Quill of Leng


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

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka flykiller

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Quill of Leng
Aura moderate conjuration and enchantment; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 42,840 gp; Weight 1 lbs.
Description
This large, hideously deformed purple quill is crafted from the leg of a Leng spider. It twitches when held and feels unnaturally cold to the touch. Any text written with it seems to be subtly writhing when not under close inspection. Once per day as a full-round action, the caster may cause any magical or mundane writing touched by the quill to dissolve into a chaotic mess of disjointed symbol fragments. This renders the original text completely illegible and nonmagical.

If the writing contained a spell or alchemical formula of 2nd level or higher, the magical energy released by this action animates it, causing it to burst forth as a swarm of living, solid symbols and runes adjacent to the caster. Treat the swarm as a spider swarm without the poison ability. The swarm treats the caster as an ally but is otherwise uncontrolled. It acts on the caster's initiative and remains active for one round per spell level or until destroyed, at which point the writings disappear.

For every spell level beyond 2nd, the swarm gains +1 to all rolls (including damage), AC and distraction DC, and +4 hp. In addition to the swarm's distraction effect, if a creature fails its Will saving throw against the distraction DC, fragments of magical writings cling and latch onto the creature, forcing their way into its brain and making it confused for 1 round per spell level. Repeated failed saves refresh the duration. This is a mind-affecting effect.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, confusion, erase, summon swarm; Cost 21,420 gp

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

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So, I'm not sure when I'll be able to comment on all the Top 32 and Alts, but I couldn't delay doing so for this one. The quill of Leng was definitely my top pick for this year's SupahStah! Its flavor was highly evocative, capturing the wonderful horribleness of Leng spiders. I liked the mechanics so well I started playing with adding it as a variant Leng spider ability.

A hearty congrats to you, Vadims. Very well done and good luck on Round 2! :)

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

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Sveiks, Vadims, and congratulations! Your item was one of my favorites because of the very cool, creepy flavor.

Remember to be awesome in round 2! Good luck!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka burrahobbit

1 person marked this as a favorite.

As a big fan of weird fiction and pulp, I loved this. Fantastic visuals and cool effect. Great work and good luck!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Barely recognizable from the first rough (and only) draft I saw! Congrats!

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

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One of my favorites. Nice. Love the visuals. Congrats.

Star Voter Season 9

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I loved this item. Great creepy vibe.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka flykiller

Labvakar, Mikko! And Kiitos!
Thanks everyone for your comments! I am absolutely thrilled to have impressed enough people to make it this far, but also absolutely dreading the map round. Graphics is so much more difficult than text to me.

I would also like to thank the kind and brilliant people in the workshop thread for their invaluable feedback and criticism. Special kudos to GM_Solspiral for mentioning the quill to me - my first draft was a spellbook, but I've learnt that it had several drawbacks I did not consider. As I was reading the Strange Aeons AP announcement thread and looking through the Lovecraftian critters in the PRD for inspiration, the quill image from his feedback suddenly clicked into place and I saw how it could actually work much better with the tone I was trying to set.

To all the future contestants - if you want to seriously improve your chances, do not design in isolation, show your item to at least 3-5 people and listen to their feedback very carefully. Don't just blindly follow the criticism and suggestions - think hard about how you could go beyond them. However creative your core idea is and however perfect your template skills are, you are bound to overlook some perspective angle or some small detail during the creative crunch. For example, after all the edits I made and all the feedback I got, my item still shows 1 lbs. instead of 1 lb. Because the original spellbook weighed 3 lbs. :)

Scarab Sages

I have to say, this got better with every revision I saw, and I love the final product. You carried a great idea to a finely executed conclusion. Well done!

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

Nice item, Vadims. I was really impressed with this one and think I upvoted it every time I saw it.

I feel your pain on the maps (I'm still consoling myself by telling myself that at least I don't have to do a map); just remember, artistic merit isn't supposed to factor into it. Give us an exciting area to have an encounter and use your 50 words to best effect.

