Five Things I'm Noticing With This Year's Submissions


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

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RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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So, I've made an initial pass through every item submission so far. For those following along, here are a few general observations and conclusions I've made:

1) Good Stuff! - As usual, we've got some great entries! Lots of Superstar-caliber creativity on display. It'll be fun to see who rises to the Top 32 over the course of the public voting. I have a few favorites I'd like to see make it into the contest if for no other reason than to see what the designers behind them can do in future rounds of the competition.

2) Auto-Rejects - There are also quite a few rejected submissions this go-around, and it's primarily because a lot of people didn't bother reading the rules. I've flagged a number of rings and staves for rejection. I've also seen cursed items, intelligent weapons, and yes...even minor artifacts...all of which are identified in the Open Call as being ineligible for the contest. But people submitted them anyway, presumably in an effort to take the road less traveled. There are also several submissions that went over wordcount. Those get rejected right away. You should never flirt with the maximum words allowed. It's like standing too close to the edge. One little misstep and...ouch!

3) Ill-Advised Risk-Taking - There are also a lot of submissions which ignore the excellent advice Sean has given over the past several years. People still love their backstories. People still struggle with avoiding Spell-in-a-Can design. There are still items which I'd consider "joke" items. Good naming is still a challenge. There are items that are way overpriced, and there are items which clearly abandoned the defined rules for pricing in favor of ballparking it. While that may work out sometimes for wondrous items, I'd say not so much for the weapons and armor/shields category.

4) Template Use/Abuse - Several submissions still struggle to apply the template correctly. Everything from miscues in where things go to how stuff should be worded and how things should be formatted. The latter isn't a dealbreaker, of course, but it visually separates the good entries from the rest of the pack.

5) Look Before You Leap/Submit - It's clear that some folks failed to hit the "Preview" button to get a sense of what their submission would look like to those voting on it. At least one entry tried to do BBCode formatting (including fancy URLs), but accidentally relied on backslashes [\] rather than slashes [/] so the whole thing looks pretty garbled. Some folks are also trying to put BBCode in the thread title, so that's going to cause some folks to standout in a less flattering way during the public vote. This stuff can be coached and cleaned up in the real world of freelancing, but in terms of putting your best foot forward for consideration for Top 32, it's best if you get everything as clean and polished as possible.

And that's it for now. I just figured as we close in on the submission deadline, those who submitted long ago might appreciate a bit of insight into how things are taking shape. It should be a fun period of public voting. Game on!


Thank you for the insights and tips

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan

Neil,

Does it look like fewer entries than usual?


Wow, a teaser post - been a while since we have seen teasers like this - takes me right back to early seasons paranoia, something like...

1) please be mine, please be mine...
2) hmmm, mine was the right category, so I think I'm okay...
3) eeek, I tried something new but don't believe it fell into these traps, ack, argh, pray...
4) yeah, as if, right :P
5) used preview, I'm a good boy

So, as usual, its that did I risk enough, too much or too little. Pricing, ack, my achillees heel, gah, pray.

See, even us old hands still get nervous every single time!

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

I think #3 is the most difficult. The more you move away from SiaC, the more it feels like you have to ballpark cost.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Tripp Elliott wrote:
Does it look like fewer entries than usual?

While I know the answer to that question, it's not really something for me to comment on. Paizo has always spoken to that, and it's up to them if they want to share that information.

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

Neil Spicer wrote:
2) Auto-Rejects - There are also quite a few rejected submissions this go-around, and it's primarily because a lot of people didn't bother reading the rules. I've flagged a number of rings and staves for rejection. I've also seen cursed items, intelligent weapons, and yes...even minor artifacts...all of which are identified in the Open Call as being ineligible for the contest. But people submitted them anyway, presumably in an effort to take the road less traveled. There are also several submissions that went over wordcount. Those get rejected right away. You should never flirt with the maximum words allowed. It's like standing too close to the edge. One little misstep and...ouch!

Did you leave me any to report as DQ worthy?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Did you leave me any to report as DQ worthy?

