpowered. >_>

Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

Ashiel wrote:
Actually, no, no they cannot. Because many of these items specifically require some sort of resource expenditure (such as ki pool, or arcane pool, or grit or whatever) which you cannot emulate with UMD. No UMD check will ever give you an arcane pool to activate the sword's magic joo-joo.

From the PRD description of UMD:

"Emulate a Class Feature: Sometimes you need to use a class feature to activate a magic item. In this case, your effective level in the emulated class equals your Use Magic Device check result minus 20. This skill does not let you actually use the class feature of another class. It just lets you activate items as if you had that class feature. If the class whose feature you are emulating has an alignment requirement, you must meet it, either honestly or by emulating an appropriate alignment with a separate Use Magic Device check."

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

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GM_Solspiral wrote:

For me the following will garner a near certain downvote:

-Breaking the 4th wall in a bad way (accidental racism, including a real life disease, using earth mythology, bad joke items.)...

Ummm, could you clarify that bit? D&D/Pathfinder have a huge amount of Earth mythology-inspired & outright transplanted magic/items/critters baked in from day one.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
GM_Solspiral wrote:

For me the following will garner a near certain downvote:

-Breaking the 4th wall in a bad way (accidental racism, including a real life disease, using earth mythology, bad joke items.)...

Ummm, could you clarify that bit? D&D/Pathfinder have a huge amount of Earth mythology-inspired & outright transplanted magic/items/critters baked in from day one.

Indeed the VAST majority of monsters, or their names, comes from some Earth based mythology.

With that said, don't enter Excalibur, Mjolnir, or some similarly named item right out of that mythology. And don't give us Ra's Sunrod either.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
GM_Solspiral wrote:

For me the following will garner a near certain downvote:

-Breaking the 4th wall in a bad way (accidental racism, including a real life disease, using earth mythology, bad joke items.)...

Ummm, could you clarify that bit? D&D/Pathfinder have a huge amount of Earth mythology-inspired & outright transplanted magic/items/critters baked in from day one.

I believe he means directly referring to earth mythology such as Zeus, Odin or Buddha. None of those gods exists in Pathfinder. Although they did exist in D&D, they were never integrated into any of the classic D&D worlds (Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Ravenloft, et al.). Aspects of those gods and others were copied and applied to differently named gods, but were never directly referred to with their earth mythology name.

While a Hammer of Thunderbolts may mimic Thor's hammer, it doesn't directly name Thor. Creating Poseidon's Trident vs. Trident of Watery Greatness...

Please correct me if I am wrong, Frank.

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

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
GM_Solspiral wrote:

For me the following will garner a near certain downvote:

-Breaking the 4th wall in a bad way (accidental racism, including a real life disease, using earth mythology, bad joke items.)...

Ummm, could you clarify that bit? D&D/Pathfinder have a huge amount of Earth mythology-inspired & outright transplanted magic/items/critters baked in from day one.

Yes and I'm actually not a huge fan of the actual game setting. I like parts of it but sometimes the game world feels like a copy paste job that fails to capture anything well because it tries to capture everything. That's a post for another time.

That said, know the setting. Don't use say a Norse of Greek god (I've seen both) or a profit from a modern day religion. Examples might include something like say Kali's Katar or Shield of Agamemnon. It is a) not really that creative and possibly offensive when you toy with modern religions.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan

And there are several such examples this year, which one can find in the list of items. Or by reading the items themselves they sometimes mimic a mythological item.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

quibblemuch wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Actually, no, no they cannot. Because many of these items specifically require some sort of resource expenditure (such as ki pool, or arcane pool, or grit or whatever) which you cannot emulate with UMD. No UMD check will ever give you an arcane pool to activate the sword's magic joo-joo.

From the PRD description of UMD:

"Emulate a Class Feature: Sometimes you need to use a class feature to activate a magic item. In this case, your effective level in the emulated class equals your Use Magic Device check result minus 20. This skill does not let you actually use the class feature of another class. It just lets you activate items as if you had that class feature. If the class whose feature you are emulating has an alignment requirement, you must meet it, either honestly or by emulating an appropriate alignment with a separate Use Magic Device check."