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

I never saw this when voting, but I love the idea! I imagine the letters skittering their way across the table with their little arms and serifs as if they were horribly deformed bugs.

Welcome and good luck! :)

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

I really liked the imagery of this one.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Congratulations on making it in!

I don't know what I could possibly add to this one. I wouldn't be surprised if we've seen it in print by the end of Strange Aeons.

Good luck in the next round!

Dedicated Voter Season 9

This is very cool.

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

I'm not sure I completely get this item, as well written as it is.

So once per day you touch written text with the leng spider-leg and it turns the text into symbol-gibberish. If the writing was the requisite magical-text it turns into a living symbol-spider swarm, which can also insert magical-symbol-gibberish into a victim's brain to make them confused.

Well, it's pretty, but not exactly more than some spells in a can that need some interesting activation. And an amazingly expensive can at that.

Thinking more of other utility, I guess you could use it to turn missives into gibberish, but why you would do that when there are other ways of disposing of messages...

Vadims, an intriguing, evocative item.

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

Nice use of Leng spiders. Creepy, but awesome. This one was on my keep list and I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with in the next round. Good luck in the rest of the competition!

Star Voter Season 9

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

I'm not sure I completely get this item, as well written as it is.

So once per day you touch written text with the leng spider-leg and it turns the text into symbol-gibberish. If the writing was the requisite magical-text it turns into a living symbol-spider swarm, which can also insert magical-symbol-gibberish into a victim's brain to make them confused.

Well, it's pretty, but not exactly more than some spells in a can that need some interesting activation. And an amazingly expensive can at that.

Thinking more of other utility, I guess you could use it to turn missives into gibberish, but why you would do that when there are other ways of disposing of messages...

Vadims, an intriguing, evocative item.

If I were a GM, I'd give this to a sneaky rogue, who would turn the party wizard's spellbook into spider swarms.

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

I was a bit confused by this one.

The item keeps referring to the "caster". Do you have to be a caster to use this? Or do you have to cast a spell of some sort?

"Any text written with it seems to be subtly writhing when not under close inspection"

So is the text subtly-writhing or not? If it does writhe, don't say it "seems to be". If it doesn't writhe, then don't include it in the description.

Also 42,000gp and possibly the cost of the scroll used to essentially summon a CR1 (or slightly higher depending on spell-level) creature seems pretty useless to me.

Anyhow, I am obviously in the minority as this was well received. So good luck with maps and beyond!

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

This is a lot crunchier and heavy that I like my Superstar items to be. Looking at it I want to do the math and figure out if it's balanced. There's a lot of flavour but I'm not sure it's all consistant; other than using the stats for spider swarms (which seems as much for simplicity and appropriate challenge as anything) having the quill come from the leg of a leng spider seems unnecassary.

But a mass of crawling symbols and writing is disturbing and evocative. There's some fun ideas in there.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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First Impression Haiku:

Writing implement
Creepy, Crawly Spider leg
Run away from it!!

I'm pleased to see the vast change this item underwent from its original Nice work! Voted quite a few times! Congrats!

Now, show us a great map!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Welcome to the Top 32, Vadims! 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 quill of Leng!

Functionality and Usefulness
It's interesting. I have a soft spot for quills. And this is the type of item you could build a whole character concept around if you wanted. And I can't say I can think of a lot of items that play with writing and turn it into an attack.

I'm just not sure it's useful. A spider swarm is CR 1, meaning at its basic level, you've got a swarm that anything you're fighting at the level you'd have this quill could sneeze and kill it. Once you can start feeding it spells/formulae of 6th level or higher, it gets scarier, but that requires a lot of set-up (or else an expensive hobby or unlimited access to a really good library) for a once-per day attack that, even at its best, is not as good as what a caster of that level can summon. Additionally, the confusion effect attached the distraction is going to seldom trigger; even a 9th level spell can only get the swarm's distraction DC to 19. By the time the party has reasonable access to 9th level spells to just destroy, DC 19 is pretty laughable.

Maybe a non-caster with a weird supply of high-level scrolls?

