A list of things learned:


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Tothric

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Perhaps this is presumptuous of me. But, I've seen a lot of lessons learned from this year's RPG Superstar contest. I myself have come up with a list of atleast 9 things as concisely written as I can make them.

The goal here is to create a central list of all the things learned. I’ll copy and paste my 9 things learned here as a post. And I will record more as I break down and digest what has happened. As we continue through the contest I hope to take more notes, and record them here. As a student of game design, I thirst for more knowledge on the subject, and this is the first time I felt among equals or peers.

I encourage and implore any and all who wish to share, to record your lessons here. I know this information is scattered throughout the forums and the internet, but I feel a consolidated place MIGHT help future members.

I also have a “Craft Wondrous Item” pricing sheet as an excel spreadsheet that does the entire math for you. Since we are not competing creating an item anymore, I’m willing to send this to people. I haven’t modified it in a while, and it WORKS for me, but I’d love to see what kind of modifications people would want.

Lessons:
Don't make an item that is a GM tool, OR a Player Tool. Make one for both sides of the table.

DO NOT MUCK UP FORMATTING. SERIOUSLY. Good ol' Template Fu is your friend. Listen to him.

Don't make an Item that's TOO powerful. Where this line is drawn is different for each person... but anything you'd expect a level 15+ character it wields is dangerous territory.

Camping Items are also dangerous territory.

Superstars break the mold. Don't Break the rules, Use them to focus your awesome in a new direction.

SUPERSTAR quality is the single hardest to define thing in the world. No one seems to entirely agree on it, because it's not definable. It's a feeling, in your bones, when you read an item and know.

This crowd is so diverse there is no playing to it. Seriously: Don't try to 'Cards against Humanity' this group. It won't work. They will see it coming, and this may also insult the voter.

Focus, relax, and be creative. Simple words, are sometimes clearer than the 10 dollar word you want to use.

The community is friendly, and everyone wants to see you succeed. This is the opposite of MOST internet watering holes. This group is NOT xenophobic. Ask for advice, help, thoughts. Everyone here is straight forward, blunt, and while that MAY seem hurtful, it is intended to help you forward.

When in doubt, use the Core Rule Book as your guide. Stick to it as much as possible. Straying from it, you run the risk of the voter or even a Designer not knowing exactly what you’re referencing.

Joke items are an often appreciated reprieve from the voting process, but are a major source of frustration, and ultimately a waste of a submission.

End of Lessons.
One last plead, if you feel you have anything to add, please feel free to add. I will add as I think of more things that are helpful.

IF something I post is not helpful, please let me know. I will delete them.

Helpful links are encouraged!

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"Gross" or "Shock-Jock" items have a very steep hill to climb in this competition.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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You gain nothing by taking "Negative" feedback as a personal affront. This goes double if you are unfortunately culled.

Also, Fear imprisons creativity.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Tothric

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If it's your first time here: The following link is very informitive!

A handy Guide for new people

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Tothric

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You gain alot by using the Preview Button, at the cost of a few seconds.

Use it. Frequently. Like a Save-Button. Like the Save Button, it can keep you from heart-break.

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

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Also the below are excellent reading.

SKR's Item Creation Guidlines

Anthony Adam's Template Walk Thru

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

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Covent wrote:

"Gross" or "Shock-Jock" items have a very steep hill to climb in this competition.

I'd add overly "evil" items are challenging as well. A variation on the "item being for both the GM and PC" lesson. Having a CL15 magic item that gives you negative levels (or just horrifies the townsfolk) is a frustrating tease.

Barring access to a temple with a "Trade your Evil for Good, or GOLD!" policy, it'll just sit in the portable hole, or it'll be tossed into a volcano.

Great for MacGuffins, not so great for treasure.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Tothric

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Read carefully, and thoughtfully previous entries, especially the feedback from the judges.

Also Read very carefully any post by a Judge. These posts keep within them information. The only requirement is that you read them, and think on them.

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Covent wrote:

Also the below are excellent reading.

SKR's Item Creation Guidlines

Anthony Adam's Template Walk Thru

I second that. Those guides are INVALUABLE!!!!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Tothric

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Thank you Covent. Also thank you Brigg and Theory. I appreciate your assistance in my quest to help the people of the future, whomever they may be.