Thanks, Quibble.

Ashiel, my point wasn't to get into a debate on "closed" items and their place in the game, which I believe they do have. My point was regarding automatically downvoting an item because it was class specific and that I don't agree with auto-downvoting because something is class specific. Yes it can be a great tie-breaker. Yes I understand someone having a bias against a one class item. What I don't understand is an immediate downvote because of that specificity. Especially when most items can be used by any class if a player is so inclined.

Do you auto-downvote all guns? Those are class specific. Even though I admittedly have a bias against the gunslinger class, I don't auto-downvote a gun. In fact I have seen more than one this year that I like the designer's intent and have upvoted.

Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

James Casey wrote:
Thanks, Quibble.

Quite welcome.

Marathon Voter Season 8

GM_Solspiral wrote:
...accidental racism, including a real life disease...

Can someone message me with the racist item and the real life disease item? I have voted SO many times, but there are obviously still items I haven't seen.

The only disease item I've seen so far was made of Viridium. I hope that's not what you guys are talking about--Leprosy is a real life disease, but it's also totally in Pathfinder.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

GM_Solspiral wrote:
That said, know the setting. Don't use say a Norse of Greek god (I've seen both) or a profit from a modern day religion.

Counterpoint: the setting features an adventure where you travel to Russia in Baba Yaga's Hut and do battle with Rasputin.

Also, Lamashtu is Mesopotamian.


mplindustries wrote:
GM_Solspiral wrote:
...accidental racism, including a real life disease...

Can someone message me with the racist item and the real life disease item? I have voted SO many times, but there are obviously still items I haven't seen.

The only disease item I've seen so far was made of Viridium. I hope that's not what you guys are talking about--Leprosy is a real life disease, but it's also totally in Pathfinder.

I'm clueless as to which item is allegedly racist, but yeah, leprosy is in the list of Pathfinder diseases, as is bubonic plague.

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

Eric Morton wrote:
GM_Solspiral wrote:
That said, know the setting. Don't use say a Norse of Greek god (I've seen both) or a profit from a modern day religion.

Counterpoint: the setting features an adventure where you travel to Russia in Baba Yaga's Hut and do battle with Rasputin.

Also, Lamashtu is Mesopotamian.

Counter-Counterpoint: They went to earth in that adventure.

Several Pathfinder gods are clearly based on real deities (Tiamat for example.) That said, bringing mythology that is not already in Pathfinder for a PAthfinder based contest is ill considered and I'm going to downvote that.

Star Voter Season 8

Oh man. Totally didn't know that about Lamashtu. Very cool.

As to the topic: I may be in the minority, but I don't really care about item usability or word count or price accuracy. The main thing I'm looking for is creativity and writing ability. Did the author design something that grabbed me, and did they write it up in a way that was clear, concise, and evocative (without falling back on too many cliches).

Magic items are perhaps my least favorite part of Pathfinder (and D&D-esque games in general) since I've always been in the camp that holds that such items should be rare, powerful, and more-or-less unique. I'm the GM who forgets to hand out treasure to players and the player who neglects to spend his gold-- I'm more interested in defining who my character is than in going through hundreds of pages of rulebooks to define what he's wearing. So when I'm voting, I'm not really looking at the item as something I'd want to put into the game-- I'm trying to read between the lines to determine if the author is someone who I think would write a good adventure module, something I'd want to run if I was in the position to GM a pick-up session.

To that end, the formatting is very important to me. The phrase "you can teach technique, you can't teach creativity" has been bandied around a lot on these forums, but: do you really want to be teaching technique? I suspect someone who cannot or chooses not to pay attention to the (relatively straightforward) formatting guidelines is someone who would have a very hard time putting together a polished adventure module, which is the end goal. Though I'll admit, as an English tutor and professional copy editor, the bad grammar thing might just be a pet peeve.

But, that's the wonder of democracy, isn't it? We can all vote however we want, as much as we want.

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

I do use word economy for my voting. If it takes you a paragraph to explain something you can explain in 1 sentence, that doesn't reflect very well on your writing ability.