The Cool Factor/Mojo
All that said, the idea that went into this is really, really cool. You know how to tap into Lovecraftian themes, which is a solid foundation to build on with how well-loved that is.

This quill goes really out of the box and if what it really did was half as good as what it sounds like it does, it'd be fun and easy to do a whole concept around this crazy kind of word magic.

You reached really hard and didn't quite pull off the execution to go with the ambitiousness of the idea. But the risk is worthwhile.

Prose and Editing
Knock out the "seems to" and the "-ly" adverbs in your first couple sentences and you both clean up word count and make your description better. The overall writing flow feels a little disjointed, but this is a Lovecraftian item and that probably means you're doing it right.

Your imagery is strange and cool and effective. It's put together pretty well and you definitely know how to generate interest.

Overall
You took a risk and made something cool that really captures the imagination. Unfortunately, I don't think it quite worked out as something effective to use. Whatever you're designing, it's important to have an idea of how it would work in play. Your writing is up to snuff and you know how to make something people want to like and use. Close the gap and make it easy for them by making sure your designs could hold up in play.

Don't take that to mean you should go safe, though. Risk is good. Keep reaching.

I am honored to have been allowed to provide feedback this year. I look forward to your entry for Round 2, Vadims, and expect to see a really cool map from you that doesn't shy from taking risks.

Congratulations again!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka flykiller

Grumpus wrote:

I was a bit confused by this one.

The item keeps referring to the "caster". Do you have to be a caster to use this? Or do you have to cast a spell of some sort?

"Any text written with it seems to be subtly writhing when not under close inspection"

So is the text subtly-writhing or not? If it does writhe, don't say it "seems to be". If it doesn't writhe, then don't include it in the description.

Also 42,000gp and possibly the cost of the scroll used to essentially summon a CR1 (or slightly higher depending on spell-level) creature seems pretty useless to me.

Anyhow, I am obviously in the minority as this was well received. So good luck with maps and beyond!

Hey Grumpus,

All your points are valid. The "caster" is a relict of its past as a spellbook. I couldn't come up with a better word for the quill, now I think I should have maybe used "bearer" instead.

The writhing part is just flavor, really. When you read the text, it's not writhing. But when it's in the peripheral vision, it seems to be. It was not intended to carry any in-game meaning beside maybe a small hook to unsettle the player who picked it up for the first time.

The pricing seems high to me as well! But as far as I can tell, it matches the formula. Remember that slotless items cost double. From the comments I have seen in the past threads, overpriced item is considered a lesser offense than underpriced, so I decided to not do any adjustments to the formula result.

Sovereign Court Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

This was on my personal top 32 list, a really great item and it got loads of votes from me, well done.

I wonder if they use the quill in a certain library...

Marathon Voter Season 9

Congrats on making the Top 32!

I am a big fan of the feel of this item. As pointed out before, some of the writing could be tightened up, and the numerical effects might need to see some playtest to tune them for the correct power level, but this is an item I would definitely say is worth that work. I won't suggest changes to the scaling of the swarm, but I'm interested to see how they would come out. If you do manage to playtest it and hone in that effect, I would be interested to see what you come up with. Don't you dare do that now though, as you have a kickass map to make! After the dust settles on season 9, this is one I would want to come back to. I think this would have such a huge place in the upcoming Strange Aeons, of the horror champaign book.

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!

Well done, you are in great company this year as so many of you have failed to feed the Fu any template meals.

Sorry Fu, nothing here to eat, let's keep looking...

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.

Quill of Leng

The Good: You went with quill, which in the past has been a hard sell, but did a darn good job of coming up with something different from what we have come to expect from quills in general in RPGSS. You also describe the effects of the quills power very well without going too far.

The Bad: The item needs a 2nd level or higher spell to do it's best work. I see the logic, but also see that character wealth is going to get eaten up by this guy.

The Ugly: I personally feel this item is a bit costly for the power gained, neat as it is. At only once per day and the cost a scroll or other magical writing for each use, it adds up fast. Even a second use per day would have balanced the scales more IMO.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Great work. This item is creepy in all the right ways. I like the evolution to a quill, but agree that it is probably quite a bit too expensive for what it does (especially given the best use also costs money).

