Horseshoes of the Storm Rider

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

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Horseshoes of the Storm Rider
Aura moderate transmutation, faint abjuration and conjuration; CL 7th
Slot feet; Price 69,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs. (for four)
These four well-crafted horseshoes are emblazoned with a lightning bolt pattern or occasionally the holy symbol of a deity associated with storms. When worn on an animal’s hooves, horseshoes of the storm rider grant the creature electricity resistance 10.

Three times per day, a creature wearing these horseshoes can spend a full round action to stamp a circular pattern into the ground and gain the ability to rise into the air as though under the effect of an air walk spell. While airborne, a fog cloud emerges outward and downward from the horseshoes, making it seem as though the mount has created a cloud which it is now moving on top of. Creatures on the same elevation or above the steed can see it normally, while anybody targeting the airborne creature from below must deal with the concealment offered by a fog cloud.

All four horseshoes must be worn by the same animal for the magic to be effective. The stamping required to activate the horseshoes can be performed by any creature with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher. Steeds with animal-level intelligence can activate the item if they know the Perform trick (see the Handle Animal skill for details).
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, air walk, fog cloud, resist energy; Cost 34,500 gp

Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I upvoted this item when I saw it. Welcome back!

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

Charlie! 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...horseshoes of the storm rider...

Okay. Nice, evocative name. I immediately had a mental image of this item coming into it, and you didn't disappoint with the promise it offered up. Your descriptive text goes on to fulfill that image with the "lightning bolt pattern" included on the horseshoes and the fog cloud emanating from below the mount as it uses air walk to rise into the air.

Mojo. That's what springs to mind for me in examining this item. It avoids full-blown spell-in-a-can territory by merging the effects of a handful of spells as inspiration, but mingling them in a thematic and mechanical way that sets the item (and hence, its designer) apart from the rest of the field.

Cinematic. This is also a term that comes to mind. The use of this item can be visualized like a dramatic moment in a big-budget film.

Usefulness. Yes, we don't often raise magic horseshoes to the level of being all that "useful" in comparison to other items. But this could be a go to item for anyone with the mount class ability (e.g., a cavalier, paladin, etc.). Even rangers or storm druids willing to shod their horse animal companions with such things could find their aerial, concealing effects extremely useful.

Mechanics. I thought the routine effects were referenced very well. The activation requirement of an above-animal intelligence or the perform trick (via the Handle Animal skill) was a nice, flavorful caveat. The one area where I'd probably want a bit more clarity would be the cloud below the moving steed. The normal radius for a fog cloud is a static 20 ft., so I assume that's what we're getting. It might be implied, but for clarity, it's probably best to cite it again in the item description. Additionally, while the concealment effect is imposed on those below the rider, it might be worth calling out that the reverse is also true (i.e., those below the rider have concealment from him/her, too).

Polished. You nailed the template and presented everything as perfectly as I'd expect to see it in an actual book of magic items. To me, this demonstrates you know how to leave a visually appealing calling card. I'll be interested to see how well you can continue living up to image as you present your map.

Other than that, this was very solid, and I actually appreciate that you reached for a wondrous item over a weapon or armor/shield. To me, wondrous items have a slightly higher degree of difficulty, because there's an art to getting one right. And I think you got this one mostly right. So, I'll close with congratulating you once more. Good luck in the competition, and bring the same level of mojo on your map for Round 2.

My two cents,

Dark Archive

I was surprised my how much loved this, as I don't normally look at horseshoes as a "wow" item. I voted for it when I saw it, which was fairly often. Congratulations!

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

Congratulations Charlie!

I agree with Alanya: for me, horseshoes are a gamble because they rely so much on mounts, which limits their versatility. The fact that you took a risky item and made it awesome bodes well for your upcoming design choices.

Can't wait to see what you bring to the table in round 2!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka primemover003

Congratulations on making the Top 32 Charlie! These horseshoes are a very useful item and playing with mounts is a road less traveled, though one I know well.

