Caber Twig


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

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

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Caber Twig
Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 200 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
Exquisitely carved from the very finest dark mahogany and polished to a smooth sheen, this 4-inch stick feels surprisingly heavy for its size when hefted in the palm. Three notches divide the twig into four 1-inch segments. Snapping the twig at any notch is a swift action that creates smaller twigs of appropriate sizes.

When tossed into the air with a flick of the wrist, a length of twig suddenly releases a deafening crack as it transforms into a massive log at the apex of its flight. For every segment of twig used, this log measures 5 feet and weighs 300 lbs. No matter the length of the log, it is always 2 feet in diameter, and only one can be thrown at a time.

The thrower may toss a twig at any creature, object, or space within 30 feet, and the resulting log always lands tip-first. The target must succeed at a DC 16 Reflex save and be forced into an adjacent space, or otherwise suffer 2d6 bludgeoning damage per twig segment used.

Upon striking its primary target, the log tilts and crashes down in a direction of the thrower’s choosing. All creatures within a line the length of the log from the space of impact must succeed at a DC 13 Reflex save or else suffer 1d6 bludgeoning damage per twig segment used. Medium or smaller creatures receiving this secondary damage fall prone and suffer the pinned condition.

Creatures pinned under a log must succeed at an Athletics or Escape Artist check to escape. The DC of the check equals 10 plus 2 per twig segment used.

Created logs remain indefinitely.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, plant growth; Cost 100 gp

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

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Ha! I *knew* this one was from a previous top-32er.

Voted for it every time.

Congrats on making it in again, hope this the last time you're allowed to enter!

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

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Go team 2013!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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So glad that little slip from another rules system didn't kill this item! Congrats and welcome back!


Your ability to consistently get into the Top 32 says something. I think it's your time to win this darn thing already.

I love these well written, low-level items. Low-level characters need some magic item love too.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

THANK YOU EVERYONE. I thought I really shot myself in the foot, but I am humbled that you liked this one. I really, REALLY promise to give it my all this year.

----

More on that mistake:

Ehehe. Oops.

The real tragedy is that I had "Strength" check all the way up until the final iteration, then I patted myself on the back for catching that "omission" of Athletics. Argh.

Some things on my radar for the rewrite (I'll post it after work):
- General tightening up.
- Price adjustment (this is a tad cheap)
- Possible spell change (Plant Growth might not work if this is a dead log...)

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

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My favorite consumable (besides mine)!


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Makes me think we need more Paizo modules with a Scottish highlands theme. Or maybe even an AP that ultimately takes the characters into the equivalent of the English castle.

Dark Archive

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This was on my keep list, and I voted for it whenever I saw it. Congratulations!

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 9

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Congrats on making the top 32!

I'm excited about:
This is one of my favourite items from voting. The Scottish flavour is cool, the idea is cool even without that and I can immediately imagine using this in just about any game. I understood what it does on the first scan through too!

I'm cautious about:
The sheer number of rule-facts thrown at me was a bit intimidating. Some of that's probably just the nature of the game, but I think that restructuring could make it a little easier to read.

If you were in my creative writing group:
Disclaimer: gorgeous prose is hardly a requirement for a good item, so take what I say here with a pinch of salt.

The flavour sentence at the start of the description has a lot of adjectives that don't seem to be pulling their weight. If the description were as concise as the technical stuff, this would be even more awesome. You don't need to tell me that a sheen is smooth; likewise "very" is really just eating up your word count.

I think you might get good results from consolidating paragraphs. The current form feels a bit like bullet points to me. A little more description of what's going to happen before the technicalities of how it's going to happen might help to frame that. (The name kinda does this, but I only clicked about the name after working out what the item did.) You might also improve the flow by breaking some sentences up. Every single sentence in your description is a compound sentence, which makes it just a little more effort to process. Not a big deal, but I notice things like that, so there you have it. ;P

Looking forward to seeing more from you!

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

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Welcome back! Voted for the cool stick every time.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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Chris,

Your item was the very first item I snarked about in the snark thread. And honestly, I'm a little surprised that the "Athletics" check didn't take the air out of this item's tires.

If I'm honest with myself, the ONLY thing I see wrong is the "Athletics" check, and maybe the fact it's a little on the cheap side, yes.

But it's all good, because here you are! Congrats!

Now, show us an awesome map...

...again....

