Official Critique My Item Thread

RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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

My new friend, I dunno what to say about raven leather. I think it's imaginative, and has fantastic mojo and cinema. Light armor needs more options.

Now to be sure, adding flying to a weapon or armor isn't the most unique thing in the world. The price seems high, and as Mark mentioned, the armor component is a minor factor compares to the visible magical effects. I'm not persuaded that's intrinsically bad design, but it's a criticism you could easily avoid with tighter design and an armor quality related to the raven theme. Maybe creeping, putrid, or shadow.

Yours is a great example of looking carfully at the Round One judges' feedback. Your item was in my personal Top 32 (which consisted of 27 items), so while my feedback might help you in terms of mojo and combating voter fatigue, keep in mind that your judges have different tastes and one of them is a seasoned developer. Be sure to digest every comment they made.

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 Seifter wrote:
Ian Eastmond wrote:


"Spawnhammer" would have been a better name. : )

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

Steven, I'd also appreciate a review. My item was the catapult ring, page 1. Thanks.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Mark D Griffin

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

First off Steve, thanks for the critique, I appreciate you taking the time to think about my item.

I went with touch injection over telekinesis for 2 reasons. First touch injection is an alchemist spell, and I wanted at least 1 of those on the shield. Secondly, and more importantly, the idea was not that the alchemical weapon is simply loaded and launched from back to front, but that once loaded the weapon is dispersed and infuses the shield lending it properties of the weapon. When struck the shield explodes causing the infused weapon to be sprayed outwards. I guess that could have been made clearer in the text of the item, I'm not sure if that would help you feel the shield was more magical and less mechanical. That is why I mention the shield having minor cosmetic changes relating to the weapon, but I could have said more.

Several people have mentioned it might be cooler if the shield had a face where weapons were loaded into the mouth and then sprayed out like a breath weapon (or even just sprayed out magically). This was brought up by a friend while the item was being developed, and perhaps that would make the item more cinematic, but I feel like I've seen a million magical shields with faces. I thought it was more interesting and even original to have a shield that exploded, and I thought it fit better with the alchemist theme. Ultimately this item was made with my wife's gnomish alchemist in mind who is the kind of character who blows up everything, so it was never going to do anything other than explode.

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41) Springheart:
Probably the item with the most atmosphere this year. You use your words wisely to describe a picture, a setting, without resorting to direct backstory. The fey reference is just vague enough that it doesn't bother people. The message imagery is the main part, but I also like the sole temporary hit point it gives. It's not much, but it feels like spring. I wouldn't have been surprised to see this in the Top 32. The reason why I think it wasn't advanced is that it feels more like a wondrous item, and more importantly, like a plot device. Had this been reusable, it would have been an extremely cool message item. Now it feels like a supplementary item for a specific campaign. Especially the death effect, which might also have turned a few people away. All in all I hope to see more from you based on this.

42) Raw Meat Hook:
Definitely not something you'd see everyday and I like that you went with such an uncommon theme for this one. I just wish it did more than grappled a little bit more efficiently. Ogres have potential for so much more, and while grappling is certainly appropriate for this weapon, it feels like a low fence option. The goriness of it is fine in my books. Pathfinder is not just sunshine and kittens and this should be reflected in magic items as well. All in all an item that's completely utilitarian, but lacks the wow factor aside from the imagery.

43) Shield of the Fallen:
Definitely iconic imagery, and the mechanics talk is written well. The two main problems are that it's just a couple of spells in a can, and I don't like that you reference Sparta directly. Sure our world is part of the Pathfinder multiverse as shown in the Reign of Winter adventure path, but it still feels like eating porridge with your ice cream when you mix worlds like this. A more effective choice would have been to imagine what a Spartan shield would be like and then not just reference Sparta at all. Let the players reach their own conclusions. Sometimes less is more.

44) Betrayer's Blade:
Feinting hasn't gotten much love, which is a shame as it is a solid "combat maneuver" with a lot of potential for cinematic scenes. So it's nice to see someone tackling it. And these are not bad abilities at all, although the price of this dagger is way too low. The main problem is that while the two abilities are solid, they're not exactly exciting, being mere damage boosters. Sometimes this is not a problem if the imagery is strong, but this is just a decorated dagger. Plus I don't see the betrayer thing here. How is this made specifically for betraying? All in all a good item, just not exciting enough for Superstar.

45) Warbreaker’s Staff:
For an item named Warbreaker's Staff, this item seems to focus on a very specific way of breaking war. The visuals and the spell selection I have no problems with, but I don't think I'd ever give this to my players or use it against them, because sundering someones weapon is simply an anticlimactic way to end the fight, plus really annoying if you liked that particular weapon. Though I applaud that you focused on just the weapons, as that keeps the weapon from being too overpowered and fits your theme very well. In the end I just wasn't raring to go and use this item, which meant that it lost votes to items I wanted to use.

46) Ring of the Clockwork Sentinel:
Very flavourful item and it tickles the steampunk fanboy in me. The rules are explained clearly and while it seems perhaps a touch overpriced, it's not a huge problem. But the thing I have to wonder is why you spent over half of your wordcount explaining how difficult the ring is to steal? Only the last paragraph deals with an actual ability and it's a short one. Sure there's the item removal prevention thing for 10 rounds, but even that is added to the theftproof-talk, almost like an afterthought. It's almost like those weird machines that fill entire rooms and do nothing but produce coffee. It's flavourful, sure, but I think the words could have been used for something more substantial. As a whole I like this item, but it has such weird design choices that I couldn't vote for it as often as I would have liked.

47) Talon:
This made my keep list, because I really like the option of making my archer more than the DPS turret he usually is. That being said, this is somewhat rough around the edges. The name doesn't make much sense for this set of powers, the visuals are somewhat clichéd and in the end it's simply a spell-in-a-can for cure light wounds, though at least modified a little bit. Had this provided healing in a way that didn't directly mimic a spell, it could have been a lot better. Or perhaps no uses per day, but it takes a full-round action to fire a heal arrow, making it a question of action resources. Nevertheless, I like that you try to provide more options while still keeping within the game's flavour. Hope to see more from you.

48) Celerity Blade:
Excellent imagery and I love how you made this blade ooze presence by giving it so many fitting details. The light weapon and nonlinear charge abilities are also very fitting and are serious contenders for must-have powers for certain character builds, while still retaining their all-around usability for most classes. Unfortunately the last paragraph falters a little bit, because the description doesn't seem to fit the actual power. While would the blade hide the wielder's movements only during the first round if it can hide them? Plus the power itself is a tad lackluster compared to the previous ones. I actually think this might have fared better had that last paragraph been removed. But, one of the best blades this year even still.

49) Outrider's Band:
Definitely one of the odder ideas this year, and I mean that in the best possible sense. I like the idea of handling your mount in this manner and I could see entire tribes of horsemen regularly practicing this. I just can't over the fact that this feels more like a saddle wondrous item than a ring. Or perhaps even some kind of spell rather than item at all. Plus the very specific fear penalties make me question why the form doesn't fear, say, manticores. The ability to meld the gear into the body seems really powerful for that price. Also, while the alcohol vulnerability might really exist in horses - I'm not well-read enough to know - it seems superfluous here and stands out needlessly. As a whole the idea is great, but the design itself is unfortunately all over the place.

50) Sleeper's Vessel:
Interesting idea, though I don't think it was necessary to tie it to Nidal specifically. I could see this used by spies and smugglers around Golarion, not just in Nidal. The actual ability works well because you restrict it to creatures with few HDs, though it's then rendered to practical uselessness because the duration is so short. It would have been better had it been more costly, but with a duration of 30 minutes. In that time you can actually smuggle someone out of somewhere. There's also the problem that if the point is still to keep the enemy alive, puncturing him with a sharp object is not the best way to go. This power would fit a wondrous item much better. Nevertheless, a good theme and the idea itself has potential.

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Page 11:

Rod of Divine Empowerment:
Not very evocative visuals for what is simply a pearl of power expanded. The description is thick and detailed, but carries little that can excite or interest.

Not a bad device with a fairly solid visual element. Essentially a powerful debuffer. I liked this item, but with no limit on the dispel energy being used except +10 any decent level encounter with an NPC could spike this sucker to the max awfully quickly.

Impenetrable Pelt:
This is kind of cool; I like the visual image on this. But the mechanics to support the visual aren’t all that exciting or different. It needed some other form of benefit from the image to really spark. (Take heart in knowing this mistake is exactly what I did with my item as well!)

Covenskein Net:
I like the imagery which is strong and dark in nature. But ultimately it’s a strength draining net. That’s quite powerful, especially for the price. The hair thing was OK for me, but may have turned some people off.

Brother’s Guard:
More than one shield had powers to defend not just the wielder but an ally. This isn’t bad mechanically but it isn’t very exciting and it doesn’t have a strong visual image tied to its use.

Molten Belcher:
Not bad design overall, but what it does is interesting but not exciting. The image of the fire blasting forth is good, but not very original. It is a solid magic item, but that’s all.


Page 12:

Serpent’s Tongue:
Interesting idea, but very niche. It essentially requires someone to be stabbed and then drink a potion, presumably in the same battle for PCs using this blade. This seems more like an item that hurts the party when used by an opponent. I’m not a fan of GM preferred magic items outside of cursed objects.

Sarenrae’s Desert Defender:
Better than what you submitted in overall thematic feel, but I don’t think you’ve captured that bond between the use of the scimitar in battle and the magic effect as presented. It needs some other hook to tie the whole together for me.

Ring of the Medic:
Pretty straight forward Heal skill augmentation allowing the skill to be used in a way normally reserved for spells. Good idea, well presented, and not exciting in the least. A solid ring and that’s about it.

Manticore Fist:
The concept is cool and the imagery is really neat. Mechanically it’s pretty good as well, but it is essentially an unlimited adamantine ammo item. That’s significant and a touch overpowered for me.

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Jaragil wrote:

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.

Thanks for the input Jaragil!

Grand Lodge Contributor

Mark Seifter wrote:
Andrew Hoskins wrote:

Manticore Fist

Aura moderate conjuration; CL 7th
Slot hands; Price 11,005 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
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.
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.

Thanks for the critique, Mark!

I did play around quite a bit the cost, and it might still be on the low side. I ways thought of the ability to shoot spikes as just thematic, and not as a throwing type property. Good call.

