Critique My Item Please!


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

OhGodTheRats wrote:

First time entry...and mistakes were made. But this is how we learn, right? (I still can't believe I survived up until the final moment with a typo in it. My shame for that is endless.)

Books of One
Aura moderate evocation; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 12,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This unassuming pair of dog-eared tomes appear to be perfect mirrors of one another, including a foreboding dark stain on the fifteenth page.
Any text penned within the pages of one of these books immediately appears on the corresponding page of the other, regardless of distance. Spells specifically targeting the written word, books, or parchment such as erase, illusory script, or secret page have their effects bilocated; the same spell existing on both pages of the pair. Such effects end immediately if they are no longer present in both books of one.
Due to their dual nature, holding one of the pair functions as a “possession or garment” physical connection for the purposes of scrying attempts to discern the owner of the other.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, sending Cost 6,000 gp

This was one of my favorites. Not kidding. I talked about it a lot amidst my other dev groups.

Stream of consciousness review:

Love the name. Love it, love it, love it. Makes me start chanting in my head "two by two, hands of blue". It's just one of those names that...sticks.

Template looks good.

Description's a bit wonky in the lead off...humanizing books as modest is a little strange and I probably would have gone a different way.

"Appear to be" NOOOOOO. Don't use this or its variants...commit to a description. It may seem like you are being mysterious...but it only muddies the writing.

The foreboding dark stain on a specific page bit was excellent.

Could've used a line break to separate paragraphs.

Cool, bilocated text and spell effects. Great way to pass messages to a friend, potentially cause mischief with the party wizard, share spells and formulae, good plot item for a villain (I can think of a whole adventure based on finding one of these where the villain is writing vague instructions that lead the party on a wild goose chase and even potentially cause the heroes to commit unheroic acts based on bad info), and just all round fun. What happens if they are on different planes though?

Your semi-colon sentence is a bit odd, I'm not sure why you are referring the same spell existing on both pages of the pair..you could have just cut off the sentence at bilocated. Unless you were trying to say "only if the same spell exists on both pages of the pair" Then that makes sense, but it's kind of implied already...

Then the next sentence sums up at the point...I would completely cut the semi-colon sentence.

Good thought on including the scrying affect.

Overall, I really liked this item as it opened up a lot of imaginative things in my mind. Sure, they are a little expensive for books, and sure they require both books to function but there was a lot of fun to be had. So where did you go wrong? The effects are a little subtle and they honestly wouldn't see much use outside of specific campaigns where your party gets separated a lot or without being a plot item. That's probably what turned off most voters, and the questions that arise such as what happens if books are on different planes. Keep it up though, I saw a lot of potential here and you should definitely check out the Wayfinder 15 Open Call.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

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Here's my entry this year. Made it all the way through the final cull, but didn't break the top 100. Which is okay, as I only entered through a grey area in the rules, anyways - my third paizo credit just came out this week. I qualified when I entered, but not the day after the top 32 were released.

Any feedback would be welcome.

Portable Excavation
Aura faint conjuration; CL 7th
Slot —; Price 3,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
DESCRIPTION
Though only six inches long, this iron hammer is as unwieldy, and as heavy, as though it were ten times its size. As a full-round action, the portable excavation can be used to strike a solid surface, creating a temporary passage up to three feet in diameter and up to five feet deep through solid material, such as dirt, stone or wood. Passage through other materials is possible, though one foot of metal, a thin sheet of lead, or any living or magical material blocks the passage. The surface through with the passage is made isn't destroyed or even damaged: it is merely displaced into an extradimensional space, and reappears after 24 hours leaving the original surface unharmed. Creatures inside the space when the effect ends are harmlessly shunted to a space on either side of the passage at their choosing. Once the portable excavation has been used to create a passage, it becomes a nonmagical iron hammer.
CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, create pit , stone shape ; Cost 1,500 gp

pricing:
I have no idea how the pricing is, when related to the component spells - I based the price on the effect: it's similar to a scroll of dimension door.

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

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RonarsCorruption wrote:

Portable Excavation

Aura faint conjuration; CL 7th
Slot —; Price 3,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
DESCRIPTION
Though only six inches long, this iron hammer is as unwieldy, and as heavy, as though it were ten times its size. As a full-round action, the portable excavation can be used to strike a solid surface, creating a temporary passage up to three feet in diameter and up to five feet deep through solid material, such as dirt, stone or wood. Passage through other materials is possible, though one foot of metal, a thin sheet of lead, or any living or magical material blocks the passage. The surface through with the passage is made isn't destroyed or even damaged: it is merely displaced into an extradimensional space, and reappears after 24 hours leaving the original surface unharmed. Creatures inside the space when the effect ends are harmlessly shunted to a space on either side of the passage at their choosing. Once the portable excavation has been used to create a passage, it becomes a nonmagical iron hammer.
CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, create pit , stone shape ; Cost 1,500 gp

AHHHH IT'S RONARS WHO WROTE THIS!!!

Seriously...This was the other item vying for my top favorite. So glad you posted this here RonarsCorruption.

Stream of consciousness:

Ok, the name's got me interested. Kinda sounds like it is a shovel...let's see.

Template looks pretty good but slotless items have been changed to none.

An unwieldy 6 inch long hammer?! Cool.

The comma use (not sure if it's abuse yet) in the first sentence was a little jarring. Probably would have rewritten this to be a little less interjection-y.

And the power. Ohhhhh that fun power. Creating a small and relatively slender hole. Instantly fun. Tunnel making! But full-round...that's tough. Because if I use this in a panic situation...I'm still only 5 feet down and get speared through the head by an orc. I'd probably have made this a move action so I could strike twice creating a 10 foot deep hole (or 6 foot diameter) or strike once and still have a combat maneuver attempt.

Any living material blocks it? What about flies, worms in the dirt, etc.? I get what you are going for but as written this hammer wouldn't actually work anywhere as an argument can be made that microscopic germs or bacteria or such live in everything.

Extradimensional storage for the displaced material...I love that you didn't destroy the materials. And a harmless shunting if creatures are in it. Camping pit!

Ooo...single use. Boo. For 3k gold. And only a 5 foot deep hole. Since the CL is 7th why didn't you follow the create pit depth...10 ft. per 2 CL? Especially in a single use item...5 feet doesn't do enough.

Overall, this was one of my favorites. I didn't think it would make Top 32...but I loved it and I loved what I saw behind it. You made a few odd choices as stated above, but that's actually pretty easy to overcome with a little more time working with editors. You'll start seeing that kind of thing in your sleep. What's important is that this is a fun, creative, and tightly themed item. Good on ya, RC, keep it up!

*EDIT*

Your pricing is a little low for the spells you chose. If you'd stuck with just create pit then you'd be pretty ball-parked. Stone shape is CL 5th for clerics and ups that price a good bit. And I think only having create pit would have been good as you would be twisting the actual spell effects enough to avoid being a spell in a can.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

Tyler Cowart wrote:

Love it or hate it, I want to know!

Rimemist Tetsubo
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 8th
Slot none; Price 22,320 gp; Weight 10 lbs.
Description
This +1 frost tetsubo glints with beads of frozen dew, while wisps of fog waft around the handle. As a swift action, the wielder can call on a rolling billow of chilling fog to transform her into a gaseous form as the spell for up to 5 rounds each day. These rounds need not be consecutive.

Ice clings to a rimemist tetsubo as it leaves gaseous form, and the next successful attack deals an extra 1d4 cold damage as ice shards break from it.

The wielder of a rimemist tetsubo may suspend a gaseous form spell affecting her as a swift action, solidifying her corporeal form for 1 round. These rounds still count against the duration of the spell.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, gaseous form, chill metal or ice storm; Cost 11,320 gp

I like the flavor of this item, the idea of darting in and out of a cloud of ice is cool - no pun intended.

Entering a gaseous form as a swift action is a bit problematic, but not a deal breaker. It probably should be a standard action.
It's not really strong enough for the price. By the time you're spending 20k or more on a weapon, you're probably in the level 10 range (assuming you spend about 25% of your gold on a weapon), so that +1d4 cold damage is pretty underwhelming. Which means this sword's real power is turn into gaseous form as a swift action for 5 rounds a day, and, still be able to attack while in gaseous form from any means.

Overall, I think it's cool, but the best part of your effect isn't really the focus of the weapon. It's a sword you're not keeping on you to attack with.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

armytroy wrote:

Rogueblade

Aura moderate conjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 9,560 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
It is difficult to see the swirling smoke pattern etched into this blackened +2 short sword however once its special powers are revealed it is obvious that this is a weapon designed to appeal to those with a roguish bent. When the pommel ring is unscrewed and the wielder peers inside they see the inky blackness and seemingly endless depths of a bag of holding . Smaller than the smallest of known magical bags, , this shadowy blade’s extradimensional space can hold 50 lbs. and measures at only 10 cubic ft. in volume. If the item can fit into the one and a half inch opening where the pommel ring normally resides then it can be placed in the sword. Common items include lock picks, potions, pitons, silken rope and other tools of thievery. Items placed in the rogueblade can be retrieved as a full round action, rather than the standard action normally attributed to bags of holding. The pommel ring is designed to have rope tied to it and in a pinch the peculiar curve of the swords crosspiece allows the rogueblade to be used as a grappling hook. The weapon will not reflect light due to the tempering process used on the blade which creates its blackened luster.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, secret chest; Cost 4,780 gp

You could use some linebreaks, for purposes of readability. There are also some minor grammatical errors, like a double comma, but that's not the real problem here.

You spend far too much space describing something that you should never need to explain: who should use the item, why they should use it, and how they should use it.

All of this is stepping on a player's toes. Maybe a wizard wants this sword so they can store some wands inside - but your description says "thieves, thieves, thieves!". Not that players might not decide to do this stuff anyways, but there's no reason to pigeonhole them.

You also do something you should absolutely never do - make an assumption about the game world (that the space in the sword is the smallest known extradimensional space).... and also one that's contradicted by an extremely common item. handy haversacks have several pouches that are "2 cubic feet in volume or 20 pounds in weight" - less than half what you have listed.

If you cut out all the player instruction and assumption, you get the slightly cleaner...

It is difficult to see the swirling smoke pattern etched into this blackened +2 short sword . When the pommel ring is unscrewed and the wielder peers inside they see the inky blackness and seemingly endless depths of a bag of holding. This shadowy blade’s extradimensional space can hold 50 lbs. and measures at only 10 cubic ft. in volume. If the item can fit into the one and a half inch opening where the pommel ring normally resides then it can be placed in the sword. Items placed in the rogueblade can be retrieved as a full round action, rather than the standard action normally attributed to bags of holding. The pommel ring is designed to have rope tied to it and in a pinch the peculiar curve of the swords crosspiece allows the rogueblade to be used as a grappling hook. The weapon will not reflect light due to the tempering process used on the blade which creates its blackened luster.

A few other quick thoughts
- not everyone knows where or even what a pommel ring is, could have stood to be clarified.
- if you just called it an extraplanar space instead of a bag of holding, you could have saved a ton of words of comparison.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

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Kiel Howell wrote:
AHHHH IT'S RONARS WHO WROTE THIS!!!

Hey Kiel, I'm glad I'm memorable. ;) I'm also really glad you liked my item.

Quote:
The comma use (not sure if it's abuse yet) in the first sentence was a little jarring. Probably would have rewritten this to be a little less interjection-y.

Urgh, you discovered my weakness, commas! Seriously though, I need to try typing a week without using the comma key. My work absolutely suffers because I over-comma everything.

I really appreciate the feedback! I really need to stretch out the people I'm asking for advice from. One or two people can give me some good feedback, but we miss big things like how silly that line is about living material being a problem.

Props on the quick reply, too. :)

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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Davic The Grey wrote:
Davic The Grey wrote:

Staff of Perfect Harmony

Aura: Moderate Abjuration; CL13th
Slot None; Price 53,000 gp; Weight8 lbs.
Description
This +3 quarterstaff is made from entwined darkwood and ivory, capped on each end with a warding palm made of electrum. The wielder of the Staff of Perfect Harmony can sunder a spell that targets her or a spell that includes her in it's area of effect as an immediate action, as the barbarian rage power spell sunder. Instead of surpressing the effect upon exceeding the CMD of the spell, the wielder instead gains a +2 circumstance bonus on the save to resist the spell, or +3 if she exceeded the CMD by 5 to 9. If the effect would be completely dispelled it still affects other targets and creatures as normal. This ability is useable three times per day. If the wielder is a monk of at least 9th level, she can expend 3 points from her ki pool to use this ability instead.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Improved Sunder, Dispel Magic, creator must be a monk of at least 9th level; Cost 26,500 gp

Thanks in advance, feel free to rip me apart.

Slightly shameful bump. I know I got up to the fourth cull, so people definitely had opinions on it. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Hey, Davic, be shameless.

That's what this thread is here for.

Some people are going through every item, starting with Page 1. Those people might burn out before they get to you - sad but true. Having an item on page 2 or 3 can meeting waiting agonizingly for feedback.

But other people will just drop in, see where the thread is, and review anything that was posted recently. If they haven't already seen your item, they never will.

All that is to say that it's fine to give yourself a bump in priority. Stylistically some people giving themselves a bump might choose to link to the earlier comment where their item first appears, but whether you link or whether you reproduce the item I don't think matters much. It's all good and no one is selfish for asking for feedback in the middle of the thread whose point is to ask for feedback.

Star Voter Season 9

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True. I am just well mannered and am 100% aware everyone else is going through the same emotions. It's a struggle to maintain dignity and not claw over others for my own benefit. :)

Marathon Voter Season 9

Atavar wrote:
Soulrazor

I had a special interest in looking into your item because of its similarity to my submission in a few aspects. My critiques tend to really get nitpicky, but this is me trying to turn every aspect of your item up to eleven, and not so much me disparaging your item's choices. Feel free to give my item the same level of criticism, especially since we both considered aspects of the same design space. Without further ado...

