Wolflord’s Fang


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

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Petty Alchemy

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Wolflord’s Fang
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 60,335 gp; Weight 6 lbs.

Description
This +2 huntsman bastard sword has a leather-bound grip which is covered in coarse grey fur, and the notched blade sharpens the wielder’s instincts when drawn.

Once per round when the wielder successfully strikes a target with the sword he may allow an ally of his choice to make a trip combat maneuver against the target as an immediate action. This trip attack does not provoke attacks of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the wielder’s ally is not tripped in return.

On command three times per day, the wielder can unleash a spine-chilling howl. When he does so, he makes a single Intimidate check to demoralize all opponents within 30 feet that can hear the howl. Allies within 30 feet can join the howl as an immediate action to aid another the wielder’s Intimidate check. Allies that howl may also immediately take a 5-foot step, this movement does not count against their ability to move or take a 5-foot step earlier or later in the round.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, aspect of the wolf, detect animals or plants; Cost 30,335 gp

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

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This is a clever item, I really like how it allows you to re position all of your allies. Good work, and congratulations on the top 32!

Dark Archive Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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This was my absolute favorite from when I first saw it.
Damned good job.

Dark Archive

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I liked this, and voted for it often. Congratulations!

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 9

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Congrats on making the top 32!

I'm excited about:
the teamwork-y feel of this item. The balance between clearly belong to one player and interacting with the party feels really well done to me. Works well with the flavour, although I'm not sure every party would be too keen on howling at their enemies. (Dunno if that's a bug or a feature.)

I'm cautious about:
I don't know how allowing five foot steps to 'stack' will affect balance. I don't think I've ever seen anything that lets you do that -- curious about what the judges will have to say about it!

If you were in my creative writing group:
Generally the item reads well, but I can always nitpick!
The metaphor in the opening line is clever, but I think it needs its own sentence to really shine. It's a bit too contrived to drop in incidentally, IMHO.
"On command three times per day," reads better as "Three times per day, on command"
Your last sentence has been infected by the dreaded comma splice. D:


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Congrats! Really expensive but really cool too

Scarab Sages

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I can't say that I helped much with the workshop, but that might be because you already had a great idea mostly fleshed out. I knew this one was a winner from the moment I saw it.

Star Voter Season 9

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I never saw this in the voting. It is Nice and flavourful. Congratulations on making it to the top 32.

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, Isaac. I upvoted this sometimes, but not always.

That's largely because I was very concerned with "when the wielder successfully strikes a target with the sword he may allow an ally of his choice to make a trip combat maneuver against the target as an immediate action" not indicating/limiting positioning.

I'm assuming it's meant to be limited to an ally that threatens the target, but as it reads (unless I'm missing something) you can have the big warrior who's on the other side of the map make the attempt. Heck, as it reads, you can have someone in a different country make the attempt as long as it's an ally.

Still, I'm always happy to see people who contribute to the overall Superstar experience get their shot, so I'm looking forward to seeing what you'll do next.

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

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Congratulations, Isaac!

I agree with Arianwen, the teamwork component of this item really helps it stand out. Everyone gets excited when they get a new toy for their own character, but it takes a special item to get the whole group involved.

Can't wait to see what you have in store for round 2!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Petty Alchemy

Thanks for the kind/constructive words, everyone!

Edit: Refraining from doing specific responses just yet.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

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My keep list has never made it to 32 in any year, so I am pleased to say this item was in my top 24.

I was impressed with it's cinema. I think majestic hero standing in the snow. I think about mammoth lords snarling at aggressors and getting ready to get their hands dirty.

Good luck and congratulations!

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 9

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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

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I like the teamwork aspect and how your allies can join in the howl. Congratulations on making the Top 32 and good luck in the rest of the competition!

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 spot in this year's Top 32, Isaac! Here's some thoughts on your item.

  • “…covered in coarse grey fur, and the notched blade sharpens the wielder’s instincts when drawn.” Going from one subject matter, the look/feel of the item, to its effect on a person’s consciousness in the same sentence is somewhat jarring.
  • Does the ally making the trip need to be threatening the target of the strike?
  • I like that the Intimidate check does not have a static bonus linked to the item. Items should remain useful for longer, and that helps.
  • Letting allies join in on the howl is inspired. Very fun idea.
  • The abilities, particularly the howl/reposition, are thematically linked well to the idea of the item, a wolf pack closing in on and cornering their prey.
  • I like game mechanics that encourage players to pay attention to each other's abilities and think more tactically as a result.
  • This is something I would love to give an antagonist in a campaign, but that I could see a party loving to keep around instead of just selling.

