Hide of the Hagfish


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

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka thornnm

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hide of the Hagfish
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 10th
Slot armor; Price 16,165 gp; Weight 25 lbs.
Description
This +1 adhesive hide armor appears to be constantly dripping a viscous ooze. When immersed in water, the wearer gains a swim speed of 20 feet and the ability to breathe underwater. Once per day on command the wearer can make the armor secrete a cloud of transparent slime; this is a 10-ft.-radius burst which only functions underwater. The water in all affected squares is treated as an aquatic version of difficult terrain.

In addition, any creature which breathes through the use of gills treats the affected squares as being unbreathable and must follow the rules for suffocation while within the slime cloud. A slime cloud dissipates after 10 rounds. The wearer is unaffected by the effects of a slime cloud and may move normally.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, beast shape III, bull’s strength, spider climb; Cost 8,165 gp

Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am very glad this item made it; I was worried it might be too niche to gather sufficient votes. In my opinion, its simplicity, useful mechanics/purpose and evocative imagery form a harmonious combination, if you don't mind such a fancy word.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I liked this item, but admittedly it wasn't one of my favorites. I think as TA pointed out, it can be very niche (which isn't bad, it's just not my niche). However, it almost always got my vote, except on the rare occasion when it was paired up against a personal favorite. Congratulations!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Difficult terrain under water = cool

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 9

Congrats on making the top 32!

I'm excited about:
An item that gives me a particular animal's properties without actually becoming that animal is cool. The slime cloud is definitely an interesting ability.

I'm cautious about:
The construction requirements were unexpected.

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.

"appears to be dripping" --> "drips" unless it isn't actually dripping slime. If it isn't actually dripping slime, I would like to know more about that.

When I start reading the second sentence, I expect you to be talking about the armour since you don't immediately say otherwise. It becomes clear as one reads, but I suspect most people either misread it or have to go back and reread the sentence. Not a huge deal, but the flow of concept between sentences generally felt a bit jerky to me.

Really liked the flavour of this one and looking forward to seeing what you do in the map round!

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

John,

This armor is visually evocative, fun, and explores an interesting idea (underwater difficult terrain). I upvoted this every time I saw it.

EVERY time! Congrats!

Now, show us a great map!

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

Thank you everyone for the votes, the praise and the criticism!! I'll take whatever you can give me; it's the best way to get better after all. ;) Looking forward to showing you all (what I hope will be) a fantastic map!

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Congratulations on making it in!

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

The aspect where you can suffocate other water-breathing creatures really drew me in to this item. Well done and good luck in the rest of the competition!

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

I found myself voting for this a few times. Since Burnt Offerings name-dropped them, hagfish seem very Pathfinder to me. Not the best reason to vote on an item I know, but sometimes it was enough to tip the balance.
Plus, it's gross and fun.

Marathon Voter Season 9

Congrats on making the top 32!

I will just echo most posters and say that the concept of underwater difficult terrain is nice, as well as a way for air breathing PCs to finally get some vengeance and cause water creatures to suffocate underwater. 'Bout time someone reversed that tactic on them.

My main concerns where when I got to your spell requirements. The last two seem really out of place, like I was wondering if they survived from a previous item. You might be able to sell me on a reason for them, but my instinct is to cut them.

Best of luck in all future rounds!

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

Lucky Pips wrote:


My main concerns where when I got to your spell requirements. The last two seem really out of place, like I was wondering if they survived from a previous item. You might be able to sell me on a reason for them, but my instinct is to cut them.

I know they seem strange, but it's because they're the requirements for the Adhesive ability. I didn't want to get dinged for not including them. But thanks for asking!

Lucky Pips wrote:
Best of luck in all future rounds!

Thank you kindly!

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

Welcome to the Top 32, John! 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 hide of the hagfish!

Functionality and Usefulness
It's niche, but not in a bad way. It is very useful within that niche and any campaign that's going to be around water (which is not an insignificant amount) should have players giving this armor a look.

Surfacers don't get a lot of fun tactics to use against aquatic creatures, and this corrects that imbalance a little. Pitting them in aquatic difficult terrain and giving them breathing issues sounds fun.

The ability to breathe underwater is a side ability, but not to be underestimated. Anytime a campaign goes underwater, PCs go looking for something to let them breathe and I think the more options for that, the better.