Name: I like it, but it does sound a little like a specific items name. Still, it gives me a good idea about what sort of abilities and themes I am likely to see.

Header and Formating: You got the aura strength correct, and your formatting looks perfect. All good here.

Descriptions: I would have liked to see a bit more here. I only get info about the gem, and while that is obviously the centerpiece of the item's power, it leaves a lot else about the item in the dark. Also would have liked to see just a bit more about the gem, or at least tighten up the language regarding the swirling motes. I would cut the backstory about the first few made, especially since it really only describes the intended use of the item anyway, so I'm sure it's still true. Use those words to instead make this a visually awesome item, or maybe give me a sentence describing the cinematic moment of sucking in someone's soul.

Writing: Could be tightened up a bit, but mostly ok. The areas that really bothered me where when you included info in parentheses. Both times they only call out things that can be derived from the item as is and are just eating wordcount and breaking up your sentences.

Theme: You definitely have this strong concept and idea in your head for soul stealing weapons, and my mind goes to the many items in popular fantasy that also have this vibe. Whether this is really a concept that is viable in the pathfinder game for a magic weapon vs an artifact is something I will cover in my next section. The old fake body switchero is a bit of a diversion from this theme though.

Design: To start, I am not at all a fan of how you can trigger this effect. Soul bind is a 9th level spell, and even it requires you to be dead first. This is an unlimited use Save-or-Die that triggered on crits on a weapon with a large crit threat range that you have augmented with keen. This is borderline insane OP. This would get used on every TWF crit fishing builds, even if it did only 1 damage, as eventually with all those attack you will get someone to fail the save. Especially a DC 23 Will save. I can understand that these number came from the math of using a 9th level spell, but this is what drove the price and the DC to extremely high values and gave the item so many problems. This is getting into more the domain of a minor artifact. When I hit this exact same speed bump in my item, I shifted directions and changed it to no longer use that 9th lvl spell. Wasn't as powerful as I initially conceived it, but that was a good thing.

I would rework the section on releasing the soul, as saying it is a move action to release the soul and that you can cast soul bind while you do that leads me to think you want me to cast it as a move action, and not in the same round as was probably intended. I also don't know why you would want to shift around the souls, unless you were worried about your item getting broken. This is the opposite effect you want to have, IMHO. If the BBEG stole your grandmas soul and you go on an epic quest to free her, you want that resolved when you sunder the jerks weapon. You don't want to find out the BBEG involved her poor soul in an elaborate shell game.

The third ability is actually a bit fun, and in execution I like it more than the souls stealing, but there are some issues. If an NPC uses this and appears dead, and I loot him, what does my GM tell me? He obviously can't tell the name of the item I just picked up, or I will read the description and find out the trick. If he just tells me the basic chassis of the item (+1 keen impervious adamantine scimitar), then I'm losing out on the soul stealing core aspect of your item. The GM basically has to make up a fake item write up, and if my character had lots of appraise, UMD, or knowledge(arcana), I would feel cheated if there was no way for me to find out about that effect.

Also, when creating a duplicate we run into another problem: duplication of items. Clearly the sword is meant to be left with the "fake body", so why aren't all other items are left also? If you leave only the sword, but the body and items are temporary fakes that do nothing, once again I would want a chance to notice that. What if I put on your sweet full plate, and then find out it's not doing all the awesome things I saw it do when you had it on? This is just introducing a lot of potential problems. This is also basicly 100% a NPC ability. No PC would ever want to do this unless ALL the PC's had this item and wanted to set up a really odd ambush. Otherwise you are just saying, "Well, I'm about to die, good luck everyone" and disappearing. Then the player gets up and leaves the table for a while while everyone else continues the fight, as there is nothing he can do to influence the game till an hour has passed. I don't like the real world play implications of this item.

Summation: I'm not at all sold on the item. I think it might be able to be perfectly realized as a minor artifact: something the Gm adds as a story hook as the root of a quest to capture and break, therefore keeping out of the hands of players for use and abuse. In that light this is a wonderful item, but as something players can buy and go crazy with this looks like no end of headache for a GM. This shows me you definitely have great and interesting ideas, but this one's end effects were not thought out all the way. I would definitely want to see more from you though, and this might be the kind of thing that would really have benefited from workshopping. Others might be able to see the consequences of the item better that the designer, because they don't have its intended use in mind. I hope to see your submission next year, and am always more than willing to offer that kind of workshopping.

There you have it. If you are interested to compare and contrast my item, here it is. I by no means want to imply I did it is in any way "right", just to show another route to take a similar concept. You'll notice I didn't mention the construction cost issue because I did the exact same thing. I didn't survive cull 5, so I know there is still plenty wrong with my submission. But maybe between comments on both we can glean as much info as possible about the dangers of this design space.

Best of luck in future seasons!

My item:
Soul-Wrenching Spear
Aura moderate conjuration and necromancy [evil]; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 20,182 gp; Weight 6 lbs.
Description
This +2 ghost touch spear is made of pitch black wood, and glows with a pale, ghastly light. When a living humanoid is slain by a critical hit from the spear a portion of its soul is ripped free and trapped within the weapon. Only one soul fragment may be held in this way at a time. If the victim is restored to life while the soul fragment is still held in the spear it suffers one permanent negative level, in addition to any additional penalties from being raised. This permanent negative level may not be restored while the spear holds the victim’s soul fragment, but is instantly restored once it is released.

Once per day, as a standard action, a spear containing a soul fragment may be activated by driving it into the ground. Activating the weapon summons a poltergeist (see Bestiary 2) for one minute. Poltergeists summoned by the spear are considered to be site bound to the spear’s location, and do not rejuvenate if destroyed. The poltergeist attacks any living creatures except the activator. Once activated, the spear must be left in its current position to continue functioning. Removing or destroying the spear immediately ends the effect and releases the soul fragment. Once one minute has passed, or if either the poltergeist or spear are destroyed, the effect ends and the soul fragment is released.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, create undead, plane shift; Cost 10091 gp

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

Come at me bros. I think I should have spent more time explaining what the moderate wind around the wielder does for the person instead of expecting people to know. I probably should have worded the wind wall ability differently so people would know how it varied from the base wind wall without looking it up.

Windcaller's Edge
Aura faint evocation; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 32,000 gp; Weight 6 lbs.
Description
The blade of this +2 katana bears the etchings of a simple cloud motif down the blade and pommel. When held, a swirling wind surrounds the wielder, filling his space and any space within his reach with a moderate wind. In addition, the wielder can cast wind wall up to three times per day as a standard action. A wind wall cast from the sword can be a vertical wall, a sphere with a radius of 10ft, or a cube that is 15ft on all sides. Any creature of small size or smaller trapped inside must make a DC 15 Str check to break through the winds. Gaseous creatures cannot break through.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, alter wind, wind wall; Cost 15,850 gp

Star Voter Season 9

Clay Clouser wrote:

Come at me bros.

Windcaller's Edge
Aura faint evocation; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 32,000 gp; Weight 6 lbs.
Description
The blade of this +2 katana bears the etchings of a simple cloud motif down the blade and pommel. When held, a swirling wind surrounds the wielder, filling his space and any space within his reach with a moderate wind. In addition, the wielder can cast wind wall up to three times per day as a standard action. A wind wall cast from the sword can be a vertical wall, a sphere with a radius of 10ft, or a cube that is 15ft on all sides. Any creature of small size or smaller trapped inside must make a DC 15 Str check to break through the winds. Gaseous creatures cannot break through.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, alter wind, wind wall; Cost 15,850 gp

At work, so need to be brief. It's a SiaC. You used up about half of your word count describing how wind wall works when we could have just looked it up. Could have done something much more interesting, like disarming gusts of wind, or blinds with dust clouds similar to dirty trick. I like that it's a katana without a cliche theme attached to it, but it easily could have been any other weapon.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

CripDyke reviewing Terminalmancer's Chemist's Retort:

Terminalmancer wrote:
Rip this apart, please.

Oh, you know me. I'm to gentle for...

...aw, who am I kidding. Let's do this thing.

Terminalmancer wrote:


Chemist's Retort
Aura faint conjuration; CL 6th
Slot none; Price 12,700 gp; Weight 12 lbs.

Description
The bolt case of this +2 heavy repeating crossbow may, instead of five bolts, be filled with a single flask or vial. Chemist's retort will fire the flask or vial loaded in this fashion as if it were thrown, but the range increment is 50 feet and the weapon's enhancement bonus only applies to your attack roll. Once the bolt case is loaded into the crossbow, this weapon duplicates any flask or vial loaded in this manner with a value of 50 gp or less, and may fire up to five total of any such item before running out and needing to be reloaded. It may fire a similar item of a higher value, but its magic is unable to duplicate such items.

Any time the bolt case is removed from the crossbow, it is empty. Alchemist's bombs (and any concoction that must be used within a round after it is created) are too volatile and become inert once loaded.

Three times per day as a free action, the wielder of chemist's retort may elect to double all damage done by an alchemical item it fires. This choice must be made before the attack is rolled.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magical Arms and Armor, abundant ammunition; Cost 6,700 gp.

1. Name

Is the name so bad as to detract from the item?

No.

The names is NOT bad.

But I warn you: I've seen so many items named some variation of "alchemist's retort" that you've got a problem.

The good thing is that none of those items distinguished themselves in my mind that you're competing directly with another item for the name.

The bad news is that I can't promise you that there's not already something named the same thing (or close enough) currently published or soon-to-be-published in a supplement by a 3PP or even by Paizo.

Last thing, about themes.

The double meaning of "retort" here is always intended by the authors of such items (otherwise the item would be an actual bit of glass kit useful for separating dissolved volatiles from their solvents.

HOWEVER, what does retort mean?

It's a ***response***. That means other people have to go first. A sword is not a "retort" themed item unless you do something that makes it so that the wielder always goes last in every round, or so that the damage done by the "retort" themed sword is actually based on damage previously done to the wielder. Things like that.

If your item doesn't require you to be responding to something else that happens first, then "retort" is just a throw-away joke and not actually a theme.

Since you can't easily build an entire theme around "this is owned by a chemist" (especially since other people are going to own this item over time, hopefully - you're not making a one-class item, are you?) I really, really hope "retort" is a theme-word for you and not just a throwaway joke.

But since pretty much every single person who uses a variant of this name uses retort as a throwaway joke and not a chance to build an awesome theme, I'm not in a good mood.

(except there was one "retort" item that actually used the theme a little bit, wasn't there? A shield that held grenades that would then burst when the shield was struck? Okay, so it has been done at least once that someone got the "retort" theme right. Still the failures vastly outnumber the successes with retort-named items)

That isn't your fault, exactly. It's other people's failures that have put me in that mood. But you chose to duplicate a previously used name - at least previously used in RPGSS, even if there may not be a published item of that name (I don't know). So now other people's failures are dragging you down.

If you manage to use "retort" to do some theme building, but your theme building isn't consistent and good, starting in a bad mood probably means you won't get the full benefit of the middle-of-the-road credit you deserve.

If you completely fail to build around the "retort" theme, then you'll get all the docked points you deserve for choosing a throwaway joke over creating a real theme that benefits the item. And then you'll get docked some more for not being the first person to make this joke and fail to exploit the theme. Maybe that's not fair, maybe you should have learned from the last person who named something something like this, and given your extra chances to learn from others, it is fair. I don't really know. I just know that given this particular name, and how it has failed in the past, I'm going to be extra cranky if you chose not to take your own name seriously while repeating a bad joke that wasn't relevant in any way to your item (since it's neither a gas-separator nor an item that responds to others' prior actions).

......

But wait! There's a silver lining. If you're the first person to actually develop the retort theme, you will get my undying gratitude and you'll probably get more POSITIVE points than you would normally deserve for whatever good theme-building you do because you'll look so damn good compared to all those people who built something named "retort" that has nothing to do with "retorts".

Please be that designer. Please.

2. Glance top to bottom
Glance at the formatting to see if the entry pays enough attention to what Paizo wants that this item isn't throw-away worthy. Maybe glance at a couple of other things that seem like DQs to me - a CL of 21+, a cost of 200,001 gp or more (since that’s forbidden by Paizo), maybe something else I’m not thinking about right now.

Okay, the format looks good. I can see that all the information is in the right places and the bolding in the right places makes it easy to navigate around.

Quick checks - isn't 6th level the first level of "moderate" auras? Cost/price looks reasonable, though I don't know exactly what a masterwork repeating heavy crossbow costs. Is it really exactly 700 gp? Hm.

Oh, and the construction requirements are correctly done.

This is no throwaway item where the designer didn't attempt to do the work of making something for Pathfinder, or where the designer made a rod or a ring in a contest that doesn't allow those.

...but in doing my glancing around, I notice that the only spell used in construction is "abundant ammunition".

And now my hopes that you actually used "retort" in building your item are sinking. Oh, no. This is going to be yet another item that just used the entire item name as a joke, isn't it? And now we're going to have that joke that has nothing to do with what the item does on a character sheet for months if not years? How long until the joke becomes as annoyingly old to everyone else as it already is to me?

...PLEASE make me wrong. PLEASE. I'm begging you here.

3. Read for content
what does the item do? Is the item in an over-used design space?
Is the function understandable?

The item functions as a "grenade thrower" showering special liquids - magical or alchemical - on targets by shooting their flasks from a crossbow. This gives considerably more range than a hand-thrown grenade like weapon, but less than half the range of an actual bolt.

Additionally, one can load a single "grenade" but fire it 5 times, so long as the original price of the grenade was 50 gp or less. This saves a ton of money on the cost of buying special substances to fling around the battlefield. Of course, it's still more expensive to buy one grenade at 20gp than a whole passel of crossbow bolts, so it's not exactly the cheapest way out. It's just that if you're committed to the bomb-thrower concept, it saves you a lot of money, not that every character would buy this for the money savings since its generally cheaper to use bolts. (Magic +1 bolts are 40 gp each, for comparison)

Finally, 3x a day any grenade fired will do double damage - if they hit. The power is used before the attack roll. No clarifications/special instructions on critical hits when using this power.