...for the fourth time!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

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Thanks for the feedback everybody (especially Arianwen, great points!).

Here's a rewrite. Wow! Holy saved wordcount!

Caber Twig Rewrite (279 words):
Caber Twig
Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 300 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
Carved from fine dark mahogany and polished to a smooth sheen, this 4-inch stick feels surprisingly heavy for its size when hefted in the palm. Notches divide the twig into four equal segments. Snapping the twig at any notch is a swift action that creates smaller twigs of appropriate sizes.

When tossed into the air with a flick of the wrist, a length of twig suddenly releases a deafening crack as it transforms into a massive log at the apex of its flight. It then lands tip-first on a creature, object, or 5-foot space within 30 feet. A creature must succeed at a DC 16 Reflex save and be forced into an adjacent space or else suffer 2d6 bludgeoning damage per twig segment used in the creation of the log.

Upon striking the space of its primary target, the log tilts and crashes down in a direction of the thrower’s choosing. All creatures within a line the length of the log from the space of impact must succeed at a DC 13 Reflex save or else suffer 1d6 bludgeoning damage per twig segment used. Medium or smaller creatures receiving this secondary damage fall prone and suffer the pinned condition, and must succeed at a Strength or Escape Artist check to escape. The DC of this check equals 10 plus 2 per twig segment used.

Created logs are always 2 feet in diameter, but measure 5 feet and 300 lbs. for every segment of twig used. The logs are not magical and remain indefinitely.

Construction
Requirements
Craft Wondrous Item, plant growth; Cost 150 gp

And some notes on the item's creation:

Spoiler:
I think I was casually perusing wikipedia or youtube and started a little learning session about caber tossing. My brain made the connection for me and said, "Hey! Item!" It can be thrown at people and be used for cool interactions with the environment. Like, bridges, battering rams, support beams, and carving canoes or something out of them. Okay!

So I went with it. My first idea was a 15-foot caber that counted as a throwable greatclub with reach, but otherwise had the same overall powers as the final Caber Twig. I realized that A) Creating a new throwing weapon with reach would turn some people off, and B) People would moan about having to drag the damned thing into a dungeon. (See? I learned after the Scallywag! :p)

So I thought, well, what about a pocket-sized version? Solves both problems. That's where the caber twig came from. The name was easy at that point and never changed. I liked how it riffs off Caber Toss a little bit.

Other considerations:
- Initially had some complicated ideas about ironwood or cold iron being worked in somehow. Ended up scrapping it for simplicity's sake.
- Thought about having it work somehow with Shillelagh, but you need oak for that, and honestly mahogany is just **way** fancier.

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

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Congrats, Chris. Are you the first quad contestant? Time to just win this already and leave some space for the rest of us. :D Do a great map and then make sure you look at the lessons from your previous monsters.

Also, I'm going to take your tactic next year of bemoaning my item's many faults and how embarrassed I am about it -- it's worked for you two years in a row now! ;)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Amanuensis

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Congratulations Chris!

I'm really looking forward to your map, since I know from last year that it will be awesome.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Congrats, Chris. Are you the first quad contestant?

... Now that you mention it, I think I am. I think most three-timers get good enough to reach the top 8 and disqualify themselves.

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Also, I'm going to take your tactic next year of bemoaning my item's many faults and how embarrassed I am about it -- it's worked for you two years in a row now! ;)

Now, now. Don't try to be as annoying as me. :p

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Congratulations on getting into the top 32, you're obviously an excellent writer able to explain complex game mechanics clearly. Great job!

Personally, I strongly disliked your original item for a few reasons(all concerning play balance) some of which you seem to have corrected!

Increasing the price is the right move but does not go far enough. Dealing 8d6 damage at levels 1 and 2 turns the item into an early save or die, I would reduce it to 1d8 per segment. Clarifying the original intention of including the prone and pin condition is good, but it makes the item even more powerful, especially since you also now scale the damage per segment, I'd have the secondary effect be a single 1d6 (or 1d8) with the prone and pin rider. This still makes it a very power item that could TPK a party of level 1 or 2 characters if they all failed their saves versus this item.

edited for clarity. And again, congratulations on making a very interesting and unique item.

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

Great to have you back in the roster, Chris!

