Purging Lotus Bell


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

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 9 aka Sir_Toon

Purging Lotus Bell
Aura faint evocation; CL 3rd
Slot none; Price 18,000 gp; Weight -
Description
This opulent lotus is sculpted from a fine, clear resin and treated with a light blue tint. At its core, a crystalline bauble hovers above the pistil. The bell always maintains an upright position, floating roughly a foot above the owner's head.

Three times per day, as a swift action, the owner can activate the bell, causing the crystal orb to strike the lotus' interior. This causes a clear resonating chime to surge forth, refreshing both mind and body. Any creatures within 30 ft of the owner, suffering from the effects of a failed saving throw, may attempt a second throw to end any persisting effects with a +4 competence bonus.

In addition the bell can function as a musical instrument for any creature with the bardic performance class feature. Using the bell in this manner requires no hands, and treats the owner as +1 level higher when determining the effects of bardic performance.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wonderous Item, saving finale, timely inspiration, mage hand; Cost 9,000 gp

Sovereign Court Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I liked this item a lot, and up-voted it many times. Excellent work.

Dark Archive

I really liked this, and voted for it every time I saw it. Congratulations!

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

This was an easy vote, so many times

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

Congratulations Mike!

This was one of my first keepers and stayed in my personal Top 32. The visuals are cool (floating magic items are underused in the game). A second chance on failed saves are welcome, and this doesn't seem to game the system. The secondary ability is nice too. This doesn't just add to a skill or the die roll, but frees the hands of the bard. This seemingly minor effect might just be from a bard PC who has missed one too many AoO, but I prefer to think it the insight of good designer.

Well done! Good luck on the maps, monsters, encounters, and (dare I say) the final pitch?

Silver Crusade Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

A unique and beautiful concept - voted for it many times!

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Congratulations on making it in!

Mike Hill wrote:

Purging Lotus Bell

Aura faint evocation; CL 3rd
Slot none; Price 18,000 gp; Weight -
Description
This opulent lotus is sculpted from a fine, clear resin and treated with a light blue tint. At its core, a crystalline bauble hovers above the pistil. The bell always maintains an upright position, floating roughly a foot above the owner's head.

Three times per day, as a swift action, the owner can activate the bell, causing the crystal orb to strike the lotus' interior. This causes a clear resonating chime to surge forth, refreshing both mind and body. Any creatures within 30 ft of the owner, suffering from the effects of a failed saving throw, may attempt a second throw to end any persisting effects with a +4 competence bonus.

In addition the bell can function as a musical instrument for any creature with the bardic performance class feature. Using the bell in this manner requires no hands, and treats the owner as +1 level higher when determining the effects of bardic performance.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wonderous Item, saving finale, timely inspiration, mage hand; Cost 9,000 gp

Great item, with interesting flavor. Anything that makes bards more versatile and interesting catches my eye, and I like the marriage of that to a more Eastern flavor.

Good luck in the mapping round!

Dedicated Voter Season 9

This is a really cool item; one of relatively few which I immediately wanted access to in game.

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

I saw this a bunch of times and it was always an upvote. Just so simple and beautiful.

I guess I'm biased as it reminds me of an item I submitted to an Open Design project (and later to Flaming Crab Games Dragon's Hoard), the Clarion Flail that was part ship's bell, part...flail that did similar things to specific conditions, but this is much neater, universal and simpler. I could also easily see it tied to an appropriate Golarion deity.

Well done Mike. [EDIT - watch your spelling - "Wonderous"]

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

A soothing bell and a floating lotus - very zen, I like it! Congratulations and good luck in the rest of the competition.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 9 aka Sir_Toon

I am legitimately moved by all these wonderful comments! Everyone is pretty close when guessing my motives/themes for it, so I'm happy I was able to convey them(not my strongest point).

Oceanshieldwolf you have no idea how haunted I was by that typo throughout this entire ordeal haha. I was honestly convinced that was gonna do me in.

Kalindlara I'm normally not a fan of eastern themes in pathfinder. But I do enjoy subtle touches from time to time. But when I saw the Lotus Geisha archetype that pretty much well sealed the name.

The map round has definitely upped the standards. I'll try not to dissapoint!

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

Welcome to the Top 32, Mike! 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 purging lotus bell!