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

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Wow a lot of auto-downvotes listed here. To me that kind of decision making is too black and white. It suggests one is looking at the item & not the designer. Even something as basic as grammar is hard to 'auto-downvote' I have seen several (a couple?) grammar-issue items where the verbs are all conjugated the wrong way, but they were all done the the same wrong way. That (to me) looks like an ESL designer. Will said designer need to step up their skills to advance? Yes. Does it mean they are a bad designer? No. Should they be auto-downvoted? Only if the designer behind the language is ignored.

I have seen several items suggest to me someone's 8 or 15 year old entered (grammar & vocabulary being my indicators). I would hate for those young hopefuls to feel shot down because of some anonymous poster says 'I auto-downvote all XYZ' without even having read their item.

Another problem I personally (just my opinion) have with 'auto-downvote' is that inevitably this voter will get two items paired with the same dis-qualification. The B&W rule will now be broken based on some other merit. Merit that a previous designer possessed but was ignored.

Please read the items, and then look at the designer behind them. :)

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

To the OP:

I have discovered a trend to read the item with longer wordcount first. Oddly many look longer than their actual numbers indicate based on spacing, formatting or some other strange reason.

I give higher scrutiny to [item type], but only because my item is the same type & I want to be sure I am being fair.

Broken items are fairing better than I thought they would over boring items (in my voting). I feel the the designer was at least trying to find some mojo. But honestly the quality this year has been that it hardly ever comes to this. There seem to be a lot of BoMI-or-better items which is exciting news for the contest.

Beyond that, my trends in voting remain what I thought they would be. :)

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Orloff wrote:
...

Nice post. Agree - tho I'm more inclined to forgive the formatting if the idea is solid.

Star Voter Season 8

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quibblemuch wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Actually, no, no they cannot. Because many of these items specifically require some sort of resource expenditure (such as ki pool, or arcane pool, or grit or whatever) which you cannot emulate with UMD. No UMD check will ever give you an arcane pool to activate the sword's magic joo-joo.

From the PRD description of UMD:

"Emulate a Class Feature: Sometimes you need to use a class feature to activate a magic item. In this case, your effective level in the emulated class equals your Use Magic Device check result minus 20. This skill does not let you actually use the class feature of another class. It just lets you activate items as if you had that class feature. If the class whose feature you are emulating has an alignment requirement, you must meet it, either honestly or by emulating an appropriate alignment with a separate Use Magic Device check."

I see effective class level concerning a class feature prerequisite, I see nothing that says that it grants the ability to actually expend a resource that you don't have. Or are you saying that UMD can give you infinite expendable class resources for the purposes of activating magic items?

Because as I read it, the following is explicitly true.
1. Your effective level in the emulated class is Result-20.
2. It does not let you use the class feature (ergo, no resource spending).
3. It allows you to activate magic items as though you had the class feature, but doesn't give you any resources.

Thus an item that requires you to be a magus and/or have the Arcane Pool class feature would function just fine, but since it doesn't actually give you an arcane pool to expend points from, you don't have points to spend to activate items that require you to spend points.

Unless you're saying that you can UMD an item to effectively ignore any resource expenditure on things like Arcane Pool, Channel Energy, etc. Is that what you're saying? Because I don't think that's what the skill is saying.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

Ashiel wrote:
quibblemuch wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Actually, no, no they cannot. Because many of these items specifically require some sort of resource expenditure (such as ki pool, or arcane pool, or grit or whatever) which you cannot emulate with UMD. No UMD check will ever give you an arcane pool to activate the sword's magic joo-joo.

From the PRD description of UMD:

"Emulate a Class Feature: Sometimes you need to use a class feature to activate a magic item. In this case, your effective level in the emulated class equals your Use Magic Device check result minus 20. This skill does not let you actually use the class feature of another class. It just lets you activate items as if you had that class feature. If the class whose feature you are emulating has an alignment requirement, you must meet it, either honestly or by emulating an appropriate alignment with a separate Use Magic Device check."

I see effective class level concerning a class feature prerequisite, I see nothing that says that it grants the ability to actually expend a resource that you don't have. Or are you saying that UMD can give you infinite expendable class resources for the purposes of activating magic items?