This item made me laugh in all the right ways (it helps that one of my home groups just got to a scene in Battle for Bloodmarch Hill that heavily features logs). It's hard to make a rules-efficient consumable that stands out as an awesome contribution to combat, but this one does it in spades. The fact that the logs stick around just helps with the versatility, since a ton of free lumber is always a fun addition to the environment.

Can't wait to log on and see what you make for round 2!

Lantern Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Jayson MF Kip

First of all, congratulations!

The good:

Spoiler:
The flavor is great, the visual is evocative. It's certainly A-material on the fluff side.

Also, I completely dig the idea of tossing a tree trunk at a guy, and shouting "catch!"

The Bad:

Spoiler:
200g for a DC18 Athletics (this means Strength, right?) or Escape Artist Check or remain pinned. I know 10th level Alchemists that would carry 20 of these things. Could you imagine a full-attack?

The Ugly:

Spoiler:
As a GM, this thing generates all sorts of headaches. What if someone uses more than one of these? What if the 6 unnamed thugs all have one of these? Does the 20-foot version get stuck on a 10-foot ceiling?

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Cool item and congratulations!

My only concern is that, even at 300 gp (crafted at half price) the price is too low. Low-level characters could trivialize many encounters with an 8d6 thrown weapon that also does AoE/pinning. Three first level characters with two of these apiece and high initiative are throwing out massive damage.

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

Congrats on quadding it! Back in my day, two was hard ;), them that crafty Tom Qadim made three the bar, now there's a new bar! Good luck!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 9 aka Sir_Toon

I understand everyone's concerns about how cheap this item is. But when I was first introduced to pathfinder my dm didn't point out it was illegal to summon say... horses over my enemies heads for several sessions. So seeing this item brought a fond tear to my eye.

I will be carrying so many of these for smart lipped highwaymen. ;)

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

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
mbauers wrote:

Cool item and congratulations!

My only concern is that, even at 300 gp (crafted at half price) the price is too low. Low-level characters could trivialize many encounters with an 8d6 thrown weapon that also does AoE/pinning. Three first level characters with two of these apiece and high initiative are throwing out massive damage.

Compare it to say a Feather Token (Tree) which could conceivably do the same thing, but doesn't have any formalized rules associated with it.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

I liked this item, and upvoted it fairly consistently; it seems to me the mechanics would have been better if modeled after a splash weapon.

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

I wasn't sure we were supposed to jump on you with critiques in the first 24 hours. I wrote this out before heading to work, so some issues have already been addressed or brought up since.

I guess critiquing is allowed already? First off, congratulations. I voted for this item every single time I saw it. I loved the image of the caber toss, including the flip at the end.

When I see an item, I tend to judge it by how many things it can be used for that aren't implied in its description. Technically they could be 'abuses', but usually they're just 'unmentioned benefits' that really should have been implied or mentioned.

Again, I loved the item. Its low cost is very attactive. However, the benefits of using it at full power every time almost always outweigh the option of breaking it into pieces. Not always, but 200 gp (changed) for 8d6 damage to the target and catching additional creatures in the effect and making the DC to escape from being pinned (and prone) harder is a no brainer.

There's no mention of what happens if you throw a 10-foot or larger section while in a room or area with a 10-foot high roof. Does the caber wedge like a pillar and not fall over? Can it be used this way to shore up a ceiling?

This item is way too useful/abusable for the price. I understand if it was envisioned as being used at low levels but you also have to think about it being used at higher levels and how someone able to buy 10 or 20 of them can affect an encounter.

200 gold pieces is basically nothing beyond level 3. Being able to create 20-foot logs basically on demand means instant bridges, instant walls and barriers. Even two 10-foot logs can easily pass any pit or trap designed to be a challenge for a low-level adventurer, and that's just one caber twig. Trapped in a pit? Climb a log. Even without using the full stick at once, one stick can equal four 5-foot lengths of logs, that's practically a raft or boat.

You could easily block corridors or rooms and make combat and mapping a logistics nightmare for your GM. How heavy is a 5-foot section of 2-foot diameter wood (addressed)? That's just using it normally in combat too. Now there's 10- to 20-ft long 2-foot high barriers laying across the the room.

It's more powerful than fabricate. The logs should definitely not be permanent at that level and price. One round is better, 5 rounds max if you want to base it off Caster Level or something.

'Medium or smaller creatures suffering this damage...' does that mean if they have DR they just aren't knocked over or pinned by the tree falling on them? Did you mean "Medium or smaller... failing this save...'?

