Spiraled Madu


Open Call: Design a wondrous item, magic armor, or magic weapon

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

Spiraled Madu
Aura moderate abjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 30,340 gp; Weight 6 lbs.
Description
This +1 defending steel madu has three twisted steel spikes jutting out from behind a round shield faced with a glowing bronze spiral. The spikes and spiral slowly spin to protect the wielder when they charge, reducing the armor class penalty for charging to -1. The wielder does not need to use the madu in the attack at the end of the charge to gain this benefit as long as it is wielded in the off-hand. While using the madu in a two-weapon full attack, the twisted spikes move and position themselves to balance and direct your strikes, and the spiral spins with an audible whine to steady your hand. This reduces the penalties for two-weapon fighting by 1.

For ten rounds each day the spikes can be commanded as a free action to furiously spin, blurring together and appearing to be part of a larger shield. While spinning, the madu is considered a +1 bashing heavy steel shield that deals slashing damage when used in a shield bash attack. Additionally, this weapon ignores up to 5 points of hardness when attacking objects or sundering as the spinning blades tear material apart with a spray of angry sparks.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, shield or shield of faith, wreath of blades; Cost 15,340 gp

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

Congrats! Now get to mapping.

Dark Archive

I loved this, but didn't see it towards the end and was afraid it had been culled. I'm glad I was wrong!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Congrats Taylor! You did it again!

Be awesome in round 2!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

Congrats, Taylor!

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

Thank you to everyone who upvoted this. I feel blessed and grateful to have done this again.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9 aka MillerHero

Have at it, Taylor!

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Congratulations on making it in!

Taylor Hubler wrote:

Spiraled Madu

Aura moderate abjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 30,340 gp; Weight 6 lbs.
Description
This +1 defending steel madu has three twisted steel spikes jutting out from behind a round shield faced with a glowing bronze spiral. The spikes and spiral slowly spin to protect the wielder when they charge, reducing the armor class penalty for charging to -1. The wielder does not need to use the madu in the attack at the end of the charge to gain this benefit as long as it is wielded in the off-hand. While using the madu in a two-weapon full attack, the twisted spikes move and position themselves to balance and direct your strikes, and the spiral spins with an audible whine to steady your hand. This reduces the penalties for two-weapon fighting by 1.

For ten rounds each day the spikes can be commanded as a free action to furiously spin, blurring together and appearing to be part of a larger shield. While spinning, the madu is considered a +1 bashing heavy steel shield that deals slashing damage when used in a shield bash attack. Additionally, this weapon ignores up to 5 points of hardness when attacking objects or sundering as the spinning blades tear material apart with a spray of angry sparks.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, shield or shield of faith, wreath of blades; Cost 15,340 gp

The flavor of the design is excellent. That said, it's a little wordy in the first half - I might have whittled things down a little. Still, genuinely interesting work. I look forward to seeing more!

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

A very tight and thematically simple item. I saw it a bunch of times and always liked it.

Lots of thought obviously went into this, whether before or after the initial design stage - it doesn't really matter which.

The second paragraph ability is way cool, I'd love to see this designed by the same people who designed the capstan table. ;P It might end up about the same price too!!!

I like the final hardness-ignoring concept added, works thematically with everything else - all the components flow into each other to make a solid and versatile item.

Nice work Taylor!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Good choice in using a unique shield type. I didn't see this one in the voting, but I would have voted for it if I did. I love the image of the spikes whirling around and sparking against other objects. Very cool! Good luck in the rest of the competition.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka thornnm

A shield that will let me feel like Metal Man from Mega Man 2? I'm sold! I up-voted the heck out of this!

Congratulations on making the top 32 and good luck in the rest of the competition!

Marathon Voter Season 9

Congrats on making the Top 32!

I have a soft spot for shields, doubly so for shield bashes, and this is indeed a fun one. While design wise I was not won over by the first paragraph, which is basicly just lowering 2 fairly unrelated penalties, I was all over the second. I like the concept of turning it into a buzzsaw shield a lot. The two modes going from defending and improving other effects to being a offensive weapon is a nice touch. Another fun shield! I'm looking forward to your map entry.

Best of luck in all future rounds!

RPG Superstar 2014 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7 aka Belladonna Blue

Welcome to the Top 32, Taylor! Your submission has overcome the magic item horde and the many culls to emerge at the top of the heap. Congratulations!

I'll be one of the judges for this first round, offering my humble commentary which I hope will be helpful to you moving into Round 2. I will be considering each item based on three factors: functionality (does the item fill a useful niche within the rules?), mojo ("wow" factor--would I point out this item to someone else, or immediately get some cool concept to go with it?), and writing (is the formatting and text clear and error free? Is the prose interesting and evocative?)