I can see why this made it into the Top 32, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with next.

Marathon Voter Season 9

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Congrats on making the top 32!

Now you have made 2 things for this competition that I love. Keep it up on the map round.

I like this weapon's theme, and more importantly I liked that you did not use the word wolf once in the body of the item. Thats good, we get the reference, you don't need to beat us over the head with it for us to see the clever theme. You managed to resist the urge to say it's grey wolf fur, or wolf like howls. That both saves precious word count, and forced you to add in better details, like spine-chilling howls.

Letting allies join in on your fun for free is nice, and give players something to do while waiting for your turn instead of drifting off. Free tactical repositioning is also always a really simple but effective power.

As mentioned by others, limiting it to another ally threatening or an ally flanking the target would make it better. Some of the wording can also be tightened up a bit. Overall very strong though.

Best of luck in all future rounds!

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

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Really cool, dynamic, collaborative effect. Nice work!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Petty Alchemy

I'm still a little confused on whether it's cool to talk about it or not. I'm starting to think it's cool?

Okay, so nearly all of my drafts specified that the ally needs to be adjacent to the target. I tightened the wording at the very end, and apparently strangled that line out.
I broke my own rule about reading the text out loud (which needs to be done after every revision, not just once!) and now I've got some egg on my face.

That said, I'm glad people were able to enjoy the item despite that missing clarification.

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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Isaac, you can talk about your item. The only thing you can't do is elaborate on/clarify a design while people are voting on it. The work has to stand on its own, but once the voting period is done, you're free to discuss it.


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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!

This year, the template use has definitely raised it's game. The Fu is looking skinny and malnourished. On the plus side, the full review will be looking at much greater depth I promise *evil grin*

Full review to follow in due course.

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

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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.

Wolflord’s Fang

The Good: Wolf theme, points there. Trip and howling, points there too. Also bonus points for not making the sword a werewolf killer or turn you into a werewolf.

The Bad: With the right build, some poor SOB is going to learn to hate trip lock-down, the hard way.

The Ugly: Because allies can aid the demoralize, and my inner murderhobo is getting restless, I could easily demoralize just about anything that could be demoralized by employing my cadre of hirelings and my cohort along with the other PC's. And then keep them safer than normal because of the free 5 foot step.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

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Overall I love this item, but I feel like the free trip shouldn't ignore all the normal risks of making a trip.

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

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Welcome to the Top 32, Isaac! 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 wolflord's fang!

Functionality and Usefulness
Teamwork interaction is a place I like seeing design. There's still lots to do with teamwork abilities, especially in magic items. It's interesting to see a teamwork effect in a weapon.

I'm on the fence about being able to bestow an ally with free trip feats, basically. It's mitigated some by needing a successful strike to trigger and only affecting the ally. (You already intended for it to be an ally threatening the target, so I'll skip that concern.) I do think one or the other penalty should still apply; maybe let them avoid AoO for trip, but not the risk of getting hit back if they fail.

The demoralize ability is flavorful and very thematic. I like seeing you put a usage limit on it. Having allies aid rather than giving a static bonus shows some innovation working within the theme.

The free 5-foot step gives me pause. The repositioning is well within theme and it is not overpowering, but it does step out of some pretty well-established mechanics about what other PCs can do on another player's turn. I might tweak it to make it more of a rallying effect, perhaps giving allies that join the howl a bonus to AC until the end of turn against any AoO made for moving closer to the wielder.

The Cool Factor/Mojo
The thought behind the repositioning is a good one, and the ally-joined howl and teamwork interactions are all abilities interwoven neatly in theme and show you're willing to take on new tactics in design. It might do too much, but what it does is pretty cool. I would have liked to see some genuinely new ability or mechanic, but what you do within existing rule sets still shows some creative flexibility.

Prose and Editing
You've got some strong, good writing. You evoke good sensory detail and your text is crystal clear. No formatting, style, or template issues I can see.

Overall
I want to see more from you because this came together around a strong theme and some good applications of existing rules. You have a professional polish to your writing, but there are a few mechanics I find in question. Be cautious about this moving forward.