Lesson
Items that trigger on death, tend to get overlooked. Players and GM's alike tend to favor items they can actively use.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Tothric

Avoiding the Spell-In-A-Can trap.

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Tothric wrote:

Lesson

Items that trigger on death, tend to get overlooked. Players and GM's alike tend to favor items they can actively use.

Right! Anything that encourages unrealistic behavior (within the fantasy setting), or self harm.

Self inflicted pain and death are troublesome elements to use as a game mechanic, especially when the concepts of Saves and Hit Points are largely reflective of stoically or skillfully avoiding harm.

My theory is PCs should generally be too tough (even wizards) to have time for pain. Otherwise they wouldn't be adventurers.

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I'll add onto the comment about using the Preview button. Use it. But also try resizing your browser when viewing the preview. It can catch hidden (and unwanted) carriage returns that are side-effects from a copy and paste which look fine at the current size but which mangle the formatting when viewing your submission at a different resolution. (This was a lesson from last year that I learned the hard way.)

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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Yes, yes. The "You become a zombie/shadow/ghost/lich/whatever when you die" items rattled my nerves a little bit.

I was just like "Calling all min-maxing power gamers! Break this item, please!"

Yeah...<.<


There was a suit of armor from one of the Encyclopedia Magica back in 2nd edition D&D that did something like that. You could keep fighting even after death, with a bunch of bonuses, like a vengeful revenant. It was actually a pretty cool item, but it was definitely one of those things that was for a particular flavor of campaign, as it actually used the owner's soul to fuel the after-death fighting, so no coming back. I really liked it, and actually used it with an NPC to pull the party's fat out of the fire and provide the NPC with a memorable exit from the campaign.

That said, if you're going to go to a risky niche area like that, you really need to pull it off masterfully.

I've learned to take a closer look at the design space of the different item types to try and determine the boundaries of what can or can't/should or shouldn't be done in the confines of those spaces. Came up with a ring and a staff design last night that seem pretty good to me. Voting and seeing the successes and missteps of other designers is definitely a valuable learning experience.

Star Voter Season 9

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Give yourself enough time. If you think you've got everything formatted correctly, put it down for a day or half a day, then re-read it. Or get someone else to re-read it. The author's brain always adds in additional words and phrases. Sometimes, if you have sufficient time, it may be worth it to just re-write the whole descriptive part from scratch and then compare. Writing is an iterative process that frequently involves reducing brick walls to powder with one's skull ;)

Granted, this may not always be possible in the later rounds :). But the goal (right now) is to just get to that point.

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Lesson (for me at least)

Don't read too much into pre-competition speculation, especially when its practically a new game when a twist like this years is put in.

End of Lesson

I say this because, using Feros' listing of Pre- and Post-Cull items, everyone expected Staves to be "hard mode" but of the 79 out of 804 items on his pre-cull list that were staves, 38 (out of 352) made it to the post-cull list. The percentage of loss (about 52%) of staves entered is in-line with other similar items (about 56% of weapons disappeared, 60% of rings, 65% of armors, 46% of rods, 43% of shields, etc.)

Now, maybe only GOOD staves were submitted but it looks like getting armor or a ring to survive the cull was the really hard entry.

<that said, surviving the Cull does not equal being in the Top 100, or the Top 32>

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka FaxCelestis

Find an empty niche, and fill it. This was my goal when I made the Spellbreaker Gauntlets that, while having some grammatical and formatting errors, still landed in the top 32.

...but make sure it is a niche worth filling. There's a reason I didn't use some of these.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka MythrilDragon

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Let the item, weapon, armor, shield, staff, rod, or ring speak for itself. If you feel the need to tell the reader in the item description who uses its, who made it, who prizes it, how said people use it, or how other people might use it then your telling us we don't know how to incorporate the item into your game. We don't need to know because we are incorporating it into our game and we may use it that way, or in completely different ways. Histories and backstories just waste words that can be used to provide awesome description and create rules mojo. If those are tight and the Item has a fitting name we will "know" how to use it in the game.