Combining these elements successfully is, I feel, key to defining that elusive "Superstar" quality that we all want to see.

So you know what I'm looking for, now let's move on to the good bit: your spiraled madu!

Functionality and Usefulness
Cool shield. Has a multi-tool quality to it. It doesn't off balance you while charging! It corrects your fighting stance! It shield bashes with slicing action and dices anything you want to sunder! I like that versatility.

I feel like the star of the item is its ten rounds of slicing shield bash action, which just about any shield-wielder is going to enjoy. The side effects might be great perks or ignored, depending on how the wielder fights, but that's OK. The core ability is plenty good on its own.

I think it hedges a bit on being too much to keep track of, but it's all tied in well. There's nothing I can look at and recommend cutting.

Shields are items there always seems to be room for because they get used by significantly different characters. This seems targeted for a character specializing in two-weapon fighting with a shield, and probably invested in improving shield bashing, but I can see other characters using it, too.

Reaching for a more obscure shield was a good option, too. It sucks picking up some exotic proficiencies and not getting any magic loot to go with it.

The Cool Factor/Mojo
I really like the spinning buzzsaw ability, and the hardness penetration. I wish I'd gotten to those abilities earlier in the description, as getting through the charge and two-weapon fighting bonuses didn't inspire me much. I can see why those are there as they tie in nicely with the item, but the spinning ability with its built in sundering bonus is the star of the show. Your design chops are there.

Prose and Editing
Good description that makes players immediately think of how to use the item is a clear strength here. The description of the madu gave me a clear idea of what it's like and the "spray of angry sparks" punctuated the sundering bonus nicely.

Overall
You know how to make a really effective item and keep it all together with balance in mind.

You buried your lead a bit, which is unfortunate, but it might have been tricky to rewrite another way. While you're good at joining things together, moving forward try to prioritize what the real center of your design is, and put it on center stage. It might mean removing some cool things on the side sometimes, but it can make a design much stronger.

I am honored to have been allowed to provide feedback this year. I look forward to your entry for Round 2, Taylor, as I'm sure you'll put together something intriguing and thoughtfully conceived.

Congratulations again!


I will be starting my reviews soon, and they can be bumpy at times, so here's a starter for 10 on Template ...

You nailed it!

Oh dear, poor Fu is looking so sad and despondent right now as he looks at yet another empty plate.

We will be looking deeper in the full review to make up for this lack of feeding - grin. I promise.

Full review to follow in due course.

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

As promised yesterday, the GB&U this year is courtesy of me rather than GM_solsprial (he is busy drawing furiously). So without further ado, our amazing and awesome top 32+4 get the first set of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly critiques, and then on to everyone else who requested a critique in the CMI official thread, or in my shiny The GB&U Season 9 thread.

Spiraled Madu

The Good: Madu is an under appreciated shield type IMO, and you gave us a very nicely constructed offensive shield, and I VERY much like offensive shields.

The Bad: Spinning anything always bugs me a bit unless that something is mechanical. You explain the how it works quite well, but just as a person choice, spinning is not a favourite of mine.

The Ugly: With the right application of feats and other stuff I can take advantage of the ignore material hardness ability to destroy BBEG's super shiny weapon and render him in serious trouble with ease. I would have been fine with just the bashing property that deals slashing damage.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

I think I would have liked this item better without any of the small penalty reduction portions. That part seemed both boring, and a I don't like penalties thing.

That said the second portion of the item is quite fun and cool. I really like the visuals and I think that ignoring up to 5 points of hardness is nice but definitely not game breaking.

Good job!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Congratulations, Taylor!

I have to admit, I'm unfamiliar with the madu, so much of this item's charm was lost on me. That being said, the ability to further reduce two-weapon fighting penalties is an instant appeal for me. I'm about to run a game with 2 dual weapon characters who are new to the game, and I expect they will both be disappointed to see their already low 1st level attack bonus further depleted by two-weapon penalties (I know I certainly felt that way when I first played a ranger). It's an ability that immediately fills a niche that any martial character can appreciate, and that alone is worth commendation.

Can't wait to see your map in round 2!

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

Taylor! Welcome...to the Top 32!

As one of the judges who'll be along for the entire ride of the competition, it's my duty (and pleasure) to offer up some commentary on your winning submission, as well as a bit of advice for the challenges to come. First up...your item...spiraled madu...

Okay. The name already gives an indication that this isn't going to be your typical magic shield. We don't typically see lots of madus making the list. I'm not quite sure what's magically special about a "spiraled" madu, but I'm curious to read on.

Mojo. Pretty neat! The wow factor is very much embodied by the spinning blades...which are very thematically appropriate for a magical madu.

