Banshee's Wrath

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

RPG Superstar Season 9

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Banshee’s Wrath
Aura faint necromancy and transmutation; CL 5th
Slot armor; Price 14,300 gp; Weight 40 lbs.

The links of this +1 ghost touch chainmail blur and drift together like a shimmering veil, and its motion creates a chorus of angry whispers instead of clinking metal.

Once per day when making a charge attack, the armor can cause the wearer to take on a terrifying, semisolid spectral form. The wearer can charge through squares occupied by other creatures, and the wearer is treated as incorporeal for all attacks of opportunity or readied attacks triggered by the charge. As part of the charge action the wearer may unleash a bone-chilling shriek, allowing the wearer to make an Intimidate check to demoralize any creature within the line of its charge, including the target of the charge attack. This effect does not allow the wearer to charge over difficult terrain.

Construction Requirements
Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blink, cause fear; Cost 7,300 gp

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Congrats, Nick! I'm not surprised at all to see you in the top 32. The armor is very evocative, the mechanics are sound, and it's also very concise.

Be awesome in round 2!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Congrats. The shriek as part of the charge sold this item for me.

Dark Archive

I never saw this when voting - I love it!

Congratulations, Nick. Well done!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Anubis is smiling on you! You have done the Rising Dynasty proud.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Heck yeah! Welcome to the club!!! XD

I am so proud of you!

Sovereign Court


Honestly, I didn't like this item when I first read it because it felt a little bananas. But as the voting went on, it grew on me. The fact you can only do the whole charge thingy once per day evens it all out! Congrats!

Now, show us a great map!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Congratulations, Nick!

This has everything one would expect from a Wasko item: cool flavor, tight writing, interesting and cinematic effects and nice balance.

I expect a lot of great things from you.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Congrats, Nick. I'm a big fan of your work so no surprise seeing you here again. Definitely a nice item and looking forward to seeing what you do for the rest of the contest. Can you beat Chris? Duh-duh-duh!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Well done earning a spot in this year's Top 32, Nick! Here's a few thoughts on Banshee’s Wrath:

  • This item is exactly the kind of item I want for a villain, yet will be really fun in the hands of a player as well. I don't see any group looking at this and just seeing the gold value attached to it.
  • Has a simple function that is easy to implement.
  • That function has flavorful effects and interactions with the environment and characters within that environment.
  • I like that the Intimidate check is made with the player bonuses so that the item does not become useless after only a few levels.
  • Would the "chorus of angry whispers" impose penalties to Stealth checks above and beyond the normal armor check penalty? I suspect not, but I'm just throwing out the comment that I'm sure would come up at a table or two.

A very fun item and one of my favorite's so far. I look forward to seeing what you come up with in subsequent rounds!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Excellent imagery with the angry whispers and shrieking charges. Makes me want to run a game where the villain is wearing this armor. Good luck in the rest of the competition!

Congrats on making top 32!

I like this armor a lot. I got the mental image of something from the animated Final Fantasy: Spirits Within movie. A incorporeal creature roaring, and charging through a person. Almost wanted to see you drag the soul out the other side, but that would probably be too on the nose. I like that you still incur AoO's, but get a varying amount of protection in the form of being incorporeal. To me, the kicker is that aspect right there, that you get a cool ability, but there is a counter for it. A PC who saves the day with a ghost touch weapon by dropping a bad guy mid-charge will feel like the greatest hero ever, and a DM can add in more magic weapons or a Ghost touch weapons to combat a PC if this gets to be too overused of a tactic. Layering in mechanics that can combat any added power really increases the dynamics of the game, and show your chops as a designer.

Some wordings could be tightened up a little. I was left with a question from your second to last line; If I charge through a friend and an enemy before hitting a second enemy, can I intimidate any one enemy, both enemies, or do I need to target my friend as well? While the item is very concise, I would like to see a little more about it to hammer home the theme. Just a bit more describing it, or your appearance while charging to wow us with the great visuals and theme. Great item though.

Best of luck in all future rounds!

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 - grin.

Maybe the Fu isn't going to eat so well this year...

Full review to follow in due course.

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.

Banshee’s Wrath

The Good: I must admit, I LOVED this armour. I love banshee's, I like charging, and you combined the two into double awesome, nicely done. Bonus points for the creepy and super cool mention of the noise the armour makes, great detail.

The Bad: I would have gone with chain shirt, as the speed reduction of chain mail hurts the power of this armour a bit, because you cannot travel as far in medium armor.

The Ugly: The once a day limit keeps cost down, but means this item has less utility for it. I would gladly pay more for 3/day of its sweet power.

This is one of my favorite items this year. But I wonder why you included the inability to charge over difficult terrain, when it is only a once a day ability.

RPG Superstar 2014

Welcome to the Top 32, Nick! 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 banshee's wrath!