NOTE: the grenade to be duplicated is destroyed even before the first shot is fired. Since you put it in the repeater-case, then load the case in the crossbow (rather than loading the grenade directly in the crossbow), the language of the entry is very important when it says

Quote:
Any time the bolt case is removed from the crossbow, it is empty.

Note that expensive grenades - values far in excess of 50 gp - can be used with the weapon even if the weapon cannot duplicate them.

FURTHER NOTE - if you load a 17,000 gp vial of intensified, empowered circle of death gas and then decide that you'd rather use a different bit of ammunition, the vial is gone when you go to swap out the death gas for your new grenade.

Just gone.

Bye-bye.

Likewise, if you load 5 +5 greater slaying crossbow bolts, then decide you would rather use holy water, you better throw that holy water by hand, you know what I'm saying?

Think about that when you're choosing to load the thing.
....I'm not saying this is bad, I'm just making this design choice very, very clear. It's a completely legit design choice and even forces some role-playing about the risks of loading something expensive if you're not sure you need it.

4. Read for crunch
Is the crunch understandable?
Is it complicated?
Does it use effects that will be a pain around the gaming table?
Is it overpowered comes into play here if it would be a bad item regardless of price. Otherwise it's an underpricing issue. This doesn't mean that the item has to be worth more than 200,000 gp. An item can be overpowered if its fair market value is only 3,000 -5000 gp if the only characters who would ever want to use it are first level characters (who can't afford it - so they have to be given it - so you see the problem).
NOTE: I don't have to particularly like the approach to the crunch that you chose, so long as it works.

It's pretty understandable.

"May" at the beginning clearly signals that the crossbow fires standard bolts whenever you like. The duplication language makes it clear that we're talking about duplicating grenade items only. The bolts can be fired normally, but not duplicated. And the crunch language prevents any possible confusion on that score.

Really, the designer does an excellent job being clear with crunch. I don't see anything in here at all that might cause disagreement around the table. A player might really hate it if they forgot that all their expensive greater slaying crossbow bolts are disintegrated when the bolt-case is opened. It might cause upset. But it wouldn't cause disagreement. Everyone can point to the language and say, "you knew what you were getting in to".

There are no effects that would be a pain around the table. While some people might be concerned that it duplicates andy vial, not only those that are normally usable as a grenade like weapon, I don't have any problem with that. Just because it can fire a potion of lead blades made at CL 1 doesn't mean that anyone is actually going to be under the effects of lead blades if they get hit by such a vial (or such a splash). Nope. It'll just be a grenade that does 1d4-3 on a direct hit (from the glass), no damage on a splash. Easy peasy.

Awesomely easy crunch. No real painful issues unless the players get stupid and disintegrate their own valuables. Even then, with any reasonable player you'll just have 5 minutes of unpleasant griping. The bad players that would make your life hell for that will find a reason to make your life hell anyway. The problem in that case is the player, not the crunch in this weapon.

I do note a problem - well, really a potential problem - in not dealing with reloading times. Does it take more or less time to insert a grenade in the bolt case than a bolt? You can't have spare cases, only this one magical case. And the crunch under Heavy Repeating Crossbow only talks about the time to release and insert the case ...but not to fill the case before re-insertion. Part of this is Paizo's problem but it would be nice if you would make sure your item didn't suffer because of it.

As far as overpowered or not, well, all it really does is give grenade-like weapons more range and make them a bit cheaper to use. No reason to fret over that.

Good call in making volatile items ineligible for use in the crossbow, though it seems to me that by the time you create it and load it in the bolt case and load the bolt case in the crossbow and take a single shot, has it really been less than a round? I suppose with haste, or people operating in teams, you could do this.

I think a better way to do this would be something different, however. Your duplication is based on gp value, right?

Well, you can't sell alchemist's bombs, since they disappear in a round, right?

What if it can't duplicate anything with no market value? At best, then, you'd be able to string multiple characters together to fire that crossbow once - gaining a bit of range in exchange for using multiple persons in the creation-to-fire process.

Others could happily chime in if I'm wrong, but that doesn't seem broken. I am not, of course, saying your way of doing things is wrong or mine is better, I've just heard other people call this out as a great design choice and I was curious as to whether, since you've already set up a system based on market value, there was a good reason to exclude based on "volatility" and not their inability to show up in the market (which, yes, is because of the volatility, but did you consider the advantages of basing all the rules on market value instead of creating what is, in effect, 2 different metrics?) Are there things which last more than 1 round but which nonetheless can't really be sold for being tied to a creator, etc. If so, you'd be giving these "0 gp" cost grenades the ability to be duplicated even if they're awesomely powerful 9-level-spell grenades. Worse, now the item is published...what happens when someone creates a spell specifically circumvent your restrictions by making a vial that lasts up to 5 rounds (justifying it to their GM as being delayed-blast-fireball-ish) and is normally thrown as a grenade? Is "no market value" the same as a market value of "0 gp."? That's what your crunch seems to think. I agree that the player who designs that spell just to get around your restrictions and get 4 free duplications of a 9th-level-spell bomb is being a jerk and should be shut down by the GM, but why not write the item to make that harder in the first place - especially since failure to participate in the market is a great test for those tenuous creations?

Finally, I want to generally congratulate you here on good crunch. You thought through potential problems, taking your items powers seriously and thinking of ways to make sure the item wouldn't cause problems around the table. Really good job on this. I disagree on how to handle volatile/temporary items, but the problems that might crop up are the kinds of things that would usually occur by someone deliberately trying to break the game. Although I think you can (and should) prevent that if it's too easy to figure out how to break the game with your item, you've done enough good design work that the people who are trying to break the game with your item will be pretty quickly revealed as trying to break the game, not trying to be a creative player.

Because your design exposes those efforts as dishonest, even if it doesn't prevent them it makes it fairly easy to take care of around the table. Again, I like that last little step to prevent the break entirely, but what you've done here is sufficient on that score and more than sufficient on every other aspect of the crunch that I can see.

This is very superior crunch.

5. Reading for creativity
Is this new?
Is it blindingly why-didn't-I-think-of-that simple in execution?
Does it utilize themes in such a way that different aspects of the entry all tie together well?

Is this new?
Um, no. I've seen other bows & crossbows that fire grenade like weapons.

There's a property "endless ammunition" in use for crossbows already. It doesn't function exactly like this, but it's close enough to show the design concept is no longer fresh.

Also, again though it has differences, there have been quivers designed so that they duplicate non-magical ammunition. They're quivers so this is about arrows and bolts, not grenade-like weapons, but duplicating ammunition is also shown to be other than new, other than fresh.

By using a repeating crossbow, there's a "bolt-case" which fits in the weapon, but isn't fundamentally different from bolt cases used to carry around bolts on one's person. If a quiver that duplicates ammunition would make a bolt-case that duplicates ammunition not "fresh," the fact that this is a bolt-case that loads directly into the crossbow separates it from those quivers by only a small amount.

Thus any way you slice it, there are multiple examples in the design space that are similar in function and/or effect to this weapon, save that they focus on missiles other than grenade-like missiles.

So you're filling an unfilled design niche, but this is the kind of item growth that is the natural outcome of applying existing ideas to similar but not the same weapon types. Someone has to write this item up eventually, sure. It's not bad to fill design niches that are empty, but happen to be close to other niches that have already been filled.

It's just that if you're trying to show off your creativity, this item doesn't tell me anything about how creative you can be.

Is it blindingly why-didn't-I-think-of-that simple in execution?

Y'know, it almost is. Load repeating box with one item, the box acts as if it was holding the same number of grenades that it could hold bolts. Want to change ammunition or you've run out? Pop off the box and reload as normal.

The repeating box provides a very natural limit for the number of times an item can be duplicated. I feel like I know exactly why the magic fires 5 missiles before needing to be reloaded. And yet, it's magic. Magic can do anything. It could have been 17 duplications, right? right?

Technically yes, but because you've integrated the duplicating magic with the "repeating" function of the repeating crossbow, you've created the illusion that magic **can't** do anything, that the magic has to operate in just exactly this way.

That's really good design.

Does it utilize themes in such a way that different aspects of the entry all tie together well?

See, the last bit, the bit about "repeating" grenades being tied into the "repeating" crossbow, that was good design. That was even thematic design. You had a chance to build around that. I would have loved to see something simply called, "the repeating crossbow".

hell, what about "the crossbow of experimental replication"? "experimental replication" is a thing in real life. I suppose people might even laugh at this use as a pun and a joke. Though those people would be wrong and have very, very sad lives. I say this as someone who has a friend who is a professional metallurgist and a brother-in-law who is a chemical engineer and who knows something about how bad science humor can be. But it's also an actual theme that ties into this weapon. Alchemists are spoken of as experimenters. Alchemical compounds - which are frequently used as grenade-like weapons - are supposed to be finicky to make, with people never knowing if they're going to get a useful product or a smear of stinky ooze.

I don't think that's a great name. I'd want something even better. But the only time I see good thematic design here is in the relationship between the "repeating crossbow" and the duplication of ammunition.

Chemist isn't any better referenced here than "experimental" would be referenced. Both refer to only a subset of grenade-like weapons. Obviously un/holy water wouldn't be considered "experimental" in any way by the priests involved. (Heck they might sick the inquisitors on your for suggesting it.) But it's also not the work of a "chemist".

I think the design should be even tighter than "experimental replication" if you want to get in the top32, but right now you only have 2 things that mutually support each other in a thematic way: the nature of the non-magical item you chose to build on, and the crunch (well, and basic idea, I suppose) of duplicating grenades. "Experimental replication" would at least tie in the name of the item, then you'd have 3-way mutual support, if imperfect, instead of 2-way. Obviously 2-way is the least possible amount of mutual support. Because your two-way support was done so invisibly, in a way that seems so natural most people wouldn't even notice because of course you reload after 5 shots, it's impossible that this really represents an accident. People aren't even going to think about why this is a repeating crossbow. Of course it's a repeating crossbow. You had to make it out of a repeating crossbow, right? Would the magic even work any other way?

See that's the sort of thing where even though we as designers know that you had to consciously think about ideas and put them together and that we as designers know you could have made this a repeating sling, by doing the work and doing the work you've gotten your item to a point where it looks to the average person as if were just impossible to make a sling that does this, that the only weapon anyone could ever enchant with this function would absolutely have to be a repeating crossbow, because how could even magic do anything different, right?

So this is better mutual support between these two item aspects than many people achieve with 3 item aspects, or even possibly 4 (though most designers don't even have 4 different aspects reinforcing a single theme, so it's much shakier to say how often those items have achieve a level of mutual support you've done with 2 aspects).

The question then, is why if you know how to make a thematic item, if you know how to use one aspect of an item to reinforce another in a way that makes both aspects and the whole damn item better, why in the world would you choose a name that has nothing to do with the only theme you've created, a theme on which you obviously worked at hard and successfully?

I feel crushed now. You've made the same mistake as those other designers who use "retort" while entirely ignoring the retort theme. You've reduced your item name to a joke, and one told too many times already to be funny anymore.

...and you did this despite obviously having some skill at theme building!

Oh, what could you have done if you actually cared about your item's name enough to give your item an identity instead of just throwing that away so you could use the space for this warmed-over pun.

I'm telling you I'm bitter over the waste of your obviously considerable talents.

6. Reading for audience appeal
The job is to design game products that gamers will buy. So a very legitimate question is, "Will gamers want to buy the supplement just to be able to use this item at their table?" If yes, that's a good reason to up vote.

Hm. Yeah, I think that people will want a grenade-thrower. There are a lot of people in the military (or who have been in the military) who play pathfinder, and I find that they are a little more likely than others to want fantasy-appropriate weapons that they can tie into experiences with modern day weapons. probably because they have more such experiences. If I'd had experiences being razzed for using my grenade launcher poorly in a training exercise and after serious work later got praise for using my grenade launcher well, I'd probably enjoy the experience of creating a character that can do something similar, allowing me to relive those good moments with friends.

I don't think this has as much general appeal as, say, a sword.

But here's the thing: a new magic sword has to compete in an industry constantly investing 1.21 gigawatts in new magic sword creation. Exactly how many repeating crossbows are there that can throw a grenade at all, much less duplicate one?

In truth, i've seen several efforts to create such grenade throwers, but nothing really memorable yet. So you probably are competing with home brew throwers, but I think most GMs would prefer one from a supplement by a respected publisher, so the competition among professionally published grenade-throwers is small.

So, yeah, I think this has market legs. Good job.

7. Reading for the joy of the word.
Did you write clearly?
I don't care about a typo or the misuse of a single piece of punctuation, but do you have errors or style choices that disrupt flow?
Do you have style choices that enhance the flow - are you creative with sentence structures and do you have the capacity to consider cadence when selecting from synonyms?
Does the mood of the writing reflect the mood of the item? Perhaps a droning monotonous rhythm would enhance certain items.
Have you thought through the theme of your item and made sure that every time you have an choice between two words or two phrases you select the one that furthers your theme and reinforces your imagery?
Do you add wondrous, unexpected depth under the clear surface, in which attentive readers may immerse themselves?
Most of the time this feedback will not focus on anything you've done wrong, but on moments where a designer misses an opportunity to do something amazing.

Should I say it again? People have made me hate the word retort. that's not really about the art of writing, but it's certainly affected my joy - or not- reading your item.

So here's the thing... I think you've mostly got this. Your writing is very polished. It's got flow. It's got rhythm.

I will also say, since it's my review, that your particular rhythm, your particular flow, your particular style is not to my taste. You're very Hemingway and I'm very Tolstoy.

But I'm more than writer enough to recognize that even though your writing isn't the type to make me sing, it deserves most of the same points that I would give for that. Your writing is the type to make **someone** sing, and I hold no grudge that you and I don't have identical stylistic preferences.

Your writing isn't abrupt - which is why I can say it's so good - but it is very direct and economical. It's very easy for someone with your style to sink into terse or slip down into curt. It's also easy to make your writing choppy as you focus on one idea, get it done, and it's left behind and a completely separate idea is the subject of a new sentence.

