Official Critique My Item Thread


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Boxhead

Jeff Lee wrote:

Okay, I think I'm ready.

Arcanavore
Aura strong abjuration and universal; CL 15th
Slot none; Price 73,313 gp; Weight 14 lbs.

Description
This +1 keen adamantine bardiche is carved with intricate runes on both blade and haft, and instilled with a hunger for magic. On a successful attack, make a targeted dispel check (1d20+15) if the target has one or more spell effects on it. If successful, the highest level spell in effect is dispelled from the target, and the weapon absorbs the magical energy, gaining an additional +1 enhancement bonus for each level of the spell, lasting a total number of rounds equal to the enhancement bonus gained. (For example, if the arcanavore successfully dispels haste, it gains an additional +3 enhancement bonus for the next 3 rounds.) Once the arcanavore absorbs enough energy to gain a +5 enhancement bonus, additional energy may be used to grant the following special abilities to the weapon, assuming the weapon has absorbed enough energy to meet the base price of the special ability: defiant, glorious, limning, and nullifying. These last a number of rounds equal to their base price modifier. The weapon's total bonus cannot exceed +10.

The arcanavore can also absorb energy from sundering magic items, which provide longer lasting bonuses. If it deals sufficient damage to an item to inflict the broken condition, it gains +1 enhancement bonus for every three Caster Levels of the item (or special abilities as above, minimum bonus of +1) that last 1 minute per caster level of the item. If a sunder attack destroys the item, then the duration is doubled.

The arcanavore only sheds light while using absorbed magic.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, dispel magic, keen edge, limited wish, creator must be a caster of at least 15th level; Cost 38,313 gp

While I'm not going to post often in thus thread, I'm going to pick on Jeff for a moment: really? A pun name in Superstar? I don't mind the item (though it may be a bit cheap). But the name killed me. If this was the Spelleating Bardiche, I'd have voted for it more. Pun names, joke themes and boring-but-good items make up the mess of 40-100,000,000,000 of RPG Superstar...

I know Jeff can write, I've seen his work, I just think this one got away from him.

Dark Archive

SPANWHAMMER
Aura strong abjuration and transmutation; CL 12th
Slot none; Price 30,340 gp; Weight 14 lbs.
Description
This +1 returning throwing earthbreaker has a head of rough-hewn Irespan basalt instead of the usual jagged mass of metal, though the sepia-marbled stone matches steel in weight and hardness. Even as the stone harvested from the ruins of Magnimar’s signature ancient landmark is primarily prized for usefulness in golem-craft, the artisan melting-pot of Varisian cultures oft-times produces items like this massive two-handed maul named both after the origin of its main material and the fact that it can smash things at a distance. When used to sunder magic weapons or armor, a spanwhammer’s enhancement bonus increases by +2 (for a total of +3) and it also deals an additional 2d6 points of damage. The wielder can also ready an action to attempt a counterspell effect against any spell or spell-like ability with a measurable area of effect that spanwhammer can be thrown through or into as long as the area of effect is within 50 feet of the wielder at time of casting – no attack roll is required however a dispel check must be made as if attempting a counterspell using greater dispel magic, with the caster level equal to the wielder’s hit dice; this ability cannot target spells with no area of effect. Whether or not the attempt is successful spanwhammer returns to its wielder afterwards, however if the counterspell attempt was successful the weapon’s returning and throwing abilities will cease to function until a full day passes (it always remains a +1 weapon with the added benefit when sundering magic arms and armor).
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, antimagic field, greater dispel magic, telekinesis; Cost 15,170 gp

Quote:

Having re-read my item after posting it here, I probably should have tried something more simple. I just figured on the theme being a big hammer made out of the Irespan, and figured what golem-like attributes can it have while still remaining a weapon without a doubt?

I think good idea, bad execution, possibly bad name although I think it's cool...

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Boxhead

James Casey wrote:

Thank you for all of the feedback re: my post. I appreciate it and it clarifies some of the questions I had. As for the DQ issue, I went back and read the rules and no where does it say you can't put a monster template in your entry. In fact it doesn't say you can't put a monster in your entry. It says you must enter a weapon, shield, armor, rod, ring or staff, which is what I did.

NOW if I had entered a sword that turned into a monster, even one already created that I could have linked to, then I could understand being DQ'd because at that point the purpose of the weapon IS the monster. I created a weapon that was defending, had a concealment effect to protect the wielder and enhanced their spells. That is what my weapon does. I fail to see how creating a simple template is breaking the rules. Would I have been DQ'd if I had used one of the existing simple templates?

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **...

I'm not digging for the previous post, but I remember your item well. It definitely falls into the category of "did not understand the contest". If you had used an existing template, and built the weapon around it, it would be a totally different game. As it stands, the entry reads as if you wanted to write a monster, but the contest asked for a magic item, so you did both. It was exactly the same as if you had written a new spell for your item and described it, or wrote a new class that your item worked for. All are pcreative endeavours, but not all are appropriate for the contest.


James Casey wrote:
That being said I have a question for you, and really it isn't just for you. It's for everyone who had the same problem with the item, and not just my item but others as well.... Why? Why MUST a weapon always conform to the prototypes? As a general rule I understand that weapons by and large have offensive/combat focused themes. I also want to point out that 1/3 of my original cost (+2 defender) is combat oriented and the concealment portion is also combat oriented and in theme with the defender. Regardless, why wouldn't a cleric of Sarenrae enchant their Deity's weapon with non-standard abilities? Especially when those abilities are thematic and can serve the faithful of the deity?

I can't speak to this specifically, but I can tell you some general thoughts I had while writing up the black-and-white sword. Let me note that the black-and-white sword didn't make the cut, so take this with a grain of salt.

It is certainly possible to make a weapon that unusual characteristics, but a good weapon is weapon-like. I get that you wanted to do something interesting with a weapon. I sympathize with that, because I had the same idea: how can I turn thematic spellcasting into a weapon? With the black-and-white sword, I made the blur effect more-or-less constant, so that it would be used by the wielder in combat, not as a wand. I wanted to include the shadow evocation effect, but I also didn't want it to be a staff in disguise. A weapon that casts shadow evocation, and can cast a blur spell on the wielder, and can be used as a weapon could, indeed, be a staff. So, I added the special requirement to kill with the weapon, which reinforced the shadow theme and also meant that the weapon had to be used as a weapon. I also threw in the ability to cast as a cold or silver weapon. Not only did that tie in with the idea for a unique appearance for the weapon, but this is something relevant to weapons and pretty much only weapons.

Whether or not the black-and-white sword was a good prototype--and hey, apparently it was fairly unpopular and somewhat confusing-- nonetheless, those are the kinds of things I personally think about when it comes to weapons. I think if you had adjusted your goals to think about this item more as a weapon and less as a symbol of faith, some refinements might have occurred to you. As it stands, aside from everything else, this item would work as good, or better, as a rod with a weapon-like function, than as a weapon. In much the same way weapon-like rods sometimes require Craft Magic Arms and Armor, it's worth considering whether a weapon that primarily grants a defense bonus and aids in casting shouldn't require Craft Rod.

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

Eric Hindley wrote:


I'm not digging for the previous post, but I remember your item well. It definitely falls into the category of "did not understand the contest". If you had used an existing template, and built the weapon around it, it would be a totally different game. As it stands, the entry reads as if you wanted to write a monster, but the contest asked for a magic item, so you did both. It was exactly the same as if you had written a new spell for your item and described it, or wrote a new class that your item worked for. All are pcreative endeavours, but not all are appropriate for the contest.

I wanted to write a monster?! Really?! Not sure how you are getting that. A simple template is not a monster, not even close. A simple template is even farther away from trying to create a new spell. I used the existing rules from the PRD to create a simple template. What I should have done is what another poster suggested and used an existing template and altered the description. That would have been easier than actually creating the template AND would have saved me word count. However I am baffled that you feel the intent was to create a monster. You must think very little of me if Sarenrae's Desert Caller is my veiled attempt at creating a monster.

The intent was to help casters, particularly clerics and warpriests, wade into combat and cast their cure spells with more protection. The template was to assist those healers who sometimes get stuck in the back twiddling their thumbs until it is time to cure someone. Instead of waiting they can add something meaningful and thematic to the combat with a summoned creature.

I totally agree with the x/day being a good solution for the summoning portion. Deities usually limit their gifts to a set amount per day, so I like that suggestion....