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

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Get a pit crew. Seriously. Make sure they're people who know their stuff about RPGSS.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

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Tothric wrote:
Perhaps this is presumptuous of me. But, I've seen a lot of lessons learned from this year's RPG Superstar contest.

Improving your skills and wanting to help others is never presumptious. By making this thread, you have demonstrated that you understand that RPG Superstar is a great tool to learning how to become better at RPG design, even if you never make it anywhere near the Top 32. You also tap the spirit of the community by sharing your insights and encouraging others to do the same. Respect!

My 2 cents:

Pay attention to pricing (and cost), but in the right way.
Pricing is hard to get right, but most of the time, you don't need to. Just don't get it wrong.

In general, it won't matter if you are a couple of hundred or even thousand gp off in your price. What does matter is:

- If your item is grossly over- or under priced in respect to it's power level or items of similar power.

- If your item is so expensive that it would totally break the Wealth by Level guidelines unless only introduced at very high levels. Most play, especially in Pathfinder Society, takes place below level 12.

- If you don't understand the relationship between price and cost. Remember to include the cost of masterwork weapons/armor. Otherwise, cost is half of the price.

- Making a cheap item can be a lot more challenging to do than an expensive item, but if you pull it off, you stand out from the crowd.

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Think twice about creating a ring for the 2015 iteration. :p

If you thought twice and still went with it, chances are yours is one of the 39.

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

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Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Think twice about creating a ring for the 2015 iteration. :p

If you thought twice and still went with it, chances are yours is one of the 39.

I think the real issue is don't try to shoehorn your wondrous item into a ring when they switch up the round 1 contest. The problem with many rings and rods in particular, and to a lesser extent some armors, is they were obviously converted wondrous items.

The secondary issue is that if the contest puts out a twist that throws you for a loop, try to run with it rather than convert an old idea that doesn't really fit (and save your awesome old idea for a situation where it can be better used, such as submitting it to Wayfinder).

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Maybe. Or a lot of rings didn't bring the interest that more cinematic weapons, armor, staffs and rods did. Regardless of whether or not they were converted items.

Note: I'm not taking your post as personally applying to me, as I didn't have an item until after the Round 1 change was posted. :)

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I actually tried not to second guess whether entries were converted wondrous items. My reasoning was that some wondrous items might be being shoe horned into a make do wondrous item type, I.E., the idea behind the converted wondrous item might work better as another more appropriate item type.

So in the instances of items I thought were conversions, I felt it was only fair to give them consideration like any other... it may be they had started trying to shoe horn their idea into a wondrous item, only to then be given the opportunity to create the effect in a more appropriate item type.

So anyone that took that route - there is at least one voter who checked your item properly and determined whether the item choice made MORE sense than being a wondrous item. If it did, then the conversion did not get counted against you in my voting.

There are borderline cases though, for example did all gauntlets start life as a glove? That's not for me to determine, I should and tried to look at the design, the idea, the implementation.

I don't and shouldn't care it was a converted wondrous item unless it was done really badly, what I do care about is the design behind the item irrespective of the base item it ended up being in.

I do worry that comments about "converted wondrous items" actually caused a lot of great designers to lose vote pairs simply because it was perceived that that was the correct thing to do. This is another reason I stopped reading the "I have seen" thread - it was part of my conscious effort to be fair to every single contestant.

Some people may agree with me, some likely will not - but I can say I have a clear conscience and voted every pair based on the design itself and not the source of the idea.

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The only ones I down voted for being a wondrous items were the ones that had it as a crafting requirement.

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Before the cull, I saw four different rings, three different rods, and one piece of armor with "Craft Wondrous Item" in its construction requirements.

It got to a point where I was beginning to ask myself, "Does this sound like a belt, headband, or pair of boots would be doing this?"

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Brigg wrote:

Before the cull, I saw four different rings, three different rods, and one piece of armor with "Craft Wondrous Item" in its construction requirements.

It got to a point where I was beginning to ask myself, "Does this sound like a belt, headband, or pair of boots would be doing this?"

"It's er-um, a, um, head ring. Goes round the head. But occupies a ring slot. Yeah... that's the ticket... it's just like the one I got for my wife, Morgan Fairchild... to match the, um, uhhhmm... waist ring that fits around her waist but takes a ring slot too... yeah..."