For the size increase, I suppose I wanted to keep that spike-shooting element interesting even when used in conjunction with enlarge person or the war priest's ability to increase damage dice. Even so, I'm not seeing how a PC could get more than 10d6+10 with enlarge person and 10d6+50 with a CL 20 greater magic weapon. At that caster level, the damage seems to scale appropriately. Most CR 18-23 creatures would sort of shrug at an average of 85 damage.

Could you tell me how to got to 30d6?

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

Past years' FAQs explicitly allowed Golarion-specific material (with the caveat that it's not a great idea). I just noticed this year's FAQ doesn't mention this (or that Paizo owns submissions, either).

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

My item. I don't think they post the top 100 yet, so I don't know if I landed in top 100 or below. I did see it listed as a top 32 item of one poster, but obviously I needed more than one person to like the item.

Rod of Brilliant Steps
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 34,700 gp; Weight 4 lbs.


This crystalline rod functions as a +1 light mace. The possessor and their gear are always clean as if by prestidigitation.

While held in hand more powers become available for use. Your every footstep leaves a soft silvery glow for one round equivalent in brightness to a torch, but it creates no heat and doesn't use oxygen. You may walk over liquids such as lava, quicksand, or water; difficult terrain such as ice, rubble, or tall grass; and vapors such as clouds, fog including magical fog, and mist. A column of force supports your weight under each foot and requires no Acrobatics checks to keep your balance. You may not run or take the charge action while holding the rod. You gain the ability to take 5-foot steps over these surfaces. The wearer is protected from temperature extremes of the surface (such as hot vapor or lava) and immune to harmful vapors including from spells such as cloudkill.

Requirements Craft Rod, alter self, feather step, lily pad stride; Cost 17,350 gp

Star Voter Season 8

Petty Alchemy wrote:
Sightstealer Rapier

Good: Great thematic, solid concept that isn't overblown, well-written and mostly clear about the mechanics.

Bad: Will save is rather low. (But that's unfortunately the case with many published items, too.) Also, does the effect continue even if the target creature is dead?
Overall: I must say, as a player of many and varied types of rogues, I would take the sightstealer rapier over a more generic "dagger of backstabbing or poison" any day. Being able to steal an enemy's sight and see in the dark? Kick-ass. As it stands, there is a narrow window between when a player could afford it and when the DC 13 becomes trivial. A passive power related to the theme could have helped a lot.

Also, we're not ripping out eyeballs here, just (temporarily) mimicking the target's sensory capacities while depriving him/her/it of them. No eye-stabbing is even required. I didn't really find this squicky ;)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka nate lange

Thanks for the review Feros!

Steven Helt, if you get to it I'd love a review of Spelldrinker (the potential abuse by masochistic munchkin magi has already been pointed out, but any other feedback would be great). Thanks!

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Hi Steven,

I, too, would appreciate your feedback on my item. Thanks!

Phil Greeley/Rochandil Calenlad wrote:

Here's mine, warts and all...Yes, I neglected to use the bold tags when I posted, so I'll do the same now ;)

The Pen of Mirado

Aura Strong Divination and Evocation; CL 12th
Slot None; Price 20,010 gp; Weight --

Mirado was a bard and scribe known for his careful use of wit and invective in defeating his foes, whether verbally, in writing, or otherwise. His pen was as sharp as his tongue, and never far from his grasp.

The pen of Mirado is a slender stylus of ebony, chased with brass; it is a functional writing instrument. When used in combat, it is considered a +1 weapon that deals 1d2 points of damage on a successful hit (20/x2 critical, piercing). The wielder, upon making a successful DC 25 Bardic Knowledge check about his opponent, can then use the pen to strike once, as a full attack action, as if the pen were a greatsword. The strike is at +5 to the attack roll, and automatically scores a critical hit if successful; x3 if the roll is a natural 19 or 20. This strike ignores damage reduction of any sort, as well as fortification. Further, the pen is considered a bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing weapon for this attack. Only corporeal creatures can be struck.

The wielder can attempt his Bardic Knowledge check once per round as a swift action at the beginning of his turn. If he fails, the DC increases by 2, until five attempts are made against a given opponent. A successful check decreases the DC by 2 for a subsequent check. A maximum of five successful attacks can be made per opponent. A given opponent can be subject to these attacks only once every 24 hours.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Critical Focus, Legend Lore, Shatter; Cost 10,005 gp

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Page 13:

Too complicated with its effects and powers that do connect with its background but not in a spectacular manner. The name is not good at all. I see it as a portmanteau of Span Warhammer, but that is just isn't good design.

Blood Magic Dagger:
An item seemingly inspired by the blood magic in Dragon Age. Not bad, but the bleed damage is quite large for the amount of metamagical power granted. Still, good visual even if it is a bit gory.

Stormcrow Tomahawk:
The visual is great, although I don’t generally associate crows with lightning. My problem is the blast. If it is available every round and is the same as a normal attack, why bother with a normal throwing attack?

No problem with the tech angle; I love powered chainsaws as two-handed weapons! But the power is about frightening everybody in range, not ripping things apart. It is an interesting choice, but ultimately the imagery doesn’t fit as well as I like.

Staff of the Imperials:
You don’t need Craft Staff for this as it is a magic quarterstaff weapon. I like the theme and the imagery of this weapon in use, but the powers—while related to the dragons carved in the staff—build it into something like a ki powered SAK.


Page 14

Rod of Brilliant Steps:
Interesting visual image here with the use of this rod. I remember it well during the voting. Passing over rough terrain is useful as well, but ultimately this isn't a very exciting magic item. And there seems to be no reason for the bright footsteps whatsoever.

...and with that, I'm caught up! :)

I'll keep doing reviews as new items come up as it fits in.

Marathon Voter Season 8

Jacob Kellogg wrote:

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.

Sort of, yeah. You make it sound like a bad thing which, is, well, exactly why it lost. The purpose was to make throwing a viable build option. To that end, it's basically a weapon with an integral slotless Blinkback Belt (it's even priced that way) with, I thought a cool visual. But the true point was to make throwing not suck. That's not what people wanted out of this contest. My taste in items is not what the contest was looking for.

RJGrady wrote:
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.

I don't want to look like I'm in "defensive mode" or anything--I fully accept the loss with no ill will or anything, but, no, the major difference is that this weapon can make full attacks and Returning is a worthless weapon property.

RJGrady wrote:
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.

Yeah, other than apparently being boring, this is also where I think I blew it--lots of people I spoke to didn't have any clue how it worked. I tried to make it really simple, but the simplicity caused confusion. Every time I tried to spell it out, it came across awkwardly, so, I cut it down.

As for that potentially offensive bit, well, damn. I have never heard anything about tomahawks being weapon made by white people--I just thought it was a term for the Powhatan's handaxes that expanded to just mean an Amerindian flavored hand axe. Hmm, is it better that I didn't know that, or worse? Is that stuff about white people inventing it really even true? I'm having trouble finding sources for that.

James Casey wrote:

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?

Expanding it would have, in my mind, watered down the point (make throwing weapons viable) and added too much to the cost, making it impractical for real use. You'll see when I start posting more critiques how important I think usability and practicality are.

Mark Seifter wrote:

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

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

I can't really argue with that, no, I just never considered looking at it from that angle. It's priced as a +1 distance shock weapon plus a slotless Blinkback Belt.

Personally, I think the Returning property is kind of awful, so, I wasn't worried, but that is a very good point as to why I got culled.

Feros wrote:
The visual is great, although I don’t generally associate crows with lightning. My problem is the blast. If it is available every round and is the same as a normal attack, why bother with a normal throwing attack?

Well, you wouldn't. It basically just lets you make full throwing attack with a cool visual added in. Stormcrows are from Amerindian myth, which I guess is not a common association for many people.

Thank you, everyone for the comments, though. Like I said, I think I'm a better critic than author after all.

Star Voter Season 8

Brief hiatus from reviewing aside (to run my Pathfinder game): Page 6!

PEN OF MIRADO: "Pen mightier than sword" item. With a lot of warts.

* This item really, really needs to have a basic weapon type, e.g. a tiny sized dagger. Otherwise it's a wondrous item with weapon properties.
* Wait. It is a wondrous item with weapon properties. It even requires Craft Wondrous Item…. I guess you missed the memo by Mark about "Do not submit a wondrous item, including those in disguise".
* Bardic Knowledge check? Pathfinder CRB was published over 5 years ago now, and the Bard class mechanics are freely available on the SRD. Sorry, but using mechanics from a different game is grounds for automatic disqualification (refer bullet point #4 from the "Disqualification" section of the Round 1 rules).
Even assuming this was a legitimate contest entry
* It's mechanically cumbersome and decidedly over the top; Automatic critical hit (not threat), with a x3 multiplier on a 19-20? Ignoring all DR and fortification? And counts as all S/B/P?
* There is a limit of 5 attacks per opponent, but most characters won't need more than five auto-crits on a single target.
* It's a single attack as a full-round action, but bards (who are the only person who could use it) have rogue BAB so aren't missing too much from this. And it auto-crits.
* Bards aren't proficient in greatswords. Making it questionable whether the "strike as greatsword" would incur non-proficiency penalties.
* If this were a rapier that transformed into a stylus or quill, with a bunch of weapon powers related to writing, ink, or literature, that was actually compatible with Pathfinder? That would have been much, much better. Maybe next time.

MOTHERLY LOVE: Disclaimer: My item, but I felt some hindsight commentary was worthwhile

A lot of rambling:
* I designed this item themes I personally enjoy; Shades of grey, power with a price, and distinctive items that become part of a character's style statement.
* I tend to play in games where the player/GM relationship is more collaborative than competitive, and where such drawbacks tend to be roleplay devices, rather than exploitable weaknesses in combat. In hindsight, a lot of groups don't play this way, and that would cast the item in a very, very different light.
* And… yes. Looking at it more carefully, the way the situational bane is written is far more than a +1 bonus and thus underpriced. What I should have done with that is make it the limited to one enemy at a time; likely the first enemy to damage the wielder, until it is dead, defeated, fled (it, not the wielder) or 24 hours have passed.
* I was originally toying with something like it singing a lullaby to help the wielder sleep at night…. but switched to the long term care to try and keep the cost down and avoid a SiaC item. In hindsight, it really did need some oomph in the unique ability department.
* Regarding the requirement: Technically, it is a curse (according to the Cursed Item section of the CRB). But then, so is every item which causes an involuntary cosmetic change on the wielder; these kind of effects aren't present in the main magic item rules, only the cursed item section. It's… weird and usually ignored, but that's just how the CRB is written.
* And yes, the "Mother" requirement was heavy handed (though I personally found it entertaining that so many people considered this far creepier than the myriad of blood-eating, soul-ripping, corpse-exploding items that crop up :P). A more subtle approach would be to have an activated power with the command word being "mother" in the language of the individual whose hair was used.
* Live and learn. This was my first RPGSS experience, and it's been an educational one :)

AXLE OF SKY AND STORM: Autospear, TRANSFORM! Honestly, this would be better as a wondrous item, given that a chariot isn't a weapon and introduces a myriad of questions that a 300 word count can't answer (e.g. how much can it carry? How many people? It's primary use will actually be travel, so this question will be asked and Ultimate Combat doesn't give answers). Also, a medium chariot only uses 1 large sized creature to pull it; you listed a pair of bull-thingies.