Cinematic. Yeah, you can get some strong visuals off this description. The reader has to wade through some of the wordier, less inspiring mechanical abilities with the lessened penalty for charging and two-weapon fighting. And, a madu isn't going to be immediately recognized by most readers and they have to look up its physical appearance to have a better idea of what the description of its primary power would look like relative to its constuction. But still, spinning blades on a shield that throws sparks while slicing throw hardness? Yeah. That's some dramatic imagery.

Usefulness. It's got a handful of useful aspects to it. Anyone who wants to charge with a shield will benefit. Same for two-weapon fighters with a shield-weapon on their arm. The big pay-off is the limited spinning spiral. Bottom line, it's not a Swiss-army-knife item, but it's not a one-trick pony either.

Mechanics. Nothing that gets me super-excited here. Jazzing up shield charges and two-weapon fighting with a penalty reduction is fine, but not breaking any new ground. The spinning spiral aspect is the unique element. That's what brings the innovation here. Unfortunately, you kind of buried it after going over the other stuff. As a point of advice, lead with your best shot. Don't save it until the end. Designing magic items isn't like writing a story and making sure the pay-off is in the last chapter. Instead, magic items need to grab the reader right away. And, to do that, you need to hit them with your best stuff so their attention doesn't waver and move on to something else.

Polish. Pretty darn clean. You can tell you've done this before and you've learned along the way. I especially like the use of wreath of blades from Ultimate Combat as the basis for describing this item's effects. That shows good Superstar intuition to look for underused spells like that to build an item around or take inspiration from. Well done!

So, overall, this item could have been stronger by punching up its best, most flavorful aspect first. And, if I'm being honest, it might have been worthwhile to peel off the lesser benefits and find a different power as a secondary effect. Madus are meant to be defensive shields and offensive weapons, so anything which could continue to explore that dichotomy would be nice. Regardless, congratulations on making the Top 32 once again, and let's see what you've got for Round 2.

My two cents,
--Neil

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

Congrats on making the top 32. I have to say that this felt more kooky than cool to me; a shield with spinning blades. It reminding me of some bad 80s fantasy movies, like the Glaive from Krull and the tri-sword from Sword and the Sorcerer.

What I really couldn't get past was the reduction of two-weapon fighting penalties. With the right feats, the extra attacks are balanced by the -2 to attack roles. Anything that reduces the penalties further removes that balancing factor. I'd be okay if it couldn't reduce the penalties below what Two-weapon fighting feat does, as a partial replacement for the feat, but stacking with the feat is something that breaks a limit that should be in the game IMO.

Paizo Employee Assistant Developer , Star Voter Season 6

Hello, Taylor, and welcome to the Top 32!

I'll be a judge for this round, and I'm honored and pleased to offer feedback on your spiraled madu. I hope this feedback provides some helpful insight to you as you move forward in the competition.

As an assistant developer at Paizo, I'll offer you three levels of commentary that approximate the development process: some first impressions, a deeper look, and some measured feedback.

So, let's get started!

First impressions: Well, it's not every day that you see a magical madu. Kudos on taking a rather obscure shield and using some simple component spells to extrapolate and expand upon its function in the game. Overall, this feels tailor-made for a specific character concept, and that makes it both memorable and intriguing.

Deeper look: Individually, I like the places that this item is going. Reducing the AC penalty for charging and the TWF penalties is pretty simple, but also pretty darn useful, and it makes lots of sense alongside the item's theme. That said, once we get to the second paragraph, it's clear that there's a lot going on here. The spinning ability feels so much cooler to me than the static penalty reductions, and I think this item would have benefited from focusing on that ability and perhaps adding a related secondary ability as opposed to creating what amounts to quite a bit of bookkeeping for one item.

Measured feedback: You clearly have the ability to create innovative rules and flavor, but I think this item stumbles a bit from simply trying to include the entire toolbox when a wrench can easily do the job on its own. Trust in your own ability to create good design and don't feel pressured to try to show your entire suite of skills in one short piece. If you keep that in mind moving forward, I think great things will happen for you.

That said, thanks for reading, and best of luck in the contest!

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Congrats on making it to round two!

I was pleasantly pleased to see your item was a madu. It's rarely used, a little quirky, and I really liked where you went with it.

I felt that the descriptions you gave regarding the spiraled madu's, first two abilities (charge, two-weapon fighting) were necessary to convince me why your shield included such a function. Without the added descriptions I would have been skeptical about these abilities. Good on you for adding it in!

As mentioned by others, the Spiraled Madu shines with its last ability, and that really should have been showcased first. As a reader, the beginning of your entry is dry, but the end is exciting and visually appealing. You could have played that up more.

All in all, I really liked the spiraled madu and I voted for it a few times.
Congrats again on making top 32 and good luck with your map!

