Blade of The Ice Stalker


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

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Blade of The Ice Stalker
Aura strong evocation; CL 12th
Slot none; Price 32,310 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
An unnaturally cold, razor thin blade of magically hardened ice juts from the pommel of this +2 frost and keen short sword. On a successful critical hit, an ice shard breaks off into the wound inflicting numbing cold. The victim gains the staggered condition and receives 2 points of cold damage per round for the next five rounds before the shard melts. The shard can be removed with a DC 15 Heal check or the application of 2 points of fire damage. A fresh blade reforms from the pommel a round later from the ambient moisture in the air, however the wielder can reform the blade as a swift action by thrusting the hilt into a container of water or swiping it crossed a spill on the floor. Lastly, while wielding the blade of the ice stalker the wielder’s eyes acquire a striking blue gleam and gain the ability to see heat emitted by living creatures. This functions as darkvision to a range of 30 feet, but only for purposes of seeing warm creatures or surfaces.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, frigid touch, darkvision; Cost 16,155 gp

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

Go time James!

Congrats and go go go!

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

I'm ready for this!

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, James.

I upvoted this sometimes, but not always. My big concern was how does it handle multiple attacks? If I roll a crit with my first attack -- thus breaking off the shard -- do I lose my iterative attacks? (Part of me thinks "no" since it was just a shard that broke off but then you wrote that a fresh blade reforms a round later, leaving me unsure how it would be adjudicated.)

Other than that, it seems like a cool item (pun intended) and I'm curious to see what else you've got in store.

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

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

Congrats, James.

I upvoted this sometimes, but not always. My big concern was how does it handle multiple attacks? If I roll a crit with my first attack -- thus breaking off the shard -- do I lose my iterative attacks? (Part of me thinks "no" since it was just a shard that broke off but then you wrote that a fresh blade reforms a round later, leaving me unsure how it would be adjudicated.)

Thanks for your comments Jacob. I like your messageboard posts, btw.

It always seemed to me obvious that the weapon would have the broken condition until the blade reformed. If there was water available, a swift action could reform it and multiple attacks could continue. :^ )

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

Ah, broken would make sense. That didn't even occur to me, though it makes perfect sense. :)

(And thanks for the kind words.)

Dark Archive

I liked this item, but I agree with Jacob about some of the mechanics being confusing. Because of this, I didn't vote for it as much as I otherwise might have. I did like the imagery, and I like the secondary ability. Other than the muddled description as to what happens when the shard snaps off, this is a strong item, and you should be proud!
Congratulations on making the Top 32!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well done James.

Simple yet evocative item with a little extra spice to help you with thematically linked foes.

I'm a little unsure just what constitutes a "spill" on the floor, nor why it has to be on the floor and not say a wall (waterfall? showerstall? available cool geyser?), and I'm a little concerned that you should have "available" rather than "ambient" moisture in the air - what if you are on an elemental plane of fire or similarly dry environment? But other than that, other folks seems to have picked up any real issues...

Just watch the polish on entries moving forward. ;P

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rusty Ironpants

Congrats on making the Top 32!

I never saw this item during voting but I really like it and it would probably have gotten mostly upvotes from me. Hmm, maybe I am just baised and have a fondess for ice swords! J/K, good job.

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 flavor of this item and the creative way of how the wielder can reform the blade. The heat vision is also very cool. Congratulations and good luck in the rest of the competition!

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

Russ Brown wrote:

Congrats on making the Top 32!

I never saw this item during voting but I really like it and it would probably have gotten mostly upvotes from me. Hmm, maybe I am just baised and have a fondess for ice swords! J/K, good job.

Ah Russ, thanks for the kind words.

It may interest you to know I actually came up with this weapon idea several years ago, giving it to my nephew in an adventure I was running. When this year's contest came around I asked him and my other gamer friends to give me examples of cool items I gave out in the past and he showed me this one. I really like it so I jazzed it up a bit to make it more "Superstar!" and there you have it.