*defiantly dares you to question his story*

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Azouth wrote:
The only ones I down voted for being a wondrous items were the ones that had it as a crafting requirement.

That would be converting the idea badly ;)

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

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After voting for a couple years, these are the things that I consider playing with fire. They can be done well, and when they are, the result is usually a very interesting item, but it is very tough to get them right.

  • Messing with the action economy. The number of actions you get in a round is one of the base assumptions of combat. If you change this it can have serious repercussions, especially when playing with people who have high system mastery.

  • Discounted or free metamagic. It doesn't take many quickened, dazing walls of fire to put a damper on a carefully planned encounter.

  • Time traveling. Altering the past trends to be a lot of work for players and GM, even if it is only taking back the actions of a single round.

  • Drawbacks. Interesting when you find them on random treasure, but if you are playing a campaign like PFS, you would rarely seek out an item with a significant drawback.  They are also tricky to use as a balancing factor. A wizard would pay a lot of hit points for some tasty free metamagic. Some items this year did use drawbacks very skillfully.

  • No save/no attack roll. Again, things get out of hand quickly if you ignore key assumptions of the game. Even a little automatic damage can be problematic when combined with abilities that trigger of damage being dealt.

  • Teleporting. Battlefield positioning is very powerful, both at low levels, when adventure authors assume you will have to go through obstacles the hard way, and at high levels, when characters have multiple attacks. Was pleased to see how many items made this work this year.

  • Using skills in a compelling and meaningful way. To me the tough parts here are choosing an appropriate skill and balancing it around the take 10/take 20 rules.

  • RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka MythrilDragon

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    DeathQuaker wrote:
    Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

    Think twice about creating a ring for the 2015 iteration. :p

    If you thought twice and still went with it, chances are yours is one of the 39.

    I think the real issue is don't try to shoehorn your wondrous item into a ring when they switch up the round 1 contest. The problem with many rings and rods in particular, and to a lesser extent some armors, is they were obviously converted wondrous items.

    The secondary issue is that if the contest puts out a twist that throws you for a loop, try to run with it rather than convert an old idea that doesn't really fit (and save your awesome old idea for a situation where it can be better used, such as submitting it to Wayfinder).

    While I absolutely think several items were Wondrous Items repurposed as other things, I also have to think that we have been Wondrous Item conditioned.

    Meaning as designers trying to make super star quality its possible to venture to far into wondrous item territory because that is what we know.

    OR, as voters to see the Wondrous Item the contestant could have made even if the designer was not converting an idea.

    I think that is one of the things that makes this year so challenging, switching design modes and and still creating something that WOWS.

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

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    That's an interesting point Andrew - I am now wondering how many items I "thought" might have been a conversion were simply a result of that "conditioning".

    It makes me even happier to think I tried to treat all items equally by ignoring any wondrous item aspects in the design I perceived to be present.

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

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    Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

    Maybe. Or a lot of rings didn't bring the interest that more cinematic weapons, armor, staffs and rods did. Regardless of whether or not they were converted items.

    Note: I'm not taking your post as personally applying to me, as I didn't have an item until after the Round 1 change was posted. :)

    No, I certainly wasn't referring to you personally! Definitely a general "you" there. I've got to get out of that 2nd person habit...

    Andrew Black wrote:
    DeathQuaker wrote:
    Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

    Think twice about creating a ring for the 2015 iteration. :p

    If you thought twice and still went with it, chances are yours is one of the 39.

    I think the real issue is don't try to shoehorn your wondrous item into a ring when they switch up the round 1 contest. The problem with many rings and rods in particular, and to a lesser extent some armors, is they were obviously converted wondrous items.

    The secondary issue is that if the contest puts out a twist that throws you for a loop, try to run with it rather than convert an old idea that doesn't really fit (and save your awesome old idea for a situation where it can be better used, such as submitting it to Wayfinder).

    While I absolutely think several items were Wondrous Items repurposed as other things, I also have to think that we have been Wondrous Item conditioned.

    Meaning as designers trying to make super star quality its possible to venture to far into wondrous item territory because that is what we know.