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Main take away from this thread: it's very difficult to make an awesome item. Even the top 32 are not slam dunks. If you slap a cool power onto something it's a delicate process to price and balance in ways that satisfy everyone.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

So here is my entry:

Blood Magic Dagger
Aura strong evocation and transmutation; CL 12
Slot none; Price 33,302 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This +1 wounding dagger has a crimson vicious blade and the edge is always sharp to the touch. The wielder of this dagger may slash herself, dealing damage as normal as part of casting a spell, the wielder may apply any one metamagic feat she possess to the spell being cast without increasing the spell level or casting time, as long as the total modified level of the spell does not use a spell slot above 9th level. The dagger deals 2d6 points of damage as backlash for each spell levels increased by the feats. The wielder cannot reduce or negate the damage of the backlash. No more than one feat can be applied to a spell cast by the wielder in this way.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, bleed; Cost 16,802 gp

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Feros wrote:
Raisse wrote:
Feros wrote:
** spoiler omitted **
I would agree with you about the free attack, except it's not free. Taking the attack requires an immediate action and a charge from the staff.

Yes, but recharging it is easy with the spells in question and an immediate action is a fairly low action cost. Given that combats average about 3 to 4 rounds each, this will be used a lot each day, especially as the characters go up in levels and have more spell slots to burn.

You're right however: I will amend my review to say "surprisingly low cost" rather than free though. :)

I thought along those lines on my first read, but it's still a staff, so it only has 10 charges and regains one per day. If you are buying this staff, you cast spells and swing sticks, you won't want to waste charged willy nilly, and if you reduce it to 0 you hit that 1 charge per day flat-line.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Ian Eastmond wrote:
SPANWHAMMER.

In b4 "I read the name as "Spawn Hammer" about 10 times before I realized its called 'Span Whammer"."

Also, Earthbreaker - Drink!

Another issue I see here is, "This +1 throwing returning earthberaker brief description BACKSTORY BACKSTORY." - I would lose everything in the "Even as the stone harvested blah blah blah stuff things words smash things at a distance." I literally skimmed or skipped that whole sentence every time I saw your item. This is a weapon; it hits things. People want to know how much they can hit things when they read weapon descriptions.

Also, "throwing returning" should say "returning throwing" since special properties go in alphabetical order.

That whole dispelling thing feels completely out of place. If you've got this awesome hammer that gets big bonuses to sundering, why would you ready actions to counter spells? Save that for the spellcasters.

Posting from phone again, so my input is not nearly as thorough than it should be. Damn you internet sometimes.....

Marathon Voter Season 8

I haven't read many of the other comments yet as I want to offer my initial impressions based on what I thought about the items during the voting. So pardon me if I repeat points from other comments.

21) The Wing Smasher’s Hammer:
Relatively simple idea, but one that fills a nice niche and would likely see some use in certain campaigns. I can imagine that most players would sell this rather than keep it just in case, but that's the case with a lot of magic items, so it's not a huge problem. What is more significant is the fact that this is supposed to hit flying monster, yet it has no way of reaching them. I would have added the throwing weapon special ability at the very least, perhaps even distance. Is there a particular reason why this is a melee weapon instead of a bow? Aside from the smashing imagery.

22) Courtier’s Solitaire:
Nice visuals all around and they help to alleviate the fact that the first paragraph is nothing more than static skill bonuses, which can be a touch boring. The second paragraph gets better, although that is one powerful ability and annoys the GM in me, because it makes staging ambushes that much more difficult. Personally I wish it'd require activation to scan the surroundings, at least the detect concealed foes part of it. Detecting lies I don't mind being constantly active. I also get the sense that this should be more expensive with such a huge array of abilities. All in all I like this item, I'm just not wowed by it. It came rather close to being on my keeper list, just because I really like the visuals and the general idea behind it.

23) Staff of the Hidden Blade:
I have a hard time imagining who this staff/weapon is intended for. The sword cane and the spell choices seem to indicate some sort of gentleman thief, but then you bring in the ki, and I have hard time imagining a monk walking around with a gentleman's cane. Plus the fact that without ki you can only use this if you're a spellcaster. I suppose I could imagine some sort of aristocratic ninja or a sorcerer using this, but it's still rather muddled. Aside from that, I like that this is a mix between a cane and a staff. You keep the two separate enough with the sheathing requirement that it doesn't seem too overpowered, although the price is rather low for this kind of concept. I just wish you'd either lose the ki part or focus more on it, because now I'd have to reach to imagine uses for this one. Though I applaud your creativity.

24) Staff of entwined elements:
I wouldn't call this boring per se, but it has a slight Swiss Army Knife feel to it. I get what you going for, but the initial impression is still that this is blaster mage's wet dream, which is ever so slightly clichéd. Plus the price might have turned the more availability oriented voters away. For that price it doesn't have the feel of an endgame item. Personally I liked this item. Tying the extra ability to the effects of elemental assessor was a nice move in my opinion and all the abilities revolve around a central idea. Except for the last one, which was unneeded in my opinion and muddled the otherwise clear image. This didn't quite make my keeper list, just because you could have tightened the design just a little bit, but I definitely wouldn't call it boring.

25) Honeycomb Cuirass:
Probably my favourite disarming/combat maneuver item this year, as much as I have a pet peeve against them. And that's mainly because I really dig the visual of this one. It feels very druidish and I'd love to be the weird beekeeper that runs around wearing this one. But the bottomline is that it's still just another way of doing combat maneuvers, which is nice, but probably cost you some votes, because there were a lot of them this year. Plus some people like me simply don't like them. It's unfair to you and other people that came up with such items, but that's human condition for you. And I did upvote this more often than not, simply because I thought it was a well-designed piece. Though if I had to nitpick I'd wish you would have taken the stickiness of the honey into account when giving the bonuses. Now it seems to indicate that if you're making say repositioning attempt, the armor will stick and unstuck on command. And yeah, magic, but hopefully you'll get my point.

26) Deadeye’s Shepherd:
A bow that revolves nicely around an interesting theme. I especially like that the main ability of firing blunted arrows doesn't have a daily limit, rather just a longer action requirement. The ram summon is also a nice touch and makes this an item I'd love to receive no matter my class. Where the item falters, unfortunately, is the ring of ram requirement. And I do mean requirement. Those few abilities it unlocks are so good that one would be a lunatic not to get his hands on the ring, which means that this is really a paired item, which railroads the player just a little bit too much. It doesn't ruin the item, but personally I would have preferred this to be a completely independent item. On a technical level I do like the idea of magic items being able to synchronize with one another, but that would require so much space - a rule book of their own really or a constantly updating website - that it's just not practical. Because what if there comes another ram themed item similar to the ring of ram? It'd would seem illogical that it couldn't work with this bow when the ring can.

27) Rod of Ghost Teeth:
I like how odd this idea is. Like a rod crafted by an evil toothfairy. I wish that the teeth were not stored within the rod, but rather spiking out of it, forming a morningstar. The language ioun stone is also a brilliant ability and one that I'd definitely want to use, though it's a bit unclear what happens if the creature has more than one language. I don't think it would have been too powerful to include all the native languages of the "donor". Where this item falters, however, is the magic missile ability. And it's really nothing more, though taking the size of the teeth into account is a good step. The yelling of "Beware!" is also both silly and restricting. I don't want to know the command words of my items, not as a GM nor as a player. Had it done something more original with the teeth, this would have been an instakeeper, but as it is, it doesn't reach its full potential. Still, I did upvote this a lot, so definitely keep on designing, because your initial design was one of the best this year.

28) Grandmaster's Plate:
First of all, I think that the chess pattern is a bit goofy-looking. Although, if you wanted to go with the chess theme, I wish you had made the area of effect a square as well. 8 squares by 8 squares and you could slide your allies like chess pieces. That would have given this more identity, I think. Another nitpick is the fact that I don't get why this needs to be a full plate. Sure if the grandmaster refers to the leader of a knight order, but that seems restrictive. It also doesn't say whether these teleportations provoke attacks of opportunity or not. All that being said, I do like the idea. Restricting it to once per day and the price of the item keep it from being overly powerful and the follow-up flanking damage bonus seems logical. Now the description just lacks certain flair to it and it leaves some rule questions unanswered. With a tighter design this could have been a contender.