Functionality and Usefulness
Bard items make me happy. As just a bard item, it adds +1 level to all effects of bardic performance which is very good, but isn't in keeping with other musical instruments. Rather than giving a flat enhancement bonus, musical instruments tend to hinge on good Perform checks (which bards excel at). The flat bonus also feels a bit strange when applied to all bardic performance songs--should the zen chime of a lotus really make dirge of doom or frightening tune stronger? I'd really have liked to see a unique effect based around Perform, like perhaps the soothing tone preventing creatures from raging on a successful perform check, or put them into a fascinated, meditative state. As is, bards would probably still grab it, but not for any real interest.

Now, the core effect is the reprieve for lingering effects following a failed save. I can see the utility in it, unless a game just seldom uses disease, poison, or curses, but when those things crop up this item can be a life-saver. I don't know if the fact it'd work on enemies, too, is an overlooked side effect or a feature. As annoying as it would be, I can see it as intended with this peaceful kind of theme.

I think the core of the item is a little weak, but it's interesting and I can see it in play. I think it excels as a bard item, but as I've detailed, I'm not sure it's for the right reasons.

The Cool Factor/Mojo
You could have gone with something obvious for this, like remove disease or break enchantment in a can or just had it provide some static save bonuses. I like that you went for something different with a reroll to shake any lingering effects. It shows thought, and you definitely brought some coolness with your description and activation.

You lost me some on the bardic bonus. A +1 to bardic performance level just doesn't show creative design, though you went on the right track to play with the musical instrument angle. But it's almost like you had the great idea to do that, and then ran out of steam or time before you could implement it in an awesome way. The no-hands performance is a nice touch, though.

Prose and Editing
That "Wonderous" is brutal, but I won't pick on you for it. I think you've endured enough self-torture. ;)

The imagery here is really fun. I can see the orb drop, I can imagine the chime. You've brought people into the item really well. Keep your capability with imagery and evoking fascination with your descriptions.

Do pay special attention to spelling, style, and rules language. Spells in the description should be alphabetized, there should be periods after abbreviations ("ft." vs "ft"), and some of the rules wording is on the awkward side. Especially for defining who is affected by the second save.

Overall
I think the item needs a little more polish and a little more brought to it. There's definitely potential here and creativity, but that needs to be honed and paired with more out-of-the-box thinking going forward.

It's an interesting item and it's fun to read. I think there's a lot of growth potential, and I expect we'll see that over the course of the competition.

I am honored to have been allowed to provide feedback this year. I look forward to your entry for Round 2, Mike, and I'll be looking for your impeccable imagery.

Congratulations again!


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 some teeny weeny flaws...

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

The other one, just to mention it, is the wrong type of dash being used for the weight entry.

At last, some food for the Fu... p.s. well done on the slot and not falling for the errata trap ;)

*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.

Purging Lotus Bell

The Good: Very interesting concept, well detailed and understandable, and pretty well executed, plus with a really cool description.

The Bad: Given the fact there are other ways to deal with ongoing effects, and not all groups use them heavily enough to make this item as valuable. That said, plenty do however.

The Ugly: The item affects everyone in 30 ft. Sort of like a non selective channel cleric, because it does not just affect allies, one must be very careful when and where this gets used, less it aid your foes as much as your allies. Any condition or ongoing effect that party hit them with could be negated, meaning those prior actions end up less effective.

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Not particularly excited by this, but the visual is really good.
I do like it is a reroll on ongoing effects not just a reroll the failed save.

A +1 effective level for most bardic performances won't do much at most levels as most effects scale every 3 or 4 levels or with perform checks, so only every once an a while will this really even do anything.

I do like bards and bard items and it is nice to have a hands free choice that isn't sing, oratory, or dance though!

Congrats!

Paizo Employee Assistant Developer , Star Voter Season 6

Hello, Mike, 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 purging lotus bell. 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: Lovely visuals here -- although I admit I was thrown off a bit by the bell floating above the owner's head. Does the item require any sort of attunement? That also brings me to my overarching reaction, which is that I love that this boosts bards. In fact, I'd have liked if it would've hedged that bet and done only that, and more elegantly (see the way a perfect golden lute works), but that's probably a personal preference. (For that matter, it's a lotus and could have instead been tied to monks. But. I digress.)