Just my thoughts. Congratulations again.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Phloid

I liked this item a lot in the voting. Would have made my personal top 32 list had I kept one. Very cool and simple but handy and fun. Good luck in the coming rounds.

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

Congrats on making it into the Top 32 again! I love that a seemingly innocuous stick can turn into a dangerous threat. Awesome item. Good luck in the rest of the competition.

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

This was one of my favorites. I smiled every time I came across it, which is the best reaction possible.

Yeah, it would be maybe overpowered in some situations, though not as many as people may imagine. It wouldn't be hard for a GM to justify a limit on how many could be used in a certain space, for example.

But the fact that it's a creative consumable with a wide range of uses put it up at the very top of my list. I'm all about items gives players options and choices to make, and this certainly does that!

Marathon Voter Season 9

Congrat on making the Top 32!

I really like this item. I just demands to be used in fun ways.

Normally I try to critique each item and really try to turn is up to eleven. You however address my issue in your reworked version. So instead, I will critique something else; why on earth where you working on that before your map was due in?

Best of luck in all future rounds!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

Lucky Pips wrote:
why on earth where you working on that before your map was due in?

Because my map was already done. ;)

... uh, ish.


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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 - as well you should repeat finalist, as well you should! Grin.

Very well done indeed

Sorry Fu, no food to be found here...

*sadly shuffles to the next item*

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.

Caber Twig

The Good: Never in a thousand years would I have expected an item like this, very unique, flavourful, and fun at the same time. Plus Scottish!

The Bad: It may have been wise to note what sort of action/attack type targeting a creature or square is. While requiring a Reflex save makes sense, I would have rather seen a standard ranged attack with increments.

The Ugly: As this item is available at low level, and could in one go deal 8d6 damage, plus 4d6 to several other targets, even one or two of these items used smartly could very much change an encounter.

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

Welcome to the Top 32, Chris! 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 caber twig!

Functionality and Usefulness
I'm honestly a little surprised it has taken this long for a sport where grown men in kilts throw logs at each other to be implemented into a fantasy game. It is about time.

The basics of this is that it is a portable, consumable log that can be thrown in variable sizes at an enemy for rather good damage, then potentially hit another line of enemies and give them prone and pinned, and then the log hangs out forever.

It's tremendously good. But to avoid low-level games becoming Caber: the Tossing, it needs some balancing tweaks. 8d6 damage is incredibly potent up to the mid-game, even without factoring other effects. Dropping damage to 1d6/segment brings it more in line where it should be. The secondary damage I would recommend dropping to d3, at most, or have damage dealt nonlethal (they are getting hit with a broader part of the log, after all). And even with all that, the price needs to go up. Closer to 1,000 for a piece with all four segments, but you could have price based on the number of segments if you wished. 200-300 gp for a single segment is reasonable.

Being able to generate a potentially ridiculous number of permanent logs is probably not the best thing to put in the hands of PCs, especially at the price point. The abuse potential isn't massive, but what is there is enough to make a GM cry. Unless there's an overwhelming reason to make it permanent, magically created stuff should vanish at some point.

But you hit a really good niche with the theme and the novelty in this, and it's a consumable--which is a great design space to be in--that has some strategic use to it, too. That versatility is great, but it should be priced accordingly.

The Cool Factor/Mojo
It's a caber toss item! It's an obvious thing to be in the game that isn't yet, and that deserves kudos. You translated the essence of caber tossing (i.e., "let's throw giant logs at stuff") very well. It does take some vision to pull concepts from real life and make them feel magical, which you managed--and that's good, because the risk with showing your inspiration is your personal innovation can get lost.

There's value in being able to pull real-life/media concepts and put them into the game well, but a Superstar designer can create whole cloth without their inspiration being too obvious (though, as with anything, everything is derivative of something else). I don't think you have trouble with that, just be sure you show off your personal ideas, too, going forward.

Prose and Editing
Your quick revision already addressed most of what I'd mention here. Being able to not just accept criticism, but quickly and seamlessly implement it is such a pro trait.

The only thing I want to mention is that you have this awesome, kind of playful tone to your writing. It's awesome because you have a discernable voice, but in crunchy rules text like this, it's good to match the standard, professional sort of style. In your revised version, you stepped up to this nicely, it's just something to keep in mind going forward.