Fun and Flavorful, cost could be adjusted without too much trouble.

Congrats!

Paizo Employee Assistant Developer , Star Voter Season 6

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Hello, Vadims, 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 quill of Leng. 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: Creepy... crawly... awesome! The atmosphere you evoke with just three short sentences here is quite impressive. I can just see a deranged wizard writing with this thing while cackling maniacally. And it's a quill from a Leng spider, so that makes it that much scarier. There are some execution flaws here, but you've certainly brought the goods conceptually.

Deeper look: For the price, this item could use a serious usability boost. My suggestion would be to, instead of using a 2nd-level spell as the minimum requirement for the swarm ability, make it a 1/day ability that can be used with any magical writing, and make the dissolving ability a 3/day usable with any writing. And even then, I think the price can still come down. I appreciate the design risk you took, and that's worth something in and of itself, but know that execution is going to be key moving forward.

Measured feedback: I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is that, when you come up with a cool, themed option like this one, you want to make sure it's something that players can use (and will want to spend their precious wealth on). I completely understand the instinct to make sure you're not offering an underpriced, OP option, but be careful not to swing too far in the other direction. Otherwise, keep those cool and creepy ideas flowing!

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

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 really liked this item, even though in general I rarely like writing based items, that seem to erase and/or move other writings. While the quill technically erases writing, it does so to turn it into a word-swarm, which is awesome. Making the power of the writing increase the power of the swarm is what makes this more than a ho-hum item. I would have liked something indicating what it can do with magical glyphs, symbols, sigils, etc. Also, is there any difference using this on a page from a spellbook vs. a scroll?

I do agree that since it uses a pricey resource to create it's best effects, the price is steep, at least unless it can turn magical writing based effects into swarms as well.

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

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Vadims! 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...quill of Leng...

Okay. The name works. It's a quill. It invokes the magical Lovecraftian mythology of Leng which paints immediate imagery in the minds of those familiar with the genre. And you can already imagine this quill writing terrible, terrible things drawn from the nightmares of a madman.

Mojo. Wow. Yes. Major props for the descriptive text. Major ingenuity in going for an animated spider swarm drawn from magical text. You've got a lot of creative inspiration at play here. The promise of something awesome has been laid before us. But can you deliver?

Cinematic. Absolutely. I get visuals right from the get-go. The quill itself is a leg taken from a Leng spider? I'm in! It makes any text written with it seem to writhe out of the corner of your eye...almost like a bunch of little spider creeping up on you? Yes! And it can turn the symbols of magical text into a spider swarm that'll attack your enemies...drawing further empowerment from higher level spells or formulae? I'm cackling with mad glee myself now! Those spidery symbols can actually crawl into, and cloud, the minds of those affected by the swarms distraction ability? Fantastic! I can visualize ALL of that.

Usefulness. Well, this is where I start to pull back a little. Just how useful is this quill? Can I really use it all that often? I mean, I just spent over 40,000 gp on it and I'll still need consumables like scrolls or throwaway spellbooks to work its major magic. But the pay-off for doing so sounds pretty sweet! Unfortunately, in play, I don't think most players would find it as sweet as the promise your mojo-filled idea holds forth.

Mechanics. Okay. Now here's where we really have to go under the hood to assess how well put together this item is. You really took a risk with defining a scaling effect with the summoned spider swarms. The base CR 1 swarm really isn't all that powerful, and it needs something to increase its effectiveness as you consume higher spell levels. But, in reality, this breaks down relatively quickly with the increasing bonuses. Eventually, the PCs (and the monsters they're facing) will outpace it. A better way of handling this would be to define a certain range of spells and allow it summon greater types of swarms drawn from the various bestiaries. So, the lowest sacrificed spell brings in the CR 1 spider swarm. But a higher-end spell might bring in a higher CR swarm. Thematically, that might depart from just using spiders, but it'd be necessary to find enough higher CR swarms to invoke. And, eventually, it'll still cap out somewhere down the line as the quill starts to lose its luster compared to other abilities and items the PCs can bring to bear. But, for the short term, that would be enough to cover you.