The simplicity is so good here. No save DCs, just environment manipulation that can be used tactically to totally change up an encounter. Very good.

The Cool Factor/Mojo
Some people don't get excited about underwater items, but I think the strengths in this really shine.

It's super gross. But it's also cool. Taking a very simple design and making it really effective is a fantastic hallmark of a good designer. Playing with a niche that many don't find exciting and getting people excited about it is the mark of a good designer. Creating difficult terrain for aquatic creatures is not something I've seen, but feels like it should exist. Thumbs up.

Prose and Editing
There's some unclear wording in there. The second paragraph (on how creatures with gills are affected) could really use rewording. Might lead with "The affected squares are not breathable by creatures who breathe through gills..." to reduce confusion.

The description is lackluster. Dripping ooze is great, but "seems to be constantly" is a string of words so useless they don't even make sense together. You were still able to convey imagery just through the rules language, but some attention to what makes good descriptive work would strengthen your writing going forward.

I completely understand your construction reqs. In a freelance capacity, you could ask to ditch them since they do look dang weird in this item's context. But that wasn't an option here.

Overall
It's in a good niche, it's gross, it's cool, it does some neat and new things. Going into future rounds, experiment with your writing a little. Don't sacrifice the simplicity which made this really stand out, but it never hurts to try some growth.

I am honored to have been allowed to provide feedback this year. I look forward to your entry for Round 2, John, and I'll be intrigued to see a map with your innovation brought to it.

Congratulations again!

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

Oh, very nice. I saw this name and was thinking of another item, but I like this; don't think I saw it much at all during voting.

I really like the idea of aquatic adventures, so this appeals to me, even though you don't get to play them very much. Happily for you, it sounds like the current AP is going to have some aquatic action, so I could see plenty of people wanting to pull this into that game if they're allowed.

I'm amused by the idea of a water-based kineticist using this; the armor's oozing, they're dripping. It'd just be a mess! :)

Sovereign Court Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

This was on my personal top 32 list, well done.


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

You almost nailed it! My eagles eye spotted one teeny weeny flaw...

...10-ft.-radius...

There be too many dashes in there I think - I will double check how it is written in similar effects in the Core book, but I suspect that second one is extra to requirements!

Gotcha! Grin.

*munch*

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.

Hide of the Hagfish

The Good: You went with the hagfish, which is super cool just by itself, and as others have said, gave us an awesome animal power without being the animal, kudosx2 for that bit of inspiration. The only way I would be more impressed is if you had found a way to make the blobfish into an awesome item (look up blobfish BTW, it is worth it for the picture alone)

The Bad: Given how neat this item is, I was looking for a little more in the description, to really bring home the hagfish theme (it deserves it, because it is just that damn cool).

The Ugly: There is a moderate to strong (situation dependant) niche element to the item, but such is the inherent issue of anything watery.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Hrm, I remember not liking this item initially and honestly I can't place why. Giving it another look over it is quite well designed and a solid item. Perhaps a bit underpriced for a swim speed and water breathing, but that is something easily adjusted.

Congrats!

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

Congratulations, John!

While looking through the other top 32 items, I came across Neil's comment that an item with a name defining the item has an edge over items that have more ambiguous names (such as mine). I think yours really exemplifies his point: it doesn't need to be fancy, because it conveys the general sense of your item just from the title alone. From there you kept the simple-but-effective vibe going throughout your entry - I love that this is pure battlefield control, without concern for saving throws, damage output, etc.

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

Marathon Voter Season 9

John Leclaire wrote:


I know they seem strange, but it's because they're the requirements for the Adhesive ability. I didn't want to get dinged for not including them. But thanks for asking!

Good catch! I normally check for that, but they sounded so far off I would never have guessed they had anything to do with that enchantment.

Paizo Employee Assistant Developer , Star Voter Season 6

Hello, John, 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 hide of the hagfish. 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: Water! Slime! Gross! Gross but awesome. Maybe I'm just a big dork, but underwater adventures have always felt murky, mysterious, and wonderful to me, and this perfectly conveys the feeling I get when I'm writing or playing something that takes place in the watery unknown.