Because as I read it, the following is explicitly true.
1. Your effective level in the emulated class is Result-20.
2. It does not let you use the class feature (ergo, no resource spending).
3. It allows you to activate magic items as though you had the class feature, but doesn't give you any resources.

Thus an item that requires you to be a magus and/or have the Arcane Pool class feature would function just fine, but since it doesn't actually give you an arcane pool to expend points from, you don't have points to spend to activate items that require you to spend points.

Unless you're saying that you can UMD an item to effectively ignore any resource expenditure on things like Arcane Pool, Channel Energy, etc. Is that what you're saying? Because I don't think that's what the skill is saying.

It says emulate a class feature, not emulate a class, so I would say UMD gives you the ability to use that item. Obviously a GM would need to monitor for abuse.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

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So I’ve had two rounds of voting, I feel. One pre-break, one after. Generally I would say that the early parts of the first voting period and the early parts of the post-break voting period have been the most enjoyable. More items are unfamiliar, exciting and do not come with strong feelings attached (positive or negative). This means I may have voted very differently on some items.

I have been shifting back and forth on practically all manners of voting (not entirely a bad thing, I believe). Some days/hours, the shorter entry has an advantage (I just don’t feel like reading long, complicated entries just now). Other times, the shorter entry gets a lot of scrutiny about the details it for some reason did NOT choose to spend the last 100+ words including. Sometimes, bad format is just too much. Other times, as long as there’s some pretense at formatting, I’m good.

So important fields have been:

  • Name. Not an auto-downvote thing (nothing is), but apart from a quick sense of apparent length, name will always be my first impression.
  • Formatting. Really, just having the right things, in a reasonable layout works.
  • Novelty. I dislike items that do something I have seen (not in the contest or from books, but in the game, before). It’s boring.
  • Comprehensibility. I’m not talking perfect writing, with no grammar mistakes, no spelling errors and no passives. Just... understandable. If I do not understand what an item is even trying to tell me it does, I cannot in good conscience vote for it. *]Continuous, at will or otherwise constant-whenever-even-remotely-relevant spell-effects. For one, it takes me less than a minute to write up an item that does any spell, all the time and find its price. That will never, ever be Superstar and nor should a Superstar item have any realistic need to do it, even as a side effect.
  • Items that bypass Spellcraft, either by not needing it to be understood or by fooling it or by being incomprehensible even to it. They’re either making a choice they have no right to (GMs may house rule as they wish), cursed items (or playing far too much with the line) or just plain breaking the rules. Except the one item that does something perfectly brilliant, that I wish more items did, with a perfectly sensible reason.
  • Items with drawbacks. Not that THE right drawback cannot make an item perfect, but adding drawback messes with the line to cursed items, pricing and a whole host of other things, that just aren’t worthwhile for what they do.
  • Items that a) kills you or b) only does something upon killing you. A) is probably a cursed item, b) is likely to be sold in favor of something that keeps you from dying or at least does something until you die.
  • Camping/Safety/Mapping items. Partially because the advice against these exist, partially because honestly, it creates GM/player hostility by messing around with the game plan, partially because it isn’t likely to be interesting anyway.
  • Background story. The key here is hint, don’t give detail. No one (Not that many, anyway) will blame you for having a single line giving some vague, but generally useful piece of tie in to the campaign. Equally few are likely to mind if you have Golarion deity, location or such somewhere in the description. But don’t give me line upon line of background, character dialogue, etc. While amusing, well-written and interesting, this is neither the place, nor the time, nor something, that actually improves the item. Often, it provides a perfectly spurious theme for unrelated item powers.

    Essentially my voting process comes down to “being the last item of the pair to give me an excuse to vote for the other one”.
    I have in no way mentioned everything (but most things I care about have been mentioned), but essentially, items I enjoy voting for are flavorful, elegant, (somewhat formatted), novel, useful, unique, memorable and in general does not give any reason to dislike them.