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

Okay now that we have a few days before Top 16 reveals I've decided to comment on my competitors work. First, congrats one being a people's choice top 36. To me connecting more directly with the pathfinder community as an audience is even more impressive then clicking for a group of judges.

We've come a long way from our first collaboration together on the Kingmaker boards. I think we've helped make one another better over the years and I'm proud to call you a friend and glad to see you advancing again in this competition. Cheers and good luck Taylor.

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

Taylor Hubler wrote:
Spiraled Madu

Congratulations for making it into the Top 32!

Seeing as that's how I had to start this, you're already a potential "Superstar" so keep that in mind!

That out of the way, I'm going to treat your item the same as if I saw it in the Critique My Item Thread, which means I'll be using the following comments, and assuming you're submitting this item as your "sample" for an Open Call to Fat Goblin Game's Call to Arms book line.

Feel free to disagree with me and DEFEND YOUR CHOICES!

<<NOTE: I workshopped with Taylor on this item, so he knows very well my comments on it>>

SUPERSTAR — I like this item, so much it should have been somewhere else :P BUT, I'm glad it got you into the RPG SS this year!

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

Thank you everyone for you reviews, praise, and comments. I believe that this item is certainly stronger than my fist of havoc from last year. It was my goal to improve myself using all the feedback from last year, I know I accomplished just that.

There are only a couple ways I would make changes to the spiraled madu based on the feedback I have received so far. I would move the second paragraph up to start off the piece with the strongest and coolest ability and I would remove the ability that reduced two-weapon fighting penalties.

I chose the madu because I have a brawler character that is currently using one and I noticed there was a lack of magic item options for him. I based the abilities on two factors. First, what I would like in a magic madu for my character. The charging ability came out of this, because Slog the Dockside Brawler uses Pummeling Charge all the time in combat.

The second factor was the change from judges picking the item to a decision by popular vote. I knew that I would have to appeal to the audience through cool visual effects (much like how I did with last year's item,) and by having abilities that the power gamer inside of all of us would love. I picked three simple mechanical effects (charging, TWF, and hardness) tied them into the item visually, and had the big visual be transforming the madu into a heavy shield through the spinning spikes.

The one challenge that got brought up by everyone who work shopped my item was that no one would know what a madu was. To meet that challenge I did my best to describe one accurately but briefly. I think I did well in that regard.

Thank you to the people who looked at my item and offered feedback before I submitted it. Thank you to everyone who voted on my item. Thank you for the reviews and comments. Last of all, thank you for this opportunity and contest. Without all of it I would not have been as motivated, educated, and challenged in regards to my desire to work in this industry.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Taylor Hubler wrote:
Spiraled Madu

Congratulations Taylor!

I had to look up madu, but the improved penalties work well with its theme. Nice job working with that niche. The bonuses were not that exciting from a magic item point of view but the sawblade effect made up for that. :)

Well done & good luck on the map!

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Overall I like this item, but the different abilities feel like it is built for a very specific character type which is a bit off putting to me.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Greetings, Taylor, and congratulations on earning a spot in this year’s Top 32! Here’s some of my thoughts regarding the spiraled madu:

  • This shield has many small effects that work together to reinforce a central theme, a transforming shield.
  • I want to put this in the hands of a powerful inevitable and then go Michael Bay on my players as I describe it whirling, clanking, spiraling, and modulating to suit whatever action it performs next, ramping up the player's terror with each new iteration of the base shield’s form. They don’t have to know it’s just conferring some extra AC on a charge at first, but when it starts shredding their armor it might cause some pants soiling.
  • It’s variable enough that I could see most players trying to use it after looting it.
  • It’s a fun item that adds something to a wide variety of popular combat options in a fun, flavorful way.
  • Staying aware of what it can do while also keeping track of a myriad of monster abilities could make for a headache, but one that is probably worth it.
  • An exciting description keeps me interested while reading each option.
This item is exciting once you start to realize how versatile it is. Keep up the good work, and we’ll see how that design sense plays out in the next round!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

I didn't know what a madu was, but as soon as I googled it, I thought "Oh yeah, that totally needs to spin!"

So congrats on finding an idea that feels completely natural and does cool things.

I think this might be one of the thematically tightest items this year. It all feels very much of a piece.

Kudos too for adjusting to the voting changes. Very strategic!

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Spiraled Madu

I see AND hear it!
Grinds away at hardness!? YES!!!
The whole package here!!

Sorry I'm getting to you so late. I guess even the proposal to Haiku and limerick things is clashing with my other writing projects, peak busy season at my workplace, and remodeling my living space at home.

I loved this shield from the first time I read it! Though, I did downvote it once when it squared off against the Gown of Many Graves. Probably one of the hardest voting pairs I dealt with.

The style and execution of this is hard to turn away from. And I can see many a martial character taking this up and going to town on it.

Excellent work!

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