Deeper look: Geez, I just can't get over how cool and atmospheric your flavor text is here. I do think your pricing is off, though -- take a look at the merform belt, for instance, which costs 32,000, or the jellyfish cape, which runs 19,200. Constant water breathing is not an ability to take lightly and I think you may have discounted that a bit here.

Measured feedback: BRB, going to write down idea for gillmen adventure ... OK, not really (I gotta lotta items to comment on!), but you've written a seriously solid, elegant, evocative item here. Fantastic job. Just make sure you're properly weighing the mechanical implications of your design choices, and you'll do fantastic moving forward.

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

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

I'm biased - I love this item. Awesome visuals and well reasoned item with viscously dripping description. Oozy! Still, it oculd have added a few elements in there to really mae this...shine...iridesecent...slime....somnething. Slippery for grapples, a hagfish hood with googly eyes that...do something googly. Ability to pose as a dead hagfish and go unnoticed...

My only, but almost completely insurmountable problem is that it is completely dependant on a type of adventure, where it would be very useful. Apart from that, in a regular adventure, this item stins. No, really - like fish! :P

So I'm torn between thinking - "way to swing for the fences" and "is designing for the slim possibility of an underwater adventure a Superstar approach"?

Ultimately I'm with you John. Bravely, and well done.

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

Jeff Harris 982 wrote:

The only way I would be more impressed is if you had found a way to make the blobfish into an awesome item

Challenge accepted!!

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.

I'll admit it, I was at one point looking at a way to do a lamprey themed item and I'm relieved I had not because the hagfish is way cooler and the way you managed this was unique and very interesting. Hat's off and good luck, I voted this up fairly often. I liked this items cousin the stone fish armor as well.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Hide of the Hagfish haiku! (Alliteration lol)

Gross and drippy hide.
Makes enemies suffocate
in it's tough "terrain".

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

John! 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...the hide of the hagfish...

Okay. The name is certainly evocative. I'm fully aware of the disgusting nature of the hagfish already, so I'm going into this expecting a nasty item, and you don't disappoint.

Mojo. Armor that generates difficult terrain underwater, chokes anything trying to breathe through gills which gets too close, and grants its wearer a swim speed with immunity to those effects. It's definitely an underwater warrior's best friend. Is that mojo? I don't know. Underwater adventuring doesn't happen with a high degree of frequency, so right away you've done a plausible magic item for a book of magic items, but I'm just not sure you've struck the best possible note for standout mojo in RPG Superstar. If the armor also included something that gave an innovative benefit on land, I think that would help crank it up a notch.

Cinematic. Yeah. There are some great underwater visuals with this armor. The hagfish is one of the world's grossest, nastiest creatures, and you reached for some very appropriate effects to take inspiration from that. And your descriptive text brings it home for the reader. Really well done here.

Usefulness. As mentioned before, I'm a little concerned about the majority of the armor's properties not really getting to shine that much or that often unless a GM just happens to be running a major underwater campaign. Outside of that, we're mostly just looking at some +1 adhesive hide armor which helps the wearer on Climb checks and a handful of combat maneuver checks. Personally, I'd suggest going with the slick property for bonuses on Escape Artist rather than adhesive. I think that leans more to the fish analogy and could pay dividends whether you're grappled on land or by tentacles underwater.

Beyond that, the difficult terrain is a great battlefield control thing...something you're rarely get to do underwater. But I also felt that the debilitating suffocation effect on creatures with gills goes too far. Suffocation is really strong. As priced, I'm not sure the armor warrants that ability. I think you could have gotten a more game-balanced effect out of a nauseating effect similar to stinking cloud instead. Regardless, there's lots of usefulness invested in this armor. I'd just like to have seen it tightened up in a few different ways with more appeal to using it on land and in the water.

Mechanics. The difficult terrain effect underwater is the crown jewel here. The suffocation is an effect you don't see that often in protective measures. I think it goes too far and should be dialed back, but you were still striving for innovation and it shows.

Polished. High marks here. You did your homework and it shows. Professional presentation counts more in my book than most. It's a skill that can be learned, but the fact that you've already applied yourself to learning it, means no one else has to guide you.

Other than that, this item is pretty cool. The core idea is solid. There's innovation coupled with out-of-the-box thinking in the design. But, you can also tell you've paid attention to what's been done before and honored those precedents in your design choices. Going forward, I think you need to keep bringing the lofty ideas, raise your game a bit on some of the mechanical underpinnings of your design choices, and keep that professional polish. Congratulations 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

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

John Leclaire wrote:
Hide of the Hagfish

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!