    I rather do like tech items. Most are in my opinion carefully and thoughtfully done compared to comparable non-tech items.
    Regarding earthbreakers, wind items, dimension door items, etc. I have probably seen about as many "channeling" or "fire" or "ice" related items. I believe that the primary reason the less common things, that occur multiple times in the pile of items, get noticed more (from a psychological/behavioral science point of view, I believe that makes sense). Ergo even if there is only 3 of 1000+ items, that does something with glass-blowing, these three items would be enormously remarkable next to dozens of items that are related to running (I have not seen any items that does any of these things and as such I think them safe examples). The small, unique repeat as such is far more attention-demanding than the large, common repeat. This is not (only) a bad thing for the unique items. It just means they get talked about because people notice them (actually, this might, scientifically speaking, correlate vaguely with them acquiring more votes on average, than the average "common" item).

    But I ramble. Most of this has been said before.

  • Star Voter Season 8

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Sans houseruling, monitoring does bubkis. Either you're saying this is how it works or you aren't. The way I'm reading it is you can fake a prerequisite ability (such as if a magic item required you to have Uncanny Dodge or Bardic Performance or the ability to cast 6th level spells or any number of other effects that can be based on level and/or rely on a Yes/No class feature) but it doesn't actually give you anything to expend.

    Example:

    "When wielded by a character with the Rage class feature, this +1 scythe gains the ghost-touch weapon quality. By expending 1 round of rage, the wielder may have the weapon do an additional +2d6 damage on attacks against incorporeal creatures for 1 round"

    In this case, a successful UMD check would allow the weapon to function as a ghost touch weapon, however you don't have rage rounds to expend so you cannot get the extra +2d6 damage.

    If you disagree, then we have an entirely new reason to downvote such items, except now instead of preference it's game balance in the face of "UMD to infinity and beyond".

    EDIT: In a similar feature, since recharging a staff is an effect of the magic item that requires an expenditure, by your interpretation of the skill you don't actually need to expend magic to recharge a staff, merely make a successful UMD to activate the charge (because you don't actually need the resource the item is calling for).

    In a similar vein, if an item required you to be able to cast 6th level spells you could emulate it with UMD, but if the item required you to expend 6th level spells...you'd better have 6th level spells. >_>

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

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    James Casey wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:
    quibblemuch wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:
    Actually, no, no they cannot. Because many of these items specifically require some sort of resource expenditure (such as ki pool, or arcane pool, or grit or whatever) which you cannot emulate with UMD. No UMD check will ever give you an arcane pool to activate the sword's magic joo-joo.

    From the PRD description of UMD:

    "Emulate a Class Feature: Sometimes you need to use a class feature to activate a magic item. In this case, your effective level in the emulated class equals your Use Magic Device check result minus 20. This skill does not let you actually use the class feature of another class. It just lets you activate items as if you had that class feature. If the class whose feature you are emulating has an alignment requirement, you must meet it, either honestly or by emulating an appropriate alignment with a separate Use Magic Device check."

    I see effective class level concerning a class feature prerequisite, I see nothing that says that it grants the ability to actually expend a resource that you don't have.
    It says emulate a class feature, not emulate a class, so I would say UMD gives you the ability to use that item. Obviously a GM would need to monitor for abuse.

    I think what people are getting at is very subtle... examples...

    If an item says "the user must have a ki pool"

    Then you can activate the item by using the emulate class feature to pretend you have a ki pool and so activate the item.

    BUT

    If an item says "Spend 3 ki from your ki pool" or variants thereof that require you to USE the class feature being emulated...

    The rule says you can emulate having a class feature, i.e. emulate having a ki pool, but it then says you cannout USE the emulated class feature (i.e. "This skill does not let you actually use the class feature of another class"), so you don't have any ki points to spend, that is you have emulated having a ki pool but cannot use it, i.e. cannot spend from it.

    What this means is you have to be VERY careful in wording class feature use as an activation of an item.

    At least, I think that is the subtle distinction between the two stances?

    I am not sure which arguments are correct as they both have merit, maybe something for the errata/faq squad to answer?

    RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Ashiel wrote:

    Sans houseruling, monitoring does bubkis. Either you're saying this is how it works or you aren't. The way I'm reading it is you can fake a prerequisite ability (such as if a magic item required you to have Uncanny Dodge or Bardic Performance or the ability to cast 6th level spells or any number of other effects that can be based on level and/or rely on a Yes/No class feature) but it doesn't actually give you anything to expend.