Its funny that these felt very familiar when I read them and I realized that they're a lot like an item in the Wrath of the Righteous AP, Terendelev's Scale (Cloudwalking). Don't sweat the similarities though. Parallel development happens ALL the time. The voters liked this enough to get you into the game. Can't wait to see your map.

--Vrocking Grasp

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 top 32! Those are some pricey horseshoes. While I like the thematics and suite of powers, I do worry that it's very expensive for what it does - especially for a mount and not the PC. That being said, I'm sure some cavaliers would love these, and there isn't enough love for magic items for mounts and animal companions, especially at the higher end of the spectrum, so good job finding an under served niche.

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

I was torn on this one during voting.

I loved the cinematics of it, but I did worry it was too expensive, and I had a lot of mechanical questions.

How high does the mount rise up? Can the mount move around as with air walk (and the cloud follow it), or must it stay atop the initial fog cloud? How long does the effect last?

I can come up with plausible answers for those questions using the fog cloud spell, but I felt like that was leaning a little too heavily on GM interpretation. Another person could easily come up with different plausible answers. I thought a little more of the mechanics needed to be explicitly described.

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

Horseshoe items will see next to no use in my game, and the middle paragraph has too much flavor explanation for what you need to do and what it apparently looks like is happening.

The third paragraph seems to be a well reasoned section of caveats, which shows though has gone into the implications and rule interactions of the item. It is at first strange to me though that the item is dependant upon the mount being cognizant of or clever enough to do a trick, rather than allowing the rider to make something happen - but obviously it is the mount wearing the item, not the rider.

Which makes this an item not for player characters as far as I am concerned and thus...not really appearing on my radar. Still, the voters see it. Congratulations Charlie.

Marathon Voter Season 9

Congrats! The only concern that came to mind with these was in the last sentence. As written it seems to imply that that you can't use the "push animal" handle animal application, which seems odd. The rules give me a way to get a companion who doesn't know a trick to gain its benefit, and the current wording flies in the face of that. If that was not the intent, I would just alter that last sentence away from knowing the trick, to being a special use of the perform trick.

Looking forward to seeing your map!

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

Welcome to the Top 32, Charlie! 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 horseshoes of the storm rider!

Functionality and Usefulness
Magic items for mounts are a growing category, but there's still a lot of room to explore within that niche. I am less enthused by the choice to make these all about the mount: a PC that finds these and puts them on his warhorse without the Perform trick just gets some electricity resistance--for his horse. Unless the player is able to use the Handle Animal rules or feels like hiring it out during some downtime, I feel some players would give these a pass due to the logistic issues. Players with an intelligent mount, however, would have more interest I'd imagine.

The air walk and fog cloud combo is an effective one, though I agree with Neil's suggestion to cite the cloud's specific effects--radius, duration, etc.--as being as fog cloud. It's implied, but specificity is better than implication.

The Cool Factor/Mojo
Pretty much any player with a Huntsman-style or Rider on the Storm concept will drool over these. It gives the PC intimidation and cool factor, above and beyond the usefulness of being able to go airborne and get concealment. However, the dependence on the mount to be able to activate the item might leave some players cold if they aren't really interested in treating their mounts as secondary characters, especially at that price.

Prose and Editing
Awkward wording takes away some from the cool imagery you've set up. The middle paragraph especially would benefit from some rewording to make it both leaner and better to read.

Template use is spot-on. You've followed directions well and I didn't spot any errors. That shows good self-editing ability and a willingness to do what's asked of you, which is as much of a freelancer virtue as cool ideas.

I think this item would benefit from a method of activating them that the rider has some control over, even though I do like that an intelligent mount can do the activation itself. You picked a good niche (characters who invest in mounts), but right now I feel it's too narrow (characters invested in mounts that have the Perform trick/time to teach the Perform trick). Going forward, I advise designing with a slightly broader view in mind, even when designing for a niche.