Revisions Needed — Consider why hagfish actually make the goo that they do, it's silly for this to have the adhesive power. The cloud affect is interesting, but really it should treat the person in the armor as the spell grease. Your item might make more sense to me if it were hide of the octopus or something that a) has sucking like powers and b) creates a cloud effect in water. To move normally in an effect like this, you should really add freedom of movement and I don't get why you used beast shape II as nothing is a polymorph effect really.

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

John Leclaire wrote:
Hide of the Hagfish

Congratulations John!

I was 50/50 on this at the end of voting, but at the beginning it was almost always an upvote. The theme seems very tight to me. The 'aquatic difficult terrain' is a very nice set of design chops. We see lots of items create difficult terrain so I generally find them boring, but adding that one element really made this shine for me. A very solid item, if not flashy item.

Nice work, and good luck in maps and monsters! :)

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

I am sad I never saw this item. I would have definitely up voted. I saw several underwater items and consider their existence very important. The more fun you make underwater combat and exploration, the less niche you can make it in my opinion.

But those motives, aside the item is very nicely done. I'm glad you added passive boosts to the armor in addition to the once per day ability. Helps keep the flavor!

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Congrats on making top 32!

I really enjoyed your item and voted for it a lot. As mentioned by others, the fact that you made aquatic difficult terrain is awesome! Definitely the best part of this item. I disagree with some of the comments above regarding suffocation effect being overpowered. As far as I'm concerned, any fish worth their gills stuck in that slime cloud is going to think: 'Eeek, I can't breathe!' and leave the slime cloud. Obviously there's ways you could try to force them to stay in there, but I'm not worried about it being a game-breaker.

Anyway, I really enjoyed your item. It's quirky, and cool. Great job, and good luck in the next round!

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

I like the theme and visuals of this item, my main worry is how frequently it would be used by players.

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

Congratulations on making it to the Top 32 with your hide of the hagfish, John! Here’s of a few of my thoughts on the item:

  • Fun name.
  • You say the armor “appears to be dripping a viscous ooze,” which implies that it isn’t actually doing that. I’d prefer you tell me what it is doing, rather than what it isn’t. Say the armor gleams with an oily film, or is encased in a glistening coat of jelly. Tell us a viscous ooze muffles the scraping of the hide plates that make up the armor. Just don’t say it “appears to be…”
  • Ha ha. Secreting slime to create difficult terrain underwater is an interesting and creative ability.
  • Preventing characters from breathing while in those squares a great function that is well thought out thematically.
  • Unfortunately, suffocation rules make this danger extremely trivial unless there’s something to force the breath out of those affected. Characters could be engaged in vigorous combat in the sphere of influence for the entire duration and only need a 10 Constitution to be fine.
  • The small area of influence is easy to circumvent in a 3D environment.
  • This item seems most useful as a mobility enhancing item. Swim and climb speeds are useful to a player before they start flying everywhere. The price of the item means this will be used to create some fun situations for quite some time, and that’s good design.
  • An underwater enemy using this armor would make a fun encounter to run, and as a player, I could easily see using this armor on a character that was restricted to light or even medium armors. I’d definitely weigh my options before deciding to sell it.
Overall a fun item that opens up the combat map to more than two dimensions. This makes me wonder what you’ll have for us in the map round. Good luck!

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

This was on my personal keep list.

I'm sort of a sucker for well designed hide armors, and this is certainly one of them.

The underwater difficult terrain alone made it worthwhile for me. One of those ideas where you think "Of course!" The suffocation is a nice turnaround, though as pointed out, affected creatures will likely just leave the area. Then again, that may be what the player wants.

I'm not so sure about the adhesive quality. Honestly, I skimmed over that in voting. It doesn't quite make sense thematically.

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

John! Congrats on your item; I voted for it a few times myself.

One question: what happens to the cloud of difficult terrain within a body of flowing or moving water, such as a river?

Dark Archive RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 9

I like your entry. I hadn't seen it in the voting but its got great mojo and deserves to be top 32.
It's an honor to be competing with you in the coming rounds.

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