Deeper look: I have to admit that the save reroll feels a bit stale, which is why I think I homed in on the potential the item holds for bards. Rerolling saving throws can be very useful, but as written this works for any creature, not just allies. The pricing leads me to believe that this wasn't an intentional design choice, so keep an eye on your precision of language in the future. Also, I'm seeing some template glitches -- a hyphen instead of an em dash in the weight line, a misspelling in CWI, unalphabetized component spells. Take care to pay special attention that moving forward, as your competitors surely will in their own entries.

Measured feedback: Overall, it feels like this could be spun into two items -- perhaps focusing on one design concept moving forward could help your entries shine. Keep your lovely descriptions, watch your wording and template execution, and don't be afraid to focus on a tight concept, and you'll do well in the competition.

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

RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor

Mike! 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...purging lotus bell...

Okay. The name works. I'm not fully blown away by it yet, as it requires a bit more reading to really understand what we've got. It's a bell. It purges some stuff (presumably when it rings). And it's got lotus thrown in there, because it turns out it's got flower overtones once we get into the description.

Mojo. I gotta be honest. I'm not feeling this one so much. I get what it's going for. Hands-free bardic instrument saves on action economy for bards. The boost to bardic performances is built-in, as well. And then there's the combined 3/day effect of mixing saving grace with timely inspiration to give folks an opportunity to shrug off the effects of a failed save with a +4 bonus. I'm not really jazzed by most of that, but I'll get into the why's below.

Cinematic. There's a hint of this in the design. A floating bell made of blue-tinted resin and a crystalline clapper evokes a bit of a visual for me...especially with it hovering nearby its owner. Most of the "visuals" are really "sound effects" though simply because of the nature of the item. If the use of it activated a wave of energy that could be visually described as well...or if it created simple vibrations in those it affects...that might raise the imagery a bit further.

Usefulness. There's definitely a lot of use in this item for a bard, but I like that you also included a power that any class can activate and benefit from. Beyond that, I actually think this item may be too useful. The core spells which inspire this item can only affect one creature, not every creature within 30 ft. In addition, saving finale only allows a reroll of a failed save that occurs during a bardic performance. It then ends that bardic performance, and it doesn't give a bonus on the rerolled saving throw attempt for that one creature. Presumably, timely inspiration is meant to contribute to the item's effect, but even it was only intended to boost attack rolls or skill checks retroactively, not undo the wide array of possible effects which require saving throws (i.e., everything from poison and disease to lingering spell effects could be in play here). So, while I think this item does a good job of avoiding straight spell-in-a-can, it actually overreaches in a way that isn't appropriately reflected in the price. Without the designation of only affecting a single creature, and by expanding it to include any ongoing saving throw situation regardless of how much time has passed, makes this item way more valuable than its price would indicate. Imagine if you will, a PC with this item ventures into a city suffering from a plague. The owner could essentially gather a crowd of people around him, sound the bell, and give everyone suffering from the disease another saving throw to shrug it off. He basically becomes a miracle worker capable of retiring from adventuring to visit every location where long-running afflictions exist...or set up shop so everyone comes to him...and then charge for the services of his bell to alleviate their suffering.

Mechanics. Things are mostly straight-forward here in their application. But, the +1 level on boosting bardic performances, really doesn't have a solid impact considering that many of them don't benefit from an extra level being factored into the mix (i.e., many of them are actually dependent on the result of a bard's Perform skill check rather than his level to increase their effects, and for those that are influenced by level, they tend to only improve every three levels or so). Also, I'm uncertain if the statement "treats the owner as +1 level higher when determining the effects of bardic performance" implies only for bardic performances the bard already has access to based on his current level, or if it's suggesting he can gain early access to new bardic performances that are beyond his current level.

Meanwhile, as worded, the ability to retry a saving throw on any ongoing effect is powerful stuff. The fact that this bell can do that 3 times/day with no indication that someone has to wait another day before they benefit from it again, means that the bell's owner can essentially gather his friends around and spam it three times if necessary to give them a +4 bonus on three separate rolls to get rid of the effect entirely. That reaches way too far for the underlying spells contributing to this effect, and mechanically, it borders way more on the level of more powerful restorative spells, which should impact the item's price and definitely its CL.

Polish. There are a handful of missteps here that bother me. The other judges may have gone easy on you with the use of "Craft Wonderous Item" but I'm not inclined to do so. You made an effort at applying the right BBCode to boldface and italicize things, but you missed other elements like alphabetizing spells and making the proper reference to the abbreviation for "ft." rather than "ft'...