I am honored to have been allowed to provide feedback this year. I look forward to your entry for Round 2, Isaac, and hope to see an evocative map from you.

Congratulations again!

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

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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 the first weapon I really really liked. It might be a little much and could use an editing pass from someone brutal but the core concept and execution are full of mojo and I saw this as a top 32 contender right away. Congrats and good luck int he next round.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

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I liked and voted for this the one time I saw it.

All of the abilities fit the theme quite well.

Jacob W. Michaels, makes a great point about the trip ally needing a bit of a qualifier (I'd personally make it an ally flanking with the wielder).

I'm not in love with the aid on the demoralize effect. I've had a few characters that demoralize and it is already fairly trivial to beat the DC's by quite a large margin.

Another thing that might have fit this item is a few teamwork feats in the crafting requirements, such as: Pack Attack and Tandem Trip

Congratulations and Good Luck!

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

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Isaac V wrote:
Wolflord’s Fang

Congratulations Isaac!

I loved the howling aspect of this blade, of course my boys try to howl once or twice every morning & I am often compelled to join in. :) Beyond that it is a solid if not flashy item.

Well done and good luck in maps!

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

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Isaac V wrote:
Wolflord’s Fang

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 — Is the once per rnd ability the "sharpened instincts" because I don't see it. Neat connection though with wolf-pack hunting and using trip. Slightly wonky, though "magic" could make it all make sense... its just that giving out free attacks etc. (attack of opportunity but not?) is funky. Then you have a "3 times per day" power and its... funky. and again, more action economy question marks as immediate actions and what's with the free 5 foot step? To be sure this all even works, I'd need to sit down and read rules way too closely to be sure.

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Congrats on making the top 32!

I thought wolflord's fang did a great job of sticking to a theme without beating us over the head with it. You don't mention wolves, other than in the title, and you don't describe pack-hunting, but its there for us to see without you having to say it. Great job!

I love that this item encourages teamwork! From an ally getting a trip attack, to the aiding with a howl, and repositioning your pals on the battlefield, it's just great, flavourful fun, all around the table.

I have only a few nitpicks and they're minor as far as I'm concerned. Obviously the ally making the trip attack needs to be threatening the target, but you've already replied to that concern above, so no worries there. Also, although I like that allies who join in the howl get a free 5-foot step, I'm not sold on it not counting towards their movement at all.

Congrats again, and best of luck in round two!

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

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Isaac! 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 wolflord's fang...

Okay. The name bugs me, because it reads more like a unique weapon than something mass-produced by wizards across the land. It also doesn't call out what it is...i.e., a sword. That makes it a lot harder to pick out of a list of magic weapons if I'm looking for a magic sword rather than a magic dagger or magic spear.

Mojo. Yep. There's a seed of mojo in this design. It's exploring teamwork with a heavy wolf theme.

Cinematic. Plenty of visuals wrapped up in this item. The alpha "wolf" wielding the sword is basically leading and enhancing the pack's ability to bring down an opponent and the item design brings that home.

Usefulness. Yeah, it's got some options to it, and goes the extra mile by enhancing the wielder's allies and giving them a chance to participate in its effects.

Mechanics. They're mostly sound, but the item definitely needs to call out that only someone who's also adjacent to the wielder's opponent can benefit from the free trip attack. I think it goes too far in allowing them to forego attacks of opportunity and the possibility of being tripped in return. I also think the howl opportunity to demoralize opponents and the free 5-ft. step should be an either/or thing. In other words, if the sword's wielder howls, the rest of his allies (hopefully, only those who are also adjacent to either the wielder or his opponent) get to choose between a free aid another action to increase the effectiveness of the Intimidate attempt or can take a free 5-ft. step to further surround their mutual foe.

Polish. Presentation looks tight. Attention to detail pays off.

Other than that, this item got you into the Top 32, and now it's all about seeing what you've got for us in Round 2.

My two cents,
--Neil

Paizo Employee Assistant Developer , Star Voter Season 6

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Hello, Isaac, 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 wolflord's fang. 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: OK, this item just screams, "You, too, can use Ned Stark's sword!" That's not necessarily a bad thing, and I'm probably just way too plugged into Game of Thrones, but I think a tweak of the name might have set this item apart from that strong of an association, intentional or not. Bastard sword of the wolf or something of the like might be a good start.