EREMITE ROD: Cool concept, but the mechanics need a serious overhaul IMO =/

* Starting from the bottom: On critical hit the wielder can forgo the extra damage to deal d4 ability score damage of their choice. There are a lot of high CR creatures with a low ability score (typically Int or Dex) that aren't immune to ability score damage. If this had a restriction of "To a minimum of 1" like ray of enfeeblement then maybe. As it stands it is vastly more powerful than the costing gives credit for, due being able to bypass hitpoints and instakill (or disable) a creature with ability score damage.
* Also; Pathfinder removed most weapon effects that deal ability score damage; e.g. wounding was a Con-damage property that they changed to bleed damage instead. Considering that, I doubt ability score damaging items are something they want.
* What action is it to use the rod? Free or swift?
* 3/day it adds a Fort save or 1d4 bleed (see below) plus howling agony (sans damage penalty & escape clause) with another spell. Howling agony normally has 1 target/level, close range and a duration of 1 round/level, with an escape clause of allowing the target to take a move action to remove the penalties for the rest of its turn. This means you can add it to a fireball for dramatically longer range and more targets. Combined with the action economy this is startlingly powerful.
* This currently reads like the intent is to have an indefinite duration like the monster ability or Bleeding Critical. Spells that deal bleed damage, however, typically have a duration; see deadly finale, lipstitch, brow gasher, touch of bloodletting etc. I would strongly recommend the item have a duration on the bleed effect, akin to the listed spells, as costing for an indefinite duration would need to be high, especially given the ability to attach it to enlarged long range spells.
* Going purely by existing mechanics, this item functions as 3/day quickened howling agony with benefits, plus weapon abilities. The problem is that pricing wise, that gets a bit insane; A +4 weapon = 32,000gp, and 3/day quickened howling agony = 109,200gp... Which I personally think is crazily overpriced given what it does, but action discounts are super expensive in Pathfinder.
* I think the item concept has a lot of coolness to it, and I can think of characters who would love this kind of thing… but mechanically it needs a lot of work: I'd recommend scrapping the weapon functionality or toning it back; Ditching the crit ability; Ditching the bleed and adding a pain effect with a limited duration (Rod of metamagic pain?) that would synergize more with casting damaging spells (which is what triggers it)… say reduced speed, -2 saves and attack?

HAMMER OF BESTING: Too simple, too cheap, too powerful. Sorry.

* Price/cost wrong. You need to include the masterwork weapon cost.
* It's a +2 Warhammer (8,312gp) with 3/day spell resistance with a twist and massive duration.
* Will start being seen in games around 12th level, where 20HD+ creatures are common enough, giving SR around 32 early on (CL20), and up to 47 (CL35) later. Allowing for Extend spell to get the duration up (1 min/level -> 60 minutes), this is then a 3/day CL20 6th level spell as a minimum, with a price tag of 144,000gp. Plus extra costs for the scaling and Will saves (a +32 bonus to Will saves is insane. Just saying.).
* Honestly… you need to look more carefully at magic item creation rules before next year.

EPHEMERAL STAFF: Poor spell choice: 1 druid spell, 2 sor/wiz spells, making faerie fire a waste. Interesting concept, but comes across as a permanent mini-see invisibility (which should be more expensive) and mini-ghost touch weapon, and the spells don't entirely gel with the ethereal theme (especially faerie fire).

STAFF OF THE AURABOROS: I advise against item names that are puns. Spells add up to 23,200gp (the craft staff formula is for the cost not price. I know this is backwards and needlessly confusing… but that's how it is written). Who is this staff for? Clerics can't cast arcane sight and Sor/Wiz can't cast imbue with aura. Aura mechanics are very fluffy and likely to pause games for debate/argument/arbitration a lot.

STAFF OF THE TWINNED PATH: There's some discussion in here.

* This appears to be primarily a Magus and Bloodrager weapon. Focusing on the former for now: The PRD suggests that you can use one end of a quarterstaff as a 1H weapon. But as published, the Quarterstaff Master feat exists specifically to permit this, implying that without the feat you cannot. Paizo may have redacted this to make the feat redundant, but if so it really should be in an official errata.
* A magic staff is not a quarterstaff unless the item specifically states it. So the Wand Wielder arcana would allow a Magus to use spell combat with a non-weaponized magic staff in their off hand with Spell Combat, but cannot Spell Combat with a quarterstaff unless they also take the Staff Magus archetype because it is not a one-handed weapon.
* If a magus takes both the requisite archetype and arcana, they can then use the staff as a one handed weapon, and theoretically cast a spell from it as part of spell combat without provoking any attacks of opportunity due to it being a spell trigger. This is pretty niche, even for a magus, given that one of their usual big tricks is using their weapon's critical range for spellstrike.
* A Bloodrager would use this as a boomstick and then likely get out a better weapon for the melee, given they're a martial weapon, full BAB class. If it were some other form of weapon, they might hang on to it. But that's a matter of choice and style statement really.
* That discussion aside: Spell cost is 20,000gp with a SAK of handle combat buffs and damaging spells, 4600gp for the weapon enhancements, leaving 2000gp for an immediate action extra attack each round (in addition to any granted by haste and thus superior and stacking with speed, and even applies to AO's), and the ability to not need to take the magus arcana Wand Wielder (call it a feat, 5000gp)…. If this is intended to allow Magus to do TWF with the staff and spell combat, I'd suggest that is not only vastly overpowered for the cost, but against the intent of Paizo with the class.
* Given that the speed property is a +3 bonus and not as good as what this staff does, I'd suggest it is dramatically undercosted.
* In summary: I'm not entirely sold on the abilities vs the theme. It's a SAK combat stick for arcane-martial hybrid, which (intentionally or no) dabbles in some very messy mechanics (which aren't your fault, I should point out).

CUIRASS OF DISTORTION: A lamellar cuirass is an armor piece, from the Piecemeal Armor variant rules (Ultimate Combat, p198). Given this is a variant rule (like Armor as Damage Reduction) it is incredibly niche, assuming it is still a valid armor for the purpose of the contest. You should also reference the source. As for the properties: It reads like a vastly superior cloak of displacement (24,000gp alone) where missed attacks hit the attacker, coupled with a 3/day immediate action dimension door, putting it as vastly underpriced, in my opinion.

ENERGIZING BREASTPLATE: There are no 1/encounter rules in Pathfinder, that's a 4th ed thing. At present, you could easily squeeze a half dozen uses of the item per day, and that is how it should be priced. I'm also unclear as to why it can stop 9th level spells, but not 1st or 2nd? The simulacrum (why not use the spell?) mechanics are extremely clunky =/

mplindustries wrote:

As for that potentially offensive bit, well, damn. I have never heard anything about tomahawks being weapon made by white people--I just thought it was a term for the Powhatan's handaxes that expanded to just mean an Amerindian flavored hand axe. Hmm, is it better that I didn't know that, or worse? Is that stuff about white people inventing it really even true? I'm having trouble finding sources for that.

This is a breezy history but hits the high points:

History of the Tomahawk

Essentially, decorative and tool use metal heads were manufactured in mass in Europe for trade purposes. As these were superior in virtually every respect to bone or stone heads, the metal axes became the standard form of the tomahawk by the 19th century. The name raises questions in my mind. Why it is a tomahawk? Will it be wielded by some sort of noble savage of Golarion? By a ranger? Is there some reason to call a metal axe a tomahawk, specifically, and not just an axe? etc.

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Huge thanks to Raynulf, Blitterbug, Lorathorn, and Jaragil for the critiques! Now if I could only figure out a way to get this kind of feedback before submitting next year...

Steven Helt, if you have a chance I'd love you hear your thoughts on Springheart

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

These were just my thoughts during voting:

Rod of Brilliant Steps - Good visuals, but not a Superstar entry. Minor mechanical questions. Underpriced. Spells for requirements seem lacking.

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

mplindustries wrote:
Stuff about fixing throwing weapons

As I mentioned in another topic, I agree with the sentiment. I also want throwing weapons to be good. This also extends to the Ring of the Medic, which wants the Heal skill to be useful (though that one was pretty well received I think). I also want skills to be more useful.

The thing is, items in general/RPGSS specifically isn't the place to be patching the game.

Edit2: Why not patch via items? Because then the item becomes a necessary part of the fighting style. This is part of the reason I really didn't like Agile, it became about having the right magic weapon to be viable in your combat style. I like items to enhance and expand on capabilities, but not to be vital backbones.

Edit: Thanks for the critique, quillblade! Yeah, the DC is low, but that's just how the calculations for magic items work, I was surprised as well, but it explained a lot of existing items to me. As for the squick, there's something very sharp coming out of the iris of the eye. Eye Squick / TV Tropes double warning.

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I guess I'll jump on the, "Steven Helt, please critique my item" bandwagon! ^.^!

Living Copperthread Net, on page 1

Thank you.

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

Jaragil wrote:
Thanks for your reviews Jaragil. Great points.