Functionality and Usefulness
I'm having to dig for something to grumble about. Seriously.

If this were more than a 1/day item, it would be crazy. But you made it once per day for that boss-battle-hail-mary charge. Smart.

Your pricing seems off. It's technically a +4 armor, but costs less than that while doing more.

From a thematic perspective, having the wearer still affected by difficult terrain seems like a weird choice. But it does help prevent possible abuses, so I see it from a balance angle.

But does it add something new to the rules? I think so. It stays well within an armor's 'realm of influence' (it alters the wearer's body to protect it from harm) and I can't think of anything that turns you into a charging, shrieking ghost. Banshees usually get associated with spellcasters, so I'm pleased to see a melee take on the theme. (Which makes the second one of this contest to do so!)

The Intimidate as part of the charge is a nice touch, but I'm glad it followed the main ability. It's cool and thematic but not half as exciting.

The Cool Factor/Mojo
I got excited about this for the incredible visual, for the supercool aspect of doing a ghostly charge free from AoO and being able to charge through people, and because you realized when to stop.

It's very good, it's very powerful, and you put a good limiter on it.

What a great play on blink. Well done.

Prose and Editing
Super great.

Lovely description with more detail dripped in with the rules text, naturally and not shoehorned. Tight writing, pro polish.

Keep doing what you're doing. I wish I had better advice than that.

The only thing I can think of is perhaps specifying the wearer still needs line of sight to target to begin the charge. With the ability to charge through creatures, it's possible someone might draw a wrong assumption. That's a pretty minor concern, though.

I am honored to have been allowed to provide feedback this year. I look forward to your entry for Round 2, Nick, and hope to see a crazy-good map from you.

Congratulations again!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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.

I f-ing loved this armor. I'm slightly envious of your ability on this one and I knew this was going to make the top 32 immediately. Good luck on next round and congrats on this.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Great item. Great theme and flavor, especially with the scream/demoralize on the charge.

Limiting the amount of times it can be used makes sense too.

One major question:
Since the armor is ghost touch isn't it still solid when you are incorporeal?

Just a small nit pick.

Congratulations and Good Luck!

Nick Wasko wrote:
Banshee’s Wrath

Congratulations Nick!

The angry whispers instead of clinking is a great image. I appreciate how little this attempts to do (unique charge) while offering such a big impression (over enemies, incorporeal AoO, intimidate). It is very tightly crafted. A lot of items have tried to make charges less terrain dependent, yet this specifically limits that option. I found it odd considering the incorporeal nature, but appreciated it for avoiding power-gaming.

Well done! Good luck in maps, monsters, encounters & pitches. :)

Nick Wasko wrote:
Banshee’s Wrath

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!

Publishable — While evocative concept, one problem with any kind of comment about "odd noises" an item makes is how it might affect Stealth and the like... I am to assume his "chorus of angry whispers" is "no louder than" the normal clinking metal, but still. Its just a really simple armor at its base. And then the "once per day" power of this armor is interesting, but so rare to be used at only once per day, that this is the "extra set" of armor I carry around and maybe occasionally change into for that one situation rather than anything I'd wear all the time likely.

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

Nick! 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...the banshee's wrath...

Okay. The name bugs me, because it reads more like a unique armor than something mass-produced by wizards across the land. It also doesn't call out what it is...i.e., chainmail or even just armor in general. That makes it a lot harder to pick out of a list of magic items.

Mojo. Incorporeal charge attacks with a line effect banshee shriek to unnerve your opponents along the way.

Cinematic. Definitely provides great visuals of what the armor would be like in use and in just everyday wearing around.

Usefulness. Yeah, it's got strategic value with both an offensive and a defensive option.

Mechanics. Pretty straight-forward. Other than the base +1 ghost touch chainmail, you're just getting a 1/day special charge ability and a banshee shriek in the middle of it. Ideally, because it's a movement based effect, you'd be better off making this a light armor to preserve the wearer's base speed. Otherwise, they're not going to be charging very far with it. At the end of the charge, I was unclear if the semi-solid state of the wearer still allows them to carry out an attack...or, if the Intimidate check to demoralize everyone is the only "attack" attributed to the charge and the wearer becomes fully solid again at the end of his movement.

Polish. Mostly set. I believe the boldface "Requirements" tag needs to be on the same line as the crafting feat and spell requirements, though.

Other than that, this item got you into the Top 32 with a unique ability and inspiring mechanics. Now, it's all about seeing what you've got for us in Round 2.

My two cents,

Scarab Sages Assistant Developer

Hello, Nick, 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: That first sentence is incredibly atmospheric and lovely in the best possible way. Great job. (I really might just love undead.) That said, I see that this is keyed off charges, so it's too bad that it's attached to a medium armor that, by its nature, makes charging less of a great choice early in combat.