29) Sightstealer Rapier:
This one made my keep list. The sightstealing property it just odd enough to excite and I love that it allows you to steal sight-based abilities. I wish you had also included magical enhancements as well, like a permanent detect magic and the like. Also DC 13 seems a touch low. The word count is rather short, so I wish you had given this a minor always active power. Like the enemy could be dazzled for 1 round if hit or something like that. Nevertheless, I do like the idea a lot and I hope to see more from you.

30) Thieving Buckler:
What kind of shield is a quirky buckler? That word choice just creates more questions. I like that this is an automatic storage for stolen items, kind of like a computer game inventory, but without being too obvious. What I don't like is the disarming shield thing. There were a lot of them this year and I didn't really like any of them all that much. Especially because this could be used all the time, which is just too powerful, especially for such a ridiculously low price. I'm also confused about why retrieving items from the shield is at first more difficult. That seems unneeded. All in all it's a shame that you stumbled upon this year's cliché, because there's a lot of good in this item as well.

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

Thanks for the feedback, Jaragil.
I definitely should've added some passive ability to it. I considered the ability to see from the rapier's "eye", which would basically amount to gaze attack immunity and accidentally stabbing people as you try to peek around corners. Should've kept at it. Next year I'll have more!

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Page 7:

Kudzu Wrap:
While interesting, kudzu tends to crush things that it winds itself around not explode and smash things around them. And the explosion is a bit powerful.

Ring of Remembrance:
Not bad, but there is absolutely nothing super cool here visually. It is just a ring that expands a prepared spellcasters versatility which is the prime ability of prepared spellcasters.

Clangoring Chime:
The powers and mechanics are fine, but the imagery of a bell as a weapon leaves me cold. There is nothing wrong per se, but I don’t find it very appealing.

Counter Shield:
Auto-hit is always a problem and a touch overpowered even when limited to a few times per day. The price of this weapon is way too low for that level of power. The imagery doesn’t work for me at all.

Vestment of the Twin Soul:
Enhanced companion and eidolons isn’t a bad concept, but there is nothing really exciting here. The image of the armor isn’t very appealing either, looking somewhat unkempt in my mind’s eye.

O-yoroi of the Eternal Flame:
Incredibly expensive item that has a prime power activate on the death of the wearer and will likely injure fellow party members when it does. Just way over the top for me, though the imagery is solid and somewhat cool.

Freebooter's Longcoat:
Not much wrong with this armor, but what it does isn’t all that spectacular. Pirates in my campaign can use Acrobatics to swing across to the opposing ship as well as clambering over, so I think it’s usefulness with the more dynamic swashbuckling types is fairly limited in many campaigns.

Dagger of Dretch Dominion:
Being cold iron meant that words were wasted on the “full damage to dretches” section. Also a charisma bonus for dealing with dretches and demons doesn’t have a cool visual attached to use.

Corpse Thicket Javelin:
I liked the visual of the roots ripping a person apart upon a successful hit, but the mechanics are so-so. The description could be more clear on if the javelin can be used again or how it becomes a tree: does that happen automatically after use or only if the victim is killed without the javelin being pulled?

Ghastly Plate:
Mechanically this isn’t very interesting as all it does it give a temporary ghost touch three times per day. The visual is strong, but appearing as a ghost all the time would be inconvenient in a lot of settings.

Rod of Eldritch Horror:
Summoning augmentation is interesting and there is some evocative imagery here. But having to make a large number of modifications to summoned creatures makes for a slow down at the table.

Dreaming Star:
Interesting imagery, but this is essentially a plot device far more than a magic item when in GM hands. In a player’s hands it allows the PC to take over the setting for a while and can create illusions that can become real with the rings destruction. All in all this would be a bit of a headache to adjudicate at the table and opens up the power of storytelling to the PC user of the ring over the GM.

Lash of Wild Roses:
Interesting concept, but the imagery is only hit –and-miss with me. There seems to be no limit on the entangle effect making it a touch powerful.

Foe Stitcher:
Interesting idea with a cool visual, but this could get complicated very quickly as different opponents are tied together and knotted up. Some issues with using different stats for each drag maneuver as the number of foes increase. This adds a level of complexity that isn’t really necessary.

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Page 8:

Ghost Moon Bow:
I like the visual images on this very much, but the ability to target an opponent regardless of cover and effectively making this a touch attack bow is too powerful for the cost.

Sidereal Blade:
Not bad imagery here, but I think it suffered from there being so many “dimensional slashers” that it got mixed up in the shuffle. Also it is rather complex in function as every hit has the potential of rearranging the battlefield somewhat.

Mithral Shirt of Concealment:
This is somewhat cool and has an interesting visual effect tied to it. The writing is a bit all over the place, with the invisibility effect being mentioned twice: once as a visual description and then immediately after as a mechanical effect. Tighter writing could have done wonders here and the name was less than inspiring.

Rings of Shared Power:
Way too powerful for the price. Essentially allows two PCs to gain limited multiclass abilities with each other’s classes without penalty to their own class. Add in no cool visual image for me and I passed on this item more often than not.

Fraud's Rod:
Since Use Magic Device is still required to use this rod, it is really limited to those who wish to utilize scrolls they normally can’t use without being seen to do so. But the way it is set up there is still a chance of detection. Had the item allowed the user to utilize a scroll without the Use Magic Device or completely avoid detection it would have been a bit more impressive. As it is it doesn’t come across as a wow item.

Broken Gambit Shield:
This item is effectively useless except once per day during which time it becomes very useful. But it tries to keep opponents attacking it rather than withdraw which is rather odd. Wouldn’t a combatant want his enemies to flee if they could? The visual is cool, but the mechanics need work.

.

Page 9:

Coiling Poison Staff:
Good theme with some nice visual elements. Mostly useable by serpentfolk clerics, so very niche is some respects. Just not enough of a wow factor for me overall; could have used a more interesting power beside the poison oriented ones.

Rod of Gravity:
Interesting rod with some very cool visual elements that I liked. May have suffered from a number of gravity items this year. Looking up the various mechanics involved here could slow down gameplay considerably.

Ring of the Deific Caster:
Not too impressive visuals tied with this ring and aside from some very minor help with spell resistance it is in essence a SIAC. Spiritual ally once per day in response to a dispel effect? Doesn’t work for me.

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Dagger of Dretch Dominion

I think I have been guilty of burying the lead again. Mainly because this time I have even misrepresented the lead.

Feros said:

Dagger of Dretch Dominion:
Being cold iron meant that words were wasted on the “full damage to dretches” section. Also a charisma bonus for dealing with dretches and demons doesn’t have a cool visual attached to use.

With full I meant maximum, this still doesn't make the dagger less niche, but should make it more interesting.

Thomas, Mark and Feros: thanks for the reviews.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

James Raine wrote:

Catapult Ring I would have liked to see this include bull-rush capabilities for a creature flung into another. I also felt this was somewhat overpriced, especially for being a dramatically limited application of telekinesis.

Not quite sure what you mean, James? Are you thinking I should have added in that the target gets a free bull rush when it hits something, in addition to the damage it would do as a falling object? I can see that, but I think it would've been a little wonky just in terms of how the rules work? I was looking at vehicle rules to see if I could get anything from that in terms of the collision, but it was just getting messy. I think it could be added in per the GM, though.

Price-wise, IIRC, it's actually half the price it should be per the table. I had a lot of trouble pricing this one, and think I vacillated between 20,000 and 35,000 (maybe just 30,000) as I think in the right circumstance it can be very dangerous. That said, it is certainly circumstantial when and how it can be used and I thought it had an array of different ways it could be used, which added some value.

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

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
James Raine wrote:

Catapult Ring I would have liked to see this include bull-rush capabilities for a creature flung into another. I also felt this was somewhat overpriced, especially for being a dramatically limited application of telekinesis.

Not quite sure what you mean, James? Are you thinking I should have added in that the target gets a free bull rush when it hits something, in addition to the damage it would do as a falling object? I can see that, but I think it would've been a little wonky just in terms of how the rules work? I was looking at vehicle rules to see if I could get anything from that in terms of the collision, but it was just getting messy. I think it could be added in per the GM, though.

Price-wise, IIRC, it's actually half the price it should be per the table. I had a lot of trouble pricing this one, and think I vacillated between 20,000 and 35,000 (maybe just 30,000) as I think in the right circumstance it can be very dangerous. That said, it is certainly circumstantial when and how it can be used and I thought it had an array of different ways it could be used, which added some value.