Ring of the Champion
Aura Moderate Enchantment; CL 9th
Slot Ring; Price 15,400 gp; Weight -

This simple Elysian Bronze ring, originally forged for Nyle the Champion from the blade of a Titan he slew, is a testament to the warrior spirit. It grants its wearer a constant +1 morale bonus on attack rolls and against fear affects. While the wearer of this ring is subject to an enemy's Challenge ability (such as by a Cavalier) he gains a +3 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls against this opponent; this bonus replaces and does not stack with the constant morale bonus to attack rolls that the ring grants. Similarly, if the wearer himself uses the Challenge ability, he may add this bonus against the target of his challenge. In addition, once per day the wearer may as an immediate action double all morale bonuses effecting him for a single roll, save, or check. However, all of this power comes with a cost; the wearer may never flee from battle nor take a withdraw action in melee. If he does so, he immediately incurs the penalties of the Lesser Geas spell (-2 to all ability scores) as if 24 hours had passed. This penalty increases by 2 every 24 hours (to a maximum penalty of -8) until: he fights the enemy he fled from; he attacks another foe whose hit dice are greater than or equal to his own; or until one week passes, whichever comes first. If the Ring of the Champion is removed while the penalty for fleeing is incurred, the penalty remains for one week but does not increase.

Requirements Forge Ring, Bless, Wrath, Moment of Greatness, Lesser Geas; Cost 7,700 gp

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

These were just my thoughts during voting:

Ring of the Champion - History = downcheck. Don't build curses into items for Superstar contest (I made that mistake on my first submission). Niche. Formatting errors. Vastly underpriced.

Star Voter Season 8

Raynulf wrote:
CUIRASS OF DISTORTION: A lamellar cuirass is an armor piece, from the Piecemeal Armor variant rules (Ultimate Combat, p198). Given this is a variant rule (like Armor as Damage Reduction) it is incredibly niche, assuming it is still a valid armor for the purpose of the contest. You should also reference the source. As for the properties: It reads like a vastly superior cloak of displacement (24,000gp alone) where missed attacks hit the attacker, coupled with a 3/day immediate action dimension door, putting it as vastly underpriced, in my opinion.

Subsequent to posting this, I found it Ultimate Equipment as standalone armor. I stand corrected on that point.

Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Steven, any feedback on my entry for this year would be greatly appreciated!

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!

Aura moderate necromancy and enchantment; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 47,300 gp; Weight 7 lbs.
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.

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

Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Mark, thanks for the feedback, your time is very much apprecaited. Hindsight, I can certainly see the issue with the friendly fire. When you mention does not follow the rules correctly, would you be able to give me a brief example how it does not?

Thanks again!

Mark Seifter wrote:

*Price/Cost don't match

*Does not follow the rules correctly

*Major friendly fire on the shaken

*Sentence starting with "While...

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

mechaPoet wrote:

I have a number of ideas for editing this, that I of course only thought up after I had submitted it. :) I hope to get some critiques in for others' items soon.

Honeycomb Cuirass

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 11th

Slot armor; Price 13,950 gp; Weight 30 lbs.


These sweet-smelling layers of honeycomb and beehive husks fit around the wearer’s torso. They have been magically toughened to function as a +1 breastplate that contains no metal and can be worn by druids.

Always sticky with honey, this armor grants the wearer a +2 enhancement bonus on combat maneuver checks made to disarm, grapple, reposition, steal, or trip when the wearer uses an unarmed strike or natural weapon to attempt the maneuver.

Once per day when the wearer is hit with a melee attack, they can command the armor to ooze a viscous layer of honey as an immediate action. This does not mitigate the attack, but the opponent’s weapon becomes stuck in the honey. If the attack is made with an unarmed strike or natural weapon, or if the opponent refuses to release their weapon, the attacker gains the grappled condition, but the wearer does not. Only one weapon at a time can become stuck this way.

The honey lasts for 11 rounds, or until the opponent frees their weapon as a standard action with a DC 19 Strength check or Escape Artist check. The honey can also be dissolved by universal solvent.

Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blade snare (Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods), bull’s strength, ironwood, creator must have at least 1 rank in Profession (beekeeper); Cost 7,175 gp

I had mixed feelings about this one. I really liked the idea of honeycomb armor for druids and I sorta digged the sticky honey effect. I just didn't like the way the honey effect worked. When I think of sticky honey I think of it being fluid and getting all over stuff, it's easy to pull away from but some of it comes with you. So getting stuck to the armor in combat just didn't work for me. I think I would have liked it a lot more had the honey effect been sort of like a grease that got all over everything creating a sticky situation either in the environment or on the opponents.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

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

If you have time, Steven, I would like a critique of my item, Mummer's Slapstick.

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GM_Solspiral wrote:

This had link's I'm not bothering to restore

Deadeye’s Shepherd
Aura moderate transmutation, minor conjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 69,400 gp; Weight 3 lbs.
Naturally curved, thick spiraling ram’s horn forms the limbs of this +2 adaptive composite longbow, creating a recurve and concealing the wheels within the rack. Pictographs of bighorn rams locked in combat are painted along the arrow rest and sight window.

As a full round action, the bow may fire a blunted arrow that performs a Bull Rush maneuver using the archer’s CMB +2 instead of dealing damage. Unless firing while in melee range, this action does not provoke an attack of opportunity; the arrow is otherwise treated as though it was the archer making the combat maneuver.

Once per day the bow can summon a large sized bighorn ram (use the stats of a megaloceros) that willingly serves the archer as though it were a war trained mount. The bighorn ram will remain summoned for 9 hours.
If the wielder has a ring of the ram the ranged bullrush attack deals normal damage and charges can be spent to increase CMB on a Bull Rush by a +1 and deal +1d6 bludgeoning damage when using the deadeye’s shepherd. As a swift action, the wielder may elect to spend a charge from the ring to have the deadeye’s shepherd function as a +2 club of impact for one minute.
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, bull’s strength, lead blades, mount, righteous might, telekinesis, warp wood; Cost 34,900 gp

I have to be honest and say I was not a fan of this one and didn't vote for it very often. First I was put off by the description which felt more like a modern compound bow than a fantasy composite bow. Wheels in the rack & sight window broke the genera for me. I know that it might work in some games, especially ones using the technology book or that have a steampunk flair to them but I like my Pathfinder game more traditional fantasy so I was not as keen on this items description. I was also not a fan of the the summon power which felt more like "let's give the warrior access to another classes role in the game" rather than "lets make a bow that allows the archer be super cool at the game table." I did however like the name, the bow just didn't live up to it IMO.

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

Kreniigh wrote:

If I put this in one of my campaigns, I'd design different effects for different creature types (and probably make up new ones on the fly for exotic teeth), but I forced myself to keep it simple. Thanks for any comments!

Rod of Ghost Teeth
Aura moderate necromancy; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
The surface of this ivory rod is covered with small rounded points, nearly sharp enough to pierce skin. When touched to the tooth of a dead creature, the rod may be commanded to draw out and store within itself one tooth, along with a small amount of residual spiritual energy. Only one tooth may be extracted from any creature, and up to ten teeth may be stored within the rod at a time.

As a standard action, the wielder may fire up to five teeth from the rod as ghostly missiles which scream "Beware!" in the language of their former owners (or make equivalent animal noises) as they streak through the air. Each missile strikes a single target creature unerringly as long as it has less than total cover or total concealment. You must designate targets before you check for spell resistance or roll damage. No more than ten teeth may be fired per day, although these may be split up among multiple actions.

A ghostly missile strikes for 1d4 points of force damage, +1 for each size category of the former owner above Small (1d4+1 for Medium, 1d4+2 for Large, etc.).

Once per day, the wielder may call out a tooth to orbit his head like a ghostly ioun stone for 30 minutes. During this time he may speak and understand the language (if any) of the tooth's former owner. The tooth vanishes after this use. The wielder may also remove any of the teeth for other purposes, but these have no magical properties and cannot be returned to the rod.
Requirements Craft Rod, lesser animate dead, magic missile, tongues; Cost 5,000 gp

I had mixed feelings about this one when I saw it come up in the voting window. The name was a bit weird for me...I don't think about Ghosts having teeth since they are incorporeal. I liked the force missile idea of shooting teeth at your enemies but I wasn't sure why they screamed "Beware!." If that had been accompanied by some kind of fear effect then it would have made more sense. I was also not a fan of the different sized teeth doing different damage, just makes for more book keeping and possibilities of arguments over which sized teeth are left. The last ioun stone power feels tacked on and I real don't think the item needed it. So I liked the creativity behind this one, but not the execution.

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

Kigvan wrote:

Grandmaster's Plate

Aura strong conjuration; CL 15th
Slot armor; Price 45,650 gp; Weight 50lbs.
This +3 full plate is covered in a black and white checkered pattern and is adorned with iconography of various games of strategy. Once per day as a full round action, that provokes attacks of opportunity, the wearer may concentrate on the battlefield and visualize the way she would like it to be. This ability lets the wearer teleport up to 5 allies within 60 feet to new positions within 60 feet of the wearer. The destination for any creature teleported cannot end in a space that is by nature hazardous to the creature teleported. For one round, each creature teleported deals 1d6 extra damage on their next attack when flanking, this extra damage is considered precision damage and is not multiplied on a critical hit.
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, dimension door, king's castle ( Advanced Player’s Guide); Cost 19,150 gp

I am sorry to say I was not a fan of this one either. I didn't care for the power and I don't feel like it really had anything to do with being a suit of armor. It felt like it should have been a Wondrous Item chess board instead.

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

Petty Alchemy wrote:

Sightstealer Rapier

Aura moderate necromancy; CL 6th
Slot none; Price 13,120 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

This +2 rapier’s cup hilt appears as an open eye, and the blade itself protrudes from the iris.

Once per day when the wielder successfully strikes a target with the rapier, the wielder can activate the rapier as a free action to force the target to attempt a DC 13 Will save. On a failure, the target is blinded and the wielder’s eyes take on the appearance and qualities of the target’s eyes (granting the wielder low-light vision and/or darkvision up to 60 ft. if the target normally possesses these senses).

This effect lasts for 3 hours and cannot be dispelled, though it can be removed from the target by remove blindness-deafness, remove curse, break enchantment, or similar effects. If this effect is removed from the target, it is also removed from the wielder.

Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blindness-deafness; Cost 6,720 gp

I'm going to spoiler my own thoughts as I don't want them to affect any feedback.
** spoiler omitted **

I actually kind of liked this one. It needs some formatting fixes but I liked the over all item. It is simple with a creepy eyeball theme that doesn't cross over to gross for the sake of gross territory. That said I also didn't think it was Super Star, but more in a book of magic items. You got my vote most of the time, but only if it wasn't up against one of my favorites.

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

Roy Wagner wrote:

Keen to get some feedback!

