Storm's Wrath

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

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Project_Mayhem

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Storm's Wrath
Aura Faint evocation and necromancy; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 45,600 gp; Weight 3 lbs.

This +1 thundering shock composite longbow (+2 Str bonus) is carved from a blackened branch of lightning-struck yew. As the bowstring is drawn, the air around the wielder crackles with the ozone scent of an imminent storm.

In the place of a ranged attack, storm's wrath may instead shoot a blast of rain-specked wind up to 60 feet, dealing no damage and making a bull rush or trip attempt against the target. The wielder’s CMB for this attack uses the highest of their Dex or Wis modifiers in place of Str. The shot extinguishes any normal fires on the creature, object, or 5 foot square targeted, and can do anything a sudden blast of air would be expected to do, as per the spell gust of wind.

Three times a day, as a standard action, the wielder may use storm's wrath to shoot forked lightning in a 60 foot cone, dealing 5d8+5 electricity damage (DC 14 Reflex save for half). If any affected creature rolls a natural 1 on its Reflex save, it takes an extra 2d8 sonic damage, and must make a successful DC 14 Fortitude save or be deafened permanently.

Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, blindness/deafness, call lightning, gust of wind; Cost 23,100 gp

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I really liked this item. Probably my favorite weapon.


Dark Archive

This was a definite keep for me, and I voted for it whenever I saw it. My only concern is the Strength rating - while I like that it's there as it's not something you normally see (and benefit from) in the more popular named weapons, I also don't like that it's there, as someone with lower Strength will suffer a penalty to use this. I was conflicted on that one point, but otherwise loved it!
Congratulations on making the Top 32!

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

Congratulations Bill!

This was a strong, solid item. It's easy for energy-based magic weapons to be overdone (they're practically the foundation of all magic weapons in the game), but you put a really nifty spin on it, and it clearly struck a chord with the voters. I certainly upvoted it more than once.

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

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

Bill! 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...storm's wrath...

Okay. The name is reminiscent more of a unique weapon name rather than a mass-produced magic weapon. It does have hints toward what it involves...i.e., violent storm-related effects. And, for a composite longbow, the name certainly fits. Personally, I'd rather see a weapon like this have a less specific name and include the actual weapon type. So, something like a stormbow would work...or even wrathful stormbow or stormbow of wrath. None of those necessarily knock my socks off either, so I get why you reached for storm's wrath as the final name. I'm just not super-excited by it.

Mojo. Now this is where your design picked up steam...or wind, as it were. A bow that can hit you with a ranged combat maneuver by manipulating the wind...and also shoot forked lightning with a potential sonic effect...has all kinds of wicked mojo working for it. Your descriptive elements were also really nice here, especially how you invoked the sense of smell with the ozone-laced atmosphere when the bowstring is drawn back. That takes a special kind of talent to weave in more than just the run-of-the-mill "what it looks like" and "what it feels like" to the reader.

Cinematic. Yep. Drawing on your mojo and descriptive text, there are all kinds of dramatic moments you can envision for this bow. It's powerful, super-charged with high energy wind effects, and shoots lightning. What more could you ask for in a storm-related weapon?

Usefulness. I think you get high marks here, too. This weapon provides more than just some bonus electricity damage on its arrows. You can do combat maneuvers with it. You can deafen victims with it. And you can even extinguish small fires and torches from a distance with it. So, as a magic weapon, it's got a few more tricks than what you'd normally expect. Weapon designs which include these things are a cut-above, and could be a sign of Superstar creativity.

Mechanics. Most of the mechanics are fairly straight-forward here since they involve combat. I will say that some of them rely almost word for word on the descriptive text of how gust of wind functions. That's both a good thing (i.e., not reinventing the wheel on how to describe that), but also a bad thing in the sense that I don't necessarily get an idea of your ability to design new, standalone mechanics of your own. One other worry that caught my eye here involves the DCs for Reflex saves (vs. the lightning attack) and Fortitude saves (vs. the deafened effect from the sonic damage). At DC 14, that might be far too low for the types of monsters (i.e., Challenge Rating) that a wielder of this bow would be facing. If storm's wrath costs 45,600 gp as a standalone weapon, you wouldn't normally expect a PC to obtain something like that as treasure until they're around 10th-12th level, depending on the campaign. Characters at that level should be routinely facing CR 12 to CR 14 threats, and monsters or NPCs at that power level will likely average a pretty high Reflex and Fortitude save (i.e., somewhere between +9 and +17). So, DC 14 shouldn't be all that difficult for them to make. Thus, how often will the maximum effect of the bow's lighting attack really get to shine?