    Example:

    "When wielded by a character with the Rage class feature, this +1 scythe gains the ghost-touch weapon quality. By expending 1 round of rage, the wielder may have the weapon do an additional +2d6 damage on attacks against incorporeal creatures for 1 round"

    In this case, a successful UMD check would allow the weapon to function as a ghost touch weapon, however you don't have rage rounds to expend so you cannot get the extra +2d6 damage.

    If you disagree, then we have an entirely new reason to downvote such items, except now instead of preference it's game balance in the face of "UMD to infinity and beyond".

    I would argue that, perhaps, you would have to make two UMD checks; in your example, the first to emulate the rage class feature in order to gain the ghost touch property, and the second to emulate the expenditure of the rage point. And to emulate having a rage pool, you would have to make the UMD check every time you would otherwise spend a point. I guess this could be a problem if someone had maxed UMD out the wazoo, because UMD costs no additional actions apart from item activation, but even then, it's hard to say if in a practical game circumstance if this would be truly game breaking.

    However, if a GM made a call closer to your interpretation, I wouldn't as a player argue with it.

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

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    DeathQuaker wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:

    Sans houseruling, monitoring does bubkis. Either you're saying this is how it works or you aren't. The way I'm reading it is you can fake a prerequisite ability (such as if a magic item required you to have Uncanny Dodge or Bardic Performance or the ability to cast 6th level spells or any number of other effects that can be based on level and/or rely on a Yes/No class feature) but it doesn't actually give you anything to expend.

    Example:

    "When wielded by a character with the Rage class feature, this +1 scythe gains the ghost-touch weapon quality. By expending 1 round of rage, the wielder may have the weapon do an additional +2d6 damage on attacks against incorporeal creatures for 1 round"

    In this case, a successful UMD check would allow the weapon to function as a ghost touch weapon, however you don't have rage rounds to expend so you cannot get the extra +2d6 damage.

    If you disagree, then we have an entirely new reason to downvote such items, except now instead of preference it's game balance in the face of "UMD to infinity and beyond".

    I would argue that, perhaps, you would have to make two UMD checks; in your example, the first to emulate the rage class feature in order to gain the ghost touch property, and the second to emulate the expenditure of the rage point. And to emulate having a rage pool, you would have to make the UMD check every time you would otherwise spend a point. I guess this could be a problem if someone had maxed UMD out the wazoo, because UMD costs no additional actions apart from item activation, but even then, it's hard to say if in a practical game circumstance if this would be truly game breaking.

    However, if a GM made a call closer to your interpretation, I wouldn't as a player argue with it.

    100% with you on that one - 2 features to be emulated means 2 checks.

    UMD is considered part of the activation, so you don't need to worry about multiple checks for the same activation, you just need to make them both without rolling that 1. :)

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

    I can get behind that one DQ. Nicely done.

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

    Tried to resist chiming in on the UMD discussion, but I found the bolded part interesting in the UMD description:

    PRD wrote:
    Emulate a Class Feature: Sometimes you need to use a class feature to activate a magic item. In this case, your effective level in the emulated class equals your Use Magic Device check result minus 20. This skill does not let you actually use the class feature of another class. It just lets you activate items as if you had that class feature. If the class whose feature you are emulating has an alignment requirement, you must meet it, either honestly or by emulating an appropriate alignment with a separate Use Magic Device check (see above).

    So if you are required to spend ki, for example, then that means you have to use the ki pool class feature, which UMD for emulate a class feature specifically says you can't do.

    Star Voter Season 8

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    theheadkase wrote:

    Tried to resist chiming in on the UMD discussion, but I found the bolded part interesting in the UMD description:

    PRD wrote:
    Emulate a Class Feature: Sometimes you need to use a class feature to activate a magic item. In this case, your effective level in the emulated class equals your Use Magic Device check result minus 20. This skill does not let you actually use the class feature of another class. It just lets you activate items as if you had that class feature. If the class whose feature you are emulating has an alignment requirement, you must meet it, either honestly or by emulating an appropriate alignment with a separate Use Magic Device check (see above).
    So if you are required to spend ki, for example, then that means you have to use the ki pool class feature, which UMD for emulate a class feature specifically says you can't do.