Yeah. Like 3.5's brute ring or PF's ring of the ram.

Marathon Voter Season 8

So, I guess I should post my own item, as I am about to create a thread analyzing every other item.

Stormcrow Tomahawk
Aura moderate divination and evocation; CL 9th
Slot weapon; Price 28,308 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
The leather wrapped handle of this +1 distance shock throwing axe is adorned with long, black feathers. As an attack, the wielder of the Stormcrow Tomahawk can launch a blast of power in the form of a screaming crow, crackling with electricity. These blasts are resolved as if the weapon itself had been thrown at the target.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blood crow strike, clairaudience/clairvoyance, and call lightning or lightning bolt; Cost 14,154 gp

The only actual mechanical mistake I noticed (too late) was the cost--I accidentally halved the cost of the base weapon, as well. Since I got culled, though, I obviously made other mistakes. I believe I understand why it did not receive votes, but I don't want to lead the critiques in this thread, either, so I will just wait and see if I am confirmed.

Ultimately, I realized that I am a much better critic and editor than actual writer.

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

Page 10:

Spelldrinker:
Not a bad item overall with some cool imagery, but the removal of spells for a prepared caster could be bothersome and require random rolls when more than one spell could be affected. Add in how powerful this makes a magus and you have some mechanical difficulties.

Glacial Crusher:
The damage generated by every hit of this greatclub is a bit much. I like the visuals of ice shard breaking off and piercing opponents, but I think a better mechanic is required to back this image up.

Quill of the Peacock Spirit:
The name doesn’t really connect with the powers of this spear. It also comes across as a Wondrous Item musical instrument rather than a weapon in its powers. You really have to pull out the awesome to have a weapon use non-combat attack/damage powers to have it work.

Heaven's Tether:
I found the reflection visual image a little confusing. It appears different in a mirror? Why? Why not have the cloud forms visible in the staff itself? And the “stabilize against levitate“ confused me somewhat. I had to look at the spell listing to find out what this was about. My group has never used levitate in combat. The staff is otherwise OK.

Up Chuck:
The name killed this item for me. Clever or joke names are an obstacle for the item to overcome, not a boon. And that is a pretty low cost for turning a Halfling rogue into a lethal siege engine, even for a limited number of times per day.

Ring of Insight:
The concept is kind of cool and I really like the imagery and simple mechanic involved in seeing into the future. Overall though this lacks anything super special. Great for a collection of magic items, not quite up to snuff for Superstar.

Glitterbane:
The glitterdust spell seems more of an add on to make the name of the item rather than actually fit with the overall design. Two different attack bonuses with the opposite sides of the weapon is an unnecessary complexity. Nothing in the imagery or use of this item made me say “wow.”

I already commented on this next one on its Alternate thread, but I’ll repeat my review here:
Harlequin’s Hurlbat:
I liked this weapon a lot and up-voted it far more than down. But the image of juggling pins and throwing them in battle is limited in appropriateness for action-adventure stories. Really only good when you are dealing with a performance of some sort that turns into a fight. Still, very well made.

Knife of the Consummate Chef:
A SAK almost literally in the hands of a vague GM discretion Profession character. This was too vague and too unfocused to have legs in this contest.

Scale of the Final King:
Not bad in concept, but most creatures with an energy attack have a resistance to that energy form, so the detonate ability will only be of use against spell-casters. I liked the imagery of the energy being used in the detonate, however.

Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

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I saw a few posts of ppl that just dismissed tech-based items all together, but I would certainly love some critique that goes beyond that. Thanks!

Tormentor
Aura moderate necromancy and enchantment; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 47,300 gp; Weight 7 lbs.
Description
A terrifying weapon to behold, this chainsaw’s (Technology Guide) 2-foot-long blade extends from a large black rock carved into the shape of an octopoid creature, it’s tentacles oozing a black oily ichor. The blade itself is surrounded by teeth that seem to have been attached haphazardly. The weapon’s handles are scorched bones protruding from the blade’s base.

When this +2 chainsaw is activated, the teeth surrounding the blade spin blindingly fast producing an unnerving sound akin to that of people screaming in terror. Anyone within 30’ of the wielder who hears this must make a DC 16 Will save or become shaken until the chainsaw is turned off (the wielder is immune to this effect). Once per day as a swift action, the wielder may designate a target within sight to be the victim of Tormentor’s madness, invading their mind so that the wielder appears as an unfathomable mass of demonic eyes and razor sharp teeth. The first time this target is struck by Tormentor they must make a DC 16 Will save. A successful save causes the victim to become frightened until the wielder’s next turn, while a failed save causes the victim to temporarily (1d4 rounds) descend into insanity, becoming panicked. While in this panicked state, Tormentor causes an additional 2d6 of non-lethal damage per hit.

Tormentor can be activated up to 10 times before it has been drained for the day. It recharges each night at midnight.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, crushing despair, fear; Cost 23,650 gp

Marathon Voter Season 8

I may be a little late to the party but here it goes.

Staff of the Imperials
Aura Strong Transmutation ; CL 11
Slot none; Price 60,000; Weight 5 lbs.

This ivory quarterstaff is inlaid with carvings of four pristine imperial eastern dragons. An onyx underworld dragon , an azurite sea dragon, an opal sky dragon, and a jade forest dragon coil up the length of the staff locked in an ancient, almost forgotten battle from before the time of man.

The Staff of the Imperials acts as a +2/+2 quarter staff. Additionally, if the user has a ki pool they may activate any of the listed abilities if they meet the prerequisites to do so. Activating an ability is a standard action and causes the corresponding carving to shed light equal to a torch for the duration of the ability.

Magma staff- The underworld dragon carving spews magma from its mouth coating the ends of the staff the weapon counts as if it had the flaming enchantment on both ends. This ability functions as long as the user has at least 1 ki point in their ki pool.

Water Breathing- By spending 1 point from his ki pool, the sea dragon carving grants the user water breathing as per the spell with a duration of 1 hour per character level.

Flight- By spending 2 points from his ki pool, the carving grants the user fly as per the spell with a duration of 1 minute per character level.

Petrification- By spending 3 points from his ki pool, the forest dragon carving bestows it's awesome ability to turn an opponent to stone. This ability functions as a flesh to stone spell with a save DC = 16 + user's wisdom modifier.

Construction Requirements Craft Staff, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Dragon's Breath, Water Breathing, Fly, Flesh To Stone Cost 30,000


Eric Hindley wrote:

While I'm not going to post often in thus thread, I'm going to pick on Jeff for a moment: really? A pun name in Superstar? I don't mind the item (though it may be a bit cheap). But the name killed me. If this was the Spelleating Bardiche, I'd have voted for it more. Pun names, joke themes and boring-but-good items make up the mess of 40-100,000,000,000 of RPG Superstar...

I know Jeff can write, I've seen his work, I just think this one got away from him.

It wasn't meant as a pun, honestly. I'd originally settled on "dweomervore" until a nagging feeling made me do a search and I realized it was the name of a monster in Forgotten Realms. So I switched "dweomer" to "arcana." Seriously was not trying to be punny.

Also, Mark's comment about adventurers breaking their own stuff to gain more power for the item...that totally came at me from left field. Never would have occurred to me. That's some serious munchkin power-gamer stuff.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

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mplindustries wrote:

So, I guess I should post my own item, as I am about to create a thread analyzing every other item.

Stormcrow Tomahawk
Aura moderate divination and evocation; CL 9th
Slot weapon; Price 28,308 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
The leather wrapped handle of this +1 distance shock throwing axe is adorned with long, black feathers. As an attack, the wielder of the Stormcrow Tomahawk can launch a blast of power in the form of a screaming crow, crackling with electricity. These blasts are resolved as if the weapon itself had been thrown at the target.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blood crow strike, clairaudience/clairvoyance, and call lightning or lightning bolt; Cost 14,154 gp

The only actual mechanical mistake I noticed (too late) was the cost--I accidentally halved the cost of the base weapon, as well. Since I got culled, though, I obviously made other mistakes. I believe I understand why it did not receive votes, but I don't want to lead the critiques in this thread, either, so I will just wait and see if I am confirmed.

Ultimately, I realized that I am a much better critic and editor than actual writer.