Polished. The template looks mostly clean. That shows good attention to detail and could mean that you're better prepared than most to give this a real go as a professional freelancer who can be trusted to follow the style guide of a given publisher.

Other than that, this is a really flavorful weapon design. It's the kind of magical bow you can easily imagine your characters wielding with devastating effect on their enemies. So, you really know how to play to the crowd. I offer you my congratulations once more on making the Top 32, and wish you good luck in the competition ahead! Next up, let's see what kind of creativity you can bring to your map for Round 2.

My two cents,

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

Congrats on making the top 32. The wind blast ranged combat maneuver is what makes this shine. I'd have ditched the cone of lightning entirely, and had the shocking damage anyone tripped or bull rushed successfully though, and if you roll a 20 and confirm, then have the sonic kick in, then you avoid the static saving throw which is the bane of many magic items.

Also, as a minor point about the Str bonus - while it's part of the rules, for powerful magic bows, giving them the adaptive quality negates the issues of characters having to tone down their strength to use the cool magic of the bow, or not be able to use it correctly if they're weaker.

Great tight theme and unique ability to put this over the top though and break into the top 32.

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

Saw this a couple times, voted for it.

I agree with Neil about the name, it does seem more fitting for a unique item.

The lightning effect is the obvious expectation for a storm-based bow, and alone that wouldn't have been superstar.

But the ranged bull rush / trip gust of wind is clever. It does the kind of thing I like in a magic item, it opens up choices and possibilities for players. It's not overpowered, and it does make combat much more interesting. Well done!

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

Yeah, the name is a little artifact-y.

Fairly solid item, with thematic functions. Suffers from the "thrice per day" malady, but that's more to do wth the boundaries of existing conventions than a lack of attempting to cirumvent them. In this case.

As I read it, it is concerning that you could be playing ninepins with multishots from afar.

Aside from that, nice to see a weapon that isn't extremely focused on DPR, and a ranged one at that.

Nice work Bill.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Project_Mayhem

Thanks for the feedback guys! I'm always happy to hear what people have to say about things I've worked on.

I went through quite a few revisions of the lightning cone ability in particular as I was working on it - this is one of the things I've written with the most alternate versions saved on my laptop. :p

I'm definitely kicking myself about the saving throw DCs - right from the start I was torn between keeping it consistent with the thundering enchantment, and making it more powerful.

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

Congratulations on making the Top 32 Bill! I thought your bow had a good mechanics and an interesting flavour to it. Especially liked the ranged fire snuffing; I've played a few games where that would have come in handy!

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

I like the imagery of the bow being formed from a lightning-struck tree branch. And it's very useful to be able to extinguish fires as well as attack with it. Well done and good luck in the next round!

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

A bow shooting lightning is ho-hum now. But the bow that shoots wind and rain is interesting. That got my attention. Good job leading with that and saving the lightning power for later.

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

Welcome to the Top 32, Bill! 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 storm's wrath!

Functionality and Usefulness
You can shoot a blast of wind to knock over your opponent. Three times per day, you can shoot a lightning bolt that comes with a deafening effect attached. It's hard to find really fun bows, and this qualifies (reminding me, in a good way, of my rogue's old Windforce bow in Diablo 15+ years ago butanywaymovingon). It has utility with the gust of wind capabilities built-in, has good damage-dealing potential, and provides a neat combat option that isn't just doing damage. I like to see that in weapons.

The saves seem low for the price, though I don't know that I'd make the bow much cheaper. As Neil pointed out, the things the PC will shoot with this are going to make those saves most of the time, and that's pretty frustrating as a player. Lowering the price some and raising the saves some might be the best "meet in the middle" option.