I know that I'm wordy. I know that has weaknesses and therefore I deliberately try to work against those weaknesses when I write for others and not merely for my own entertainment on a message board. But it also has some strengths. I remember the subject of the last sentence in this sentence and this sentence in the next sentence. Not always in writing like this, entirely unedited, top-of-the-head stuff for a message board, but yeah, if I have time to write and time to give at least 1 quick-but-not-drastically-quick edit I turn out prose that really considers flow and makes sure that many sentences carefully hands the reader off to the next. The rest of the sentences (if I've had time to edit) will very rarely create a stop, and most of those will be intentional stops to create an emphasis that feels important, natural, like speech.

My biggest problem is developing the relationships between my ideas so much that I end up wanting to put 72 different clauses all in the same sentence with complicated grammar, punctuation, and conjunction relationships to each other.

You ... don't have that problem.

But I don't want you to turn out something next time that does fall into terse or curt, that does create choppy seas for your reader, because I failed to do due diligence here.

So I' going to recommend that you read your writing aloud. I can't teach you to be more clear. You probably are going to write more clearly than I for your entire life. But I can tell you that your writing gives only minimal consideration to how your words sound, how they echo, how they resonate.

You can use cadences, you can use poetics, you can use art to make yourself clear. You don't have to be clear **only** by being Hemingway-esque. I'd really like to see your writing after you read it aloud a number of times and then edit it, then read it aloud some more, then don't edit, just tweak. Read it and tweak just one word or one phrase. Tweak one word or phrase every time you read it aloud.

Don't take on some huge job of rewriting your entry as a whole. Just listen carefully and make one tiny adjustment that favors your ear and not your word count. It doesn't have to make your writing longer. It can even shorten it, tighten it. But don't try for that outcome. You've obviously trained yourself to be a good writer of economical, clear prose. You don't waste anyone's time - and that's a favor to your reader. But you probably do that mostly automatically now. You've probably developed a style of thinking, a style of creating that lends itself to turning out such prose. This isn't to say you don't also use careful thought and conscious crafting choices in your writing, just that what you turn out without thinking lends itself to be polished into your economical, clear writing product.

So try doing some writing that doesn't make that a priority, make your only priority how the word sounds aloud - just as I sometimes try to write curt prose so I can turn out something that gets me within 3 or 4 range increments of economical.

Remember, this is after you've already turned out a good draft, so you're not abandoning your style for the entire piece of writing. You're just abandoning those old priorities temporarily. Just for fun. Just as an experiment.

With some people I suggest trying to sing things as well. With you I wouldn't. If you've seen me recommend that to others, know that I'm specifically not recommending it to you. I think you'd have to make too many adjustments to your writing and that it would take you too far from the style that you've developed. You know how to do your style well. If you move too far from it, when you take another look to edit the next /final draft you either won't like your own work (which is bad, not least because it discourages you from writing more/trying again) OR by using your editing skills as you've practiced them on one kind of writing product, your editorial instincts will serve you poorly in refining that new style of prose.

So, like I said, a word at a time. Several readings out loud before you do any editing/tweaking. Then, only when you feel you have several things built up that you just know are good tweaks, go do a number of tweaks or one good edit. At this point, it will start to have an actual different feel. It should be a new starting place. From here you can do one reading, one small tweak. If you feel like you've noticed more than one thing that should be tweaked, restrain yourself. Only make the most important tweak. You've got a style, if you're gonna shift away from it I wouldn't do it suddenly or speedily. If you still want to make those other tweaks you thought of all in one reading, you've got more readings to come and you can make them then. But sometimes you might here 2 sentence as each having something that would obviously make them better, but when you make one change the other sentence is in a new context and may not still have the same problem.

Okay? We good?

Fine then. I'll make one more substantive criticism.

You have no description in here. What does your crossbow look like? I don't know. Do stains build up from the grenades? Does the reloading mechanism click? What if the reloading mechanism echoed even when there was nothing off which the sound would normally echo? Would that help your theme?

I don't doubt that you could work a description into a theme in a good way, but there's no description at all here.

I worry a bit that it's because you don't have any practice writing description and that it might be difficult or uncomfortable writing descriptive text - even in an economical, direct, clear style, you can well and creatively describe an item or idea or action without metaphor or poetics. It's possible I'm wrong and that this item simply didn't inspire any strong imagery for you. That's good in a sense. It would mean that you probably already describe things well when you do describe them, since your general writing skill is high.

But it also tells me that your own mojo detector may be miscalibrated. If your own item isn't inspiring any imagery for you (and it doesn't have to be visual, remember when I suggested that your "repeating" crossbow be echoey?), why do you think it's going to inspire imagery in others?

Make sure, if this is the case and you weren't inspired by your own item with any good descriptive elements, that when you picking and choosing among which ideas to submit to next RPGSS you're only choosing an item that actually does inspire you.

8. Rule checks:
is the item over-priced or underpriced?
What about caster level? Did you use 1st when Bane or Craft Wondrous Item has a higher level requirement?
Although the entire point of magic is to do things one could otherwise not do, nonetheless Pathfinder must have rules and I can't interpret every single conflict between an item and Pathfinder rules as simply a case of the magic of the item overcoming those rules.

I think your requirements are wrong, and that your weapon is more like an "endless ammunition" weapon than like the spell "abundant ammunition". Remember that this is a missile weapon with a similar ability. Pricing is an art. There's a rule that material component costs have to be paid 50 times in the price of an item that's going to be indefinitely reusable. 50*50gp is only 2500 gp. You probably used something like that in your pricing.

But if you compare to endless ammunition weapons, those are a +2 equivalent cost. That is way higher than 2500 gp ...

...and this is true despite the fact that 50 crossbow bolts costs a heck of a lot less than 2500 gp.

Yes, the crossbow doesn't fire indefinitely without reloading.

However, unlike endless ammunition weapons, every five shots you can be firing a new type of ammunition. AND there is far greater variety in effect of different grenades that you can duplicate than there is between different bolts.

This ability to reset what type of ammunition is duplicated more than compensates for the fact that you still pay 20% of the ammunition costs (instead of 0% - but actually more than that because endless ammunition creates endless boring ammunition but the weapon still expects that occasionally you'll put in a special arrow/bolt. And when you do reach for that special ammunition, it can't be duplicated by those weapons the way your different, weird fluids and powders can be duplicated by your crossbow.

In the art of pricing, we use the best comparison available. The best comparison isn't the material component cost rule, it's endless ammunition.

That makes this item cost at least what a +4 crossbow does. (then you have to deal with the 3x day double damage and costing that). A +4 crossbow is 4^2*2000 = 32,000 gp.

If we're using endless ammunition as the closest equivalent, you should also change your construction requirements to include minor creation, exclude abundant ammunition, and up your CL to 9.

9. The extra mile
This is all about making things easier for me as your reader.

I won't add anything here. There aren't any formatting tricks or other things that are designed to help me as a reader, and though your writing style is designed to help the reader by not wasting their time on unnecessary words, I'm already giving you points for that in writing style.

===============================================

Overall verdict?

This is an item that contains no "mistakes" that are as simple as violations of a rule, misuse or nonuse of the format, designing the wrong type of item, etc.

This item is not creative in what it does, but it shows some creativity in the elegant simplicity of how it does it.

This item is likely balanced in most game groups if the price is more similar to endless ammunition.

This item has an audience who will want to acquire and use the item. The audience may not be large, but isn't especially tiny. Some uncertainty as to total audience appeal still exists.

The writing is wonderfully clear.

The crunch wonderfully clear, combining a description of what's going on that supplements the very clear crunch. House rulings on this item, if any, should be easy.

This item does not use formatting or hyperlinks to go the extra mile to make it easy for me to read and grok. However, the item does use a concise, direct, clear writing style that is very reader-friendly.

This item does not have a consistent theme that is synergistically forwarded by name, description, what it does, how it does it, and systematic creative choices. To the extent that there's a theme, it's really only the combination of two aspects. Some design choices fall weirdly outside the theme (double damage 3x day comes from where?) or sabotage it (you know what belongs here).

This item does not have writing such that simply reading its entry is a pleasure, but it probably would if I weren't such a grouch about you being the 78th person to do that "retort" thing and do it badly.

This item is in the middle of the pack items to me. It may or may not be below the precise middle, but it isn't much above, if any.

This item, despite being middle of the pack, shows that important skills, including writing and creativity, are well developed in the designer even if not well used in this item. This item feels to me like the item of a designer that will be in the top 32 sooner or later, and that's a major accomplishment given where I ranked the item itself.

Star Voter Season 9

Belabras wrote:

Greenwarden Gauntlet

I really liked the visuals on this, but it was too expensive to justify the need to have 2 (at 71k each) in order to unlock all the abilities. Still, loved the idea.

Thanks, Belabras! Perfect example of how my simple typo cost me :)


Hey all first time submission to RPGSS and I wrote it when I almost outta time (didn't even know such a thing existed) so that being said be brutal and could someone let me know how to see when i was culled? Please and thanks so yeah I ramble on....here is my submission

Bola of Binding Burning
Aura Moderate Abjuration, Evocation and Transmutation; CL 13th
Slot none; Price 46750gp; Weight 8 lbs.
DESCRIPTION
This +1 Holy Flaming Adamantine bola burns with a brilliant white flame and is connected by a heavy chain inscribed with glowing red runes; instead of a cord making it rather unwieldly imposing an additional -1 penalty to hit per range increment. The Bola was originally crafted as a means to capture or kill demons issuing from the worldwound, but has spread to wider use and is popular with unscrupulous summoners and any who plan to face evil outsiders being just as effective on all lower planar creatures. When any evil outsider is successfully tripped by the bolas it instantly wraps around the target entangling it and engaging a second function, acting as an immoveable rod and a set of dimensional shackels the creature is quite effectively bound. While so bound the flaming property of the weapon persists in a fasion and deals divine damage instead of fire for 2d6 divine damage per round the creature is so bound. This causes a quite painful and unfamilar feeling in evil outsiders, that of burning. This can be used as an excellent means of coercion (an evil act) providing a +8 bonus on intimidate checks or charisma checks for planar binding spells, though use in this fasion almost always causes the outsider to seek vengance at a future date. The weapons owner may choose to suppress or reactivate this ability once a round as a free action as long as the weapon is within 300 feet. The bola has a break and Escape Artist DC 30, Hardness 20 and 13 hp
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Flame Strike, Dimensional Anchor, Levitate, Holy Smite,
creator must be good; Cost 23375gp

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
CripDyke wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

Thanks for the review! It's valuable particularly in that it illuminates a point of view I'm not often exposed to. I write like I talk (or vice versa, really) so it sounds like I have a challenge ahead of me. And sorry about the title; it wasn't intended as a joke, I'm just awful at names. I spent more time on that name than I did the rest of the item!

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

Self critique: I had had a hard year with a lot of emergencies. I found out about the 'new' schedule a week before turn in and was booked 4 of those days. I had planned to get in on the Nine Blazing months and be prepared. So I know I can do better.

Instead, I--

Went with my more gonzo idea and let the idea get out of hand. This was a mistake. A more limited and concise item along these lines might have done better and I thought of one four days into the voting. Or a more conservative item. I like I took the risk, I just wish I had done a better job with it.

The connection of aging spirits and changing people is nebulous for some.

It is too heavy and too expensive.

The formatting in word did not translate here. My fixes were not as good as they needed to be.

Saw it mostly as a retraining tool to save money and time, but others might have seen it as a plot point to use against characters.

Spell choices to represent this proccess were difficult and that should have been a clue.

Hope that part is helpful to others.

Soul Brew Barrel
Auramoderate conjuration, enchantment and transmutation; CL 10th
Slot none; Price 171,000 gp; Weight 120 lbs.
Description
This large white oak barrel is perfect for aging whiskey or similar spirits. Only elaborate knotwork carvings on the lid that sometimes resemble evolving humanoid figures hint at its other purpose.

A willing or helpless medium or smaller humanoid sealed into the barrel with the aging spirits need not eat, breathe, and are considered unconscious until the cask is opened. Gradually, they soak up the flavor and characteristics associated with the surrounding brew. With a successful Profession (brewer) check (DC 10+days aged inside the barrel) characteristics detailed below, skill ranks, archetypes, class features, feats, known spells and class levels may be instilled as if retrained (Ultimate Campaign) using those rules unless otherwise noted below. Changes are determined by the brewer and need not be voluntary.

Characteristic
Spells Known: 1 per spell level per day.

Skills: 1 point per 1 day. Target chooses skill point replaced.

Physical appearance (weight, height, eye color, hair etc.): 2 days.

Class features: 2 per feature. May be used to gain or lose archetypes.
Age category raised or lowered by one (Affects both physical and mental stats.): 3 day pre age category.

Replace one language: 3 days

Feats: 3 days

Gender: 5 days

One other change is perceived as their natural state: 5 days

Class levels (Classes with retraining synergies or npc classes only. Archetypes may be chosen at first level only.) 6 days per level.

Changes take place in order of least expensive to most. If the process is interrupted all uncompleted changes are lost.

Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Modify Memory, Reincarnate, Sepia Snake Sigil, Suggestion 10 ranks Profession (brewer) Cost 85,500 gp

The Exchange Star Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

----------Be gentle. haha. Let me know what you think, please! Thanks in advance!

Windstrike Impaler
Aura moderate evocation; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 33,610 gp; Weight 12 lbs
Description
This +1 ranseur has a dark oak haft with ornately carved channels running toward a wicked twisting spike. Two serrated blades stem from the cross hilt and corkscrew around the spike.

Three times per day, as a standard action, you can use the weapon to move yourself to another location on the battlefield within 40 feet, taking whatever path you deem necessary. This movement provokes attacks of opportunity as normal, though you may evade these by moving yourself around or even flying over other units, obstacles, and terrain as long as you stay within the 40-foot range.