So, bottom line for me, this item has a good, initial idea and some evocative descriptive text, but I think it short on mechanical considerations, game balance, pricing, and professional polish. That gives me the impression that you've got an uphill battle to distinguish yourself. You had enough mojo here to convince the everyone to up-vote you into the Top 32, but the bar will be raised with each new assignment and it's going to be a lot more difficult to stand out from your peers in the competition. To do so, you really need to learn as you go, apply what you learn to your designs, and raise your game. Regardless, I offer you congratulations once again on making the Top 32, and I look forward to what your map in Round 2.

My two cents,
--Neil

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. I'm not quite sure what to make of this item. It's interesting, does some useful stuff, and is perhaps too cheap or more likely has too many uses per day. That being said, it feels more competent rather than doing too much new. I think this would be a good addition to a book of magic items, but not sure it stands out from the crowd enough.

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.

There were 4 instruments after the last cull and I knew there might not be enough room for my item and this one. I had a feeling this would fare a little better and it did indeed. This is not mechanically perfect but the cinematic of it was clear and I could practically hear it ring as I read it. Good job and good luck in the next round.

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

Mike Hill wrote:
Purging Lotus Bell

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 — A nice, simple item. Don't personally like the aspect of it "floating over my head" and "3x per day" just means I use it a few times then trade it out for something else, but nicely done.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

My main concern with this item is that like most items designed for a specific class it is probably too cheap for that class, and to expensive for everyone else.

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

Didn't see this one during voting.

Kind of a mixed bag for me. I like the visuals. I like the purifying aspect. I'm not sure the bard performance aspect makes sense in a lot of cases.

I think it might have been better to stick with the purifying theme. Keep it tight, expand on that idea in a way that's not just a re-roll.

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

First off, congratulations on making Top 36! Your item didn't pop up during my voting phase, but it did for a friend of mine. Like the flavour of it, has a very serene feeling to it. Great work!

Good luck in the rest of the competition!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 9 aka Sir_Toon

Hey guys I just wanted to let you all know I have been looking at your feedback and loving it! It seems there are a few points that while being the selling feature to some is a problem to others. That's pretty interesting to me and I look forward to addressing everyones points to give the item some much needed polish. Sadly I have very limited access to internet currently, but hopefully that should be fixed in a couple days. In the meantime know that, love it or hate it, I very much appreciate the critiques!

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Congrats on making the top 32!

I will admit that your item was not one of my favourites, and I didn't vote for it very much, but I can see why it resonated with many of the voters. I really like the description of the item and the purging theme you went for. I can see your item clearly, and it evokes an atmosphere from both its look and abilities. The purging lotus bell feels elegant and poised, both of which I would consider underused themes regarding magic items. Way to set a mood! Well done.

Best of luck in the next round!

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

Good work earning your spot in this year’s Top 32 with the purging lotus bell, Mike! Here’s some thoughts regarding your item:

  • A well, written and descriptive opening line. The wondrous nature of the item is maintained throughout the description as well. Nice work.
  • I mostly play Pathfinder Society, and if you catch me and the other regular GMs discussing the nuances of the game, you’ll probably hear us being critical of how many re-rolls players can get. One guy here even built a character around it, and was able to get something like 9 re-rolls. I hate re-rolls. As a GM, it’s hard enough getting the actions bad guys take to stick on the players. The game doesn’t need to be any safer for them.
  • An enemy could use one of these, but combats don’t generally last long enough for a villain to feel the full brunt of a persistent effect anyway.
  • Making a hands-free bard instrument is a great idea. I’ve played a few bardic characters, but the optimizer in me refuses to let me play one that has an actual instrument because it seems crazy to give up use of my hands when I could just take Perform (oratory) instead. This bandages a critical design flaw in the class and does it with enough artistry to make it an attractive option.
  • This is another item that lends itself well to fairy tale storytelling. Its evocative description has me thinking about ways to implement it, and that’s one of the best things a magic item could do.
A very creative description and a powerful secondary use for one of the game’s under-utilized classes makes this item. Good luck in Round 2!

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

Congratulations. Mike!

I have a soft spot in my heart for musical instruments as magical items. Usually they're primary pitfall is that only the bard can really use them well, but you avoided that by making the instrument relatively simple (anyone can ring a bell, though experts know how to make real music out of it). Making it hands-free further increased the versatility of this item, which really sold it for me.

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

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