The Cool Factor/Mojo
You kinda had me at "rain-specked wind". It's hard for me not to like storm-themed stuff at least a little. This does run the risk of being seen as a lightning bolt/gust of wind stuffed into a can, but you both combined the spells into the item harmoniously and stepped it up with the wind blast combat maneuver option and the deafening thunderclap. You kept the theme tightly interwoven.

It's good to see the deft use of existing mechanics, twisted away just enough to show you can be inventive. I'd like to see more of that, but there's plenty of potential here.

Prose and Editing
Template is correct and complete. The writing is evocative and made effort to command the senses, which I appreciate. I have a few incredibly minor quibbles about some formatting (the "Faint" in aura shouldn't be capitalized, ability scores aren't abbreviated in text) but they are trivial fixes. Still, several of your competitors are getting it perfect, so it pays to analyze published things that do things similarly to your design and mimic their wording.

I like it. It's cool and evocative and lends itself to cool characters. You've shown good potential here and I'm interested in seeing what else you'll come up with. It's also a really useful bow, just not as much at the current PC levels it is targeted at.

Your strengths in this are your attention to sensory detail in your writing and your capability to tie together effects into a cohesive theme. You've shown your innovation in taking solidly familiar effects and teasing a little more out of them in ways that make sense. I'd like to see a little more stretching into unfamiliar territory moving forward, just to see how well you can stretch that creativity.

I am honored to have been allowed to provide feedback this year. I look forward to your entry for Round 2, Bill, and expect to see an intriguing map with your attention to detail in 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

Congrats, Bill. I both saw and upvoted this item a lot over the last couple weeks. Good luck in Round 2!

Marathon Voter Season 9

Congrats on making the Top 32!

I really like the weapon. Especially the gust of wind effect. That really blew me away (ba-dum-tish). Good use of the theme throughout. It's something I want to have on a lot of my archer characters. You won big points with me the instant you described that iconic smell.

The only section that gave me pause was the forked lightning one. A 60' cone is HUGE. Like almost halfway across that flip mat you are working on. Thats potentially catastrophic, especially as a cone. A line that long is much more aimable, but that cone will likely hit all your friends unless you are the furthest forward, which is not the position archer are famous for being in. I know you mentioned that being the one you went back and forth on the most, but I feel it might have gotten aspects of a few older designs hanging on and messing with it. Personally I would have either went with a small cone or a line effect, and probably raised DC and lowered damage. But that's just me spitballing an idea, its an ability you might need to playtest to really see the full effect of. I look forward to seeing what you do with the map.

Best of luck in all future rounds!

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.

Storm's Wrath

The Good: You played with Combat Maneuvers, and for this, we thank you, as IMO they are not given enough credit sometimes. Martials have nice things, you just have to succeed when using them. But this bow reminds me of a certain bow from Diablo 1, and wistful nostalgia gets me every time.

The Bad: Lightning struck tree ='s stormy bow. I get the choice, but find it somewhat less than engaging.

The Ugly: As much as I love archers and bows, going back to "The bad" as a voter and a 3PP owner, this bow is just to predictable for my tastes. It is a solid item, but much like a lightning strike itself, one can see it coming a mile away, I would have preferred something a bit more outside the box.

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!

A well executed and well spaced entry which is a joy to look at and vote on. Well done indeed.

Sorry Fu, nothing to eat here.

*Fu, dejectedly, looks to his feet, shuffling away in the hope of finding a tender morsel at the next item*

Full review to follow in due course.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Evocative and mechanically sound. I am curious about the choice of letting the wielder use wisdom for the combat maneuver (it seems like it was added just to help the appeal to Zen Archers); dexterity makes sense since it is a ranged attack, but that felt too power-gamey to me to add wisdom.

Over all an interesting item, as others have said a bow that shoots lightning = meh, but shooting wind and rain is much more interesting.

Congrats and good luck!

Scarab Sages Assistant Developer , Star Voter Season 6

Hello, Bill, 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 storm's wrath. 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 is a fantastically evocative bow for ranged characters with options tied to storm and nature themes, which are popular aesthetics in the game. You've included some versatile abilities here that really wrap up this theme nicely, such as the "blast of rain-specked wind" and the option to shoot forked lightning.