I did a quick search of the messageboards for "ice" and "sword" to see if anyone else had a similar idea. I was concerned when I saw your entry from last year that some might think I captured your mojo. From the look of it Russ your mojo is fully intact. :^ )

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

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Well done James.

Simple yet evocative item with a little extra spice to help you with thematically linked foes.

I'm a little unsure just what constitutes a "spill" on the floor, nor why it has to be on the floor and not say a wall (waterfall? showerstall? available cool geyser?), and I'm a little concerned that you should have "available" rather than "ambient" moisture in the air - what if you are on an elemental plane of fire or similarly dry environment? But other than that, other folks seems to have picked up any real issues...

Just watch the polish on entries moving forward. ;P

Thanks OSW. Guess I should have included the words "such as" when describing ways to instantly reform the blade. That was the intent.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rusty Ironpants

James Thomas wrote:
Russ Brown wrote:

Congrats on making the Top 32!

I never saw this item during voting but I really like it and it would probably have gotten mostly upvotes from me. Hmm, maybe I am just baised and have a fondess for ice swords! J/K, good job.

Ah Russ, thanks for the kind words.

It may interest you to know I actually came up with this weapon idea several years ago, giving it to my nephew in an adventure I was running. When this year's contest came around I asked him and my other gamer friends to give me examples of cool items I gave out in the past and he showed me this one. I really like it so I jazzed it up a bit to make it more "Superstar!" and there you have it.

I did a quick search of the messageboards for "ice" and "sword" to see if anyone else had a similar idea. I was concerned when I saw your entry from last year that some might think I captured your mojo. From the look of it Russ your mojo is fully intact. :^ )

No worries James. For the record, I was not trying to imply that you copied my item in any way at all. There are some superficial similarities but parallel design happens all the time. As they say, great minds think alike! :)

Good luck in the coming rounds.

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 the Top 32, James! Here’s some of my thoughts regarding your item:

  • Nice description that serves to convey information relevant to the item’s use and questions GMs may have about how fragile it is.
  • Adding a countdown to the ice damage has flavor and function. If I can afford this item though, I probably don’t care that much about 2 points of damage per round for 5 rounds. Staggered is the real payoff here. Are creatures immune to cold immune to the staggered inflicted by the item?
  • Nice job incorporating skill use and fire damage as a way to remove the shard. Does removing or melting the shard end the effect of the cold though? “…five rounds before the shard melts” seems to indicate this, but rewording could make it clearer.
  • Reforming the blade is a great effect, and I think once you call out the broken condition as you mentioned in earlier posts, this item has wonderful form and function.
  • This item would be fun in the hands of the antagonist, and will likely be looted reverently from his corpse and put to use with glee by the players. Well done!
This is an item that makes a strong case for being in the Top 32, and I look forward to seeing what you bring to future rounds!

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

Brian J. Fruzen wrote:
  • Are creatures immune to cold immune to the staggered inflicted by the item?
  • Nice job incorporating skill use and fire damage as a way to remove the shard. Does removing or melting the shard end the effect of the cold though? “…five rounds before the shard melts” seems to indicate this, but rewording could make it clearer.
  • Thank you for your helpful comments Brian!

    Yes I agree having cold resistance or immunity would cause such a creature to laugh the critical hit effect to scorn. And yes, once the rounds or over or the shard eliminated the damage and staggard condition ends. Should make that more clear.

    Thanks again! Its great to be aboard!

    Back to the maps!

    RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

    A good item that definitely needs more rules elaboration, as already elaborated upon. But standing as proof that flavor trumps system.

    My concern here is that it costs exactly as much a a +4 sword, but does more than a +4 sword. The extra power should raise the price a bit. Granted, not that much, because doing 2 extra damage a round when you are at a level where you can have a +4 sword isn't that big a deal. Maybe another 3 or 4K.

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

    Congratulations, James!

    I never saw this item in voting, but I think the fact that it utilizes a mechanism that could easily seem overdone (frozen weapons are classics in RPGs) yet still stood out among voters is testimony to it's quality. It's also nice to see references to the real-world physics that could play a role in fantasy settings (freezing water to recharge the weapon is so elegant in its simplicity and logic).