You made a throwing weapon whose special power is resolved exactly as though it had been thrown. The only difference is that when you use the blast ability (which you can apparently do as much as you want every day), you still have it in your hand. So... kind of like if you added returning to it, or had it on a blinkback belt.

So, mechanically, you didn't actually even design a new magic weapon. You just took something that already existed and described a different visual.

Marathon Voter Season 8

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I haven't read many of the other comments yet as I want to offer my initial impressions based on what I thought about the items during the voting. So pardon me if I repeat points from other comments.

31) Dimensional Skewer:
This almost made my keep list. I like the idea of infecting the enemy with a dimensional mark that allows him to be used as an instrument for the downfall of his allies. Unfortunately the mechanics themselves have some hiccups. Like there isn't any kind of range for this, beyond that of line of sight, which can be huge in certain circumstances. It's also somewhat wonky that you describe the vortex being on the flesh, which would indicate that the enemy can affect the spear strike by simply twisting his body, yet the rules don't take this into account in any fashion. The other teleportation hole this year offered the targets concealment, which I felt was not a bad choice. Other option would have been to have the vortex hover around the target, but that isn't as strong a visual. All in all there's potential here, but the details needed some work to be truly Superstar.

32) Phantom Guardian’s Ring:
My main problem is that on the surface this simply seems like a summoning spell in a can. You could achieve this same effect by summoning a host of other creatures and while the visual differs greatly from that, and the ability to wield your weapons is a nice touch, it's still not something I'd pay money to get into my arsenal. Also, now the item seems to spell out that it will only make attacks of opportunity provoked by movement and nothing else, which I feel wasn't the intention. That being said, there are enough differences that I won't label this with a simple SiaC tag. The invulnerability to damage is perhaps a touch powerful for the price, but not overly so. The weapon copying I already mentioned liking and as a whole I can see tactical possibilities for this. It simply needed more of an identity to stand out from its peers.

33) Mummer’s Slapstick:
Sorry, but I'm simply not a fan of jester items. Especially one such as this one that simply screams Looney Tunes at you. It even produces the twirling birds of being hit on the head. Plus, if you give the players an item that can shapeshift into humorous shapes, you know they will go into some extremely dirty and perverted places. And that's simply not my game. That being said, mechanically this is a solid item. It starts out as a hideous laughter in a can, but it expands upon that through fitting visuals and the ability to lengthen the duration. Had the flavour been something entirely different, I might have liked this one a great deal more. As it is, I'm sorry that our senses of humour don't align better than this.

34) Riftcarver Bow:
When I think of dwarves, I don't think archers, but this manages to pull off such imagery. Points for that. Unfortunately the bow itself is only a bit more than class ability in a can, though it just barely manages to pull it off through a combining theme and adding some damage. Although it remains unclear how the alternative powers are supposed to function together. If you make a single trip attempt, are you denied from using the barbarian power for that day, or vice versa? Plus, only counting successful attempts is a really wonky mechanic that I'm not really comfortable about. Somehow the used magical energy comes back if the arrow misses or doesn't beat the CMD? As a whole bow that causes earth effects by successfully striking a square has a lot of potential, but I wish this had done something a bit more original with the idea.

35) Rerouting shield:
I'm not a huge fan of any power that allows you to automatically avoid an attack in any capacity. That's a really powerful ability and this actually harms an enemy at the same time. Although I like that it still has to overcome the new target's AC. That's a good balancing factor. It's the second ability that I like a lot. Bull rushing someone with a portal is an impossibly cool idea and something I want to try out right now. I'd also be interested to see a shield that the party could use as a group to some cool effect. All in all it's the first ability which I simply don't like, because I feel it isn't showing good sportsmanship.

36) Rod of Illusory Casting:
A good description and I like that you're trying to cover all the bases and situations. The main problem though is that it just isn't all that exciting. Especially because if it doesn't mask the effects, only the casting, then it is mostly useless in a lot of cases. I can imagine some cases where this would come in handy, but it still lacks the spark of a Superstar item. Especially because counterspelling just doesn't come up all that often. Perhaps if it had actually transformed spells into illusions, it might have had something going for it, especially for sorcerers or the like, whose spell selection is limited, but as it is, it's not just something I'd pick up unless I had a really specific task I needed to accomplish. I did upvote for it part of the time, mainly because I think it is a solid item for what it is, but it usually lost to items with more mojo.

37) Dwarven Armor of Exploration:
I like this item. It's an odd idea, which has been given suitable mechanics to be functional in a game. Though the moving through solid rock effect doesn't seem like something even watery mud can accomplish. It's solid stone. Oh well, magic. My only problem is that this is something of a niche item, only usable in certain campaigns. Even most dungeon crawls don't really require you to go fully spelunking. And I do get that you had limited space, but this could have been improved had it had an ability to do something else than moving around. Perhaps engulfing enemies or something, though I get that wasn't your focus point. Afraid that this just wasn't exciting enough for most voters, but know that at least I enjoyed it.

38) Gnome Splat-Pelter:
I feel that the focus on ochre jelly might actually keep this weapon from achieving its full potential. I like the fact that it can fling different object, potions and vials around, and I wish it would have focused on doing that well. As it is it's an intriguing visual and I'm sure I wouldn't mind using this one. Though I don't think the jelly needs a chance to escape - that's almost guaranteed to either complicate games unnecessarily or to be completely glossed over by GM fiat. As a whole I like how unique this idea was in comparison to others, but the design would have needed tightening for it to be truly Superstar-worthy. Now it seems unsure about what it really wants to do.

39) BLACK-AND-WHITE SWORD:
Isn't this a Magic the Gathering sword? Or is it just the visual I'm thinking about? In any case, it seems to me that this sword has a really elaborate backstory, but unfortunately its collection of powers is so all over the place and sporadic that I have no idea what that backstory might be like. The individual powers are fine - though the quasi-real property seems like an unnecessary drawback - but they don't come together and form a cohesive whole. And while it has a lot of versatility because of its spread of powers, it's also very expensive and seems like something one would only get from loot. Had the powers been any more powerful, I might have thought this was an artifact. All in all, I enjoy the visual, but I need a more solid theme to really support an item.

40) Varisian Dancing Chain:
I was actually expecting a weapon based on the name. Nevertheless, out of all the attack negating items this year, this was the only one I actively liked. The fact that it isn't automatic in any way helps a lot and the chance for the wielder to make an attack of opportunity of her own keeps well with the dance theme. I just wish the item did something more than that. Passive bonus to movement or avoiding attacks of opportunity while moving through threatened squares, or something else dance-like. As it is, the item is fine, it just lacks that final punch.


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mplindustries wrote:

So, I guess I should post my own item, as I am about to create a thread analyzing every other item.

Stormcrow Tomahawk
Aura moderate divination and evocation; CL 9th
Slot weapon; Price 28,308 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
The leather wrapped handle of this +1 distance shock throwing axe is adorned with long, black feathers. As an attack, the wielder of the Stormcrow Tomahawk can launch a blast of power in the form of a screaming crow, crackling with electricity. These blasts are resolved as if the weapon itself had been thrown at the target.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blood crow strike, clairaudience/clairvoyance, and call lightning or lightning bolt; Cost 14,154 gp

I voted this up a couple of times, and down a couple of times. Really, the only thing that strongly distinguishes this from a +1 distance returning shock throwing axe is the visuals. Mechanically, you might be able to make iterative attacks with it, which would be a plus, but isn't spelled out. "As if the weapon itself had been thrown" is a lot of interpretive burden to place on the GM. The kind-of-throwing portion means it won't get used in melee very often. It's fairly specialized for a high Strength ranged attacker, which you have to admit, is a little niche. And in utility, how does it stack up to a composite longbow? So, I think this one comes down to the flavor.

So, the really impactful thing is the visuals. And ... I don't like it. It seems video game-y. Hurling lightning axes one after another seems like it should be a very powerful effect in a high fantasy setting. And the combination of crow-lightning-tomahawk to me suggests this was cribbed from a Plains Indians theme, but not a very deep inspiration. I don't want to impugn your intentions at all. There isn't anything about the weapon that is intrinsically offensive. However, it does feel a little appropriated without relevant context, i.e. I can't speak for other people of Native American descent but it's a little on the theme park side, which is off-putting. The tomahawk itself has a specific cultural relevance; it was made by Europeans, originally, for trade as a weapon and tool, and was used by friendly Indians against other Indians and white settlers. So to me, personally, the tomahawk invokes a lot of 19th century history which is not really dealt with in the presentation of this item. Just calling it a Lightning Crow Axe would be a slight improvement. I'm kind of like, "It's okay, but really, if you were to ask me, please don't."