Thieving Buckler
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 9th
Slot shield; Price 6150 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

The maelstrom motif on this quirky +1 buckler conceals an extradimensional pocket for liberating goods. A Thieving Buckler tugs enthusiastically towards items granting the wielder a +2 competence bonus on Sleight of Hand checks and combat maneuver checks to disarm an enemy. Objects that are successfully palmed, hidden or disarmed vanish into an extradimensional space that holds 80 pounds of items each no larger than a medium two-handed weapon. The buckler also has a habit of swallowing blocked items. Whenever an attack roll misses the wielder’s AC by 1 or 2 she can immediately make a disarm attempt against a melee attack or gain the Snatch Arrow feat against a ranged attack. Retrieving anything from the buckler is bothersome at first and requires 2d10 minutes just to locate the elusive opening however it takes a liking to being worn and functions like a Handy Haversack for the wearer after 2d4 hours.

Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, secret chest; Cost 3075 gp

Sorry to say I was not a fan of this one. It seems more a Wondrous Item than a shield since its primary power is to be a Handy Haversack that also is a shield. The stealing of weapons and arrows was a nice touch, but overall I don't think this one did as good a job of that effect as some other items in the contest.

Star Voter Season 8

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And now to Page 7!

KUDZU WRAP: Got my attention by using scale mail (rarely used), but then lost it again with the abilities =/

* The description makes it sound like its unique properties are bad for arcane casters, but the armor has its ASF reduced by 15%, which is more than mithral.
* The basic properties are, in fact, similar to mithral but profoundly better; +2 max dex, reduce ACP by 3, reduce weight to 1/6th (!), ASF by 15% and armor category by 1 (including for proficiency purposes, which mithral does not do).
* And druids can use it. That's fair, it's theme is very druidic…. but in that case the reduced ASF makes little sense, and a lot of the above is unnecessary.
* It also has the lengthy don and doff time reduced to a mere move action, and can automatically break bonds or escape from grapples against most targets.
* Honestly; Auto-win abilities usually get a downvote from me, and a lot of the cost of this armor seems to be based around making it function like a mithral chain shirt that druids can use.
* I'd have preferred to see some more plant-themed properties, maybe the ability to grow grasping vines to grapple or climb with, or arboreal movement, or taking root to give bonuses to CMD… as it stands it seemed a bit too passive.

RING OF REMEMBRANCE: As written, it's an inferior pearl of power III (9,000gp) that occupies a slot and has the ability to remove one of your prepared spells so you can swap in another one (with 15 minutes study). Honestly, it just feels too close to the old classic to stand out as novel and creative for me.

CLANGORING CHIME: I like to think of this as the "Bellhammer". Nitpick: "earth breaker" is two words, not one (don't feel bad, 2 out of 3 of the top 32 did the same). Not quite sure why it needed to have a spell effect tied to critical hits just to make it even louder. The bull rush being a swift action is almost certainly underpriced; action discounts are very expensive in Pathfinder (see Quicken Spell for example) – were this a standard action to do… I'd say the price isn't too far off, though still wonky.

COUNTER SHIELD: Automatic hits are a very bad choice and subject to extreme abuse; "Can't hit the bad guy? Hit me then, and I'll redirect to auto-hit him! AC? Concealment? Mirror image? Irrelevant!". Also, does the target need to be a creature? Can I instead redirect to a nearby rock to simply negate three attacks per day? The mechanics need a rewrite.

VESTMENT OF THE TWIN SOUL: Companion helper item… with some big warts.

* Reference Varisia, Birthplace of Legends for the armor type.
* This item feels like it should really be worn by the companion, not the master, and… well… it just doesn't feel like armor to me, more like a vest or robes, particularly because the chosen armor type has 15% arcane spell failure, and thus mostly rules out witches and wizards, making it rather niche.
* Some love for the overworked companions is nice, but the item just didn't grab me as viable armor, given under 10% of the price is actual defense.
* As a note: Summoner's do not have the empathic bond class feature with their eidolon, so despite being the main beneficiary of this item, they can't make it.
* Lastly, although druids can wear the item, considering they have access to healing spells, it is actually of minimal use for them, compared to the cost =/

O-YOROI OF THE ETERNAL FLAME: Variant armor needs the source quoting. For 244,900gp (~18th level, given other gear), I'd be expecting a lot more protection from my armor than the equivalent to +2 half plate. I get the phoenix theme, but the item simply tries to do too much, too heavy handedly SiaC, while neglecting the basic purpose of armor; to stop the wearer getting hit.

FREEBOOTER'S LONGCOAT: Kudos for the visual style. The armored coat has the advantage of being fast to don and doff, and the mithral gets rid of some of the problems with it… but not the medium armor proficiency requirement. Given the penalties of non-proficiency are based on the ACP, and it has none, having the armor grant proficiency (~5000gp value for a feat) is unnecessary and confusing. The focus on obscure and unreferenced naval combat rules is what kills the item for me, because if you're not playing in that niche, it's 4050gp of armor for twice the price.

DAGGER OF DRETCH DOMINION: Why isn't this a scorpion whip? Pricing: Masterwork cold iron dagger = 304gp, +2 = 10,000gp (8,000gp + 2,000gp cold iron surcharge) = 10,304gp, with 2,196gp for specials… which are a demon-only mini-circlet of persuasion, and maximized damage against dretches. Does the dagger give you the bonus when sheathed, or only when held? That doesn't sound outrageous… but it does sound very lackluster for a superstar entry =(

CORPSE THICKET JAVELIN: Is this a one shot item? What do you do when it's a tree? This seems like a very, very expensive entangle in a can. The wording is very unclear.

GHASTLY PLATE: The requirement for the armor to be crafted from that of a slain enemy should be in the Requirements, not the main description. Also; Making weapons ghost touch doesn't seem like an armor ability. While entirely cosmetic, constant ghostly disguise is over the top. Also: Requirements should include etherealness (ghost touch armor), plane shift (ghost touch weapon), and ghostly disguise. CL should be 15th, per the ghost touch armor property. Otherwise… a bit simplistic in scope.

ROD OF ELDRITCH HORROR: Ambitious. Inspiration very evident. But… ugh.

* Okay, the buff to creatures is powerful, but I can see the limitation inherent in the stack chance of gibber-jabber (I can't get the image of them appearing with a battlecry of "PITY DA FOOL" out of my head, okay?), and the pricing seems appropriate for that level of power.
* I can see the temptation angle "Want to risk… Another super-summons?" but by the time a player will be carrying an 80,000gp rod, they'll be at least 12-14th level and a CR6 gibbering mouther isn't so much of a threat as an annoyance.
* A summoner with this item has a long enough duration to use it out of combat, and just have their party members ready actions to go Mister T on any gibber-jabbering. Making the entire downside practically moot.
* A responsible and forward thinking player will have pregenerated stats on hand for their modified summons. Most players I know would do it on the fly and pause the game while they figure out what their new minion stats are… and what this "Horrific Appearance" thing does.
* I can appreciate the effort to balance and cost this thing out, it just has too much wriggle room (tentacle joke intentional) for players to get around the downsides.

DREAMING STAR: For a 1/day item, I really liked this one, but must admit I wouldn't use it.

* It's a gorgeous roleplay item, with excellent thematics and narrative application. And simply cool.
* The option to literally call forth the man/woman of your dreams is epic. Seriously.
* In a standard campaign which is balanced around players conforming to the wealth/level limitations and fighting a lot of monsters… it will usually be busted and turned into a 50,000gp combat item. Sadly.
* Pricing… Okay, by the math as I understand it, 1/day shades would cost 9th level x CL17 x 400gp = 61,200gp. A one-shot simulacrum would be around 5,000 or so depending on caster level. Honestly, given the application, I like your pricing better, but I'm not sure it's correct.
* Lastly, as gorgeous as it is… it feels more like a wondrous item than ring, given how it functions, as there seems to be no reason to need to wear it, or continue wearing it later.

LASH OF WILD ROSES: This comes across as a SiaC. Also the wording "functions as a whip" indicates that it is, in fact, not a whip. For the price I would hope for more weapon, especially as a lot of the abilities are things a wilderness protector would already have access to.

FOE STITCHER: I really liked this one. It has some bugs, but a lot of potential.

* Firstly though, you missed the cost of the actual weapon. 320gp for a masterwork rapier & 90gp for alchemical silver. Should be the same in price and cost.
* The thread the stitching creates is not indestructible, which ensures there is a defense against it; the targets can simply try to cut themselves free (50% miss chance for invisibility, but the hardness and hp aren't overly high).
* The tactical applications (as well as sheer fun) of the foe-stitching are huge, though they look like they could take a bit of work to adjudicate sometimes.
* It's a +2 rapier, so 8,410gp worth of stabby, with 7,000gp for the special, which has a few things going for it, so is hard to price. It's possible that 7,000gp is too little, given it does create and animate invisible rope, and then drag people with it.
* Definitely one of my favorites out of what I've seen this year though :)

Dark Archive

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

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.

Sorry Thomas, but I'm not following the -10 cool & -20 integrity point demerit; nobody was able to point out any flaws with this item because I wrote & submitted it in a single sitting, so I'm not really sure where you got the idea I was guilty of those things? Or maybe I'm not understanding the context.

Don't get me wrong; any feedback is seriously appreciated, but I'm confused about those 2 critiques.

Dark Archive

In regards to the name Spanwhammer, possibly not capitalizing it or leaving the "h" out may have alleviated the confusion; I actually just came up with the name by speaking it aloud, and after saying it a few times kind of found it fun. I think I was following the magic item format for the CRB too closely and that's where the mistake of putting the item name in all caps crept in, so I see how that starts a funky snowball that ends up with people ending up confused and panning the item as it looks like a typo from the get-go.

Thank you kindly for your feedback, my 3rd time trying out for this and made it a lot closer to the Top 32 the last couple times so not certain it's really my cup of tea anymore, but I will always come back for the opportunity to learn and interact with my favorite online community.

Carry on, my fellow Paizonauts!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

Raynulf wrote:
And now to Page 7!

Thanks Raynulf, with the rules reset, I guess I am going to repeat all the mistakes I made from 2008-2012 :>

Marathon Voter Season 8

51) Ring Of Utmost Need:
I like the flavour you're going for here. Being able to tap into the skill sets in times of great need has potential. Unfortunately the ring itself is something of a gamebreaker. Sure, it's only once in a week, which I applaud you for, but it still means that you don't really have to put any skill ranks into skills you don't need that often, but still need every once in a while. And all this for a bargain price of 4,000 gp. Not a fan. Perhaps if you had kept the skill ranks according to the class level, but demanded that you still need to be trained in the skill beforehand. Sure that means that you still would need only one skill rank in a rare skill for it to become effective, but that's still spreading yourself kind of thin and the once per week would have helped. Nevertheless, admirable idea, but game balance makes this the proverbial walk on thin ice.