    Can't wait to see what you whip up for round 2!

    Marathon Voter Season 9

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Congrat on making the Top 32!

    I like this item. The first thing that had me liking it was getting a heat based darksion. This harkens back to much older versions of the games roots, and had my support. I would have liked just a little more about the differences of from darkvision, as it leaves some things up in the air. Can you see warm blooded invisible creatures, as invisibility and other illusions don't alter your temperature. Stuff like that. Spend some word count on that and the previously mentioned broken condition, and I think it's a real winner. It's got great theme and mojo to it. I look forward to seeing your map.

    Best of luck in all future rounds!


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

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

    You didn't sort the spells alphabetically in the construction section - a common miss-step and easily fixed.

    At last, some food for the Fu...

    *munch*

    Full review to follow in due course.

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

    As promised yesterday, the GB&U this year is courtesy of me rather than GM_solsprial (he is busy drawing furiously). So without further ado, our amazing and awesome top 32+4 get the first set of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly critiques, and then on to everyone else who requested a critique in the CMI official thread, or in my shiny The GB&U Season 9 thread.

    Blade of The Ice Stalker

    The Good: very nice description, very cool powers, love the blade reforming from ambient moisture bit (though see bellow).

    The Bad: The ambient moisture bit has a downside, what about deserts where there is almost no moisture, can I dehydrate the blade to ruin it, etc. While these are nit pickish overall, I could see questions arising of "does my blade reform here or not, do I need to bring extra water?"

    The Ugly: There is no specific amount of water I need to make a new blade. Thus in theory, I can reform the blade from a thimble full of water. I am sure that was not the intent, but the concern sticks out to me.

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

    Welcome to the Top 32, James! 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 blade of the ice stalker!

    Functionality and Usefulness
    Icy weapons are nothing new, but an ice sword that actually breaks takes a slightly different tack.

    Breaking off the blade as part of a critical hit and having it dole out the staggered condition is cool. I think the 2 points/damage per round is negligible at this item's price point and I'd honestly cut it and save the words. Staggered already represents the creature being affected by the cold.

    Keen and frost already make this a pretty wicked blade, and keen will make sure it crits a little more often. The infravision-nod provides a passive ability out of combat, which is a nice touch and gives it a purpose even when the critical hits just aren't coming.

    Weapons are a tough niche, but this is a fun one. I'd definitely address that the blade gains the broken condition on a critical hit, just for clarity. Also be very specific about how and when it can reform. Saying "ambient moisture" and "container of water" is not specific. You can say it reforms in a round--and leave it at that--or that it reforms in a round in anything but regions devoid of moisture, such as deserts or fiery planes. Specify a minimum size the container of water needs to be, even going to measurements--like so-and-so much volume of water.

    The Cool Factor/Mojo
    There's some creativity at work here. Icy blades are a dime a dozen, but making it actual ice is a good twist. Breaking off the blade is unusual, though I'm curious how well it works in play with the breaking, swift reform, then continue attacking with multiple attacks. I suspect this might be one of those things that looks better on paper than can be executed at the table.

    The head nod to old infravision is noted, though I'm a bit on the fence as to whether I think it belongs there or not. You did call it a blade of the ice stalker, so it seems to work with the theme of a creepy ice hunter that can sense heat. I also like passive abilities in items, especially ones that have special triggers. So I do favor it, though with some hesitation.

    I like the cleverness behind using staggered for the intense cold and getting rid of it with fire damage or a Heal check.

    Prose and Editing
    Vague and ambiguous wording and rulings are the enemy. Specify the blade gains the broken condition until it reforms. Elaborate "ambient", "spill", "container of water". Language needs to be tightened up.

    A few style errors, pretty minor: it's not a frost and keen short sword, it'd be a frost keen short sword. Don't need to italicize staggered, just say staggered. Alphabetize spells in requirements.