    Pretty much this. I don't really see any getting around this fact, which is why I don't think it's broken but I do dislike such items for the usual reason of not liking items that are only useful to 1 character. I've up-voted at least 1 item that actually required such expenditures because I thought it was indeed better than its competition (as I said, it's a penalty, not assured doom), but I would most certainly auto-downvote anything that had a powerful ability that was intended to be "balanced" by expending a resource that was effectively infinite with a DC 21 skill check.

    DC 21 (level-20 to get a virtual "pool" of rage, ki, or arcane jibberish) is trivial by even low-mid levels. With a -2 starting Charisma, at 8th level you're swinging at +11 to your check with just a masterwork tool, +14 if you decided to grab Skill Focus, whatever. And as was pointed out, it's a non-action to make the check in the first place, so even if your ability scores are actively hindering you, you're still going to succeed 75% of the time by 8th level, or 100% of the time with a mild (+2-ish) Charisma modifier. This is assuming of course you have no special investments outside of what's available in the core rulebook plus a 50gp item.

    If this is how it would work, it would no longer be a "penalty" for my vote, it would be outright dismissal. I could not in good conscience vote for anything that I thought was that abusive by its very intent and design.

    Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

    12 people marked this as a favorite.

    While I can see how this thread can look rough, I personally enjoy seeing the kinds of things that people are looking for and considering when they are judging the entries. It's interesting to me to see how our evaluations add up. Even though I'm not a judge on this round, I've been voting on the items (because I'm excited and I can) and I treat my votes like I do my judging for the monster round. I base it on how much effort it would take me to develop the item/idea. That means that sometimes I ignore minor formatting issues if the idea is rad. I know that I'd price it out by hand myself if I was developing it, so I don't pay a ton of attention to price (though if it looks off at a glance, I mentally give it a negative mark). While I certainly have my biases, I like to think that I'm being as fair as I can.

    One thing that I think is cool about seeing how everyone feels about particular items is that it can help me in my day-to-day job as a developer (and after work as a freelancer). It helps me gauge a portion of the player base, and I get to see people express their opinions about what they think are cool (or not cool) magic items. I can then use that to add to my catalog of what people think is good or bad about particular parts of design, and adapt to give the people what they want. (Which is pretty much this messageboard every single day.)

    Which brings me to another point previously made about how this thread could be demoralizing... I'd hate to scare away anyone who wants to do creative work, because it took me a while to flip that switch even though I dabbled long enough, but by making something and putting it in front of others you are guaranteeing that you are going to be judged. Sometimes the reviews are great. Sometimes they're terrible. Each and every time you, as a creator, need to take it in stride and not (publicly) freak out. Sometimes you even have to graciously admit you f%#@ed up and offer solutions to the errors you introduced. Gracious is the key here. Hopefully most of the time you get to thank people for digging the thing you did, but the reality is that as a creator you have to suffer a lot of criticism. I enjoy seeing people talk about things I've worked on, even if the comments are from less than satisfied people. It makes me consider looking at things from a different perspective.

    Keep this in mind not only as the competition progresses, but also in your progression as someone interested in putting your ideas out there in front of people. Even with the occasional slugs in the gut, it's totally worth it knowing that you worked on something that helped people have fun.

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

    Thanks Adam, great perspective there!!

    I know I've gotten a couple ideas of my own from the perceived gaps people see in the discussions here.

    Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    This is also a good time to mention that as a hopeful and a freelancer, I entered the first two or three years and fell flat each and every time. This gig is rough. Best of luck to all who entered and for those who don't make it, make sure you keep making things.

    Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Last year was my first entry. I was very happy with what I submitted, but during the voting process I had to admit that I had really made a mess of things. It was pretty much a SIAC, albeit with some extra (new) abilities. It was very expensive, and not exciting enough to merit the cost. I was pretty upset about this, realizing that what I thought was my best was, in fact, pretty poor for a "superstar" magic item.

    In April, however, I replied to a post on the Paizo forums seeking freelancers. I was accepted, and wrote my first book. I learned a lot on that project, and went on to write a total of three books--from beginning to finish--last year.