So, to me the overall impression is of something a character in a Japanese side-scrolling fighting game might wield. Probably a character named something like Big Chief with red war paint and buckskins who does a holler between battles. I don't presume to know your background; for all I know, this item comes from a place of personal cultural relevance. Without context, though, "Ugh, me no a like 'em."

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Howdy gang...the day job didn't let me get into this until now, but I wanted to add some feedback for select items I saw during voting. Of course, I am a Round 4 judge and not a Round 1 udge, so be sure to pay attention to Sean's established list of do's and don'ts, and to the feedback from the judges who chose the Top 32.

One other caveat: I know a lot of people in this contest, whether from participating in Superstar each year until 2013, or from working with (and even developing submissions from) other designers since winning Superstar in 2013. Whether I personally know a designer or not, my feedback is on the merits of the item and hopefully I'll list some positive things the designer could consider for the future.

I'll also have a brief post showing contestants what I'm looking for in the encounter round after the Top 16 are announced. : )

So if you specifically want me to critique your item, say so here and I'll try to get to it. But remember, the judges' comments are key: those were the guys deciding who enters the contest past the open call, so they are the most important people to understand.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Mark D Griffin wrote:
Alchemist's Retort

Every year there are themes or approaches to items that randomly see lots of exploration. This year, I saw a lot of roses, teleporting swords, wind or storm items, etc.

A recurring theme I noted was items that essentially blame a physical mechanism on magic. Spring-loaded boot knives without springs, or similar items. In this case, we have a shield that launches an item from back to front and sprays an opponent with acid or something else.

I'm not the biggest fan of this approach for two reasons: first, I think magic should be very magical in its approach. A magic item based on a mechanism means spending time and money on esoteric research to produce something your engineers could do with less time and money. Pathfinder is great at expanding the alternate equipment and alchemical device options in the game, and throughout voting I felt this shield better occupied those spaces instead.

The second reason is that I am really big on mojo. As I'll discuss in future reviews, the imagination and uniqueness of an entry is the most important thing to me. I can teach a designer to format correctly. I can teach a player, GM, or designer the rules of the game. But mojo and cinema are skills one has to develop on their own. I don't think it's very imaginative to create a shield that mechanically fires a flask from the middle.

I would say in terms of mojo, the good thing about this item is that there is memorable cinematic value in blasting an attacker with acid from behind your shield. I just don't think it's very magical or original.

Out of curiosity, why touch injection and not telekinesis? The item calls to mind the violent thrust capabilities of that spell.

Star Voter Season 6

Steven Helt wrote:


So if you specifically want me to critique your item, say so here and I'll try to get to it.

I'd love your feedback, Steven, if you have the time!

I'd also be curious whether you (or any others who'd like to comment) think I have improved since my 2013 entry (which made Top 89 but not Top 32), or whether you like my previous item better.

Many thanks for any critique!

Varisian Dancing Chain - 2015 Entry:
Varisian Dancing Chain
Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot armor; Price 10,250 gp; Weight 25 lbs.

Description
This +1 chain shirt, expertly crafted for maximum mobility, is made up of thousands of delicate and decorative interlocking links. The armor has a maximum Dexterity bonus of +6, and no armor check penalty.

Most significantly, the wearer may, as an immediate action once per round, attempt to reverse an attack of opportunity made against the wearer. When an enemy attempts an attack of opportunity against the wearer, the wearer may choose to make a reflex save with a DC equal to the enemy's attack roll. If successful, the enemy's attack of opportunity misses, and the wearer may instead make an attack of opportunity against the enemy.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, haste; Cost 5,250 gp

Dragonscale Fan - 2013 Entry:
Fan, Dragonscale
Aura faint (minor) or moderate (major or greater) abjuration and evocation; CL 3rd (minor), 7th (major), or 11th (greater)
Slot —; Price 14,000 gp (minor), 40,000 gp (major), 70,000 gp (greater); Weight 1 lb.
Description
This exotic yet harmless-looking fan enables the wielder to both harness and deflect the elemental energy of the dragon from whose scales the fan was created.

Twice per day, with a quick flick of the wrist, a dragonscale fan can be waved as a move action to create a 15 ft. instantaneous cone-shaped burst of one particular type of energy (see below). Creatures in the affected area take energy damage according to the strength of the fan. A minor dragonscale fan deals 1d6 points of energy damage. A major dragonscale fan deals 3d6 points of energy damage. A greater dragonscale fan deals 5d6 points of energy damage. A successful Reflex save results in half damage (DC 13 minor, DC 16 major, or DC 19 greater).

When grasped firmly in hand, a dragonscale fan protects the wielder from damage from one particular type of energy (see below). A minor dragonscale fan grants energy resistance 10. A major dragonscale fan grants energy resistance 20. A greater dragonscale fan grants energy resistance 30.

The type of energy damage and resistance granted by a dragonscale fan depend upon the color of the dragon whose scales were used in its creation:

  • black, green, or copper: acid.
  • blue or bronze: electricity.
  • brass, gold, or red: fire.
  • silver or white: cold.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Heighten Spell, Quicken Spell, burning hands, resist energy; Cost 7,000 gp (minor), 20,000 gp (major), 35,000 gp (greater)


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Feros wrote:

Heaven's Tether:

I found the reflection visual image a little confusing. It appears different in a mirror? Why? Why not have the cloud forms visible in the staff itself? And the “stabilize against levitate“ confused me somewhat. I had to look at the spell listing to find out what this was about. My group has never used levitate in combat. The staff is otherwise OK.

Oh haha my bad. The cloud forms ARE visible in the staff itself. The staff is like chrome, it is the 'mirror'. If you look in the staff you will not see your face relfected back at you, but only see clouds lol.

Thank you. It is helpful to hear, I made a lot of assumptions about what people would already know automatically. I realize how confusing it is now!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

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These were just my thoughts during voting:

SPANWHAMMER - Not good form to edit your item before posting it! (-10 cool points) Or edit it after people point out flaws! (-20 integrity points) History = down-check. Didn't like mechanics. Don't capitalize all of the name. Didn't like name. Minor formatting errors. Price/cost incorrect.

Blood Magic Dagger - Didn't like the mechanics. Formatting errors. Underpriced.

Stormcrow Tomahawk – Boring ability, not Superstar. Formatting issues. Price/cost incorrect.

Tormentor – Loved the description, but has mechanical issues. Formatting issues. Price/cost incorrect.

Staff of the Imperials – Should not have been a staff, but just a magic weapon. Mechanical and formatting issues.

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

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Mike Alchus wrote:

I saw a few posts of ppl that just dismissed tech-based items all together, but I would certainly love some critique that goes beyond that. Thanks!

Tormentor ...

Despite recommending against new technological weapons for Superstar, I dig tech a lot, and I upvoted this the one time I saw it despite some language issues. By being a hybrid item instead of a new technological weapon, it dodges many of the DQ concerns I had about breaking the template.

It's complex, and there's some mechanical problems (DC 16 may be a little low; sanity has its own rules so mentioning insanity was confusing; drawback of hurting your allies; do the 10 activations and "recharges at midnight" overrule the chainsaw's usage and capacity?). But this has a pure slasher-flick horror vibe that would feel great in a themed campaign or setting.

With some refining I could easily see this in a book of technological items or in the hands of a tech-friendly horror module's BBEG.

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

mplindustries wrote:

So, I guess I should post my own item, as I am about to create a thread analyzing every other item.

Stormcrow Tomahawk:

Stormcrow Tomahawk
Aura moderate divination and evocation; CL 9th
Slot weapon; Price 28,308 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
The leather wrapped handle of this +1 distance shock throwing axe is adorned with long, black feathers. As an attack, the wielder of the Stormcrow Tomahawk can launch a blast of power in the form of a screaming crow, crackling with electricity. These blasts are resolved as if the weapon itself had been thrown at the target.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blood crow strike, clairaudience/clairvoyance, and call lightning or lightning bolt; Cost 14,154 gp

The only actual mechanical mistake I noticed (too late) was the cost--I accidentally halved the cost of the base weapon, as well. Since I got culled, though, I obviously made other mistakes. I believe I understand why it did not receive votes, but I don't want to lead the critiques in this thread, either, so I will just wait and see if I am confirmed. Ultimately, I realized that I am a much better critic and editor than actual writer.