Polished. The template use is mostly correct. It's clear that you applied yourself to being as professional as possible in your presentation. That means you can follow directions and emulate the style of your publisher. To me, that's an important skill as it creates a lot less work for your developer to clean up your turnovers, and it's still something that a lot of folks who submit to the contest get wrong year after year.

Other than that, this item has some amazingly powerful visuals and draws upon Lovecraftian mythology in a very creative and thematically appropriate way. If tightened up a bit on the mechanical side, I could easily see this used in the upcoming Strange Aeons Adventure Path. So, you're showing some major mojo tapping into the energy around that. And it's smart, too. A Superstar designer does exactly that. They look ahead at what a publisher is working on, and they find ways to work within it...and even enhance it. And you've done that. As you go forward in the competition, I think you need to keep bringing the mojo, but also recognize your weaknesses and work to improve on those things, too. Regardless, I offer you congratulations once again on making the Top 32, and I look forward to seeing what you've got for us in Round 2.

My two cents,
--Neil

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

Congratulations, Vadims!

This item is oozing with flavor - I only saw this once throughout the voting, but I can already see why the crowd loved it so much. The price was problematic for me, though. Even with the scaling power of the swarm, it doesn't quite keep up with the enemies PCs will be facing when they can finally afford this item. I think Neil had some great suggestions for how to revamp the mechanics.

Can't wait to see what you unleash in round 2!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka flykiller

Thanks to the judges for the time taken to review my item and the quality insight provided!

I did consider using different swarm types in development. There were several factors against it:
1) word count!
2) different swarms have different special attacks which would have to be replaced by confusion.
3) it would mean that consuming different-level source spells would achieve the same effect.

In an item not constrained by the word count I would probably use this approach anyway - something like a new swarm type at even spell level, and an advanced template at odd spell level. But as it is, I should have run the math on this again to make sure that consuming a level 9 spell yields a result similar to a CR12-13 monster. Currently it's probably around CR 7-8. But I was wary of empowering the lower level spells too much.

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

Vadims Hesins wrote:
In an item not constrained by the word count I would probably use this approach anyway - something like a new swarm type at even spell level, and an advanced template at odd spell level. But as it is, I should have run the math on this again to make sure that consuming a level 9 spell yields a result similar to a CR12-13 monster. Currently it's probably around CR 7-8. But I was wary of empowering the lower level spells too much.

Another approach you could have taken here would be to set aside the scaling all the way up to 9th level spells. Alchemist formulae only go up to 6th level anyway. So, maybe build in a cap to the quill and have it only work with 6th level spells and lower. Then, figure out a means of escalating the swarm's capabilities so it keeps pace with the PCs/monsters a little better. If you wanted, you could even cap it lower than that...i.e., make it so the quill is a low-level wondrous item that isn't meant to scale that high. Let it summon a CR 1 spider swarm (or even a single CR 1 giant spider) by sacrificing 1st level spells/formulae, the same thing with the advanced simple template by sacricing 2nd level spells/formulae, and then end the swarm summoning there. Then, if you have enough word count left over, consider giving the quill some other complementary power involving the writing of arcane symbols...e.g., arcane mark at-will, or a bonus to the DC of any symbol spell inscribed with the quill, etc.

Basically, there are other ways to skin this cat, but the core idea behind the quill is absolutely solid, and it brings a lot of mojo. Revising the mechanical underpinnings with some proper development, could really make this thing shine.

Another two cents,
--Neil


Weaponized quill? I do like the concept.

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.

This was a massive upgrade from the tome you showed me the first draft of and I was psyched on how you expanded on my suggestion. I still want you to add to the swarms abilities a way to transfer spell knowledge as this would make for a REALLY CREEPY way to train a spell caster and maybe justify the price tag a little more but I also understand the constraints of word count. Good luck in next round and feel free to drop me a line post contest if you ever want to do stuff with FPG you impressed me with your feedback and your ability to apply feedback I think you'd eb a great addition to our team.