    Grammar could also use a little polish, especially where to put commas and sentence breaks. You have quite a few complex sentences, but simpler is usually better for rules-heavy text.

    Overall
    Eliminate the ambiguity and roughness from your wording as you move forward. This packed in a lot of clever ideas in a small space, so you're on the right track with your design elements. Just pay special attention to how things will play out at the table, especially with people that only have what you write to go on.

    I am honored to have been allowed to provide feedback this year. I look forward to your entry for Round 2, James, and hope I'll see another creative dynamo submission for your map.

    Congratulations again!

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

    Nicely done, sir. Good luck going forward!

    -Ben.

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

    Victoria Jaczko wrote:
    Welcome to the Top 32, James!

    Thank you very much Victoria for your asute and erudite observations. This blade is one of my proudest achievements and I am very excited to be in this competition!

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

    Okay now that we have a few days before Top 16 reveals I've decided to comment on my competitors work. First, congrats one being a people's choice top 36. To me connecting more directly with the pathfinder community as an audience is even more impressive then clicking for a group of judges.

    I loved this item. The image of breaking it off into a foe and reforming the blade was evocative an the ability to see heat signatures was a nice addition that makes it's utility pretty unexpected and cool for a weapon.

    Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

    Blade of the Ice Stalker

    Frozen blade that breaks.
    Annoys the bad guys when hit.
    Don't crit me with that!

    I really enjoyed this item, and upvoted it every time. (to my recollection) Nice job!

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

    Well met Frank. I am interested in seeing your map in Round 2. :^ )

    Brigg, your haikus are making you famous!
    Thanks for the kind attention. :^ )

    Ben, thanks man.

    Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

    Great Mojo on this item.

    Some things that made this not always get my vote though:
    The price is off. It costs exactly the same as a +2 frost keen shortsword, but is significantly more powerful (stagger is a very strong condition against enemies at the level you can afford +4 weapons as it shuts down full attacks).

    It doesn't explain that it has the broken condition you posted about here, when the shard breaks off. (also does that mean it has 1/2 hp until it reforms, what happens if it is sundered can it just reform?)

    Can it reform in extremely dry areas?

    Also I am not in love with the return of infravision, the game has moved away from that and I feel like there are too many things that aren't exactly clear from this (can you see things colder than the environment ect).

    All that said:

    Congratulations and Good Luck!

    Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

    I like how you handled this shattering blade, but overall I am not a fan of shattering blades.

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

    James Thomas wrote:
    Blade of The Ice Stalker

    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 — This is a very good "same, but not" as a weapon itself. In and of itself, "elemental weapon" is pretty generic, but you did a good "ice blade" weapon here. The last little power you tag on I'd have to give some serious re-consideration. "Heat vision" or more so "thermal vision" is very much NOT a power that exists in Pathfinder currently per se, and I don't think "treat it like darkvision" actually covers the huge range of possible game-breaking aspects of what "thermal vision" can do that darkvision can't, so much so, that Paizo didn't even include a veemod for thermal vision in the Tech Guide, despite the fact that there are real-world thermal vision scopes (which, can be used to do all sorts of crazy cool things that you couldn't do with darkvision). So yeah...

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

    I wasn't excited about this during voting, it seemed like a weapon with a "stagger" attack.

    Looking at it now, though, I think I should have given it more credit for its thematic coherence. It's still not thrilling for for, but it is well-crafted.

    Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Congrats on making the top 32!

    All of my concerns regarding your entry were already commented on by others above and in most cases, if not all, cleared up by you in replies, so not only is there no need for me to get into them, I also think you deserve some major credit for handling the criticisms provided so well, and utilizing the comments to clarify and improve your item with poise and in a timely fashion. Well done and good job.

    I really liked your item and voted for it quite a bit. I love that the weapon breaks off and causes the enemy to be staggered on a critical. That's cool, useful and is a different take on an ice blade. It's neat that the blade reforms quickly, and you provide some examples of how it could reform. Overall, your descriptions help make this blade feel very cinematic, which makes it feel different than just another frost weapon.