You had a cool idea, though, and know how to create something to make players think, "I want that." That is the definition of mojo and it'll serve you well moving ahead.

I am honored to have been allowed to provide feedback this year. I look forward to your entry for Round 2, Charlie, and expect to see a map both drool-worthy and a little unexpected.

Congratulations again!

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

Great flavour with this one! I'm a player who doesn't tend to spend a lot of money on their animal companion/mount, but I could totally see my cavalier buying these.

Good luck in the rest of the competition!

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

You don't see too many items that are for intelligent (or trained) mounts, so this one caught my attention right away. It may be a niche area, but it's a very cool item and I upvoted it many times. Good luck in the next round!

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

I initially shrugged upon looking at this item. It did not instantly wow.
Upon longer reading the item grabbed me with the "walking on the cloud" visual. I'm a sucker for a nice visual. And it's useful and desirable for a character, which is a perk.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

These are pretty cool. Wonder what it would do to the cost of the item if it could cast and target Call Lightning on anyone under the cloud.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Your "First Impression" Haiku

A set of horseshoes!?!?!?
Don't give a crap about mounts!
Decent effects, though!

Even though I was like, "Mounts!? Yawn!!!" I couldn't help but appreciate the risk you took in entering horseshoes. And the abilities are good without being totally power-gamer bananas! Nice job, and congrats!

Now, show us a great map!

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

Congrats, Charlie.

For me, it was the last sentence that earned you my upvotes. I like that you thought about how the animal would have to stamp out the pattern (making what could be an unnecessary bit of how-it-works-mechanics into a feature of the item) and thought that was the sign of good design (though Lucky Pips brings up a good point).

Throw these in with a bottled cloud and everyone'd be walking on clouds. :)

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

This item is solid and focused. Yet it did not wow me that much because it felt a bit too much of a SAK to me, though a rather relevant one. Appears that I was off the mark though. I can see how it can appeal to both players and GMs. Congrats and impress us with your map ;-)

Nitpick point : is it possible to have auras of different levels for the different schools ? I thought that you took only the highest strength and then listed all of the schools, but maybe I am mistaken.

Sovereign Court Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

The Raven Black wrote: it possible to have auras of different levels for the different schools ? I thought that you took only the highest strength and then listed all of the schools, but maybe I am mistaken.

I was wondering about that too actually.

@Charlie, well done!

I saw your item a number of times in the voting, and it did get a bunch of my votes, although I got stuck on the sentence:
While airborne, a fog cloud emerges outward and downward from the horseshoes, making it seem as though the mount has created a cloud which it is now moving on top of.

I thought it was a little clunky.

Anyway, well done!

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.

Horseshoes of the Storm Rider

The Good: You went with gear not for a PC but for trusty old trigger, and trigger is glad you did, that was a good call.

The Bad: On the same token, your item alas only works for those with a mount or other critter friend with four hooves. Limits item use to some degree.

The Ugly: For me the ugly here is not all that ugly, but IMO terms like "well-crafted" and their cousins fall short in terms of description text. I would rather see the description text show me how well crafted the item is, rather than it tell me.

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!

Actually, I am not sure about the 4lbs (for four), I think I would have preferred 1lb. each (it may even be 1lb. ea.) - but until I check for similar wording in the existing books, I am not going to count against you on that.

*Fu looks at me with big doey eyes as realization hits... no food here...*

Full review to follow in due course.

Scarab Sages Assistant Developer , Star Voter Season 6

Hello, Charlie, 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 horseshoes of the storm rider. 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: This item invokes some lovely visuals -- it's like a love letter to characters with steeds, particularly intelligent steeds. It protects the mount with electricity resistance, sure, but it's the air walk/fog cloud effect that is really appealing and makes this item shine. It certainly sets it apart from other magical horseshoes, such as horseshoes of a zephyr. That said, the item's strength is also what works against it, to a certain extent. More on that below.