    OR, as voters to see the Wondrous Item the contestant could have made even if the designer was not converting an idea.

    I think that is one of the things that makes this year so challenging, switching design modes and and still creating something that WOWS.

    That's certainly possible. It is easier to make a wondrous item interestingly thematic in many ways (why, indeed, the Superstar contests clung to that category for so long). The fact that it is easier I think is also a good reason to change things up. I definitely know making something not wondrous was harder in that there were extra creation rules I had to pay attention to (for one example, a wondrous item doesn't have to include the cost of, say, a masterwork boot or cape, but a weapon or armor has to include the base item cost).

    I want to be clear that I wasn't trying to "guess" what was once a wondrous item and auto-downvoting it if I suspected it to be one once... but more that it seemed obvious in several circumstances someone did do a poor job of conversion, and when I say "obvious" I mean truly obvious things like somebody accidentally leaving in a reference to "bracelet" or "circlet" or some very clear mechanic that is far more frequently found in a wondrous item than the item it had been made into. And that I found a lot of these particular oversights, errors, etc. in rings.

    And I think these designers might have done better--and made fewer careless mistakes--if they had come up with something from scratch.

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    DeathQuaker wrote:
    No, I certainly wasn't referring to you personally! Definitely a general "you" there. I've got to get out of that 2nd person habit...

    "Have you considered a more civilized 'all y'all'?" he asked, from somewhere neath the Mason/Dixon. :)

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

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    quibblemuch wrote:
    DeathQuaker wrote:
    No, I certainly wasn't referring to you personally! Definitely a general "you" there. I've got to get out of that 2nd person habit...
    "Have you considered a more civilized 'all y'all'?" he asked, from somewhere neath the Mason/Dixon. :)

    Well, that, along with "yinz" and "you guys," would imply "everybody" and I don't mean "everybody" either. :)

    Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

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    DeathQuaker wrote:
    quibblemuch wrote:
    DeathQuaker wrote:
    No, I certainly wasn't referring to you personally! Definitely a general "you" there. I've got to get out of that 2nd person habit...
    "Have you considered a more civilized 'all y'all'?" he asked, from somewhere neath the Mason/Dixon. :)
    Well, that, along with "yinz" and "you guys," would imply "everybody" and I don't mean "everybody" either. :)

    So what you're saying is we need a new grammatical coinage.

    How about "somes y'all" or "sumyez"?

    I think this could be my contribution to the culture! At long last!

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

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    quibblemuch wrote:
    DeathQuaker wrote:
    quibblemuch wrote:
    DeathQuaker wrote:
    No, I certainly wasn't referring to you personally! Definitely a general "you" there. I've got to get out of that 2nd person habit...
    "Have you considered a more civilized 'all y'all'?" he asked, from somewhere neath the Mason/Dixon. :)
    Well, that, along with "yinz" and "you guys," would imply "everybody" and I don't mean "everybody" either. :)

    So what you're saying is we need a new grammatical coinage.

    How about "somes y'all" or "sumyez"?

    I think this could be my contribution to the culture! At long last!

    That could work. I think I might just go with Planar Common, and talk about "a body." But all possibilities can be considered.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

    DeathQuaker wrote:
    That could work. I think I might just go with Planar Common, and talk about "a body." But all possibilities can be considered.

    I like "a body" a lot, but I'm a sucker for 18th/19th century parlance. It might strike others a bit like a body was trying to sound like Laura Ingalls Wilder. Which again, to my ears is just plain cromulent, but a body might disagree.

    And yet again, I seem to have hijacked a thread over an unrelated linguistic quibble. When will I learn...? Right. Never.

    Liberty's Edge

    A good advice I read on these boards : have your most dirty-minded friends read your item's description.

    That should prevent unwanted staff-strocking, hard rods and damp and glistening items ;-)

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

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    The black raven wrote:

    A good advice I read on these boards : have your most dirty-minded friends read your item's description.

    That should prevent unwanted staff-strocking, hard rods and damp and glistening items ;-)

    The problem is MY most dirty-minded friends are also the kind of friends not to point that out just to see the disastrous results. :)

    RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Angry Wiggles

    ChesterCopperpot wrote:

    Messing with the action economy. The number of actions you get in a round is one of the base assumptions of combat. If you change this it can have serious repercussions, especially when playing with people who have high system mastery.