Deeper look: You've done a nice job here wrapping the bow's abilities into existing rules, including the gust of wind mechanics. That said, that also means you've relied on those rules instead of presenting any new design that really shows your chops, so in the future you'll want to look for ways to let your self shine in that department. And, as Neil and Victoria have pointed out, I agree that the save against the lightning bolt is low. Given its abilities and component spells, I'd also look at increasing the CL, too.

Measured feedback: You have done a good job taking a theme -- harnessing the power of nature and storms -- and creating a flavorful, versatile, useful magic item. Ride that momentum into the next round, but also look for ways you can show off some design creativity that will set you apart from the pack. I think you've got that ability, so don't be afraid to put yourself out there.

That said, thanks for reading, and best of luck next round!

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Overall I really like this item, but there are a couple of things that I am not a huge fan off.

Replacing Str with Dex for the CMB makes sense, but wisdom doesn't to me.

And the 3/ day ability seems too powerful, a 60ft cone is huge and also having the natural 1 mechanic seems convoluted and will likely be forgotten by a lot of people.

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

Good evocative visuals with nice crunch overall. Still, it did feel like a SiaC/SAK to me, though a well-themed one. And I do not like the bull rush maneuver anyways, so that did not give me more incentive to upvote this item.

That said, you obviously hit a sweet spot with your stormy bow here and I hope you will convey this flair for mojo in your map too :-)

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

Bill Davies wrote:
Storm's Wrath

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 — I like the main power, I think the 3x per day power is "one more thing" and, personally, I'd sooner just have the bow do the base power and save the gp for something else (as a player).

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.

The rain attack was unexpected and made this bow shine. It was an early favorite but sometimes did no fair well against what turns out to be mostly top 100 items. Likely the best bow this year though and I think you owned that design space so kudos on that. Good luck with next round.

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

Bill Davies wrote:
Storm's Wrath

Congratulations Bill!

The thundering shock ability of the bow fits the lightning-blackened yew quite well. Rains specked wind is another great image. That said the ranged CM has been done before, & I felt changing the user's CMB leaned towards broken. Seeing a composite (+2 Str) bow that uses Dex (except for zen archers, you can use Wis) looks like munchkin "I want it all" design. Ditto with the massive area covered with the lightning (usually a cone has half the length of a line). If you are going to break that rule there needs to be a good reason.

The best part of this bow is adding the thundering ability to the lightning bolt & basing it off the bow's crit damage. I wish the rest of the item felt as innovative because this is impressive design space and chops.

Well done. Good luck on your map, bring those visuals here to it! :)

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

Congrats on making the top 32!

I really enjoy the flavour of this weapon, and I have to point out, it's not only my favourite bow from this season, but likely my favourite bow overall. The best part of this item is the "blast of rain-specked wind" ability. This opens up a lot of cool strategies that archers wouldn't normally get to play with. So much fun (for PCs and enemies!). I can't wait to play with it.

Yes, I agree with some of the notes above (the cone should be smaller and the DC should be higher), but I'm glad you put the ability in and I especially like the effects you put in for a critical fail on the save (rare occurrence, but cool addition).

All the best in round two!

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

You’ve earned a spot into this year’s Top 32 with storm’s wrath! Congratulations! Here are my thoughts as I read the item:

  • Nice touch with the inclusion of a specific, and relatively rare building material.
  • The first power is quite good and very potent in the hands of an archer, maybe a little too good. Then again, items in this price range should have a significant impact in a fight. But do archers need more? They're already some of the best builds around.
  • The “blast of rain-specked wind” descriptive text is wonderful.
  • I question the use of a 60 foot cone for the second ability.
  • The lightening attack is thematically appropriate, but involves a lot of saves and damage tracking for an ability that can be used three times a day.
  • This would be a fun item in the hands of both NPCs and PCs.
  • You describe the effects well, both with imagery and the mechanics. I don’t have any serious questions about its use.
A storm bow that fires storm stuff. That’s pretty fun, and I imagine most players would agree. Good work, and good luck in Round 2!

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Storm's Wrath Haiku

Fancy lightning bow.
Feels like two spells in a can.
WOW! That's a big cone!

Admittedly, this was one of those half-and-half items for me. I tended to vote for it against unformatted stuff, or other items I didn't like.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't hate it, but it just didn't jump out to me. And at first impression, it felt a little too powerful.

Still, yes. Congrats!

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