Deeper look: The theme of temporarily transforming the wearer into an undead-like state is matched really nicely with this armor's abilities. The component spells are right on the money, too. One minor quibble of precision -- I assume the wearer becomes corporeal again after the charge, but call that out, otherwise we don't know when that effect wears off.

Measured feedback: You've taken a difficult concept and executed it really nicely into an item that's both eminently usable and atmospheric in nature. Quite honestly, this design could have fallen flat on its face easily, and I'm impressed that you avoided any major pitfalls. Keep doing what you're doing with a careful eye on whether your designs cover all the necessary rules language, and you'll do great moving forward.

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

I wonder if you could justify reducing the weight based on the nature of the armor. Maybe it doesn't exist entirely on this plane or something. <insert waving hands here>

I'd like to have seen the shriek affect an area, not just creatures charged through, but maybe that's too much.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Congratulations Nick!

Your armor was was within my top 10 favourite items this year. Great mechanics and flavour here. And I like that it doesn't ignore difficult terrain, felt really balanced that way.

Good luck in the rest of the competition!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Hello folks!

First of all, I wanted to graciously thank everyone who voted for my banshee's wrath. I am truly honored to be selected as one of the top 32 by popular vote, and I hope to continue providing material that you enjoy reading and/or implementing in your games. To that end, I want to thank you again for all your feedback, both positive and critical, because it helps me grow as a designer and refine my ideas to better suit your preferences.

As part of my RPGSS experience, I'm hoping to revisit all of my entries and provide a short narrative explaining the thought process and design choices behind my work, as well as addressing questions or critiques from among the comments.

This was one of those ideas that woke me up in the middle of the night and wouldn't let me get to sleep until I got it down on paper. Originally dubbed armor of spectral wrath, I was undecided about whether to submit this item or a second item I had designed earlier. After receiving feedback from numerous reviewers, I ultimately decided to go with the this idea because A) it was more universally useful in combat, and B) it was much shorter and simpler than my original item. After a couple critiques about flavor I added the shriek description to the cause fear effect, rebranded it the banshee's wrath, and called it a day.

I almost scrapped the item again because I was fortunate enough to review Jeff Swank's boots, which occupy a similar design space and, in my opinion, had much more mojo than my armor. I stuck with this idea because I ran into a similar situation last season, when a fellow contestant and I had coincidentally designed matching item effects. That time I retracted my idea and submitted a sub-par alternate, a decision I regretted almost immediately. Since I didn't need to worry about judges selecting only one of the two items and I figured the likelihood of my item being consistently matched against Jeff's was slim, I decided this time around I would go with my gut and see how it turned out. (evidently pretty well ^.^)

Now onto some of my more contentious decisions. Most of the problems people had with my armor arose from choices I made to keep the cost low and the item balanced. I feel most published game material focuses on material within the level 3-9 range, so I wanted to make sure my item's price fell within a range accessible at these levels. This is why I went with cause fear instead of scare, which would have allowed me to expand the fear effect beyond those targets within the line of the charge/effect (as RD Ramsey points out, an area of effect would have been more flavorful, but it also would have been more expensive). This is also why I made the effect 1/day (sorry Jeff Harris and Lucus), though game balance also weighed heavily in that decision. As Victoria astutely pointed out, an incorporeal charge easily overpowers a front line bruiser, so I wanted to make sure the ability was limited enough so warriors would save it until they really needed it. I wanted this item to be an affordable game-changer for a warrior in a boss fight, rather than a staple ability for the melee class.

A couple of other points that people brought up were the choice of chainmail instead of a more maneuverable chain shirt (Jeff, Neil, Amanda), the "chorus of angry whispers" compromising stealth (Brian, Lucus), the lack of effect on difficult terrain (Victoria, Curaigh, Browman), the ghost touch armor/incorporeal paradox (Kigvan), and the specifics of how the effect works on both targets (Lucky Pips) and the user (Amanda). The chainmail was an oversight; I designed this with barbarians/rangers in mind, and figured they would want the best AC option available. I didn't consider the greater value of movement options, so I would probably reforge this as a chain shirt in a subsequent draft. As Lucus noted, I wanted to imply that the whispers are equivalent to normal chainmail clinking with movement (i.e. the impact on Stealth checks would be included in the armor check penalty), but that point would be easy to clear up. I deliberately chose not to allow the armor to bypass difficult terrain because blink can't bypass it, and I wanted to leave battlefield control open as a balanced failsafe against an otherwise powerful ability. The fact that ghost touch armor would still be solid in incorporeal form was a hand wave on my part; I could make it a +1 chain shirt instead to remove the confusion, though I do worry that would compromise the utility and flavor of the item. As for the effects, my subsequent draft would clarify that the wearer can choose whether or not to Intimidate any target affected by the armor, and that the user becomes corporeal again after the charge attack.

I hope that this review was helpful, and I'm happy to answer any other questions concerning my banshee's wrath. Thanks again, everyone!

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