I don’t think this is a bad item. I think it is just a little bland. The visual of the screaming crow is cool but other than the visual this is just a +1 distance shock throwing axe that can launch a blast of power that is only a slight step above the returning ability. Since the CL is 9 and call lightning or lightning bolt are used in the creation, why not expand on the storm theme?

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Mikael Sebag wrote:
Enlightened Jian

I think this item essentially scored about 50/50 while I was voting. I actually liked the kung fu angle, though you are right. It's a great visual, but not terribly original.

The problem with the item to me is that the air walk function is virtually unlimited. A creature that builds using its Wisdom as its melee modifier obviously skies that Wisdom core. So now the monk can dump on Str, increasing his attack, damage, Will save, skill checks, AC, and air walk ability, as well as flurrying with a +2 mithril longsword. All wrapped up in one ability score, and all made possible for essentially 21,000 gp.

I'm not opposed to items that make a character very focused or powerful. I enjoy optimization and a badass PC as much as the next guy, but that doesn't make an item like this unique or Superstar.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Jaragil wrote:
33) Mummer's Slapstick:
Sorry, but I'm simply not a fan of jester items. Especially one such as this one that simply screams Looney Tunes at you. It even produces the twirling birds of being hit on the head. Plus, if you give the players an item that can shapeshift into humorous shapes, you know they will go into some extremely dirty and perverted places. And that's simply not my game. That being said, mechanically this is a solid item. It starts out as a hideous laughter in a can, but it expands upon that through fitting visuals and the ability to lengthen the duration. Had the flavour been something entirely different, I might have liked this one a great deal more. As it is, I'm sorry that our senses of humour don't align better than this.

Thanks for the critique, Jaragil! It's good to know the item rose above a mere SiaC.

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just want to say thanks to everyone who critiqued my item this year, I find all feedback valuable.

It's unlucky that gravity related items were fairly common this year, but in the end that's life.

As to the 130 ft area of effect, that was not a typo. I wanted the rod to cover a large area (an entire battlefield) because that ability is only usable once per day I wanted it to have an effect on the whole battlefield.

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

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Mike Alchus wrote:

Tormentor

This one was in my top-20. I was surprised that it did not at least make it past the cull. I loved the description, and it had great visuals and sparked my imagination.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

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Lady Firedove wrote:
I'd love your feedback, Steven, if you have the time!

I remember digging the dragonscale fan for its imagery. It's totally a SiaC with different energy types, but it's cool. I think if you can produce similar imagery in a more unique approach, you'll move forward in this contest and show us what you have beyond magic item design.

Regarding this year's item, a few thoughts:

first, remember that books of magic items don't include Golarion-specific material. Dancing chain is one thing, Varisian dancing chain is world-specific, and something you should avoid in the contest.

I know the whirling dervish trope is very popular (and it should be. It's fun!), but items and archetypes and hybrid options and more are crowding that space such that I think voter fatigue can work against you. I also think the most common magic item in the game is a chain shirt that has a higher max Dex or no ACP. In short, I think you applied decent mechanics to an overworked theme. I think your imagination just needs to be pushed to work in a space that isn't so crowded. You'll do well there. If I changed something mechanically about your shirt, I'd say place limitations on how often you can dodge the AoO, or raise the price.

Hope that's helpful.

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

I'll always appreciate feedback, Steven. My submission was Sightstealer Rapier.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

Jaragil wrote:

36) Rod of Illusory Casting:

A good description and I like that you're trying to cover all the bases and situations. The main problem though is that it just isn't all that exciting. Especially because if it doesn't mask the effects, only the casting, then it is mostly useless in a lot of cases. I can imagine some cases where this would come in handy, but it still lacks the spark of a Superstar item. Especially because counterspelling just doesn't come up all that often. Perhaps if it had actually transformed spells into illusions, it might have had something going for it, especially for sorcerers or the like, whose spell selection is limited, but as it is, it's not just something I'd pick up unless I had a really specific task I needed to accomplish. I did upvote for it part of the time, mainly because I think it is a solid item for what it is, but it usually lost to items with more mojo.

Thanks for the review and kind words.

As for when it would be used - almost anytime an illusionist (or caster that used a lot of illusions) wants to case a figment, or often glammers. I specifically used mislead as one of the example spells I mentioned, since I've never seen this cast by an enemy without the PCs making their spellcraft check and saying - oh, he went invisible, lets find him, rather than actually interacting with the illusion left behind. Pretty much any fill in the blank image is easily ignored if the PC casters can easily tell what was cast. And, if you cast a create pit, cloak it as a silent image, and let your foes think it's safe to walk over, they'll certainly be surprised. Making spells immune to counterspelling is a nice side benefit, which I hadn't even considered, it was really for the illusionist who wants to not have his enemies know he just cast an illusion.

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

Steven Helt, if you would be so kind, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the chrysalis carapace.

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

Mr. Helt,

If you have time I too would appreciate your feedback.

My item was the Dreaming Star.

My thanks in advance.

Marathon Voter Season 8

Steven, I'd like very much to hear what you think about raven leather.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

Steven Helt, thanks for offering more reviews - any feedback you have on the Rod of Illusory Casting (p.2) would be great.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

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theheadkase wrote:
Chrysalis Carapace

Couldn't get out of this without reviewing your submission, my friend.

The very first thing I think when I see the carapace is that you should make every sentence a clear rule. Instead of saying "anyone worshiping a deity with a nature theme", just let the item give static proficiency to any wearer. I can make a case that death is natural, so Norgorber is nature themed. You might not buy the argument, but players don't care what the designer thinks. They care what they can buy that makes THEIR idea in THEIR campaign cooler.

Not fully sure I buy layers of moth silk as full plate armor. If you describe something as from a really weird material, mention its hp and hardness. If you don't, I dunno if it's the same as steel.

If you blamed the absorbed spell ability on the droning of the wings or something, there'd be a connection, but the last ability or two seems tacked on. When you modify a normal item based on a solid theme, sometimes less can be more. The more abilities, the more voters have to read and the more confusing the item can become if you don't connect everything solidly.

And this might just be my baggage, but I think there are too many things with a fly perfect speed. Moths don't fly perfect. Why should a wearer of the carapace have the same maneuverability as an air elemental?

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

Magesmiley wrote:

Well, here was mine. Yes, I'm aware of the extra s at the very end that was courtesy of a last minute edit (I have beaten myself up enough over that already).

Ring of the Medic
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 11th
Slot ring; Price 13,000 gp; Weight -

Description
For those proficient in the art of healing, this simple silver band enhances their use of the Heal skill to allow the wearer to quickly remove an assortment of conditions. A wearer of the ring with at least one rank in the Heal skill may take a full round action (which provokes attacks of opportunity) to attempt to remove one of the following conditions from an adjacent individual. With a successful Heal check that meets the required DC, the condition is removed immediately.

DC Condition
15 Dazzled
20 Dazed
20 Sickened
25 Confused
25 Deafened
25 Nauseated
30 Blinded
30 Stunned

Each successful removal of a condition in this manner increases the above DC values by 3 until the next dawn. This penalty continues to apply even if the wearer of the ring changes.

If the wearer of the ring fails when attempting to remove a condition he or she may attempt to do so again (requiring another full-round action). Different conditions affecting a subject must be removed individually, with each condition requiring a separate full-round actions.

Construction
Requirements Forge Ring, heal, creator must have 12 ranks in the Heal skill; Cost 6,500 gp

*This really doesn't feel like a ring to me at all

*The DC jockeying is fairly fiddly.

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

Andrew Hoskins wrote:

Curious what you guys think...