At the end of this movement, if you threaten an opponent, you may use an immediate action to make an attack. The same surge of wind that facilitates your movement also grants you a +2 circumstance bonus on the attack roll. If this attack hits, you may use a free action to make a bull rush maneuver against the target with a +2 circumstance bonus. This maneuver does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

If you are on a mount, the movement from this ability instead functions for your mount, but you must be the one who makes the attack.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, gentle breeze, telekinetic charge, Cost 17,960 gp


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Third hand helmet
Aura Moderate transmutation; CL 8th
Slot Head; Price 42,000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
This steel helmet has a burnished hand on top of it. Upon saying its command word, a long metallic arm springs out of it, allowing its user to use the helmet’s extra hand for an hour, after which, it retracts until the command word is spoken again. The arm can extend as much as 10 feet and can move or manipulate objects of up to 12 pounds in that radius. As a swift action, the hand can also be used to attack any person within that range, granting its wearer an extra attack at his highest base attack bonus. It can make either unarmed attacks as a gauntlet or use any weapon it has previously grasped (in this case, the arm is considered proficient with any weapon its wearer is). Finally, the helmet grants a +2 circumstance bonus on grapple, climb, disable device and swim checks while its arm is extended.
Construction Requirements Craft wondrous item, Mage hand, Caster must have a base attack bonus of 4 or higher; Cost 21,000 gp

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Terminalmancer wrote:


Thanks for the review! It's valuable particularly in that it illuminates a point of view I'm not often exposed to. I write like I talk (or vice versa, really) so it sounds like I have a challenge ahead of me.

Hmm, that will make it bit tougher. Usually listening to writing aloud is a great help, but if you're used to hearing your writings' style reflected in your speaking voice, then reading it yourself is going to be hit and miss. Somethings just won't grab your attention because they are to "normal" even if your audience might benefit from a tweak.

Do you know Sharon Bridgeforth - you probably don't, I'm not suggesting you should just not assuming you don't.

She's an amazing poet with a voice nothing like mine. Sometimes I listen to her reading her own poetry before going to sleep when I know I have to write like crazy the next day. Somehow, it helps.

Are there writers out there that you like but who don't write like you?

If so, see if you can get some audiobooks, preferably with either a trained actor or with the actual author reading it. (both have risks, but different ones). I'm sure there are many free ones on the internet, though you can never be sure about their legality so I certainly wouldn't recommend that you use random internet sources.

If you have a job that involves writing, maybe have a co-worker read something of their own & give you the recording and the text?

I don't know. Depends how invested you are. You've got writing skills, for sure, but just like me you're at the edge of a continuum. When I'm careful, my writing is easily marketable. There's a good audience. When I'm not careful, no one will read me, my sentence structures are too complex, the points that support each other aren't organized in a way that's friendly to the reader so that the reader realizes the points are supposed to support each other, etc.

On the same continuum, you're at the opposite end. Maybe you don't need the practice, but if you want to market yourself, since you are at the margins, moving towards the middle a bit wouldn't hurt **even if** you don't have my tendency to go to unpublishable extremes when not being careful.

Terminalmancer wrote:

And sorry about the title; it wasn't intended as a joke, I'm just awful at names. I spent more time on that name than I did the rest of the item!

You know it didn't ruin my day, right?

But here's this: if you feel like you have a good item with a good theme and ask around for a good name, no one is going to boot you out of RPGSS for violating anything. And if you really do have trouble with names, that part is probably the easiest part to outsource.

But it's possible, y'know, that what you're really having trouble with is figuring out your own theme? The central thing about your item was repetition. You can easily see that now. If you don't think of themes in any conscious way, instead of writing a title you could just look for which aspects of your item have the most reflections in other aspects of your item. Practice finding the theme.

Take a look at my Revealing Ink.

It obviously wasn't superstar, but it's an item with a strong theme that shows up in more than one place. "Revealing" is my theme (the "ink" is merely the vehicle for the revelation).

Then go to other items. Completely ignore the name, and just look for concepts, images, ideas that occur more than once. Do any of these show up in the name of the item?

Not necessarily, of course, because getting a tight theme is actually fairly difficult for most of us, but it might be.

If you practice finding the theme in others' items where you aren't blocked by being too close to it, it may be easier to find the them in your own items next year.

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

edduardco wrote:


Bloodseeker Sword

Template issues (Strong necromnacy) should be lowercase

Where is the danger? You give yourself temporary hitpoints which you can spend on a bleed effect, so no real danger involved, thus as a mechanic it fails.

For the price you could almost give all the power away without including the hitpoint / bleed mechanic.

You have made a swiss army knife of blades, which isn't very superstar.

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

RyanH wrote:


Boiling Heart Gauntlet

I upvoted this a few times against horrible template offenders and a few real items.

It is very steampunk and monster body parts are always a favorite, so you have that going on.

As a blood and gore item you cleverly avoid the blood, but you embrace the gore, however I am still conflicted about the mephit. Take a look at my avatar, if I am conflicted how will Joe Public respond to your item?

So well done, dial slightly back on the evil abuse of mephits and next year you'll have a winner.

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

Trimalchio wrote:


Whispering Blade

I liked it, it was a good fit for the Whispering Tyrant lore, but as a pure evil item and as you yourself noted, really expensive, you shot yourself in the foot there.

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

Fiendish Zen wrote:

Snowfall

Creatures native to the Plane of Fire, with the Fire Creature template or vulnerability to cold have a particular dislike of this weapon, and where possible will always choose to target the wielder with their attacks over any other opponent.

The above killed the weapon for me, it feels as if you are unsure of the power level of your item and are hedging your bets. Either use a cool mechanic or strip it all away for a better result.

Grand Lodge

A little late to the party, but tossing my item in for some good old fashioned critique!

Tome of the Journeyman
Aura moderate divination; CL 6th
Slot none; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 10 lbs.
Description
This large book is filled with insight into all walks of life. It never has the same appearance twice, but always feels familiar to those who have read it. A player who studies the book while focusing on a specific task will be pulled into its pages.
The book can be used to enter a 15-foot-by-15-foot extra-dimensional space that becomes perfectly suited for the desired Knowledge, Profession, or Craft skill check. The space can hold one creature, up to size category Large, at a time. A player can only use the book in a situation where they could otherwise choose to take 10 on a skill check.
The book allows a player to make any Knowledge or Profession skill check untrained. Masterwork tools and pristine texts are readily available and grant a +2 circumstance bonus on any check made inside the space. There are no material components found within. None of the tools or texts may be removed. Only items created in the space may be removed.
The book’s material and design change after every use to better represent the extra-dimensional space that was created. The air surrounding the book changes, and a corresponding scent is generated (i.e. the unique smell of an ancient library when seeking facts lost to time or varying herbs and smoke when completing alchemical processes.)
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Breadth of Experience, rope trick, masterwork transformationCost 5,000 gp

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Quote:
Thanks for the in depth review.

Lord CoSaX!

I forgot to give you a shout out for the bad pun!*

Drown your sorrows, get in the flow, and squirt some fresh ink.

After a couple items' worth of practice, you'll feel buoyant, I swear!

========
*This is a complement. All the best puns are very, very bad.


I would love some candid feedback on my entry.

Damoclean Sword

Aura: Moderate Transmutation CL 8th
Slot Price 18,641gp Weight] 4lbs.

[b] Description This is the Sword of Kings, symbolizing the peril of rule, marking its wielder as a person of power and one to watch: watch for anger, watch for wisdom, watch for weakness. It is rumored that even more powerful versions of this weapon exists, hovering in constant judgment of those who wield their power, and it's rumored that some 'Swords fall upon their rulers. Some try to give these swords away, and can find no takers.

In it's basic form, a Damoclean Sword is is a +1 Merciful Longsword. It grants the wielder the Leadership Feat when and if you meet the prerequisites, and it gives you a +2 on Intimidate and Diplomacy Checks. You must make a Will Save of 20 if you are to claim this sword for yourself. If you fail this save you will not willingly touch it or carry it. When not being used, it floats near its wielder, pointing constantly towards her, preferring to hang just above her head for all to see. It still may be drawn as if it were a regular sword, rotating and moving toward the wielder's hand. Normally, drawing the sword as a Move action, the same as a regular sword.

Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

CripDyke wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for the in depth review.

Lord CoSaX!

I forgot to give you a shout out for the bad pun!*

Drown your sorrows, get in the flow, and squirt some fresh ink.

After a couple items' worth of practice, you'll feel buoyant, I swear!

========
*This is a complement. All the best puns are very, very bad.

Glad I'm not the only one who likes bad puns :). As flawed as my design was, I still made it into the top100, and with the insight you offered I feel good about the next RPGSS contest! Surely I will be able to make something better, and I will especially take care to choose a better name for my item next time.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Quote:
As flawed as my design was, I still made it into the top100

Yeah, I try to give good reviews, but the nature of voting doesn't allow consideration of everything in the way my reviewing process does.

Essentially, my reviews are about building better items, but not necessarily about how to get votes from RPGSS voters. Hopefully good general design will get votes, but there are other factors.

Especially given the short time frame in the contest, Audience Appeal will probably play a bigger role in getting votes than it does in getting onto CripDyke's Personal Top32. I think yours was an item I noted had really strong audience appeal, even if I had some serious problems with the crunch and thought the name just didn't do anything at all to create image or mood or firm up the theme or whatever.

So, y'know, for RPGSS purposes you're already a much better designer than I am (having washed out in the riptide 3rd cull). Given that you've got those audience appeal skills and the obvious evidence of reaching the top 100, I think that you'll be in the top 32 before I ever get there.

Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

CripDyke wrote:
Quote:
As flawed as my design was, I still made it into the top100

Yeah, I try to give good reviews, but the nature of voting doesn't allow consideration of everything in the way my reviewing process does.

Essentially, my reviews are about building better items, but not necessarily about how to get votes from RPGSS voters. Hopefully good general design will get votes, but there are other factors.

Especially given the short time frame in the contest, Audience Appeal will probably play a bigger role in getting votes than it does in getting onto CripDyke's Personal Top32. I think yours was an item I noted had really strong audience appeal, even if I had some serious problems with the crunch and thought the name just didn't do anything at all to create image or mood or firm up the theme or whatever.

So, y'know, for RPGSS purposes you're already a much better designer than I am (having washed out in the riptide 3rd cull). Given that you've got those audience appeal skills and the obvious evidence of reaching the top 100, I think that you'll be in the top 32 before I ever get there.

There is no way to know, but what I do know is that your review helped me better understand my item's problems and item design in general, and I thank you for it!

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

Well I now have more dots than not in the Top 32 threads. I will be back after I finish dotting the others, but thanks to those who are doing this already. :)

Arc Rider Armor, electric
Aura moderate evocation and transmutation; CL 6th
Slot armor; Price 13,750 gp; Weight 30 lbs.
Description

With one shoulder open and a sweeping blue metallic bolt for a pauldron on the other, this +2 expeditious breastplate skitters with tiny electric bolts.

Attacks and effects dealing electricity damage cause the armor’s wearer to lift off the ground in a bright blue arc of energy. This electric bolt buzzes thunderously as it shakes the ground and lasts 1 round for every die of the effect.

While the blue energy fills the area below her, the wearer hovers 15 ft. in the air. She gains a speed of 60 ft. and may ignore terrain if it is less than 5 ft. tall. She can pass over creatures Large size or smaller during her movement. Any creature whose square the arc passes through takes 3d6 points of electricity damage. A successful Reflex save (DC 14) halves this damage. Targets in metal armor suffer a -3 penalty to this save. The arc can only deal damage to each target once per round, no matter how many times the wearer’s movement takes it over a target creature.

When using the expeditious ability of the armor, the wearer may choose to ignite the arc and gain its hovering effect to ignore terrain. This does not increase her speed or grant the electricity damage. The wearer is treated as always having a running start when jumping while either arc is active.

Traveling over water immediately grounds the arc ending its effects. Effects granting resistance to electricity end the arc and affect the wearer as the slow spell for 1d3 rounds (no save).

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, air step, expeditious retreat, lightning bolt; Cost 7,050 gp

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

4 people marked this as a favorite.

The following item critiques are just my opinion, and please note the distinct lack of Top X tags next to my name. When voting, I look for three main things: design space, potential for abuse, and interesting subject matter.

Design space often means “Should this item have been designed at all?” “Is this a good design space to exploit?” Past contestants have made many poor design choices over the years (myself included), and many of these traps have been covered in previous snarking and critiquing threads, so that if the designer had bothered to research past contests, they couldn’t have helped but realize they should have scrapped the item and started over.

Potential for abuse is just what it sounds like. If I can look at your item and come up with three ways to break the game by the second paragraph, then something is seriously wrong.

Interesting subject matter is totally subjective to my personal gaming tastes. Probably, this shouldn’t even be a consideration concerning the abilities of the designer, but it is.

Soulrazor:

Ugh…souls. Already dreading this.
Always at least one soul trapping item per year, very rarely a good idea.
Whoa those are a lot of required spells! Wait, you disappear into the sword for an hour? What’s the point of that? To pretend you’ve died? What’s the rest of the party supposed to do for an hour, twiddle their thumbs and run down their buffing spells? What’s stopping some bad guy from picking up the sword and running off with it…I mean, you?

Lion’s Roar:

Fancy sword that lets me convert my fear spell (4th level) into a mass greater heroism spell (what would that be…10th level?). That has huge abuse potential.

Glove of the Severed Servant:

One of two crawling hand/Thing items. I kept hoping they’d both show up at once and they could shake on it. This is basically a monster-in-a-can that can deliver touch spells for you. They already exist in the game…they’re called familiars, except this one is gross and can’t really be killed.

Green Flash:

How do you thread wood with gold? Do you mean streaked with gold?
I have played many longbow characters over the years and can remember firing on something outside of my first range increment maybe twice. Does this come up for other people more often?