    I really like the thermal vision ability on the end. It gives this weapon something passive (and awesome) to do when you're not getting any critical hits (although I agree that using darkvision rules for it doesn't work very well). I understand some comments above express concern over bringing this ability into pathfinder, but with the limited range provided for it in your entry, I don't share those concerns. I think it's neat and fun, and a different take on the theme.

    Great job, and best of luck in the next round!

    RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

    James! 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 blade of the ice stalker...

    Okay. The name is evocative enough that it intrigues me. It's a blade (not sure what type yet, but curious to read on) and it deals with an ice theme, but has some kind of stealthy reference with "stalker" in the title.

    Mojo. Yeah, you brought a dose of that with you on this design. The icy blade brings some interesting stuff to the table.

    Cinematic. Yeah, the regrowth of the blade and the ongoing cold damage and staggered condition for someone suffering from a critical hit can easily be visualized. Same goes for the heat vision power.

    Usefulness. Weapons are always tricky to build in extra usefulness, but you've given us a little bit with the extra visual acuity and the critical hit effect.

    Mechanics. The staggered condition is pretty potent, so that should probably raise the price. I love the ongoing cold damage from the broken shard. It's like the bleed mechanic, and should be weighed in a similar fashion. Granting actual darkvision as an explanation for seeing heat signatures feels a bit off since darkvision isn't intended to work on the same principle as the old infravision. I might recommend going with a blindsense ability with regards to heat signatures. Or, look through some of the cold-based and undead monsters for an ability that can see warm-blooded creatures. That way, you can rely on the pre-defined mechanics for that instead.

    A couple of other concerns here have already been mentioned, but the broken condition should definitely be applied after the blade breaks off a shard in someone. And, reforming a blade should probably just be attributed to a magical effect rather than requiring a quantity of water to do so. Otherwise, you've got to address all those questions about what happens in regions where it's too hot to pull ambient moisture out of the air, or just exactly how much water is sufficient to reform the blade. Of course, the iterative attacks still creates a concern until the blade can reform, so I'd recommend just going with the broken condition after a critical hit, then say the blade has reformed on the following round. That way, iterative attacks can continue but with a broken weapon, and then it's back to normal at the beginning of the following round while it taps the Elemental Plane of Water or something.

    Polish. There were some missteps here that bug me. Your spells aren't italicized like they should be. You don't need an "and" between frost and keen in describing the weapon. And the staggered condition shouldn't be italicized.

    Other than that, this was a creative weapon that brings something new to the table with the ice shards and heat vision. There are few shortcomings mechanically and presentation-wise, but you've got your foot in the door, so make the most of it. In the meantime, I'm happy to offer you my hearty congratulations on making the Top 32, and I look forward to seeing what you've got for us in Round 2.

    My two cents,
    --Neil

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

    Neil Spicer wrote:
    James! Welcome..to the Top 32!

    Thanks very much Neil! I've been awaiting your feedback post. Its a dream come true being in this contest. I'll take all you've written to heart.

    Regarding the reforming of the blade that so many have commented on. I deliberately left that part slightly deconstructed. Why? I like when GMs and players to use their imaginations.
    Not everything needs a mechanic explaining everything that happens. Giving people a dilemma to solve is a core essence of game design. It creates drama and its part of what makes tabletop RPGs fun(!).

    So in most cases for this weapon a piece snaps off and the blade re-forms by next round. In the meantime the wielder is still armed, albeit with a broken weapon, which he or she can still use for extra attacks or attacks of opportunity. Penalties apply yes, but we’re still in the fight.

    So let’s say the blade is broken off in a monster's belly and now he's got some problems to deal with. But there’s other threats buzzing around and the PC wants to be totally blade ready with no time to waste.

    What’s the PC going to do?

    That’s a dilemma to solve.