Deeper look: That said, the wolf theme, and that of hunting as a pack, is presented very nicely here. Mechanically, the sword is a little too feat-in-a-can for me, though, and there's the added power surge of essentially making this a teamwork item. The howl ability is really cool and thematic as well as having a good in-game use, so I would have focused on that wondrous power and built from there.

Measured feedback: You have a great sense of what's cool, and that's not something that can be taught. This sword reminded me of the Starks because Ned is a cool character (IMHO), and this is a cool sword -- but it could be cooler, more wondrous, and it could work a bit more elegantly at the table. Focus on funneling your awesome ideas into designs that are a little more measured and you're going to do great going forward.

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

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Petty Alchemy

Now that all the judges have commented, I'd like to thank everyone again for taking the time to review and provide such comprehensive feedback!

Below is some insight behind my design choices:

Risk-free trip attempt: If the ally doesn't have Improved Trip, there's a good chance they would pass on the option (which would be unexciting and not the wielder's fault). I think having the feat is an acceptable burden to place on the wielder, but not the ally.
Possible Redesign: The ally's trip is only risk-free if the wielder has Improved Trip.

5-foot Step: It's married to joining the howl as "something for you, something for me".
If it was assist -or- 5-foot step, the wielder would probably be howling while everyone else inches away and pretends they don't know the maniac, instead of reveling with the wielder. If it's too good at the current price, I'd rather raise it than separate the assist from the 5-foot step.
Perhaps it should count against their max allowed movement next round though, I was hesitant to add drawbacks.

Name: Lots of feedback here to avoid possessive nouns in item names and set a clear expectation on type of item, definitely something to remember going forward.
Originally this was a "blade" rather than "fang", and I guess I got cutesy (in a bad way) in trying to add flavor. I think your suggestion is a good starting point, Amanda, thanks!

Some asides:

@Lucus: The howl is also an instinctual action, as is the survival bonus to tracking from the huntstman property. But if that doesn't carry to the reader on its own, I should've described it differently in the first place.

@Amanda: I wasn't thinking of Ned when I was making this item, at least consciously. However, I have read all the books...and watched all of the show...so maybe it was in the back of my mind.

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

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I'll be honest, during voting I was undecided about this one. I liked the tight theme, but sometimes the howling seemed kind of...cheesy.

I didn't always get that vibe, and I think it's easy to fix. Add a little flavor to it, something about being overcome with the instinct of the hunt or something.

That said, I did like the pack aspect of it, and I think that was a really smart direction to explore.

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

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Congratulations on making it through the first round Isaac!

Unfortunately, your item never came up for me during voting. I quite like the teamwork aspect of this. It feels very much as though it was designed for the Hunter, but it could be used by anyone and I like that a lot.

Good luck in the rest of the competition!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Tothric

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Isaac Volynskiy wrote:

Wolflord’s Fang

First impression:

Anime Greatsword!
Feelings:
Ok, maybe I watched too much anime as a kid. That would be my fault, not your item.

The only thing I would change about this item, is the howl. I wouldn't even change it all that much. I would change it from every opponent in 30 feet, to a single opponent within 30 feet.

My reasoning is this mental image in my head: (Follow me here)

Scenario A) You are fleeing a blood-thirsty group of orcs with some other villagers. There are 10 of you in this group. An orc point to you clearly with this sword and howls after making eye contact with you. He then glances at his allies, who look at you, then back at him and howl! All orc eyes lock onto you! They are spurred faster by this sudden frantic feral energy.

Scenario B) You are fleeing a blood-thirsty group of orcs with some other villagers. There are 10 of you in this group. An orc point to your neighbor clearly with this sword and howls after making eye contact with him. The orc then glances at his allies, who look at your neighbor hungrily, then back at leader orc and howl! The orcs while still pursuing.

So... clearly a bad situation, clearly terrifying. However: I feel scenario A) is more likely with this sword. Being the person not actively targeted by the holder of this sword, doesn't seem AS intimidating. Sure, chances are in scenario B, everyone is going to die... but there is that slight glimmer of hope you could get away.

That's how I imagine your weapon being used. And Scenario A is how I imagine it being Most effective.

Take this image as you will, however.
Would I publish Had I the Power:
You are top 32!!!!

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