Soul Shackle Bolt:

Ugh…souls...already dreading this.
Let’s keep stock of what this item does…blocks teleporting and planar travel, makes incorporeal creatures semi-solid, prevents dying from wounds, and delays after-death effects. I’m not sure what use that third one would have, unless I’m going to use this when the party fighter is down to a dozen hp and I shoot him in the back to prevent expensive raise dead spells. These are just too many effects, and while all related with the soul piercing business, they’re all just too different.

Sarkorian Sunderjaw:

The saving throw DC is pretty low, given the weapon cost, so this ability is only going to trigger on maybe a quarter of the time (and given that that time is when scoring a critical hit against creatures with bite attacks, that isn’t a lot to begin with), but negating a natural attack form is a neat idea.
I’m leery of items that let me harvest a monster’s abilities, though. Some folks will equip this item, and then send their PC on some side quest to find a monster with a special bite attack, just to add the teeth to their fancy club.

Gorgon Sinew Lariat:

I voted for this item many times and am surprised it wasn’t top 32+4. My main concern with it is the idea of a rope expelling gasses. Why deal with the gas mechanic at all, and not just have the skin touching the rope start to harden as the petrification spreads?

Locket of Love’s Lure:

Never saw this one in voting. Reading it now, I’m immediately turned off by the back story. The phrase “originally designed by…” has been so overused over the years, and ridiculed mercilessly by voters and judges, that using it here strongly suggests you didn’t take the time to research the competition. Looking past that, items that are more powerful for different RP design choices are very hard to price. Plus, the other abilities of this item make me think this is a creepy stalker’s best friend.

Cyclonic Darkleaf:

I voted for this one every time it came up. Armour that turns into a concealing cloud that hinders and damages adjacent opponents—awesome! I honestly don’t understand why this item was not top 32+4. When it’s a cyclone, you give up the roughly 25% reduction in being hit (from the +5 AC bonus) for a 20% miss chance that is vulnerable to things like seeking properties and the requirement that you stay motionless in exchange for this awesome cloud. I don’t think the addition of the alchemical silver component was necessary and it just seems finicky, and the power of this armour is increased by simple effects like the wearer being under an enlarge person (makes the cyclone bigger, too), which makes pricing a headache. Also, there’s the issue of can the user see his opponents through the cyclone, which you should have addressed with either a yes or no. Still, Like the Living Copperthread Net, I think you were robbed.

Auric Hush:

I saw this item more than any other in voting (probably at least 20 times), and I voted for it more than half of them. You went with an unlimited use item, which is fine, but that (correctly) drove up your price into the range where any enemies you face at the level you can afford this item will be auto-passing the DC 14 Will save, especially those pesky casters who are the real target of this coin. Plus, at that level, you’re going to be getting hit for at least 20 or 30 points of damage at a time, making those Fort saves to not cry out very difficult to make. Making the item a once per day thing would allow you to drop the price dramatically and fit better with the types of enemies you could face with this.

Teeth of the White Death:

I never saw this one in voting. Reading it now, I would have been immediately turned off by the dial-an-effect syndrome, but that’s a personal pet peeve of mine, and not universally shared by the voters. Yes, the abilities are all connected, but almost each and every one of them is a SIAC or monster-ability-IAC.

Hell’s Restraints:

Every time I saw this, I assumed this would be some sort of manacle situation, then remembered no, it’s armour. I have a few issues with the description sentence, preferring instead if the chains were simply identified as “kyton chains”, and there shouldn’t be anything in the description about the chains moving, unless they are always moving. What happens if I find this suit of armour sitting in a dragon’s treasure hoard? If the chains start going snaky on me as I approach it, I’ll just move the other way, thanks.
I love that you used the existing grapple and reposition mechanics instead of inventing new, and you specified the stats for the chains, realizing that grappled enemies attacking the chains themselves is a likely outcome. I’d rather you had just made the main ability twice per day and not added the last two options, however, to give you a tighter theme. Plus the image of the chains carrying you around reminds me of some movie or comic book character, but I can’t think of which one.

Lookouts Lucky Buckler:

I never saw this one in voting.
Get rid of the “crafted in the memory of…” line altogether. If I had seen your item during voting, I’d have stopped reading right there and moved to the other item. No backstory.
This item moves traps???????? That’s fine if it’s a snare trap or a bear trap, but what about some big swinging axe trap built into a wall? It moves the big axe and all the mechanisms that have been built into the dungeon, altering the inside of the dungeon walls purely on my whim? And this item gets more powerful as I add enhancement (not enchantment) bonuses? This sounds like a magic item that really wants to be a class ability.

Face of the Kraken:

This is another monster ability/grappling item. For some reason, it doesn’t have the same wow factor as the hell’s restraints. I do like the grab an item off the ground bit, but this item is like you’re trying to combine several monster abilities. Everything it does can be duplicated by a different monster ability: tentacles are like tentacles, the picking up items is like a prehensile tail, the repositioning bit is a like a giant frog tongue, and the water breathing is water breathing. Yes, you tied them all in with a theme, but the item still feels like dial-an-effect.

Watch of Borrowed Time:

Okay, no punches pulled. When my wizard decides to manufacture a pile of these to sell at the local magic craft fair, do they all have to have “Progress now, progress forever” engraved on the inside? What happens if I engrave “Teedle dee teedle doo, Wow it really sucks to be you!” instead? Do I have to artificially age the metal, or does the enchanting do that for me?
Description aside, here we have an item that messes with action economy, which is automatically super hard mode. You are smart to steal move actions (instead of standard), and no actual time is lost or gained, just transferred. However, making the activation a move action is a big no-no.
Then the last paragraph is just convoluted. I get that you’re trying to rules-lawyer the corner cases, and kudos to you for recognizing and trying to do that, but the end result just falls flat. If A happens, nothing happens, if B happens, somebody is sickened, if I want to, I can change where the hands are pointing, even though you said earlier I can only use this item once per day and the phantasmal hands stop once I first orient the hands. I’m not sure what to recommend as a solution, however. In addition, the whole item feels slightly meta-gamey.
P.S., 5,400 x 2 does not equal 11,000.

Chameleon Shield:

This is the shield of permanent concealment. You attack as your standard action, then do nothing with your move action, which gives you concealment until your next attack, after which you do nothing with your move action and get your concealment back. On the upside, it gives those people who complain about sword-and-board fighting styles something to celebrate. I have no issues with the second ability at all, but if that’s all your item had been, it would have been a basic and boring SIAC, which also would not have helped your case.

Needlenose Arbalest:

I saw this one a lot in voting, and voted for it regularly. “Below half their full hit points” is meta-gamey and gives the GM extra work, since he now has to check on the status of every creature you target with this.
The whole tuning into a giant mosquito is a nasty ability, which you balance by making it once per week (so probably once a module, twice tops). The rope pulling the target in closer each round does remind me of a fishing pole (I can almost picture the party joking “Give the ogre some line, tire him out, somebody get a net!”), and (this is a minor point) you don’t have to specify the additional point of bleed damage. Bleed damage, by its nature of being bleed damage, happens every round (unless you mean that the bleed damage increases by one each round, which is a bad idea since bleed damage so very rarely stacks with itself).

Wing of the Night Monarch:

Not a fan of items that require me to have two of them to activate the additional effect. How do you price that? Do I go to the magic item store on BOGO days?
Of course, the template is spot on (links and all), as would be expected from Template Fu, though there are few grammatical things going on (second sentence in the description is just a fragment, say “experiences” instead of “is subject to”, don’t use “they” and “their” pronouns).
I don’t think you’ve used too many words, I think you’ve thought your item through, realized the parts that may cause confusion or be open to abuse, and you’ve attended to them. You have broken your item into manageable paragraphs, each of which addresses one element of the item. People who complain that this is too many words need to branch out beyond graphic novels and try a real book someday.

Vudrani Fighting Rope:

Backstory. Only 11 words of it, but still backstory. At this point in voting, I had already switched to read the other item in the pair, before coming back to this one.
My main problem with this item is that you have a described a new type of weapon (that’s fine), and the things you can do with it, none of which seem like they have to at all magical. If this entry had appeared in a list of mundane equipment (minus the bit about them moving on their own), I would just have thought that that is a neat exotic weapon, maybe a little over-powered, and if it had appeared as some monk archetype’s special ability, I would have thought nothing amiss. In many ways, I’m also not sure if this is a weapon or a wondrous item that can be used to inflict damage under a special set of circumstances.

Armor of the Sun:

I never saw this one in voting. Reading it now, I would say get rid of the “but otherwise appears” part. Why describe a neat visual element of your magic item, and then instantly negate its wonder?
Magical incantation? We call those command words. Fluffy talk is for the physical description, not the mechanics.
After that, this is basically a duo-SIAC—book of magic items worthy, but not Superstar.

Ichaival, the Bow of Ydalir:

I never saw this in voting, but if I had, I would have already switched to read the other item, just from the title alone (as well as the lack of formatting).
Okay, the pendulum for description text has swung way too far the other way for you this year. Once I sort through all the unnecessary description (I want to know what your bow looks like, and maybe feels like to use, I don’t want to dissect it, and I certainly don’t want to know which single mythic figure it was crafted for—I want my wizard character to be able to make this for his fighter buddy), it seems to be an adaptive +2 composite longbow with a permanent gravity bow, the very model of a modern major SIAC (also, you don’t have to specify that the troll sinew allows the weapon to adapt itself to the strength of its wielder, that’s what the adaptive special ability is for).

Thieves’ Honor:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! ! You can’t do this!!! This is not a +2 menacing dagger, this is a +2 my-rogue-can-almost-always-get-his-sneak-attack-to-activate-no-matter-what- and-screw-you-Pathfinder-designers-I-fixed-the-rogue-class-for-you dagger. All the details about what the dagger can do and what type of damage it does is completely irrelevant next to what it allows your rogue character to do. This is a design space that should be avoided at all costs.

Gloves of Spell Grip:

Reading the title, I’m expecting some gloves that allow you to Snatch Arrows, but against incoming spells, probably allowing you to throw them back. I’m already dreading the description.
But I’m pleasantly surprised that you’re just playing with the held charge mechanic. However, this item does basically let you multiply the spells you cast beyond pearls of power or rings of wizardry. For example, you mention invisibility. Breaking that spell up into 1 minute chunks magnifies the power of the spell to an insane amount. Invisibility ends when you attack somebody. Normally, that means you’ve wasted 4.5 minutes worth of potential duration at 5th level, which is what helps balance the spell (as opposed to improved invisibility, which doesn’t end with an attack, but only lasts 1 round/level). Now I put on these gloves, and I don’t have 1 invisibility spell with 4.5 minutes of wasted duration, I have 5 with maybe 30 seconds waster duration each, or I have a mass version of invisibility that I can use on the whole party, all for just a single 2nd level spell. I haven’t gone through a whole spell list, but there have to be even higher level examples of spells that can become horribly broken with these gloves (polymorph, greater to give 13 people the ability to turn into a large fire elemental for 1 minute with just a single spell.
The idea of an item that lets you hold a charge and cast another spell with a concentration check is fine, great, and dandy, but just that alone would probably not be Superstar. Unfortunately, this primary ability is horribly gonzo.

Twin Star Breastplate:

I never saw this one in voting. Reading through now, it seems to be a suit of armour that allows a ranged drag maneuver (with slightly different mechanics) and then allows an ally with a Teamwork feat (that the wearer also has to have) to have an extra standard action at some point. I get the theme you’re going with (twin stars collide to make a black hole, twin stars represent the wearer and his ally), but those abilities are really unrelated.

Stormleaper’s Greaves:

I think you are way too hard on yourself here! This is the first item I’ve ever seen in four seasons of voting that I had any actual interest in acquiring for one of my characters! Yes, it’s a thunder and lightning item (see a million of those), yes it’s a flying item (seen a million of those), yes putting the two together isn’t original either (I think there are a couple in this season’s contest alone, including the top 32’s rocket shoes for horsies, which I also loved despite the humorous image of the poor horse going up in the air like a Saturn rocket), but the image of using the Acrobatics skill in place of the Fly skill…love, love love! I can so picture this, and I can picture my favourite monk character strapping these on. Maybe there’s some hideous rules exploit I’m not seeing here, but as far as I’m concerned, you should be submitting a map for round 2.

Rebel Mask:

“Favored by…” and I’m already reading the other item. After coming back to it, I find a once-per-day invisibility spell…and only against lawful creatures. It sounds like this item would be perfect for that one historical situation you offered in the second (second!?!?!) paragraph of backstory.

Wily Mace:

Swift action activations are usually problematic, but I actually like it here. I have no problems with the item at all until the 50% chance of it casting heat metal which is unnecessary, although I think I would prefer the item only being able to run through three cycles a day, but give it more than 1 or 2 points of fire damage. For that price point, I’d be fine with +1d6 and +2d6, with 5d6 on the critical. That would make it better than a +5 weapon (since this ability is better than standard flaming burst), so the price would have to reflect that; currently you have this item priced exactly as a +6 heavy mace, so I think for that money, you can get a little more flame for your gold piece.

Zeitgeist Coin:

This item is like a weapon that harvests a monster ability to use later, but for settlements. I don’t know the ruleset you’re employing at all, but my concern would be that using this item would allow a PC to attune the coin to some settlement that has a really beneficial modifier for his build, then keep using it everywhere he goes, kind of like an item that allowed an urban ranger to treat any community as a favoured one. But, I don’t know the ruleset, so if that isn’t a possible concern, feel free to ignore it, and all I’ll add is that the item is very niche, and voters who don’t use that ruleset might be turned off by it.

Pendant of Hidden Malice:

So this is an item that makes you invisible, and then puts the whammy on anybody who sees through it. In a way, the true power of the item is the curse, not the invisibility, since at that price point, you will encounter a good number of enemies with constant true seeing or the magical means to see an invisible creature. It’s like you’re taunting your enemies, making yourself invisible, just so they’ll be able to see through it and get a nasty whammy with no save, which, in effect, makes this item a mobile trap you wear around your neck.
This item also prevents your allies from safely using their own true seeing, unfortunately.