    I gave a couple suggestions (container of water, spill on the floor) just to get the imagination going, but there are so many situations we couldn’t name them all. How about a potion? How about a puddle of blood? Could a party member fling holy water at you to reform the blade? What would any of these ideas look like? How would they play out? These kind of gameplay solutions make this kind of gaming like no other. Its not just about dice roles, character design and game mechanics. Its about using our creativity to tell an exciting story we make up together in this shared imagination game called Pathfinder.

    This is what we must keep in mind designing not just interesting magic items but maps, encounters and story lines too.

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

    meloriel wrote:
    Congrats on making the top 32! Great job, and best of luck in the next round!

    Thanks Meloriel for thoughtful comments. Kind words lighten the heart and are most needed when we're striving. :^ )

    RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

    James Thomas wrote:

    Regarding the reforming of the blade that so many have commented on. I deliberately left that part slightly deconstructed. Why? I like when GMs and players to use their imaginations.

    Not everything needs a mechanic explaining everything that happens. Giving people a dilemma to solve is a core essence of game design. It creates drama and its part of what makes tabletop RPGs fun(!).

    James, I understand the design philosophy you're espousing...and I actually share it depending on when, where, and how it gets applied. In fact, we all enjoy creativity and drama at the gaming table when it creates memorable experiences. There's no denying that, and any way you can solidly invoke that, you should always seek to do so.

    However, one key thing I think you also need to consider is that when you leave some of your mechanics undefined and open-ended (or open to creativity...or GM discretion...and so on), you're actually setting up an entirely different opportunity for drama at the game table as players and GMs argue over opposing interpretations of something you've designed. That's not a good situation to foster or encourage. And, sometimes, when you find yourself in a design situation where you realize you're having to overcomplicate things by describing every possible corner case to head off that kind of thing, that's often an indicator you've included a loosely-defined idea in your design that should probably be swapped out for a different explanation and less-complicated mechanical underpinning.

    That's why I suggested above that you're probably better off not spending time (and word count) on explaining the exact amount of water or moisture conditions necessary for reforming the blade. Instead, if you just say the blade suffers the broken condition as soon as it makes a critical hit and that lasts until the beginning of your next round while the blade taps the Elemental Plane of Water to refresh itself, that would be sufficient, simpler (in describing the mechanics of it), and head off any gray area interpretations that could foster arguments at the game table.

    But, as always, that's just my two cents,
    --Neil

    Paizo Employee Assistant Developer , Star Voter Season 6

    Hello, James, 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 blade of the ice stalker. 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: There are so many icy weapons and icy weapon abilities out there that this could have easily ventured into trodden territory, but you did a fantastic job setting the blade of the ice stalker apart from its peers. The word "stalker" in there instantly makes me think of dark stalkers, but given the ability at the end of the text, I certainly see where you were going and appreciate the theme.

    Deeper look: Overall, I think this item could use some mechanical tightening. The mechanics behind how the blade can reform are unnecessarily complex. As written, reforming the blade as a swift action is entirely environmental, for instance, and could cause adjudication headaches. The thematic nod to infravision at the end is neat, but not all folks are aware of the history of darkvision, and regardless it likely takes the reader out of the game. That said, it's still a cool idea and can still be accomplished in other mechanical ways.

    There are also some things that could use a precision tune-up -- when stacking multiple weapon abilities you don't need the word "and," for instance, and you should call out that the weapon has the broken condition when its critical hit ability kicks in. Given the component weapon and the item's abilities, a price increase is also in order.

    Measured feedback: Keep coming up with innovative design niches, but take care that your great ideas are executed as smoothly as possible. You've got the creativity and sense of usability parts down, so just focus on trying to anticipate exactly how your designs will function at the table and I predict that you'll do really well moving forward.

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

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

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Amanda Hamon Kunz wrote:
    Hello, James, and welcome to the Top 32!

    Thanks for taking the time to offer your thoughtful feedback Amanda. I'll think more on these things as I design my monster. :^ )


    Super cool sword. :) I really like items that can become a characters signature weapon and given them some great visual role playing hooks.

    Overall it's a nice balance of mechanics and fluff which is always a tricky thing.