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Manticore Fist
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 7th
Slot hands; Price 11,005 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
A dozen 1 inch long blackened spikes protrude from this heavy metallic gauntlet. When squeezed tightly, this +1 adamantine spiked gauntlet can fire off one of its spikes at a target as a ranged attack with a range increment of 10 feet. When fired from the gauntlet, the spikes increase to a length of 6 inches. Because the gauntlet regenerates spikes instantly, creatures capable of making iterative attacks may make as many attacks as they are capable of as a full-round action, or a single attack as a standard action. Spikes fired in this way deal 1d4+1 points of piercing damage and count as adamantine. In addition to ranged weapons, the spikes may also be used in a variety of ways including pitons, door stops, tent spikes, and very large nails. However, all spikes fired from the gauntlet disintegrate into dust after 1 hour, on a missed attack, or when removed from their target.
As a full-round action, the wielder may fire a volley of several dozen spikes in a 15 foot cone dealing 5d4+5 points of damage to all creatures in the area, who may make a Reflex save (DC 16) for half damage. Using this ability halts the gauntlet’s ability to regenerate spikes for 1 hour. Two manticore fists may be used at the same time to fire two different 15 foot cones with the same full-round action; creatures in any area of overlap make one Reflex save against both cone attacks.
The damage listed is for a medium sized manticore fist; adjust all damage dice accordingly for different sized manticore fists.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, abundant ammunition or minor creation; Cost 7,005 gp

*Given the cost of adamantine, everything on this weapon other than the +1 is being costed the same as a +1 equivalent. The ability to become ranged is already worth more than that (since just throwing is a +1)

*It really gets problematic in the final sentence, which seems to imply that everything, including the AoE, goes up with size increases and with added effects like greater magic weapon. This could increase the AoE from two gauntlets to something like 30d6+50 in the extreme case, which is like night and day when compared to the basic version.

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

Ian Eastmond wrote:

SPANWHAMMER

Aura strong abjuration and transmutation; CL 12th
Slot none; Price 30,340 gp; Weight 14 lbs.
Description
This +1 returning throwing earthbreaker has a head of rough-hewn Irespan basalt instead of the usual jagged mass of metal, though the sepia-marbled stone matches steel in weight and hardness. Even as the stone harvested from the ruins of Magnimar’s signature ancient landmark is primarily prized for usefulness in golem-craft, the artisan melting-pot of Varisian cultures oft-times produces items like this massive two-handed maul named both after the origin of its main material and the fact that it can smash things at a distance. When used to sunder magic weapons or armor, a spanwhammer’s enhancement bonus increases by +2 (for a total of +3) and it also deals an additional 2d6 points of damage. The wielder can also ready an action to attempt a counterspell effect against any spell or spell-like ability with a measurable area of effect that spanwhammer can be thrown through or into as long as the area of effect is within 50 feet of the wielder at time of casting – no attack roll is required however a dispel check must be made as if attempting a counterspell using greater dispel magic, with the caster level equal to the wielder’s hit dice; this ability cannot target spells with no area of effect. Whether or not the attempt is successful spanwhammer returns to its wielder afterwards, however if the counterspell attempt was successful the weapon’s returning and throwing abilities will cease to function until a full day passes (it always remains a +1 weapon with the added benefit when sundering magic arms and armor).
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, antimagic field, greater dispel magic, telekinesis; Cost 15,170 gp

Quote:
Having re-read my item after posting it here, I probably should have tried something more simple. I just figured on
...

*Price/Cost don't match.

*Ohhh, it's made of the Irespan and it's actually called spanwhammer. At first I thought it was a typo for "spawnhammer" or something. It's really hard to not read spawnhammer.

*The abilities aren't that interesting but they actually do fit together with each other, and with the chosen Golarion source material.

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

edduardco wrote:

So here is my entry:

Blood Magic Dagger
Aura strong evocation and transmutation; CL 12
Slot none; Price 33,302 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This +1 wounding dagger has a crimson vicious blade and the edge is always sharp to the touch. The wielder of this dagger may slash herself, dealing damage as normal as part of casting a spell, the wielder may apply any one metamagic feat she possess to the spell being cast without increasing the spell level or casting time, as long as the total modified level of the spell does not use a spell slot above 9th level. The dagger deals 2d6 points of damage as backlash for each spell levels increased by the feats. The wielder cannot reduce or negate the damage of the backlash. No more than one feat can be applied to a spell cast by the wielder in this way.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, bleed; Cost 16,802 gp

*Free metamagic for damage is a recipe for abuse, particularly with out-of-combat metamagics like extend.

*This weapon also actively encourages its user to have as low of a Strength score as possible, since it deals less damage that way.

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

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mplindustries wrote:

So, I guess I should post my own item, as I am about to create a thread analyzing every other item.

Stormcrow Tomahawk
Aura moderate divination and evocation; CL 9th
Slot weapon; Price 28,308 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
The leather wrapped handle of this +1 distance shock throwing axe is adorned with long, black feathers. As an attack, the wielder of the Stormcrow Tomahawk can launch a blast of power in the form of a screaming crow, crackling with electricity. These blasts are resolved as if the weapon itself had been thrown at the target.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blood crow strike, clairaudience/clairvoyance, and call lightning or lightning bolt; Cost 14,154 gp

The only actual mechanical mistake I noticed (too late) was the cost--I accidentally halved the cost of the base weapon, as well. Since I got culled, though, I obviously made other mistakes. I believe I understand why it did not receive votes, but I don't want to lead the critiques in this thread, either, so I will just wait and see if I am confirmed.

Ultimately, I realized that I am a much better critic and editor than actual writer.

*The crow ability, its only ability, is just a strictly superior returning

*Also, the weapon costs less than +1 distance shock returning.

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

Mike Alchus wrote:

I saw a few posts of ppl that just dismissed tech-based items all together, but I would certainly love some critique that goes beyond that. Thanks!

Tormentor
Aura moderate necromancy and enchantment; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 47,300 gp; Weight 7 lbs.
Description
A terrifying weapon to behold, this chainsaw’s (Technology Guide) 2-foot-long blade extends from a large black rock carved into the shape of an octopoid creature, it’s tentacles oozing a black oily ichor. The blade itself is surrounded by teeth that seem to have been attached haphazardly. The weapon’s handles are scorched bones protruding from the blade’s base.

When this +2 chainsaw is activated, the teeth surrounding the blade spin blindingly fast producing an unnerving sound akin to that of people screaming in terror. Anyone within 30’ of the wielder who hears this must make a DC 16 Will save or become shaken until the chainsaw is turned off (the wielder is immune to this effect). Once per day as a swift action, the wielder may designate a target within sight to be the victim of Tormentor’s madness, invading their mind so that the wielder appears as an unfathomable mass of demonic eyes and razor sharp teeth. The first time this target is struck by Tormentor they must make a DC 16 Will save. A successful save causes the victim to become frightened until the wielder’s next turn, while a failed save causes the victim to temporarily (1d4 rounds) descend into insanity, becoming panicked. While in this panicked state, Tormentor causes an additional 2d6 of non-lethal damage per hit.

Tormentor can be activated up to 10 times before it has been drained for the day. It recharges each night at midnight.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, crushing despair, fear; Cost 23,650 gp

*Price/Cost don't match

*Does not follow the rules correctly

*Major friendly fire on the shaken

*Sentence starting with "While in this panicked state" is very confusing.

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

Woody Elliott wrote:

I may be a little late to the party but here it goes.

Staff of the Imperials
Aura Strong Transmutation ; CL 11
Slot none; Price 60,000; Weight 5 lbs.

This ivory quarterstaff is inlaid with carvings of four pristine imperial eastern dragons. An onyx underworld dragon , an azurite sea dragon, an opal sky dragon, and a jade forest dragon coil up the length of the staff locked in an ancient, almost forgotten battle from before the time of man.

The Staff of the Imperials acts as a +2/+2 quarter staff. Additionally, if the user has a ki pool they may activate any of the listed abilities if they meet the prerequisites to do so. Activating an ability is a standard action and causes the corresponding carving to shed light equal to a torch for the duration of the ability.

Magma staff- The underworld dragon carving spews magma from its mouth coating the ends of the staff the weapon counts as if it had the flaming enchantment on both ends. This ability functions as long as the user has at least 1 ki point in their ki pool.

Water Breathing- By spending 1 point from his ki pool, the sea dragon carving grants the user water breathing as per the spell with a duration of 1 hour per character level.

Flight- By spending 2 points from his ki pool, the carving grants the user fly as per the spell with a duration of 1 minute per character level.

Petrification- By spending 3 points from his ki pool, the forest dragon carving bestows it's awesome ability to turn an opponent to stone. This ability functions as a flesh to stone spell with a save DC = 16 + user's wisdom modifier.

Construction Requirements Craft Staff, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Dragon's Breath, Water Breathing, Fly, Flesh To Stone Cost 30,000

*This is not a staff. It uses the wearer's ki, it has no charges, and it isn't a spell-trigger item at all.

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