52) Cryohydra's Coil:
Made my keep list. Exciting imagery, good AoE ability and it screams to be used. I also like the sundering immunity, very good tie-in to hydras. The reason why I think this didn't advance while, say, Ice Fang did, is that it doesn't really do anything new. It just combines existing spells, abilities and feats in a clever way. That is enough for Top 100 - I hope, we shall see - but not enough to crack Top 32. Plus the wording has some wonkiness going for it in places, especially in the cone ability. Look for existing spells and abilities to see how it should have been worded so as to avoid confusion. Points for a clever way to do the cooldown effect. In the end I really dig this item, but I wish you had gone over it one more time before submitting. Still, kudos, and I hope to see from you next year.

53) Arroweater Shield:
Main problem here is that the wording is especially vague. We don't even know what the enhancement bonus on this shield is, just that it has the arrow catching special ability. And the so called arrow eating property activates when the shield is struck. Well, when does that happen? What does the enemy need to roll that we know his arrow has struck the shield instead of for example armor? On a visual level I like the idea of the party carrying two shields that are portals to one another, but what that ability mean on a technical level needs to be elaborated a lot better. Keep up designing, because you clearly have ideas, but go over some existing magic items and see how precise they are with their wording.

54) Thriving branch:
I dig the visual here. This is a magic item made by someone who has no idea how to shape wood, but takes advantage of the fact. The powers are also logical for the appearance, though I wish they had been a bit more creative. Now it's just a disarming bonus and a spell-in-a-can. Perhaps if the entangle could have been targeted to a single creature - imagine the roots binding warriors in the Narnia movie - or something else of your own design, this could have fared better. Now it just isn't showing enough creativity to wow.

55) Breakaway Sword of Beguiling:
A few problems here. First of all, this is a wondrous item that merely looks like a sword. Sure you included the "correct" crafting feat, but if the item doesn't even have an enhancement bonus, it's not a magical weapon. Secondly, I can guarantee that it'd get annoying really fast if you had a player who insisted on using this in every combat. Sure, if you're trying to run a Looney Tunes campaign, that's great, but otherwise it wouldn't work. Aside from that, I kind of like the idea, although the heavy GM fiat included with the personal history requirement is also a bit touchy. In the end, had you submitted this last year when it was still wondrous items all around, it would have had a chance.

56) Shillelagh of Legions:
That's a lot of spells in one staff. Not too much, if only barely, but a lot. I like the legion mechanic. I perhaps would have preferred for a word akin to pack just from a flavour point of view, but that's a minor complaint. The actual main power is solid and makes me wish that flanking rules in general would include something like this. Although it's kind of weird that the extra damage comes from the rift. You mean the one on the staff? Because that's not necessarily nowhere near the fight, making this an odd visual. Where you lost me is the spellcasting boosters, which I feel don't work so well with the legion idea. Sure the spellcaster is part of the unit, but I wish the summoned creatures had done more amongst themselves instead of being glorified spell carriers. I like this a lot, I think you have something special here, but last few paragraphs muddle it too much.

Nice visual, although I think caustic liquids go a step too far. The item unfortunately is nothing more than an attempt to have an alchemist in the party without having to have an actual alchemist. Plus I don't like that it creates stuff from nothing. You need to sacrifice money to throw around alchemical tinctures, that's the whole point. Or at least you have to sacrifice magical energy and actually be an alchemist. That being, the actual rules talk isn't bad and the item is very understandable. It's just the game balance that cannot take items like this one.

58) Disruption Disc:
Fell just short of being on my keep list. I like the idea, although the caster bias was once again a cliché this year. But this does it better than most, even if the visual itself is a bit goofy and makes me think of comics more than RPGs. I think the main ability is solid, but where the item loses me is the fact that the discs stay on for so long and that the removal is so damn hard. Had they stayed for a minute or so and had they been removable by a Strength check, this would have made my keeper list. The hours long duration makes it seem more like a wondrous item that's meant to be used by guards to suppress the spellcasting of their prisoners. Still, I like that you found such a good niche to focus on, so definitely keep on designing.

59) Traitor’s Blade:
Usually these striking from a shadow items are rather confusing in execution, but this manages to be exact enough with its wording that I can understand how it works. Points for that. The main ability is also solid, not too powerful, but something you'd want to use. Though I don't like that you can use it as part of a full-round action. Perhaps you could sacrifice a single use to give all of your attacks some kind of bonus for that round. The extra attack seems too powerful. Furthermore, why the traitor imagery included here? I don't want to encourage my players to backstab one another and with these powers this dagger could still be used for traitorous uses without tying the whole item to that singular purpose. A more shadow-themed name would have earned you more votes, I think. All in all, not a bad item, but you went for an unpopular niche, which probably cost you a lot of votes.

60) Rod of Resonance:
I like the love for sonic effects, those belong among my absolutely favourites. And it's not a bad ability either, though it's a bit odd that the bardic performance only needs to be initiated within 30 ft. of the rod. It seems to imply that afterwards the bard can move out of the range of the tone, and still have his performance carry farther than it should. And this is at odds with how the power is described. I get what you were going for, but now the wording doesn't convey that meaning. All in all I like this item, but I wish it had added something more to the mix. Now it's good, but not great.

Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

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Ring of the Champion:
Using drawbacks to balance the power of an item isn’t a good idea; essentially you are reducing the value of the item and making it less desirable to use by limiting the options available to a wearer. The bonuses are very straight forward—so not very interesting—and no solid visual image is connected to this ring at all.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Feros wrote:

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.
Raynulf wrote:

FOE STITCHER: I really liked this one. It has some bugs, but a lot of potential.
* Firstly though, you missed the cost of the actual weapon. 320gp for a masterwork rapier & 90gp for alchemical silver. Should be the same in price and cost.
* The thread the stitching creates is not indestructible, which ensures there is a defense against it; the targets can simply try to cut themselves free (50% miss chance for invisibility, but the hardness and hp aren't overly high).
* The tactical applications (as well as sheer fun) of the foe-stitching are huge, though they look like they could take a bit of work to adjudicate sometimes.
* It's a +2 rapier, so 8,410gp worth of stabby, with 7,000gp for the special, which has a few things going for it, so is hard to price. It's possible that 7,000gp is too little, given it does create and animate invisible rope, and then drag people with it.
* Definitely one of my favorites out of what I've seen this year though :)

Thank you very much for the Feedback and for highlighting some legitimate issues with my item. I will work on these issues and try again next year. Thank you also for the encouraging appraisal of my items visual aesthetics, its good to know I at least got that part right :)

Marathon Voter Season 8

This came pretty close to making it to my keeper list. I like the effect a lot, because it creates an interesting visual and plays with a medical condition we do not see in games all that often. It feels like it might be better off as a spell, but that's a minor complaint, because there's a lot of overlap in these things. The two things that bother me are the fact that we never get to know what kind of range this weapon has. Does it require a melee touch attack, is it 30 ft., line of sight or what? I'm also not a huge fan of the duration. I would have liked it more had it been usable more times per day, but with a duration measured in minutes. Now it really seems more like a spell than a magic item. So yeah, I like it, but it has a few design problems too many, unfortunately.

62) Mimic Skin:
What bothers me the most is how clearly this is a monster-in-a-can. You take the two mimic abilities and build an armor out of them. Sure you don't copy them word for word, scaling them back a little bit, but it's still rather transparent. As it is this would definitely be publishable, but it doesn't show a ton of creativity. Although I do like the small touches, like the ability to change garments, though I wish it had more uses than three times per day. Perhaps at will, but with a minute long casting time. The second ability also doesn't feel very armor-like, though it'd be hypocritical of me to call that a huge problem. All in all this is not a bad desing, but for it to be Superstar, it'd would have needed to be inspired by mimics instead of trying to, well... mimic them.

63) Norgorber's Lens:
There's promise here, but I get the sense that you overthought this just a little bit. First of all, it seems to imply that by plunking your weapon into the lens while fighting defensively, you can make an attack, but it's just vague enough that I'm not sure. It really should say that this counts an attack with the highest bonus or something along those lines. I'd also like to know whether or not you get any penalties, because of the awkward way of attacking. But that's a minor wording problem, I get what you're trying to accomplish and I think it's not a bad ability. The second one, however, is extremely problematic from the point of view of rules. So you get all kinds of defensive bonuses, but only against those that are within the cone that's tied to a shield you carry on your arm and thus swing around every which way. How can one determine where the cone is pointing at whenever an attack occurs? And if you move, naturally the cone should move with you, but it doesn't say for sure. I'm sure that my players would argue that no matter where the attack occurs from, they should benefit from the shield, because they can just twist their arm and point the shield at the attacking creature. Lingering, movable cones are a really difficult way to make a power like this work and I'm not sure it's necessary this time. As a whole I like the idea I'm sensing behind the design, but as it is, I just cannot get behind it.

64) Thundering Shield:
Not a bad item and I could definitely see this being a part of any book of magic items. Shooting a cone out of a shield feels very shield-like to me and I like the love for sonic. Although the price seems awfully low for such a good stunning effect. Unfortunately the shield just lacks that wow factor necessary for Superstar. It's not bad, but it doesn't do anything terrible new or innovative. The second ability especially is just doing an existing thing slightly better than before. Also not sure whether I like that it yells something intelligible, that doesn't seem necessary.

65) Ring of forgotten acquaintance:
On one hand, I like the idea of items that force you to roleplay a little bit, but this like an awkward way to accomplish that goal. Plus the knowledge requirement is rather demanding, unless you're meeting someone important you can make a Knowledge check about. I also don't think a ring is the proper magic item slot for this kind of power. That being said, I like that you try to explain where the skill bonuses come from, which is always a plus. All in all an item that has an admirable goal, but which has a few big practicality problems.

66) Tempest Bow:
Love the visuals here. This is exactly the sort of magic an archer would craft for himself. I could definitely believe this was an existing item. The only problems that keep it from being Superstar are the fact that the wording on the main power is a touch vague. You would have had room to explain the effects of hurricane force winds or at least cite a source. There rules a uncommon enough to need citation. It also lacks that final spark of wow. I also think that it doesn't need to cost that much. I still like it and want it to exist for real, but it would have needed one more rewrite.