    Instinct tells me the book keeping on small damage per round effects can be game slowing. I'd go for more damage for just one round to keep the feel but simplify play a little. Then there isn't much need for the heal rules which don't add that much to the awesome of the weapon. That or simplify to just a heal check. 2 points of fire damage is thematic but I doubt it would ever actually be done in game play.

    Mechanically the reforming the blade is vague and possibly pointless. (What happens if you didn't fix it? Does the missing shard make it unusable or just dull?) That said it's a big part of what makes the item awesome, so it must stay. :) I'd simply say that the missing shard is reformed from ambient moisture and that if the blade is ever broken it can be reformed (using your description which is great). I might make it a move action to reform after being destroyed.

    That brings up the mechanical question of its hardness and HP which a true rules lawyer might get into so it may be something to include in a final version. (I'd personally just say it is equivalent to steel though that could make someone question why it shards out)

    Personally I love the heat vision thing, lots of flavor there and makes it very iconic for the character that wields it.

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

    James, congratulations on making it through the first round!

    I really loved this item when I first came across it. Really interesting mechanic and some good flavour.

    All in all, great work, and good luck in the rest of the competition!

    Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    James, you did a great job here. I echo Amanda Hamon Kunz's feedback. For example, the part about ambient moisture is a trap that you perpetrated upon yourself. I know what that's like, because I'm very detail oriented too. Sometimes, however, we make life difficult for ourselves by trying to explain too much. I'll speak frankly, when it comes to rule trolls, everything you say may be used against your actual intention. Ergo it's necessary to be frugal and efficient with our words and to avoid extraneous details. A simple approach may be to say the blade reforms after a round with an option to make the process faster with water, and forego mentioning anything about ambient moisture.

    That's not a dig against other posters, rather I say that simply out of pragmatism. We protect GMs from unnecessary rule challenges when we provide tight mechanics.

    The infravision trick was neat but Amanda has a point, newer players may not get it and wonder why you are providing a weaker and slightly more complex power than darkvision.

    All that said, did I like it ? Absolutely! You found some neat new design space and that is important. Congratulations on your first up on this road. I look forward to your future entries!

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

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    @John Leclaire - Thanks for the kind remarks! Its an honor to compete with you as well.

    @Jim Groves - Thanks for clarifying the meaning of 'word frugality' and 'tight mechanics'. I understand it better now. And thanks for the encouraging words!

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

    Sigfried Trent wrote:

    Super cool sword. :) I really like items that can become a characters signature weapon and given them some great visual role playing hooks.

    Overall it's a nice balance of mechanics and fluff which is always a tricky thing.

    Thanks very much for your considered feedback Sigfried! The more I get the more I can improve.

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

    James Thomas wrote:

    Blade of The Ice Stalker

    First Impressions:

    I am thinking a blade that kills Ice-Creatures!
    Feelings:
    It isn't! But that's ok! It's a great name anyways, so this is a +4 weapon cost, with an "On crit" ability. The first thing I think about is does the sword deal critical damage, or just do the shard thing.

    The Shard ability is nice, 2 points of cold damage a turn and the Staggered Condition is a great way to mess with someone.

    The dagger reforming is a decent cost, however it doesn't offset the price deficit. I feel this item should be a LITTLE more costly. Maybe not +5 item level costly, but definitely more than a +4 weapon.

    I'm not sure about that last power. That last power about seeing heat is neat. That's a REALLY good way of describing Infravision using current game terms. What I'm unsure about is, if it's necessary.

    Would I publish had I power
    Yes. But you made top 32! So Congrats!

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

    Jarrett Sigler wrote:
    James Thomas wrote:

    Blade of The Ice Stalker

    Would I publish had I power

    Yes. But you made top 32! So Congrats!

    Thanks for your feedback Jarrett! I appreciate you taking the time.

    PM me if I can be of service. :^ )

    Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ Season 9 (2016) / Open Call: Design a wondrous item, magic armor, or magic weapon / Blade of The Ice Stalker All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.
    Recent threads in Open Call: Design a wondrous item, magic armor, or magic weapon