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

Vadims Hesins wrote:
Quill of Leng

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 — FGG publishes Shadows over Vathak, and this kind of thing could in theory fit there. That said, "Lovecraftian" or "Mythos" horror don't have to be so overt as this is... it's neat, but it's a "swarm item," which I never really got. It's kind of a Villain Item (on my chart). I'd sooner, than being a spider leg, the quill should look like an otherworldly peacock quill or something that is "mundane but not" than something clearly bad. If my character found it in the study, it would clearly be something I'd approach with caution and assume was cursed etc.

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

I made a promise to myself that I'd continue posting on my fellow competitors' items before Round 2 came to an end, so here we go.

First off, congratulations on making it to the top 36!

Now on to your item. Unfortunately, I did not have your item appear while I was voting, but I have plenty of friends who told me about it. I'll be honest and say while it might not be my favourite item, I absolutely love how creepy it is. I can totally envision an apprentice slowly destroying his master's spellbooks in a fit of revenge with this item.

Again, congratulations and good luck in the rest of the competition!

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

Vadims Hesins wrote:
Quill of Leng

Congratulations Vadims!

This almost suffered from complicated wording and voter fatigue. But the images involved-swarm of symbols, fragmented writing latching-grabbed my attention and it made it onto my Keeper list. Though it might make me a hypocrite to say it, be wary of over-complicating things. Complex is not the same as creative, and this definitely shows lot of creativity.

Well done, good luck in the maps & monsters!

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Congrats on making it into round two!

Your item sounds awesome! The descriptive text is great and you evoke a ton of atmosphere and mood with very little space and effort. The abilities you chose are cool and I love that you made it a quill. Everything is very cinematic. That being said, the actual effect you get from the swarm is ineffective. It's cool and I love it, but it's not going to be worth the money and I wish it was. I want to use it so bad! Maybe a burlier swarm?

Anyways, I loved the feel and mood of your item. Best of luck in round two!

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

This was an item I was certain would make Top 32, and sure enough, here it is!

The flavor on this one is as good as it gets. Swarms of magical symbols! Leng! Spider legs!

It all fits together, as does the confusion aspect.

However, I do have to say the confusion effect was a bit of a letdown. I read it expecting something supercool as the effect, but it seemed sort of underwhelming when I got to it.

Still. Your mastery of flavor can carry you a long way in this contest!

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

This item kind of creeps me out, and it seems a little weak for a 42k gold item.

Star Voter Season 7

Just a question: it is "uncontrolled" and treats the "caster" as an ally... so it is a liability on the battlefield moving in random directions? Or can the caster influence where the swarm goes? Otherwise the usefullness drops drastically...

But I love the item :-)

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

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Congratulations on earning your place among this year’s Top 32, Vadims! Let’s see what thoughts the quill of leng conjures in my mind as I read it.

  • I love it when an item uses components from creatures found in the world. We make use of creatures in our world. It stands to reason that residents of any fantasy world would be doing the same, and there’s all sorts of creative ideas waiting for when someone finds out what darkmantle dung is good for.
  • Messing with magical scripts should have consequences, and you do well by animating the words as a swarm. Fun!
  • The swarm treats the creator as an ally, but what about the other party members? One of the more memorable moments of a game I ran was when a player summoned a swarm without realizing they couldn’t control it.
  • The swarm is pretty weak, which would be forgivable if the price of the item is reduced considerably. Others have presented some alternative ideas for making this work better.
  • I love having ways to burn consumables I’m not likely to use. If a group doesn’t have a wizard, then someone with this item could make good use out of those scrolls the adventure just threw at us.
  • An antagonist could get up to some trickery with this item, or have a minion sneaking into the party’s emergency scrolls while a combat rages on. There’s some fun ways to use this item, be it in the hands of the GM or the players.
This has the potential to be a ridiculously fun item, but it has a wild card nature that doesn’t justify the hefty price tag. I am looking forward to seeing what this kind of creativity produces for Round 2 though!

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

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