67) Dynamic Staff:
Not sure whether I like this one or not. It's a well-written item with the rules explained clearly and precisely, but I would be hesitant to allow my players such an item, especially because it's so cheap. I get the sense this has a lot of gamebreaking possibilities, even though I cannot put my finger on the exact reasons. In campaigns with a lot of downtime, this would be an amazing asset to have, especially in early levels when you could load this with low-level spells and increase your arsenal by a significant amount. That's true for most staffs, but the versatility this offers would be virtually unmatched and I think this is too easy a solution to a lot of problems. Let's say that I cautiously like it, but I'd have to think long and hard before I dared to include it into my games.

68) Staff of Thin Air
Out of all the throw and teleport items this year, this was one of the better ones. It's a bit odd that it slows down before hitting the target, but then later it says that if it hits an object, it ceases to function. I get the distinction you were going for, but I would have removed the ambiguity by just saying that it slows down if its about to encounter anything. The main problem is that I don't think this needs to be a staff. I like the idea of a teleportation javelin, but having it also be a staff seems odd. The two things don't mesh very well. I would have liked this a lot better had it been just a javelin you can throw, teleport to and then immediately attack with.

69) Skywalker’s Cloth:
So... a decorated spacesuit. That's pretty cool, but I'm not sure it's necessary to hike up the price by including that last ability. Other than that, I like this item a lot. It's thematic, visually awesome and the powers fit together well. It's perhaps a bit lacking in awe-factor, but it would have definitely made my keep list, if not for that last power, which I feel is extremely unnecessary. Nevertheless, do keep designing, because I want to see what you come up with next year.

70) Aegis of the Martyr:
I like the name and a good support shield for a paladin or cavalier is definitely a solid design niche. The main problem with this item is that it's really nothing more than a souped-up shield other spell in a can. Plus one with a lot of potential for killing off the character in one good swoop. Had it said that the effect ends when it has absorbed hit point equal to the bearer's remaining hit points, it would have been a lot better, though even then I would not want to hold this when my party was hit with a fireball. It also doesn't explicitly say that the shieldbearer cannot prevent the damage from happening to him by throwing the shield away before the effect ends. It should. Bottom line being that this needed to be something more unique to have even hope of becoming Superstar. It's not bad, just not as original as it could have been.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Ixxix

Have at me Steve, Monastic Staff

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

Thanks a lot for the feedback guys

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Blood Magic Dagger - Didn't like the mechanics. Formatting errors. Underpriced.

I didn't notice any formatting errors besides the italics in bleed requirements. Why do you think is underpriced, it should have cost a lot more perhaps?

Mark Seifter wrote:

*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.

I don't understand the second point, why is that something bad?

Feros wrote:
An item seemingly inspired by the blood magic in Dragon Age. Not bad, but the bleed damage is quite large for the amount of metamagical power granted. Still, good visual even if it is a bit gory.

Interesting that you considered the bleed damage too large given that I have the impression that most people think is OP.

Star Voter Season 6

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Responses to Critiques of the Varisian Dancing Chain

I'd like to thank everyone who gave me feedback and offer my responses below.

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

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.

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

Comments by our illustrious judges a.k.a. Mark, Liz, and Owen:
*This chain shirt is basically mithral.

*Its other ability will be highly challenging to use (in that often, a character's AC is enough higher than her Reflex save that it will be tough to beat an attack roll that hits with a Reflex save; I suppose it can work on a miss and grant the free AoO anyway).

*Not too interesting

I considered having it be made of mithral (and perhaps should have done so), but finally decided not to for a few reasons:
1. The use of special materials like mithral is often overdone.
2. I didn't specifically want to affect weight or arcane spell failure, like mithral does, just mobility.
3. Gypsy bling is more often pictured as copper or gold in hue than silver, and I didn't want to mess up the visual image.

I did realize in item creation that the attack of opportunity reversal often wouldn't succeed, but I figured that was a good balancing factor with an ability that could potentially be triggered every combat round. Plus, it would reward high dexterity characters, and be fun when an enemy attempts and flubs an AoO.

I'm disappointed that the judges didn't see a coolness factor in my item. It seems exciting and cinematic to me and uses a mechanic that I'm surprised doesn't already exist in Pathfinder, but I suppose I'm biased. :)

I seriously appreciate seeing the judge feedback, though. Many thanks!

Comments by Lucus's Critique Thread:
Varisian Dancing Chain - Rewrite - Ok, as you have it, it's not bad. I think you're one of the few cases I would have said "this would have been better crafted from a special material (mithral)" which is funny to me because most of the time I think people over use that. The reason for the mithral would have been because it would have pushed up that max Dex bonus even more... and in a sense, +6 is still too low. If this had basically no Dex maximum, I'd have liked it more (broken mechanic or not) and then the reversing an attack of opportunity idea is neat, but not how I would have handled it mechanically I don't think.

Above in this post, I mentioned the three reasons I didn't use mithral. In retrospect, though, I think you may be right. However, I still want to avoid making it overpowered. I'm glad you think the basic idea is neat! Thanks, Lucus!
Comments by GM_Solspiral's G/B/U Critique Thread:
76) Varisian Dancing Chain
The Good: The core idea is cool the name is cool
The Bad: kill the hyperbole, show us don't tell us what is significant
The Ugly: Missed opportunity to make a skill character shine and make this less mechanically awkward.
-Perform dance skill can be used in place or acrobatics to avoid an attack of opportunity.
-When successful in avoiding attacks of opportunity with dance the wearer may elect to take an attack of opportunity. This counts toward the attacks of opportunity that can be taken in a round
Overall: 4 stars as in I liked this but didn't love it. a polished version of the above for me would have been superstar as it gives skill characters a combat mechanic that makes sense. I feel like you were almost there...

When you say "hyperbole," do you mean the use of the words "most significantly"? Although I wouldn't have considered that an exaggeration, I did debate whether or not to include those two words, and I think you may be right that it would be cleaner without them.

I didn't want to make the mechanic dependent solely on a high perform (dance) skill check because I didn't want to limit the item's utility to only a certain subset of bards. As it is currently written, I could see the Varisian Dancing Chain being enjoyed by bards, rogues, swashbucklers, rangers, magi, etc. The titular dance is the dance of combat. However, perhaps I could have made it a perform (dance) skill check OR a reflex save to give players that option. What do you think?
I'm very glad you found the idea and name cool, (I did, too!) and I appreciate the 4-star rating. Thanks, GM!

Comments by hewhocaves:

Varisian Dancing Chain
I like it. My guess is that it didn't scream "Varisian" to the judges. I'm not sure how that could be remedied - my guess is that something that makes the reader look at it and recognize is ethnicity. Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't veils and/or thin scarves part of varisian dress? Also certain colors have meaning to them. Incorporate that in somehow and I'd bet you'd be drawing a map tonight ;)

I was picturing it as gypsy bling for the torso. Perhaps I didn't describe that clearly enough. I'm glad you liked it, though!
Comments by Jacob Kellogg a.k.a. Jiggy:
This was one of my favorite items! It was one of the few which, when I saw it, I immediately had to tell my wife about how cool it was. Sad that it didn't make it. :(

Nitpicks: Stats scream mithral, but it's not...? Also, at that price point, I'd really like a slightly higher armor bonus, even just 1 more point, for all those attacks that aren't AoOs.
With those thoughts in mind, I'm gonna cross my fingers that your item finds its way into a future Paizo product. (It's happened before!) :D

Jacob, your comment made my day! I'm thrilled that someone I have a lot of respect for liked it so much! And, I'm glad I'm not the only one who got excited about it. :)

I address my three reasons for not making it mithral above in this post, but it probably should have been. Also, thanks for the input on pricing. Since there was no precise way to price my item's unique ability, I had to ballpark it a bit.

I'd be thrilled if Paizo decided to use my item, and I'm honored that you think it could happen. Thanks, Jiggy! :)

Comments by Thomas LeBlanc:
Varisian Dancing Chain - Limited chance to reverse an attack.

This is true. It was meant as a balancing factor. I am curious if you thought this was a good thing or a bad thing, Thomas.
Comments by Petty Alchemy:
Varisian Dancing Chain: As others have said, this item really wants to be mithral. The name does not tell me what I'm getting, I was expecting a spiked chain weapon, or even a wondrous item. The power is cool (sort of Panther Parry-ish), but since it can be used all the time it feels like a game changer. I would've preferred this item scaled up to mid, maybe upper mid tier.

Comments on Item Names by Petty Alchemy:
Varisian Dancing Chain
Expect: A spiked chain or whip with the Dancing property, or some wondrous item like a belt.
Impression: I'm not too familiar with Varisia so I'm not sure what I'm getting into. Maybe this would be more exciting if I knew the region.

See above for my three reasons for not making it mithral, but, yes, it probably should have been.

I didn't realize ahead of time that the name would be misleading, but now I certainly see how it could be! And I knew that using the Golarion-specific word "Varisian" was something of a risk, but it perfectly evoked the flavor I was going for.

I don't think this would be too overpowered because, (although it could possibly be triggered once every round, if you kept doing things that would provoke AoOs) you would have to equal or exceed the enemy attack roll with your reflex save for there to be any effect, and you'd still have to hit with your own AoO. Thanks for the input, though!

Comments by Thunderfrog:
Varisian Dancing Chain: This was a good item with a neat description and concept, but not super exciting. It got upvoted vs lower tier items, but I felt it wasn’t super ambitious. Middle tier.

I'm glad you liked it and thought it was solid, but I'm sorry it wasn't Superstar for you!
Comments by Feros:

Solid item, not too overpowered and useful for high Dex characters. I guess the only real problem here is the lack of anything cool in the imagery. Lack of a cool visual probably cost you.