Possibly. I mostly did a quick skim in the early going, so I may have missed a few. I circled back afterward and caught as many as I could. I suspect there's still a few in there with a total template failure, but I'll be darned if I can recall the exact ones without making another run through. I don't really have the time for that right now, but they'll shake out one way or another.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

How did you tell that some things were minor artifacts? Just that they had no price and couldn't be crafted?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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Joey Haeck wrote:
How did you tell that some things were minor artifacts? Just that they had no price and couldn't be crafted?

They actually self-identified it as a "minor artifact"... :)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

So excited to see this year's entries.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mamaursula

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Neil Spicer wrote:
Joey Haeck wrote:
How did you tell that some things were minor artifacts? Just that they had no price and couldn't be crafted?
They actually self-identified it as a "minor artifact"... :)

Well...at least they made it easy for you. :-/

Contributor , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

What if everything I make is an "artifact!?" Ha! Ba-dum-chee!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

Tripp Elliott wrote:
Does it look like fewer entries than usual?

I'm sure someone will start a checklist on Google Drive again this year so voters can generate a countable list of item names.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

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Neil Spicer wrote:
Joey Haeck wrote:
How did you tell that some things were minor artifacts? Just that they had no price and couldn't be crafted?
They actually self-identified it as a "minor artifact"... :)

Sounds like the perfect time to submit my new apparatus, "minor jpeg artifact"!

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

Why is midnight Pacific time so far away!!!

Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

Well hopefully my totally not an artifact, didn't have some 'major' mistake that got it cut down so soon. That would be more than a 'minor' inconvenience on the road to becoming RPG superstar.

Cause we clearly need more 'meta' artifact jokes....

I'll see myself out.

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

Is the magic item set up still like the players guide or has it changed to how magic items are done in current books?

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

Neil Spicer wrote:


[b]4) Template Use/Abuse - Several submissions still struggle to apply the template correctly. Everything from miscues in where things go to how stuff should be worded and how things should be formatted. The latter isn't a dealbreaker, of course, but it visually separates the good entries from the rest of the pack.

5) Look Before You Leap/Submit - It's clear that some folks failed to hit the "Preview" button to get a sense of what their submission would look like to those voting on it. At least one entry tried to do BBCode formatting (including fancy URLs), but accidentally relied on backslashes [\] rather than slashes [/] so the whole thing looks pretty garbled. Some folks are also trying to put BBCode in the thread title, so that's going to cause some folks to standout in a less flattering way during the public vote. This stuff can be coached and cleaned up in the real world of freelancing, but in terms of putting your best foot forward for consideration for Top 32, it's best if you get everything as clean and polished as possible.

If you have template problems, such as in something in Word doesn't work the same way or do we just need to use preview/fiddle again and again to "get it right" or just acceptable. I was thinking about this because such knowledge would have been useful in a past contest (literally did not submit first item because of this) and might be useful in the future.

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

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I knew I shouldn't have submitted my intelligent cursed staff of artifacts.

Marathon Voter Season 9

The staff actually summons existing artifacts. Just to save the designer some time writing up new ones.

Star Voter Season 9

But can your staff beat my +5 Vorpal Cursed Intelligent Rod of Apparatus Artifacts?

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

It exchanges currency and fires maximized empowered quickened disintegrates at will...so yes.

Marathon Voter Season 9

Well, my +2 vorpal balloon animal artifact of fart noises can animate and do all the adventuring in your PC's stead. It does have one major drawback, though—if hit hard (or thrown), it turns into a behir and attacks everything it sees for 1 minute. I feel that this balances out the item nicely.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Neil Spicer wrote:
A bunch of great stuff...

I didn't go through the items as closely as Neil did, but I agree with everything he brings up in the OP. I also noticed that not a single item has been over wordcount since he posted this thread. :)


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Zerri wrote:

Well hopefully my totally not an artifact, didn't have some 'major' mistake that got it cut down so soon. That would be more than a 'minor' inconvenience on the road to becoming RPG superstar.

Cause we clearly need more 'meta' artifact jokes....

I'll see myself out.

But, but, isn't round 2, the map round also known as the arty facts round? Badum tish!

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

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Clay Clouser wrote:
I knew I shouldn't have submitted my intelligent cursed staff of artifacts.

