CMI response Thread


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Dedicated Voter Season 9

CripDyke wrote:

In order for the vial to be duplicated, you must put it in the bolt case, then load the bolt case into the crossbow.

Quote:

The bolt case ...may,... be filled with a single flask or vial.

...

Once the bolt case is loaded into the crossbow, this weapon duplicates [stuff] and may fire up to five total of any such item before running out and needing to be reloaded.

So before the magic is operant, you put the vial in the bolt case, the bolt case then is loaded in the crossbow.

Quote:

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

But when you pop the bolt case back off, Presto! It's empty. Note that this happens anytime you remove the bolt case, not merely after you've fired something.

So the bolt case appears to disintegrate any vial in it when the bolt case is loaded in the crossbow.

By magic however, it can fire off 5 of those things anyway.

But your original?

Just gone.

True, but there's nothing to keep you from firing it into a pillow. Or the air, and having a mage friend ready featherfall.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Ah! Now that's something that hadn't occurred to me.

Good spot!

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Trident of the Elemental Captain
Aura Moderate Evocation; CL 14th
Slot Two-Handed Weapon; Price 30,195 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Description This ornately decorated +2 trident is adorned with ruby’s, sapphires and topazes, and each point is charged with a different elemental energy. As such on hit the trident deals an additional 1 point of fire, cold and electricity damage. This effect stacks with those granted from the flaming, shocking and frost properties. Additionally once per day the user can command the trident to cast a Scorching Ray that fires three rays that must be all against the same target. The first ray dealing cold damage, the second electricity, the last fire.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Scorching Rays, Snowball**, Shocking Grasp.; Cost 15,097 gp

Formatting:

Rubies. Antipodal elements should cancel imo, but I think pathfinder removed that from 3.5. The normal convention for +1 elemental damage is that it does not stack with enchantments like flaming (etc), but this is less relevant for a specific magical item without those abilities.

And the rest is spell in a can.

Does this add something to the game?

No, elemental damage exists and +1 can be gained from racial options; admittedly this would be the first item to combine multiple elements in this fashion.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

I don’t have a specific problem with it, but I don’t like it either.

As a GM?

Ditto player opinion. If I had a little-mermaid themed area I could do something with this, but then fire and electricity are not so useful underwater.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): First cull

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Sanguine kiss
Aura Moderate Transmutation; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 41,320 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
This +1 wounding rapier, accompanied by a sheath of red leather, sports a hilt made of steel thorny stems extending upwards all the way along the blade and downward acting as the guard.

While unsheathed, the wielder can activate the following abilities as a swift action.

Deal 1 negative level upon confirmed critical hits. These temporary hit points last for 24 hours. One day after being struck, subjects must succeed at a DC 16 Fortitude save for each negative level gained or any such levels become permanent.
Once per turn deal 1 constitution damage to a creature hit
slain humanoids immediately rises from death as a vampire spawn under the control of the wielder. A wielder may have enslaved spawn totaling no more than 22 Hit Dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit would immediately revert to regular corpses.

Every round the sanguine kiss must deal 10 damage per activated ability to a creature other than constructs, oozes, plants, outsiders with the elemental subtype, undeads or creatures immune to bleed damage. whenever it fails to do so it deals the required amount of damage on its wielder at the end of it's turn.

Whenever the sanguine kiss is sheathed or unwielded by creatures other than constructs, oozes, plants, outsiders with the elemental subtype, undeads or creatures immune to bleed damage, all it's activated powers deactivate and all vampire spawns created immediately revert to regular corpses.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Animate Object, Undead Anatomy II; Cost 20,820 gp

Formatting:

I feel like you need a flower in the item text description. Thorny steel stems flows better than steel thorny stems.

You have item evocative of some sort of blood rose, and then the item name and mechanics scream vampire. Try to ensure your descriptive text supports your chosen theme.

The item’s theme is more befitting an intelligent or cursed item, or an artifact.

Does this add something to the game?

Nope.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

Nope.

As a GM?

Nope.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): First Cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


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

Format:

Interesting, generally well written. What happens if I cast a spell I’ve scribed into one of the books? Do I cast two spells -- how would that work? What’s the point of this item?

Does this add something to the game?

It’s a pricy, but interesting way to communicate with a specific other individual, and the conversation would be very difficult to spy upon or interrupt.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

Indifferent. The price point means it’s an NPC item, but I can sell things so it’s not entirely useless. Maybe useful in a kingdom building setting.

As a GM?