I'm glad you liked it, Feros! In my head, I picture its use being exciting and cinematic, but I perhaps needed to better describe that. I think I was somewhat inspired by the scene in Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame when Esmeralda is being chased by Frollo's guards through the Festival of Fools, and she and the other gypsies keep turning the guards' bumbling attacks back against them in amusing ways. I wasn't sure how to convey that type of scene in an item description, though, without making it clunky. I was hoping the item itself would be able to inspire such fun moments in people's games.
Thanks for the feedback, Feros!
Comments by Raynulf:
VARISIAN DANCING CHAIN: Cool idea, but hidden behind an unnecessary complication.
* Not to join the chorus here, but… properties that duplicate existing properties are a little off-putting. Easier to make it mithral and get straight to what makes this item cool; the attack-of-opportunity dance.
* And that is cool, if a bit on the dice-heavy, which protracts out your turn. Also, how effective a reflex save is vs their attack is questionable, as only someone with extremely good Ref will get much use out of this item.
* It is also a little too easy to use; I'd suggest limiting it to AO's only due to your movement, rather than, say, spellcasting, or drinking a potion, or trying to disarm them. Would fix a lot of the headaches that would otherwise arise and keep to the theme.
* Seriously though, it is actually a cool concept, but the first line I think put off a lot of people.

I'm glad you like the concept, Raynulf! As for the mithral, yeah, I hear you. (Read above in this post, though, if you want to see the three reasons I didn't originally make it mithral.)

I love the way you call it "the attack-of-opportunity dance"... You get my concept. :)

I believe your second bullet point will balance out your third bullet point, Raynulf. The need to roll a high reflex save will ensure that this isn't overly easy to use.

And, I definitely don't want to limit it to just AoOs provoked by movement, because imagine a rogue drinking a cure potion while gracefully stabbing the enemy careless enough to step up behind her back while she does so, or a ranger kicking or punching a bumbling nearby idiot out of the way while firing his bow at another target. These moments wouldn't happen frequently, due to the high reflex save and the need to succeed at one's own AoO, but when they did happen, they would be awesome! :)

Comments by Jaragil:

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.

I'm glad you found the item to be balanced and thematic, Jaragil! I was trying to keep it clean and uncluttered by not adding extra abilities, but I guess I missed out on adding that superstar shine!
Comments by Steven Helt:
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.

It's always helpful to get feedback, and it's especially helpful to get the feedback of someone who succeeded at this whole competition and made Superstar.
Many thanks, Steven!


Comments by Eric Morton a.k.a. Epic Meepo:
For a lot of the items in this thread, my critique would be something along the lines of, "It's an okay item. Not bad, not superstar, but okay." Since that's not particuarly useful on my part, I'm just going to focus on items which provoked more of a response from me.

Based on there being no specific review of my item from you, it seems my item was just "okay" for you. Even that is helpful to know. Thanks!

Overall, I like how my item could make a player or character more daring, which would make for some great, dramatic game moments. As it is, I personally tend to play it safe in combat and avoid doing anything that might provoke an AoO. However, if one of my characters was wearing Varisian Dancing Chain, she would be much more likely to take the risk!

Also, as a GM, I think this would be a great armor to let a significant villain wear for a memorable fight, and it's one that I wouldn't mind a PC looting, wearing, and enjoying afterward.

Finally, big thanks to Garrett for the google doc that lets us easily find all our item critiques!

If anyone has any further comments on the above, more feedback is always welcome! Thanks! :)

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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Brigg wrote:
Living Copperthread Net, on page 1 Thank you.

A couple of caveats, cause I really want to get into these nets and I have to make a couple of key points first.

Remember that a patient critic can find flaws in any item, and sometimes little mistakes make the difference between Superstar and not, or clever and exploitable.

I say that, because I thought in terms of mojo and clever design, I thought nets were the biggest winners in the contest this year. Specifically, the living copperthread net, the covenskein net, and, maybe favorite item of the year, widow's web.

Why don't people use webs more? They're easy to rip apart, and they don't deal any damage. Nets should be cooler and magic nets should definitely address those issues.

Supposed I wanted a mithril net akin to a monofilament net. It might be stronger than other nets, but slice into creatures that strain against it. Maybe a net made from magma that deals fire damage.

Nets are ripe for the application of strong themes and solid mojo. But they almost necessarily have to bend the rules farther than most. Which is more important in finding a SUperstar? Imagination and originality? Or following rules that all other nets conform to? My thinking is...a magic item is supposed to be noticeably different from the other items of its type, right?

So my review for all three of those nets is: you were all three in my top 15 or so, and the themes you chose were really cool. Every one of them had mechanical flaws that kept them out of the top 32. widow's web applied wounding to what is normally a range weapon. The living copperthread net has that +10 bonus to grapple checks without an explanation, instead of just using the normal statistics for CMB.

The lesson for all three designers of these items is to pay extra close attention to detail. Some details are little to me and huge to other voters and judges. I think if you have the creativity to come up with these very pretty ideas, and combine that with flawless attention to detail, you'll see yourself go far in this competition next time you enter.

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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Deadlines today, so this might be my last review until tomorrow afternoon. Like the ast one, I am gonna take on a category of items.

Sort of.

This year's twist caught a lot of people off guard. It was clear that more than a couple of entrants added "Craft Magic Arms and Armor" to their requirement and changed the description from gloves to gauntlets or from cloak to armor. Some people didn't even go that far. They just made their wondrous ting function like a legal category. We had a few entries literally just have "Craft Wondrous Item" as their sole feat requirement.

Don't play it so safe next time, cause that isn't actually safe at all. Talking over the voting process with my fellow Horsemen, we agreed that in our opinion, a group of silk ribbons that act like armor is still a wondrous item, not magical armor. A tea set you wear over your shoulders and get an armor bonus out of isn't a set of magical armor.

Similar to that (and allowing me to give the most important single comment about the staff category), is that an item has to conform to the creation and activation rules of its category. A +1 magic staff with some added abilities and no charges or spell activation isn't a magic staff. Those designers proved they dunno what a magic staff is.

(other symptoms attend that disease. staves suffered from horrible pricing, bad balance in terms of charges used by different spells, and more. I think we even had a staff with no spells that couldn't be used as a weapon, making it either a rod or a wondrous item).

Pay careful attention not only to the specific type of item you want to create, but also to the normal rules for that item. If there are ZERO magic staves without spells built into them, out of something like ten books with magic items, don't be surprised when peoples' feedback starts with "that's not a staff". : )

Star Voter Season 8

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I want to thank Mark Seifter (and fellow judges), Thomas LeBlanc, goldomark, Blitterbug, Thunderfrog, Feros for your critiques and comments.

Your time and feedback is very much appreciated :)

What's that, mother? Oh. Yes, I'll go back to reviewing items now. Sorry mother. j/k

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

Steven Helt wrote:

I say that, because I thought in terms of mojo and clever design, I thought nets were the biggest winners in the contest this year. Specifically, the living copperthread net, the covenskein net, and, maybe favorite item of the year, widow's web.


Thanks for the kind words regarding my Covenskein Net. If you find time for a more detailed critique, thats cool. Otherwise, I know what most of the problems were anyhow.

Star Voter Season 8

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Page 8 is pretty short and sweet;

GHOST MOON BOW: What CL is the faerie fire (this is important). The special ability is, well, insane. You hit them once, and all subsequent shots ignore cover, concealment, armor and solid walls. Just to be sure, there's also 3/day X minutes of murderfest. For around a +1 equivalent on the total price.

SIDEREAL BLADE: Why ghost touch when it's intended to slay outsiders? Also; weapons that deal double damage against creature types were something from 1st & 2nd edition that were eliminated from 3rd and onwards, so I doubt it will fly. Given the super-bane against all outsiders and vastly superior called ability, I think this item is vastly underpriced even without the additional abilities; including the 1/rnd teleportation and 1/day dimension door (which on its own should cost ~11,200gp as a ballpark figure). I can see what you were trying to do, but the double-damage is a no-no, and you need to pay more attention to magic item pricing.


* Generally speaking, 1/day abilities tend to put people off if that is the primary unique feature of the item.
* Speaking of which: The special stacks too many things on, and the extra standard action each round is probably not something that should be in the game (haste was nerfed in 3.5 onwards for a reason), and seems redundant on armor when it cannot be used for combat.
* Also, there is already an armor property that provides Stealth bonuses called shadow (+3,750gp).
* The speed increase should be an enhancement bonus, as increases to base land speed don't tend to come from magic items.
* The special sort of combos: invisibility, silence and haste (only better) as a 1/day spell effect, which ends if the wearer attacks or directly threatens a creature. Wording there is fuzzy and subject to interpretation as "threaten" is also a combat mechanic based on your position and having a weapon in hand.
* silence also prevents you from speaking; meaning you cannot activate any item with a command word or cast spells with verbal components for the duration. Three rounds might not seem like much, but if something does spot you (invisibility is not impenetrable) you have no means of dismissing this effect early, except possibly by stabbing yourself?
* Armor is a combat item, worn to protect the wearer in battle. This appears to be a utility item better suited to being a wondrous item.
* Hope that was useful :)

RINGS OF SHARED POWER: The item's biggest flaw has already been discussed in great detail: What happens with hirelings and the Leadership feat. I can appreciate the desire to make a tactical item, and with the right kind of party it wouldn't be abused… but as always: "It's not how you intended it to be used, it's how it can be used (and abused)."

FRAUD'S ROD: Formatting is your friend (including the Enter key :P). I actually like the concept of the fraud's rod as it has good roleplay potential as well as utility, but there are a lot of qualms about UMD bonuses (even if restricted to scrolls). The existence of a similar item in a past year probably did count against you in the voting/judging.

BROKEN GAMBIT SHIELD: I honestly cannot see any situation where I would actually want to use this item on any character.

* First off: It's not a ruse if the item is actually broken.
* Is it the broken gambit shield or the broken victim shield? You used both names.
* It's 10,750gp for a magic item that does nothing most of the time?
* "One combat" is a fluffy term not typically used in Pathfinder. It should have an actual duration of the effect.
* The wearer needs to be hit three times to get full effect, and in doing so causes the monster to want to hang around and hit him more… This seems counterproductive.
* What if the wearer wanted a buckler? Having this turn into a heavy shield when they're trying to use a bow, or cast spells (heavy shield doesn't give a hand free) would be extremely inconvenient.
* How does the +0 work? Does it appear to be nonmagical?
* The shield is less effective that a 1/day shield, which would cost around 400gp.
* As it stands it's more akin to a 1/day magic vestment combo'd with compel hostility.
* While certainly different, and going for a theme of the hidden power, the mechanics are cumbersome and the item very costly for what it does. Additionally, the compel hostility doesn't seem to fit the hidden power theme to me, personally.
* It almost feels like a cursed item. One of the nasty ones.

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