Deeper look: A downside to this item, for me, is that it places such a strong focus on the mount and entirely takes the rider out of the equation. Further, there's the mechanical nebulousness about whether the fog cloud grants the rider concealment. It's probably implied, but as a developer, I'd want that to be called out. I'd also want to see the rules language about the cloud's radius (20 ft., I'd assume) spelled out.

Measured feedback: You've shown a lot of creativity and conceptual elegance with this item, which is a thing I'd love to see you strive to continue throughout the contest. After you've come up with a great concept, though, I'd like to see you spend just as much time making sure that you're focusing your text on its in-game utility, and being very precise with your rules language to eliminate any potential confusion on the part of players and GMs.

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

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

These were one of my favorites during the voting. Probably startled my wife when I exclaimed how great they were.

I love mount classes, and the imagery of riding on clouds is great. I think it is both creative and also fills explores a familiar niche (cloudwalking). One of my favorites in the competition for sure.

Great job, looking forward to your map!

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Making horseshoes superstar isn't easy so well done.

My main point I didn't like was that animals need to learn perform which isn't that useful a trick.

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

Charlie Brooks wrote:
Horseshoes of the Storm Rider

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 — How long does the spell last? Why make it so hard to activate? 3x per day is very limited, and re-shoeing a horse is a pain. For less than 1/10th the cost I can have [url]= s-of-a-zephyr]these[/url] and they work all the time, though are not "as powerful" as yours.

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.

Were you listening to the Doors when you wrote this? That's not a dig but every time I read this Riders on the Storm popped into my head. You get mad props from me for going for a mount or animal companion based item. I'd have loved this on my now deceased character's Dire Ram as he was a charge loving cavalier. Good luck in the next round.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Line Developer , Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Congrats on making the top 32!

Your item was awesome and I voted for it a lot. I especially like the details involving the animal riding atop the clouds, and the concealment granted by it. Your descriptions make this item very cinematic and as a player, riding a mount with these babies on it would make you feel pretty darn cool!

Do I often use mounts? No. Will I use these very often? No. But it really makes me want to use them, so you obviously did a great job.

Good luck in the map round.

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

Charlie Brooks wrote:
Horseshoes of the Storm Rider

Congratulations Charlie!

From the start this shows good design choice by choosing horseshoes instead of boots. The visual of the steed riding the cloud is strong, & i liked the situational cover it provides. Overall the writing could be much tighter, I felt in parts I had to spend a full round action to read this. Avoid spending two sentences to say what can be said in one. For example the activation description & the intelligence/trick explanations.

Good luck on maps & well done! :)

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

Congratulations on earning a spot in this year’s Top 32, Charlie! I’m here to offer my thoughts as I read you item, horseshoes of the storm rider.

  • I’m expecting an item for an animal companion, and there’s certainly a lot of room to stretch one’s gray matter in that field, but I’m also hearing The Doors song in my head now, which removes me from the fantasy a little.
  • I’m already envisioning a powerful steed standing firmly on an open plain, it’s black hide glistening under a light rainfall from dark rolling clouds that rumble in the sky. The horse snorts, ejecting a cloud of white vapor that pulses with white veins of electricity as it dissipates in the cool, night air.
  • Describing the cloud as emerging outward and downward briefly changed that image to one of a rocket horse lifting off from the ground. I’d suggest rephrasing to avoid that laughable image.
  • The effect is impressive though, and one that fits well among other iconic fantasy moments.
  • You call out how the spell effect works in regards to the placement of the horse, which is good.
  • Nice work attaching a skill to efficient use of the item. It makes sense that even magic items would require some skill to get the most use out of.
  • An NPC using this would make for an intimidating image, and one I’m eager to describe for my players. As a player, I would be very tempted by these for any character with a horse. I might even consider a horse over other, more exotic mounts.
The visuals of this item are ones I want to see at the table. Nice work, and good luck in the next round!

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