When brought into an Apparatus of the Crab, the staff's ego exits the staff and takes over the apparatus, possessing it permanently. The spirit's name is Kwaalish.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka DLandonCole

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Template Fu wrote:
Zerri wrote:

Well hopefully my totally not an artifact, didn't have some 'major' mistake that got it cut down so soon. That would be more than a 'minor' inconvenience on the road to becoming RPG superstar.

Cause we clearly need more 'meta' artifact jokes....

I'll see myself out.

But, but, isn't round 2, the map round also known as the arty facts round? Badum tish!

Groan...

That's almost as bad as my joke this evening as we explored a ruined building. 'One does not simply walk through more doors'.

Star Voter Season 9

Landon Cole wrote:
Template Fu wrote:
Zerri wrote:

Well hopefully my totally not an artifact, didn't have some 'major' mistake that got it cut down so soon. That would be more than a 'minor' inconvenience on the road to becoming RPG superstar.

Cause we clearly need more 'meta' artifact jokes....

I'll see myself out.

But, but, isn't round 2, the map round also known as the arty facts round? Badum tish!

Groan...

That's almost as bad as my joke this evening as we explored a ruined building. 'One does not simply walk through more doors'.

I think you meant to say "as great as my joke." Puns are never bad!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Logan Ehntholt wrote:
Landon Cole wrote:
Template Fu wrote:
Zerri wrote:

Well hopefully my totally not an artifact, didn't have some 'major' mistake that got it cut down so soon. That would be more than a 'minor' inconvenience on the road to becoming RPG superstar.

Cause we clearly need more 'meta' artifact jokes....

I'll see myself out.

But, but, isn't round 2, the map round also known as the arty facts round? Badum tish!

Groan...

That's almost as bad as my joke this evening as we explored a ruined building. 'One does not simply walk through more doors'.

I think you meant to say "as great as my joke." Puns are never bad!

I am known as an invertebrate punster—spinelessly unable to resist making a pun. So slug me!

Marathon Voter Season 9

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You ought to be full of cephaloathing right now. You slimy git.

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

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
You ought to be full of cephaloathing right now. You slimy git.

No cephaloathing for me, sir! I'm a very hard worker!

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

Mr. Pratchett would have loved this.

*Seriously teary*

Carry on gentlemen, you are continuing a wonderful legacy.

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

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Neil Spicer wrote:
I have a few favorites I'd like to see make it into the contest if for no other reason than to see what the designers behind them can do in future rounds of the competition.

In lieu of judges picking the Top 32+4 or issuing golden tickets, I hope Paizo lets judges call out some honorable mentions from their favorites, even if they don't (or can't) identify their creator. A little positive recognition can go a long, long way toward validating some design decisions.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Thrawn007

I second that.

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

Very Good idea Garrett.

Also, as I have not said it before thank you very much for making the item critique tracker over at least the last few years I have been here if not before.

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

Dang. I was going to double check for a memes thread before submitting. I am sure everyone is doing one of my items & wanted switch to less trodden territory...,

Too late now, I will just have to be the best [meme] of all the [memes].

Wait, what? What where the five memes? What? None listed? You tease!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

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I guess my artifact level redundant rod of repeated redundencies got DQed. Oh well. It is a rod that comes in pairs and the number of rods that it comes with is two. Two is the number of rods that you get. These two rods do amazing things and the effects are awesome. So awesome are the effects that the things they do is amazing.


Taylor Hubler wrote:
I guess my artifact level redundant rod of repeated redundencies got DQed. Oh well. It is a rod that comes in pairs and the number of rods that it comes with is two. Two is the number of rods that you get. These two rods do amazing things and the effects are awesome. So awesome are the effects that the things they do is amazing.

The costs of paper manufacturing for the forms to use just a pair of rods is enough to nearly bankrupt a small nation.

Marathon Voter Season 9

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So, with less than two hours to spare, is my helmet of grief okay? The helmet summons 2d4 goblins, each equipped with a talisman of the sphere, and a single sphere of annihilation.