Jar of Fireflies:

Yikes, the wording of this item is awkward to say the least, making it difficult to figure out what the item actually does. I have no idea what a difficulty check or Break DC 16 even mean. Let me try a quick re-wording into Pathfinder-friendly language to see if it clarifies the item’s function for me.

This blown-glass jar, sealed with a metal lid, contains five fireflies, which provide spectacular illumination and a continuous source of light.

If the fireflies are released from the jar, they transform into five small flying beetles (treat as small fire elementals) under the wielder’s control, with the following alterations: melee slam +4 (1d4 fire damage plus burst) and special attack: burst (1d8+8, DC 11 for half). The beetles continue to attack their target until recalled back to the jar.
If the jar is thrown as a bomb or sundered (hardness 1, 2 hp), it breaks, detonating in a 20-foot radius burst, inflicting 1d8+8 points of fire damage for each firefly remaining in the jar. A Reflex save DC 15 reduces this damage by half.
Druids following the goddess of fireflies tend to bee amused by the creation of these jars.
Definitely drop that last sentence. :) As for the rest of the item, it’s kind of like a monster in a can (or in this case, a jar). Also, this seems like a single-use item, and at 24,000 a pop, yowsers!!
If you enter again next season, I’d highly recommend studying up on the Pathfinder rules – the PRD has all that you would need.


Chemist’s Retort:

Magic items that duplicate/replicate mundane or other magic items are very tricky, because then the power of the item becomes dependant on what you do with it. Duplicating 50 gp items makes it more powerful than duplicating 10 gp items. Notice that there’s nothing about this item that prevents me from using some sort of magic to safely catch the fired projectiles before they hit something, and now I’ve quintupled my investment of alchemist’s fire (or whatever I loaded). I would rather see this as a repeating crossbow with an extra-dimensional space bolt case that allowed you to feed it with a certain number of vials (identical vials to go easy on the bookkeeping), and it would keep firing vials until it ran out.
Honestly, by the time you can afford this weapon, you can buy alchemist’s fire by the caseload, and don’t need it to duplicate anything.

Blackthorn Cudgel:

I don’t know the rules for greenwood items, but I’m guessing they tend to take damage from use and can repair themselves somehow. I’m not sure what the value is in causing the weapon to become damaged. Is it to balance it somehow? Essentially, what we have is a wounding weapon with a bunch of fluff to describe the wounding property, and it’s actually weaker than wounding, since the actual wounding property is harder to stop than this effect. To be fair, you did price this lower than a regular +2 wounding club, so perhaps this was on purpose, but in the end, all this is is a +2 wounding club with attached fluff, and not really Superstar because of that.

Mask of Cheerful Demeanor:

This item is cute, has a good theme, and its low cost makes it very attractive. Unfortunately, at its core, the item is just a bunch of skill and saving throw bonuses with a drawback that’s easily avoided by not building a character to make much use of Intimidation and fear magic (kind of like having a magic item that makes you good at using an axe, but bad at using a bow—I’d just enjoy my axe and buy a few javelins..).

Page one complete (I think)...

Star Voter Season 9

I posted my item on page 2 but I'm really interested in some critique so I'm posting again (mostly due to the fact that others on this thread said we should repost). After reading through some of the comments on other items I would guess that a major criticism of my item is the lack of "flavor". My item doesn't have a "story" or "theme". That was intentional when I was designing it but it might have been a mistake in that RPGSS items are looking for flavor. In any case, I am interested in feedback so I can do better next time!

Fragmenting Quarterstaff
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 28000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Description
This +1/+1 quarterstaff is slightly longer than a standard quarterstaff being a full 6 feet in length. Once per day as a standard action, the wielder may utter a command word which will cause the staff to break into two 3 foot segments or three 2 foot segments at the wielder’s discretion. Each of the segments acts as an animated object and can be thrown up to 20 feet away where it will attack any enemy as directed by the wielder using the wielder’s attack bonus for a quarterstaff, either single or double ended. A 3 foot segment does one-half the damage of the whole quarterstaff and a 2 foot segment does one-third the damage. After 10 rounds the animated segments spend an additional round to return to the wielder where they reform into a single quarterstaff.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, animate objects; Cost 14000 gp

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Maurice de Mare wrote:
Fiendish Zen wrote:

Snowfall

The above killed the weapon for me, it feels as if you are unsure of the power level of your item and are hedging your bets. Either use a cool mechanic or strip it all away for a better result.

I think you've got something there! With hindsight I was unhappy with that sentence, it does seem 'clunky', not specific enough!

Thank you for your feedback :)

Star Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Nazard wrote:
However, making the activation a move action is a big no-no.

First of all, I really do appreciate your feedback.

I'm just not entirely sure what you mean by this. Could I trouble you for further elaboration?

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

JamesCooke wrote:
Nazard wrote:
However, making the activation a move action is a big no-no.

First of all, I really do appreciate your feedback.

I'm just not entirely sure what you mean by this. Could I trouble you for further elaboration?

Activating a wondrous item should be a standard action, unless there's a very good reason for it to be something else, usually a swift action for some minor effect, or immediate for a reactive, defensive item. Making the activation a move action essentially allows you to do two things in a round. Forcing the player to choose an action for a round is part of the strategy of combat, and allowing them a cop out, while what we might often want as a player, isn't the best design.

Speaking as someone who has submitted move action items in the past, I can tell you that the judges don't like it.

Dark Archive Marathon Voter Season 9

"Tentacles" are monster effect? ._.; Grabbing things being better version of prehensile tail I admit, but that confuses me

Also, giant frogs can't reposition with their tongue, they grab stuff at range. Is that really too close?

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

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Jar of Captured Nightmares
Aura minor enchantment and evocation, moderate illusion; CL 10th
Slot none; Price 4,900 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
When uncovered the jar’s contents reduce light as a darkness spell. Those who look into the jar see writhing shapes, that at one moment seems to be a tentacle trying to burst its glass prison, a coiled taxidermy snake that blinks, or dozens skittering legs that obscure what is certain to be a hideous central body.
The jar can be thrown as a splash weapon, on a hit the target must succeed a Will Save DC 15 with a -5 penalty or immediately fall asleep for 1 minute as deep slumber and is subject to the nightmare spell. The target takes damage from the nightmare once per round, and upon waking is fatigued.
As long as the target sleeps the creature emanates a 60 ft. radius of deeper darkness. Anyone inside the area of deeper darkness also experiences the nightmare phantasms of the target of the jar, with no penalty to the Will Save to avoid the damage, this is a mind-effecting, illusion effect with the fear descriptor.
If the attack roll misses, the jar breaks and releases deeper darkness for one round centered upon the square it hits before dispersing. If the target succeeds the initial Will Save then the jar breaks and releases the deeper darkness effect for one round centered on the target, before dispersing.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, deeper darkness, deep slumber, nightmare; Cost 2,450 gp

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Page 1 Critiques:

Soulrazor:
Typically list only the most important school in the aura, might have also considered adding [evil] to its aura.
Hard to spend over 100k on a +1 weapon, would have been better to have been a bit more expensive and at least +3, also then you could have probably dropped impervious as well (hardness and hp would go up from the enhancement). Shouldn’t need to list the threat range or hardness/hp (I think I made the same mistake with my item on the hardness/hp).
Lots of people don’t care for soul based items, or things with giant price tags.

Lion’s Roar :
First probably a bit too much descriptive text for many people. Turning fear into greater heroism is a decent concept, but it can be broken by having an ally use a much lower level fear effect to elicit the greater heroism. (example: enforcer+demoralize = easy to achieve decent duration demoralize with non-lethal damage), 1/day greater heroism + 3/day ignore dr/resistances is probably worth more than an extra 11k gp as well.

Glove of the Severed Servant:
An item I liked quite a bit. Typically list only the most important school in the aura, I’d also have listed craft magic arms and armor in the requirements as well (since it functions as a +1 spiked gauntlet). Should probably have some sort of duration for the effect.

Green Flash:
Not in love with the name, primarily because it sort of brings to mind The Flash. Theme is good though. Typically list only the most important school in the aura, Missing the base cost of a longbow in both the price and cost (both should be 375gp more). A 1/day quickened true strike + 1 hour faerie fire + range penalty reduction is probably more valuable then just a +1 modifier (the difference in cost between the base function of your weapon and its price). This item feels more flavor than crunch.

Soul Shackle Bolt:
Typically list only the most important school in the aura, price is rather high for a consumable, but this one is pretty powerful. The part about not dying at negative Con score, makes me want to carry one around to impale myself (and willingly fail the save) with in very tough boss fights. (not sure if this is intentional or not). Could also be used defensively against things that plane shift/ teleport their enemies, much of this effect could have been done with a +1 ghost touch phase locking bolt.

Sarkorian Sunderjaw :
One of my personal picks for top 32, I really like the part about granting a slam if the creature has no other attacks, wish I had more feedback to give.

Phase Strike Lenses :
Typically list only the most important school in the aura (also don’t think I’ve ever seen an item with 2 different aura strengths), Applied to eyes makes me think of eye drops or ointment, Over all seems like an easy way to move allies around and through obstacles and walls, with 2 members of a party wearing these, solid objects/walls become very temporary obstacles, would have preferred more limitation on usage.

Locket of Love's Lure :
I’m not sure how familiar most people are with Naderi, It feels like it would fit perfectly alongside similar items from Inner Sea Gods though. Solid BoMI with great flavor. Spells and Skill bonuses + drawback doesn’t really seem to have the right Mojo for Superstar. I love the flavor, but I am also familiar with Naderi, many other voters might not have been.

Cyclonic Darkleaf :
Typically list only the most important school in the aura (also don’t think I’ve ever seen an item with 2 different aura strengths), Alchemical Silver doesn’t make the metal any lighter or less bulky (mithral perhaps), main problem is that it traps the wearer in a square (also when voting I missed that the cyclone only fills adjacent squares not the wearer’s square, so thought it damaged the wearer as well). Also no point about the armor reforming after the cyclone finishes, Overall creative item though

Auric Hush:
I think I would have preferred a maximum duration added somewhere, but A it is a low save to effect, then there is the fort save if damaged, but many creatures that this would be used on won’t have too many options to inflict damage if it affects them. Also the 1gp seems a little weird, I guess because it is a coin (wondrous items generally don’t have a mundane cost added like weapons and armor).

Teeth of the White Death:
Aura strength is wrong, should be based upon the caster level of the item, see Detect magic, The fear ability gives an aura, but references the spell which doesn’t work as an aura (it does a cone that hits then is gone) Fast Healing 3 for 1d6 hours alone 1/day would be cheep to get for 10,000gp, without considering the other effects. It is thematic, but still a bit to SAK

Hell’s Restraints:
Aura strength should be faint, Should probably clairify that the targets aren’t pulled adjacent (normal grapple rules), at least I think that is the intention, over all solid thematic item.

Lookouts Lucky Buckler:
Missing comma in price, Missing cost of mwk buckler in price and cost (both should be 155gp more). Probably should have been “as woven threads” in first line.
Items shouldn’t say exactly who made them (anyone with the appropriate feats, that can make craft DC’s can make items, prereqs like spells and cl can be ignore by increasing the DC, only the crafting feat can’t be).
This item leaves me many questions, what about traps that take up more than a square (most pit traps), what about traps that fire out of walls (they have to be placed in the ground?), I think this concept is a bit hard to pull off in only 300 words, and might be too complex for an item.
I also can’t think of an item published by Paizo that refers to effects on the item’s enhancement changing.

Face of the Kraken:
Typically list only the most important school in the aura, tentacles coming out of the face really remind my of Mind Flayers (an IP problem), even though this isn’t at all thematically tied to them. Probably write the reposition ability to: Three times a day as a standard action the wearer may attempt a reposition combat maneuver on a creature within 15 ft, as the tentacles grow. (or something, as written some people might think 1 standard action to grow, no duration, and reposition now as much as they want at 15 ft). Cost seems a bit low for swift action retrieval (almost a feat) + hands free grappling, 3/day reach reposition and water breathing (probably would have been much closer without the waterbreathing)

Watch of Borrowed Time:
Should be extra move action (movement is not an action type), I can see this being used on allies (stagger the caster, who only needs a standard to cast [and willingly fails the save], and give the extra move to the martial who can use it to get into position to full attack), not sure if this is intended. Also the stagger part has a save, but the sickened part does not. Interesting concept item for sure.

Needlenose Arbalest:
I think the main problem is most of the time this is a 9,000-19,000 (if the target is bleeding or below ½ heath) item. So it is quite expensive for an item that can really be used 1/week or possibly month (if the creature is slain), many games don’t span a whole lot of time. I really like the item mechanically and thematically though.

Wing of the Night Monarch:
Typically only the most important school is listed in the aura. Not sure what guard sticks are exactly (probably the outermost spokes). I think you could have dropped the melds with the target description (doesn't sound like a damaging attack). Holy damage is not a specific damage type in pathfinder (weapons such as holy deal extra damage but this just becomes the same type as the weapon). This strange damage type makes them overcome any DR. I worry that the free feint check makes these way to valuable for ranged rogues. When wielding two fans does one need to full attack or activate both as a standard (the latter is what this sounds like)? I do like the waking dream ability, but I think that these are too powerful for ranged rogues.

Vudrani Fighting Rope:
I think you made a bold choice with this item, but I think it might have worked better as a wondrous rope. I cannot think of a single specific magic weapon that is not one of the normal base weapon types, and that probably hurt you in voting. For the disarm bonus, you could have just added the disarm quality as well as performance and trip. I like the theme and abilities but doubt many characters that are investing feats to use combat maneuvers want to invest another feat (exotic weapon prof) in a otherwise unique item.

Armor of the Sun:
There is no need for the "otherwise appears like a normal suit of Full Plate" also the name, full plate, and spell names should not be capitalized (check Paizo books for formatting style). So the flames damage further out if the wearer has a reach weapon? Should have probably said move adjacent to the wearer. Also most of the time I'd buy some sort of +3 armor instead of this at almost the same price point.