    These tend to make me cringe quite a bit. There are a number of fairly brutal combinations to overwhelm the action economy already, and when people start to add to those, it becomes possible to overwhelm your opponent before they are even capable of acting.

    My favorite example is the combination of a lesser familiar metamagic rod, two lesser quicken metamagic rods, and an Improved Familiar. It's not a particularly difficult combination to get a hold of, being one feat, and only 84,000 gp. After you move enough spells to your familiar, you can theoretically cast four spells a round. If you combine this with the capstone ability for mystic theurge, than your opening round can include five spells. It only gets worse if you use higher level familiar and quicken rods as well.

    There were two different items this year that added to this combination. The least of the offenders let you add two spells per round to the list, bringing the opening round to a volley of seven spells. It doesn't even really matter what spells they were anymore, the balance of the combat has been thrown so far in our favor that it is extremely unlikely that our opponent could ever recover. Loot them, sell their goods to buy more pearls of power, continue on our way. I shudder at the thought.

    Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

    Messing with Action Economy: One item gave a free move action every turn. It made me cringe when I read it.

    Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

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    Brigg wrote:
    Messing with Action Economy: One item gave a free move action every turn. It made me cringe when I read it.

    There's a little min-maxer Gollum voice in my head. Whenever I see something that makes it say "We wanttssssss it!" I assume that some egregious overempowerment is at play. :)

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Tothric

    quibblemuch wrote:
    Brigg wrote:
    Messing with Action Economy: One item gave a free move action every turn. It made me cringe when I read it.
    There's a little min-maxer Gollum voice in my head. Whenever I see something that makes it say "We wanttssssss it!" I assume that some egregious overempowerment is at play. :)

    My Rule of thumb, is "Would I rather buy this item or (X) Rings of Protection +(x)." When I'm building an item.

    If I say One over the other really fast, Immediately re-write the item for my campaign. I can't say for certain... I try to break it in two.

    Liberty's Edge

    Something I realized that might be of use :

    I do not use the same criteria when deciding that an item is a keep and when deciding which item I will upvote (though each keep was always an upvote).

    Mostly because in fact I chose which item I was going to downvote.

    Scarab Sages

    The black raven wrote:

    A good advice I read on these boards : have your most dirty-minded friends read your item's description.

    That should prevent unwanted staff-strocking, hard rods and damp and glistening items ;-)

    What if you are the most dirty-minded member of your group?

    We had a game of Gloom this week, and the catalogue of disasters that afflicted my baboon manservant would bring a tear to your eye.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Tothric

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    I can't believe I forgot THIS link.

    It's pretty good!

    Guide to build a Monster.

    Dedicated Voter Season 8

    My best piece of advice is to read the guidelines extremely carefully. As in most places I suggest you take a good fifteen minutes or more (depending on how long the list of guidelines is) to read them. It will save you time and heartache in the long run.

    If I had followed my own advice I would have realized that my beautiful iron beard item didn't belong in this competition and I could have entered my ax which, while not as well designed, was a better fit for the competition and I could have fixed the design issues.

    Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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    I learned over the course of the last 12 hours that I'm not as thick-skinned about not making into top 32 as I thought I was going to be.

    I would say that, "My item was great; the voters and judges just thought theirs were better" is a pretty good attitude to have towards this type of situation. Pending, of course, that you know in your heart of hearts that you put forth your best. Which I feel I did.

    At no point, ever, should you ever think you were some sort of entitled shoe-in for the top 32. And you should also never ever ever ever ever ever EVER take any such event as a personal affront. The voters and judges have spoken, and that's final. In any competition, there has to be winners, and there has to be non-winners. That's the nature of the beast.

    I have additional thoughts on this, but I am posting from my phone when I should be getting ready for work. X.x

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

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    I just want to post the most important thing that I have learned so far this year:

    Do not be afraid to enter an item to the contest, even if you don't think it is good enough to be "Superstar". Make the best item that you can make an give it a try. It is possible to make Top 32.

    Do not let a lack of self-confidence be the thing that keeps you out of the contest.

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