Overall
You have an awesome attitude which has no doubt been honed by years of returning to the contest. I can't think of anything else that will serve you better than that.

You've got a solid grasp of the rules, you know how to write, you know how to fix what you write, and you really know how to get people to fall in love with what you made.

Mind the unforeseen consequences of your creations, and always double-check your rules and writing. You don't get re-dos in the contest until after the votes are cast.

I am honored to have been allowed to provide feedback this year. I look forward to your entry for Round 2, Chris, and expect happy feelings and a pro polish on your map.

Congratulations again!

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

Congratulations on once again earning a spot in the Top 32! Since you’ve already addressed a few issues with your original write-up, I’ll comment on your re-write.

  • Your imagery is fun and engaging, while also communicating details about how to use the item. This kind of double duty keeps a reader from getting bored while digesting the information about the item. Good work.
  • You could remove “when hefted in the palm” and “with a flick of the wrist” to save more words. Neither of these statements are necessary to communicating the points you’re making.
  • Save DCs seem reasonable, as opposed to pathetically low as is often the case.
  • The damage still seems high. The fastest way I know of to determine if an item is unbalanced is to ask if I have characters that wouldn’t want this item. The caber twig fails this test, as doing 8d6 damage with a DC16 reflex save is something I would be in line to pay 300gp for on every character I’ve ever played. It would be a staple piece of equipment at that price, no question. That’s even before considering that if the target makes the first save, then they have to make another one or be pinned! That’s crazy good.
  • Having the twig fall on a person after it’s been thrown is a skilled and fun addition. That function breathes a sense of consequence into the item, something that’s easy to overlook with one-use items.
  • Making the item a cheap and fun early level item is a good idea though, and I agree with Victoria that the answer is probably to reduce the severity of the damage inflicted to minimize the increase in price.
You had a fun and inspiring map last year, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you bring this year. Good luck, sir!

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.

To be honest this was not my favorite. I guess I'm just not that into throwing sticks/logs no matter how flavorful and useful you make it. Not my aesthetic but I have seen work from you in the past and loved it and I'm not surprised to see you back, best of luck in the next round.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Chris Shaeffer wrote:

only one can be thrown at a time.

Creatures pinned under a log must succeed at an Athletics or Escape Artist check to escape. The DC of the check equals 10 plus 2 per twig segment used.

A little confused at only one can be thrown at a time, is it intended only one can be thrown each round or each attack someone could make?

Also even if this was a Str check, a CMB is usually used to break a pin (which comes from grappling).

The pinning in general seems a bit of a strange fit, as I've never seen it used with anything other than grappling.

I liked this item, but it wasn't really on my radar for top 32.

Congrats and Good Luck!

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

Chris! Welcome back...to the Top 32!

You know the drill. 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...the caber twig...

Alright. The name is fine. Nothing earth-shattering for me. It fits what it is. And it's fine for what it does. As a consumable item, it's nice that it's got simple name.

Mojo. Auto-enlarging, log-sized ranged weapons that can pin your opponents just by snapping off a twig and tossing it at them. Yeah. Mojo.

Cinematic. There's plenty of visuals here...from dropping a 300-pound (or heavier) log on someone's head to making it fall and crush a bunch of goblins too dimwitted to get out of the way.

Usefulness. Offensive weapon. Ready-made bridge or ladder or obstacle. Foundational material for an emergency raft or flotation device. You can even build yourself a log cabin with them, if you want.

Mechanics. I agree with Victoria. Too overpowered for the price. The damage is up too high. It's innovative how you've made the twig segments increase the length of the line of effect as well as the damage to those crushed by it, but at the cost factor, it brings way too much magical damage to the mix. Even scaling it back to 1d6/segment puts a 4d6 weapon in the hands of low-level PCs very early at 200 gp a pop.

Additionally, think of this item if it were a spell instead. Would you classify this as a 1st level spell? Probably not. At a minimum, you could pull this off with fabricate or minor creation to take a single twig and turn it into a log. But, even those spells don't launch it as an attack and force a Reflex save to avoid the damage and a pinned effect. So, this consumable is way overreaching. A single spell scroll for the above mentioned spells is also a consumable, but you wouldn't buy one for just 200 gp...much less get up to 4 uses out of it. See what I mean?