I'm also working on a ring amulet of death. In addition to granting a constant shocking grasp effect, the finger the ring amulet is worn on can be used to cast finger of death once at any target within range. This causes the ring amulet to constrict rapidly, severing the finger head instantly with no save. I had to make some small adjustments to the item but I'm too tired to double-check. I'm sure it works fine.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:

So, with less than two hours to spare, is my helmet of grief okay? The helmet summons 2d4 goblins, each equipped with a talisman of the sphere, and a single sphere of annihilation.

I'm also working on a ring amulet of death. In addition to granting a constant shocking grasp effect, the finger the ring amulet is worn on can be used to cast finger of death once at any target within range. This causes the ring amulet to constrict rapidly, severing the finger head instantly with no save. I had to make some small adjustments to the item but I'm too tired to double-check. I'm sure it works fine.

RUN!!!! KC is possessed by a rare CR27 Vengeful Gygax!!! Quickly, before it death chortles at us!!!

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

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He has already begun the Dance of Ruin!


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:

So, with less than two hours to spare, is my helmet of grief okay? The helmet summons 2d4 goblins, each equipped with a talisman of the sphere, and a single sphere of annihilation.

I'm also working on a ring amulet of death. In addition to granting a constant shocking grasp effect, the finger the ring amulet is worn on can be used to cast finger of death once at any target within range. This causes the ring amulet to constrict rapidly, severing the finger head instantly with no save. I had to make some small adjustments to the item but I'm too tired to double-check. I'm sure it works fine.

What is this I don't even

Marathon Voter Season 9

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Oh my god 52 minutes left but I just got the best idea.

KC's Deck of Trump Cards.

It's a cursed deck of many things. Every card is a joker card, and it summons a terrifying ogre who starts casting confusion spells and it can detach its hair to grapple people and create huge walls that only keep out specific races. Should I include the ogre's statblock, or should I save it for when I reach the monster round with this entry?

Oh god 48 minutes no time I'll just go with my gut.

Inanity aside, speaking of guts, I did get an idea earlier for an "otyugh stomach" item that you have to eat (you regurgitate it when you aren't using it, so it's not a one-use item). The stomach lets you derive nourishment from anything organic. It'll need some refining to make it stand out from the ring of sustenance, and I have a weird feeling it would never make it in Superstar, anyway, but hey. It's something for the next Blazing Nine. ;D


Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Oh my god 52 minutes left but I just got the best idea.

KC's Deck of Trump Cards.

It's a cursed deck of many things. Every card is a joker card, and it summons a terrifying ogre who starts casting confusion spells and it can detach its hair to grapple people and create huge walls that only keep out specific races. Should I include the ogre's statblock, or should I save it for when I reach the monster round?

Oh god 48 minutes no time I'll just go with my gut.

Call it the Ochre Deck of Segregation.

Marathon Voter Season 9

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Cursed item: The "ogre bag of tricks". Created through a rare spellcheck error, this bag summons only ogres. If you roll a Natural 1 when using the bag, the ogre summoned does nothing but demand that you get out of its swamp.

EDIT: Oh s~$! I just saw the "no self-identifying" rule. Nobody tell the mods! My sparkling reputation will surely guarantee me a victory if people know what my submissions are, and I would hate for my already assured victory to be tarnished by petty accusations.

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

Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Cursed item: The "ogre bag of tricks". Created through a rare spellcheck error, this bag summons only ogres. If you roll a Natural 1 when using the bag, the ogre summoned does nothing but demand that you get out of its swamp.

EDIT: Oh s@$! I just saw the "no self-identifying" rule. Nobody tell the mods! My sparkling reputation will surely guarantee me a victory if people know what my submissions are, and I would hate for my already assured victory to be tarnished by petty accusations.

J'accuse!

Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

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Pshh, your Ogre bag of Tricks is nothing compared to my Cursed Pugwampi Ears. They home in on nearby heroes with the accuracy of a Magic missile and each one that affixes itself to your head generates a pugwampi's unluck aura. For every two attached, they turn one of your luck bonuses into an unlucky penalty! Oh and every pugwampi comes with two of them free of charge.


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Covent wrote:
He has already begun the Dance of Ruin!

This is a really interesting tribal dance, bookmarking for inspiration next year.

Marathon Voter Season 9

Hell, Zerri, that actually sounds pretty awesome. I'd like to tie those to a bolas and let 'em fly.

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