    That painful experience that was my first RPG Superstar submission was exactly what I needed to kick me in gear. I feel my submission this year is a thousand times better, even with some (regrettably painful) errors I made in my writing. I know I'll be extremely lucky to make it into the top 32, but at this point, I'm okay if I don't. It's been yet another amazing learning experience, and I've come a long way in a year.

    If you feel discouraged at all in this process, take it from me: don't sweat it. No even the biggest mistakes will cut you off from something you want to do. As Adam said, be gracious about this experience, and you'll have a grand number of opportunities in your future.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

    I started this thread to help me in my choices moving forward. We often think people feel the exact same way we do about this wonderful game. As you can from the many posts, people do and don't have similar tastes. I plan on using this information moving forward.

    Adam, thank you for adding to the thread. You were pretty hard on me last year, and I appreciate the honest commentary. I tried to apply much of your criticism to my subsequent entries. I always find constructive criticism wonderful because THAT is what enables us to grow and cultivate our talent. It's also nice to know that Paizo employees get as giddy about this competition as the entrants.

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

    In all honesty there is no better way to poll people than anonymity

    Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

    GM_Solspiral wrote:
    In all honesty there is no better way to poll people than anonymity

    I don't know. Seems like every answer would be:

    "Who are you anonymous people? Why are you asking me questions? Get out of here, consarn it!"

    Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

    Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
    Eric Morton wrote:
    GM_Solspiral wrote:
    That said, know the setting. Don't use say a Norse of Greek god (I've seen both) or a profit from a modern day religion.

    Counterpoint: the setting features an adventure where you travel to Russia in Baba Yaga's Hut and do battle with Rasputin.

    Also, Lamashtu is Mesopotamian.

    For that matter, a lot of the Empyreal Lords and Demons use real world names. Now, most of them are super obscure, but googling would prove out the references.

    Also, most Ancient Egyptian gods are also now Ancient Osirion gods.

    Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

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    Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

    The one thing that I want to add on ki pools is that one of the things I watch for is that any item which requires a ki pool is useful to both a Monk *and* a Ninja.

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

    pH unbalanced wrote:
    The one thing that I want to add on ki pools is that one of the things I watch for is that any item which requires a ki pool is useful to both a Monk *and* a Ninja.

    Rogues can also get a ki pool if they desire one...

    Here's a dumb idea, why can't Pathfinder make a 1 pool mechanic

    i.e.

    ki, arcane, panache, luck, grit, ect are now all one frakin pool your class determines the stat it is based off of...

    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
    GM_Solspiral wrote:
    pH unbalanced wrote:
    The one thing that I want to add on ki pools is that one of the things I watch for is that any item which requires a ki pool is useful to both a Monk *and* a Ninja.

    Rogues can also get a ki pool if they desire one...

    Here's a dumb idea, why can't Pathfinder make a 1 pool mechanic

    i.e.

    ki, arcane, panache, luck, grit, ect are now all one frakin pool your class determines the stat it is based off of...

    Answer: Multi-classing mucks that up.

    Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

    Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
    GM_Solspiral wrote:
    pH unbalanced wrote:
    The one thing that I want to add on ki pools is that one of the things I watch for is that any item which requires a ki pool is useful to both a Monk *and* a Ninja.
    Rogues can also get a ki pool if they desire one...

    Oh, for that matter an Ouat Monk can give *anyone* a temporary ki point.

    I'm happy for ki pool items that are even more broadly useful -- my main point was that a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that ki = monk. An item that allows you to spend ki points to enhance an Unarmed Strike, for instance, is useless to a large number of characters with ki pools.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    GM_Solspiral wrote:
    pH unbalanced wrote:
    The one thing that I want to add on ki pools is that one of the things I watch for is that any item which requires a ki pool is useful to both a Monk *and* a Ninja.

    Rogues can also get a ki pool if they desire one...

    Here's a dumb idea, why can't Pathfinder make a 1 pool mechanic

    i.e.

    ki, arcane, panache, luck, grit, ect are now all one frakin pool your class determines the stat it is based off of...

    Sounds like the "Boost" mechanic in the Five Moons RPG that Sean K Reynolds is currently developing.

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