So, sometimes, that's a useful trick to consider when you're designing a new wondrous item. Ask yourself if there's a spell out there which, if used a certain way, could reasonably pull off the same or a similar effect. If there is, how much would a spell scroll or potion of that spell run you? If the spell itself can only duplicate part of what your wondrous item is doing, then you need to ratchet the cost up that much more. If you examine in that manner, sometimes, it can help guide you on how to assess the proper game balance. And, even then, if there's no spell out there that duplicate the effect you're envisioning, ask yourself what level you'd make such a spell if you created one. Then, use some of the numerical level of that envisioned spell to guide you on cost and game balance.

Polished. Template use is tight. You've been doing this for awhile. The reference to Athletics is a major slip-up, though. It got past the voters and the DQ guardians. If we were judging this in the past, we may have downgraded you for it, but probably would elevated you on mojo to see what else you could bring to the table. Even then, we'd point out the mistake and press home the point that you need to sharpen your game. You already know that. Just don't slip up again...

Other than that, as-written, I think this item isn't workable yet for actual gameplay. I didn't look over your revision, so I'm not going to comment on that. You have a knack for really strong ideas. It's execution that catches you sometimes. But you've clearly got the perseverance to keep coming back and the know-how to keep making the Top 32. To get over the hump, you need to close the deal. Raise your game. Regardless, congratulations once more and I wish you good luck with your map in Round 2. We need to see you get past the round of 16 or I have a feeling you'll become a 5-time Top 32 contestant. ;)

My two cents,
--Neil

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

Chris Shaeffer wrote:
Caber Twig

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!

Superstar — The only things I would do to "improve" this item likely change it too much. Your actual write is pretty good (though, what kind of action is it to "throw a thing in the air" a standard? or is that a move action? In terms of my improved versions, it would be fewer rules and more just a stick (no breaking up likely) that could be made into the full-size log. And I'd aim to have it be more versatile in general rather than focus so much on it as a weapon first and then a big log. (keep the rules for hitting a thing with it as it grows but as written, it seems the primary purpose rather than just a clever use of it).

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Congrats on making the top 32!

Note: Edited version reviewed.

I really enjoyed this item and I loved that it was a low-level, affordable consumable with a lot of utility. Its many potential uses inspires creativity and I think players can have a lot of fun with this.

Yes, I agree with some of the others who commented above that it deals too much damage, but Victoria's suggestions for this are really good so there's no need to nitpick it further.

The caber twig has a great feel to it and I think the niche you aimed for was very difficult (low-cost, effective consumable). Best of luck in round two!

Paizo Employee Assistant Developer , Star Voter Season 6

Hello, Chris, 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 caber twig. 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: I've actually watched a Highlands-style caber toss, and yep, this nails the visual. Awesome stuff. I think plant growth is a very elegant component spell for this concept, so great job there.

Deeper look: This is old news to you by now, I'm sure, but eesh -- be extra careful that your game language matches Pathfinder, particularly when it comes such important things as skills. Anyway, that you revised your item so quickly is, to me, a sign that you'll learn and adapt readily, which is a great thing. However, going forward in the competition (and if you pursue freelancing), it'll be key to get it as right as possible the first time. So just keep that in mind going forward.

Beyond that, as Neil and Victoria have noted, the price is way too low for the amount of damage we're essentially getting. Neil has done a great job breaking down the math, so I'll leave it to agreeing with him.

Measured feedback: Review, review, review your design before it goes off into the wild. That's so important, especially because down the line, a developer will probably not have time to re-develop something that you've re-submitted. At that point, they've probably already developed what you've sent, and you've missed an opportunity to give them your best work.

Keep that in mind, and mind the math behind the game, and you'll do really well. I think you've already proven that you can take a neat and tangible real-world event and turn it into an appealing game item, so I'm excited to see what you do next.

Also, I kind of want to go watch a caber toss now. :D

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

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

While I loved the visuals of this item, but the 5th cull I down voted it more than up voted due to the very low cost.

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

Chris! Congratulations on making it through Round 1!

Most of my thoughts on this have already been expressed by others, so all I'm going to say is interesting flavour and good luck in the rest of the competition!

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Caber Twig didn't get a haiku yet!? I'm slacking lol!

Flimsy-looking stick,
Breaks in four and squishes dudes.
Athletics check? Oops!

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ Season 9 (2016) / Open Call: Design a wondrous item, magic armor, or magic weapon / Caber Twig All Messageboards

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