Ichaival, The Bow of Ydalir:
Next time use the formatting template provided by the competition. See board codes at the bottom of posting on the message boards. Follow the most recent standards from the Core Rule Book. Rules for aura strengths are found in the spell detect magic, yours should be strong based upon the CL. Weapons should be Slot none;. Specific magic weapons are not the same as unique magic weapons. They should be craftable by anyone that meets the construction requirements (or can make the proper craft dc when ignoring prereqs). This item is written up as a unique item and that hurt it quite a bit. It should be "This +2 adaptive composite longbow" normal convention for weapons and armor is to start with the enhancement bonus and all magical items should be italicized. Mechanically this item is also boring, all it does is constant gravity bow, not sure why other spells are needed in the crafting requirements. For the same cost I could have a +5 weapon

Thieves’ Honor:
Typically only the most important school is listed in the aura of an item. I think this is quite an interesting weapon. The main problem is it isn't too much more expensive than just another +1 on a +3 weapon, and is quite a lot stronger than a +3 menacing dagger. One other thing is that while menacing goes well with the flanking theme, it might go a bit too well, starts to look powergamey with that property. Overall a very solid submission though.

Gloves of Spell Grip:
This might just have been a bit too strong for most people. I do like that it is limited to the casting time of the spell (minimum standard) I think that helps bring this item to a reasonable level given its very high price point, also the drawback of having to make concentration checks to cast other spells while holding a spell helps bring this item to reasonable levels.

Twin Star Breastplate:
I really enjoyed this item. It reminds me a bit about my item from last year (Grandmaster's Plate), but is much, much better. One of the points though that was made about my item was, that it felt like a wondrous item and there seemed to be little reason for it to be armor, others might have felt the same about yours. The biggest question I have is "pulled up to 30 feet closer to the wearer." Does the wearer get to decide how far to pull creatures, does the same decision have to be applied to all of them or can the wearer pull different creatures different directions? I feel like unanswered questions can lead to arguments at the game table. I love that this item incentivizes teamwork feats even further.

Stormleaper’s Greaves:
Typcially items only list the most important school in the aura. This was one of my keepers and predicted top 32 for me. I like the use of acrobatics, the limitation of a creature may only take the sonic damage once per round, and the increased potency of using them in a storm. I could have probably been happy without the 5d6 (5d10) 1/stormleap attack. Or maybe if this ended the storm leap or something, it feels strange that this can be done once per leap and feels arbitrary (other than game balance). Great item.

Rebel Mask:
Typically only the most important school is listed in the aura. You are missing the comma in the price (but got it right in the cost). Spells are missing italics (should include it in the item description with invisibility also). Mechanically these aren't particularly interesting it is a SIAC with a little bit of a limitation. The item itself should be interesting, using more word count on the item's story then its description and function really hurts here.

Wily Mace:
Overall I like this item, but it certainly has a few issues. First the price, this thing is as expensive as a +6 weapon. Granted it has an at will swift activated ability, but of a fairly weak effect. A +3 flaming burst heavy mace is probably a more powerful item and is still a little less expensive. The second problem with this is it is not much more than a SIAC.

Zeitgeist Coin:
Typically the aura should only list the most important school. The main problem with this item is that it is too niche. I have never seen the actual settlement rules used at a table (even in my Kingmaker game), and I think that others have the same experience. I think that it is an interesting and well written item that lost a lot of support due to the use of a fairly obscure rules set. It was a bold gamble, but I think that it hurt this time.

Pendant of Hidden Malice:
Typically only the most important school is listed in the aura. This feels mostly like a SIAC greater invisibility that is more powerful than a 1/day, as the rounds can be split, with an arbitrary drawback. I like the descriptive text; it's enough to get a clear image of the item. The opening and closing of the eye though is going to be only seen when the wearer is suffering the drawback (as otherwise it is invisible). The name is also a bit of a disconnect: I don't think I like the idea of an item that has Malice for its wearer, it feels somewhat cursed.

Jar of Fireflies:
The text describing the aura should not be capitalized, and the only descriptors I can recall on auras have been alignment based (not completely sure though). The price and cost should use a comma not a period. The writing could be cleaned up a bit, I get the impression you are not a native English speaker, some work shopping might help with that portion for you in the future. Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, fire seeds, summon nature's ally VI You don't need to list the base item it is crafted from, spells should be listed in alphabetical order ect. See formatting in the Core Rulebook (check 6th printing/errata). The formatting in the text listing in parathesis is also not really used.
"five small flying beetles of flame, use statistics for small fire elementals under the control of the person who opened the jar. When the beetles successfully strike with their slam they explode dealing 1d8+8 fire damage to the target, a successful DC 11 reflex save halves this damage..."
The price is also way too high for what appears to be a one use item. Anyone that can afford a 24,000 gp consumable can nearly afford a scroll of wish, and having things that make attacks at +4 and have dc 11 saves aren't even close to competitive. I hope this is helpful for the future.

Chemist's Retort:
First, curious how you know you did not make top 100 last year. To my knowledge they never released that list. Aura should be moderate with a caster level of 6. This item is problematic in that it can mess with the cost of consumables. While most consumables at 50gp or less are not particularly useful when you can afford a 12k item, it still is a bit problematic in that regard. Also this really steps on the design elements of things like grenadier alchemists a bit too much I think.

Blackthorn Cudgel:
Typically only the most important school is listed in an item's aura. Slot should say none not no. The weight should have a period at the end (to show abbreviation of lbs.). The first sentence should start: "This +2 wounding greenwood club". Always try to follow the format of items from the Core Rule Book as best as you can. drop the In this case (all of these items are crafted this way). You don't need to specify that the bleed damage is hit point damage (only if it is a different type of damage as bleed defaults to hp damage). You can drop the or standard action (one can always take a move action instead of a standard). Having this item take 25 points of damage is problematic as it would normally be broken at 13 damage and destroyed at 25 damage (5 base hp for a club, +20 for the +2 enhancement bonus). This also seems strange that it takes damage when the thorns re-grow, not when they break off.

Mask of Cheerful Demeanor:
There are a few problems with this item. Mainly that skill and save bonuses aren't particularly interesting. They work fine for functional and publishable items, but don't show much to the reader to suggest this is an interesting designer. I suspect some people also absolutely hated the idea of the flavor of this item. How annoying would it get if someone around you always spoke cheerfully, enthusiastically ect. Though others probably loved it. I think you did a good job keeping the item to theme though, all of its abilities make sense for the theme and it doesn't feel like a SAK, so good work there.

Star Voter Season 9

Hmm.

I'm not sure how many people will end up critiquing my item, but thanks to the people that have already. I can tell now that I kinda butchered my wording a lot, so I'll have to work on that next year. Also make something much less spell-in-a-can-y.

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

CorvusMask wrote:

"Tentacles" are monster effect? ._.; Grabbing things being better version of prehensile tail I admit, but that confuses me

Also, giant frogs can't reposition with their tongue, they grab stuff at range. Is that really too close?

I just meant that those things were very "monster-y", like I could imagine all of those abilities being given to monsters. Tentacles are a monster thing. The giant frog reference was just an analogy, as that's what I imagined when I pictured the PC using the item that way.

It's only my opinion, but I generally don't like monster-ability items, since it's a design space that's been done to death over the years, especially tentacles. I'm in the "give me something new, not cribbed from the Bestiary" camp--it might be a camp of one, but we still like to party.

Star Voter Season 9

Quote:


Fragmenting Quarterstaff

I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine! Canary's Mining Helmet I feel your pain from page 3.

I like this item, and I know I voted it up at least twice. My only criticisms come in the variability of its nature and how it plays with math. As a quarterstaff, it would do 1d6 base damage(divided by either 2 or 3). I'm not sure if that's what you meant, or if you intended it to do 2d6 damage(1d6 per side of the double weapon). If you intended 1d6 each, maybe something along the lines of "breaks into 2 or 3 +1 clubs that can..."

I like the variability conceptually, but it makes the math messy, which is the one big turnoff for me. It's that 1/3 that kills me. Im not sure how to fix it though. I guess if it was a Sansetsuken(Three Section Staff) from the eastern rules, but then it it's weird to break it in 2. Maybe the "breaks into clubs" could fix this too?

Also, I think the Dancing weapon ability would have worked better for what you wanted. Dancing does exactly what you asked for and even uses animate objects as its spell requirement. Since it's a weapon and not a Wonderous item, I think it's definitely the way to go.

I really liked the flavore of this item, Im building a Friar Tuck monk now and I'll probably steal it. It's just the mechanics that tripped me up a bit.

I hope this is helpful! Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss further!

Star Voter Season 9

Goll McMorna wrote:
Quote:


Fragmenting Quarterstaff

I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine! Canary's Mining Helmet I feel your pain from page 3.

I like this item, and I know I voted it up at least twice. My only criticisms come in the variability of its nature and how it plays with math. As a quarterstaff, it would do 1d6 base damage(divided by either 2 or 3). ...

Thanks so much for your comments! I am glad that you liked the concept. It is interesting to me that the math/mechanics were confusing. They are so clear in my mind. :-) Yet as you started describing it I could easily see how what I wrote would be confusing. It's a good thing I didn't go with my original idea that the staff could be split into and combination of 1, 2, 3, or 4 foot segments.

Canary's Mining Helmet comments coming soon.

Grand Lodge

Quote:
Canary's Mining Helmet

I like the idea but I think it should not just detect poisonous and flammable gas. I think it should also detect traps.

Star Voter Season 9

Quote:
Canary's Mining Helmet

The visuals were great and descriptive. I can just imagine a burly dwarf all decked out in heavy armor and formidible weapons wearing this rusted tin helmet with a cute little bird in it.

I liked the fact that it seemed not too different than a real life mining canary (detecting poisonous/flammable gas). However, I wanted to see what other things this little guy did that made it more than a mundane item. Honestly I felt a little disappointed that the only other ability was detect metal. I'm not sure that that spell has a lot of use. Maybe it would have been fun if the canary had a screech attack. It would be hilarious if this little yellow canary would suddenly emit a loud shriek startling the enemy.

Also, I wondered what would happen to the canary when poisonous gas was encountered. After emitting the chirping sound would it die?

I'm going to keep this item in the back of my mind and probably use it in a future adventure with my group. I think they would love how fun it is.

Grand Lodge

Quote:
Canary's Mining Helmet

I think it would be fun to be in the middle of fight and hear a little bird shouting at the top of its lungs.

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

Template Fu wrote:


Wing of the Night Monarch

Lot's of template errors :-)

Just kidding, but the main problem of this entry is that you need two fans for it to work.

So either make it a pair and then your second power makes sense or delete the second power entirely.

So lack of focus on the item itself killed you + the links to the PRD :-)

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

Just to be clear:

If I liked your item, it is awesome and the public was wrong in their final judgement (but you already know that).

If I respond to your item, it has 'something' and could be salvaged.

If I don't respond, I don't have anything nice to offer.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Nazard wrote:

Blackthorn Cudgel

I don’t know the rules for greenwood items, but I’m guessing they tend to take damage from use and can repair themselves somehow. I’m not sure what the value is in causing the weapon to become damaged. Is it to balance it somehow? Essentially, what we have is a wounding weapon with a bunch of fluff to describe the wounding property, and it’s actually weaker than wounding, since the actual wounding property is harder to stop than this effect. To be fair, you did price this lower than a regular +2 wounding club, so perhaps this was on purpose, but in the end, all this is is a +2 wounding club with attached fluff, and not really Superstar because of that.

Yes, the mechanism for greenwood items details how they repair damage. I think I got too immersed in the mechanics of that and lost track of the impact on the item's usefulness. I needed to drop the price because it ended up playing like a downgraded +2 wounding club. As you point out, that's not really superstar-level. I still like the imagery, but I think I see why it didn't get further. I did better than I thought I would on my first try, but I'll have to do better next year.

Thanks for the helpful feedback!

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Kigvan wrote:

Page 1 Critiques:

Blackthorn Cudgel
*Typically only the most important school is listed in an item's aura. Slot should say none not no. The weight should have a period at the end (to show abbreviation of lbs.). The first sentence should start: "This +2 wounding greenwood club". Always try to follow the format of items from the Core Rule Book as best as you can. drop the In this case (all of these items are crafted this way). You don't need to specify that the bleed damage is hit point damage (only if it is a different type of damage as bleed defaults to hp damage). You can drop the or standard action (one can always take a move action instead of a standard). Having this item take 25 points of damage is problematic as it would normally be broken at 13 damage and destroyed at 25 damage (5 base hp for a club, +20 for the +2 enhancement bonus). This also seems strange that it takes damage when the thorns re-grow, not when they break off.

Thanks for the detailed notes. I had no idea there were so many details I missed. I think my wording for damage points taken and repaired was a real problem with lots of voters. I tried a variety of different methods and ran out of time before I found a really good one. Lesson learned - I'll start earlier next year!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My take on the items (1st batch)

Soulrazor : VERY powerful primary ability, almost on par with a Final Blade (and those are artifacts), and then you add a really too good secondary ability that turns the item in a SAK. Even the high price is not enough to offset all this.

Lion's Roar : Workshopped item that did improve markedly from the version I first saw. Congrats on this. I still think you overused a bit the image of the lion and sadly it was a meme this season. Also, the final version feels a bit like a Paladin in a can. I do not know if that was a consciously chosen theme, but it did detract from your item's originality.

Glove of the Severed Servant : This was the only workshopped item on my Keep list. I ranked it even above the items of several Top32 which I upvoted consistently. You made it better than the first version I saw and clearly took workshopping comments into account. Even the name is better. And I love the last part you added in case of the wearer's death. Great item all around.

Green Flash : The one I dubbed the double IP infringement because of the Green Arrow/Flash association (at least in my mind) ;-) I wanted to downvote it so badly for that but its high quality and great visuals had me upvoting it quite a bit in fact. The fact that its special ability (though powerful) was only once per day weakened it in the end. At least 3 times per day (maybe with a lesser bonus to hit) would have been better in my opinion. Wonderful atmosphere though.

I'll do more items later :-)

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