I could use this. It’s more setting backdrop than cool item though. I guess I could scry and fry through it.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): Around the second or third cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Fray’s Fabulous Fireworks
Aura moderate evocation; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 3 lbs.
Description
This soot-covered leather satchel contains an array of colored fireworks. A firework can be drawn from the satchel and launched as a standard action. It flies 200 feet upwards and up to 60 feet horizontally before exploding in a beautiful pattern matching the firework’s hue. The glowing embers rain down in a 20 foot radius cylinder for 2d4 rounds, causing an effect each round based on the firework’s color. Each creature in the area may make a DC 16 Reflex save to take half damage and avoid any additional effects.
Red: Burning ash deals 2d6 points of fire damage and blocks all sight in the area;
Yellow: Sparkling motes deal 1d6 points of damage and outline all creatures as glitterdust;
Green: Falling spores deal 1d6 points of acid damage and sicken creatures;
Blue: Shards of ice deal 2d6 points of cold damage and create difficult terrain for 1 minute;
Purple: Inky tentacles attempt to grapple creatures as black tentacles, with a CMB of +12;
White: Positive energy cures 1d8+5 points of damage and affects creatures as protection from evil.
Every 24 hours, the satchel generates 3 random fireworks, and any fireworks remaining from the previous day disappear.
Construction Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, ash storm, ice storm, glitterdust, black tentacles, cure light wounds, protection from evil, 5,000 gp.

Formatting:

Paizo alphabetizes everything. I like the alliteration in the name, as well as the return to specific character name-origins; Paizo seems to disagree with me on that last point, so I’d be leery submitting this item without a name revision.

Effect wise it’s your run of the mill bag of tricks. More useful than some, less flavorful than a bag you can pull random musical instruments (like full church organs) from.

A couple minor revisions recommended; the white firework for example I would have do positive energy damage.

Fireworks are as much about the spectacle as the explosions; I’m sad to see no illusions or cool smoke effects. I think this is partially from biting off so many different firework effects rather than focusing on the bag itself. The item needs a two-part submission to really shine, one with the bag, one with a wide array of magical fireworks.

Does this add something to the game?

Ish, it expands on the necklace of fireballs to give us ‘random stuff’ 3/day.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?
It’s cool, I wouldn’t mind having one. At the price I might buy one for a cohort/underling.

As a GM?

I could use this as part of someone’s treasure hoard, and the players would like it. Less useful for a boss, but it would be thematic for a higher level version of say Vorka (We Be Goblins).

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this years experiences): Second or Third Cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Array of the Winged Knight
Aura faint evocation and strong necromancy; CL16th
Slot shoulders Price 26,260gp; Weight 7lbs.
Description
The Array of the Winged Knight is an intricate frame made up of metal feathers which attaches to any set of armor at the shoulders. They are made to impressive and often of the finest metals and covered in jewels. This item is made to be used almost exclusively by a mounted knight and its full powers are only accessible by such a wearer.
The minor power of the Array is that it provides its wearer with a +1 Luck bonus to Armor Class. This power is always active and helps a knight in any battle situation.
The major power of this magic item can only be accessed by a mounted wearer. It has the ability to cast a 60’ cone of fear originating from the wearer once per day. This effect has a DC 19 Will save to negate. Anyone failing this save will be frightened for 2d6 rounds and act as that effect indicates. This power can only be activated by command word and only after the wearer has advance toward his enemies on a mount. This effect is manifest by an eerie rattling of the Array’s metal feathers that echo out over the battlefield.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, symbol of fear; Cost 13,100 gp

Formatting:

What if I’m not wearing armor? :P “they are made to impressive…” Make sure you read through your item text a few times to catch those grammar issues.
Lack of descriptive text hurts the write up. Restriction to knightly types (cavaliers?) feels pointlessly constrictive.

I liked the cone of fear thing based on knowledge of medieval battle tactics. I would find the effect FAR more thematically appropriate if your item were bell-tassels for heavy cavalry barding.

The wings don’t really suggest a luck bonus or a fear effect, and they’d create drag for a mounted combatant so I have a little mechanical hiccup on the visual. As far as defenses go I'd say sacred, or natural armor. As far as effects, either a hope aura or a fear effect targeted at those of specific alignments would be more appropriate.

Does this add something to the game?

Not many item based fear effects, so that’s something. Does not expand on existing material or open new design spaces.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

No, I’m not a fan of fear effects or heavily niche items.

As a GM?

No; I find fear effects are often needlessly punishing for players. I also wouldn’t enjoy letting players loot this.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this item: First Cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Blood Volley Blade
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 10th
Slot none; Price 22,320 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This twisted triple edged +1 Returning Dagger always glistens as blood continually trickles down the grooves between the blades. This thin stream of blood pools near the tip but never drips off. While wielding this weapon a creature is considered to have the Opening Volley feat. On a successful thrown hit a blood volley blade does not return, but lodges in the body of its target and deals 1d4 points of bleed damage. If the bleed condition is removed by a successful heal check or magical healing effect applied before the thrower's next turn the dagger returns to the owners square as normal. While the bleed condition from a blood volley blade is in effect an attacker can retrieve the dagger from the victim's body with a successful steal combat maneuver that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Removing a blood volley blade in this way deals 1d4+1 damage and transforms the dagger into a +1 throwing rapier for 10 rounds. If the blood volley blade hits while thrown in its rapier form, it deals its damage and then transforms back into its dagger form.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armors, bleed, major creation, telekinesis ; Cost 11,106 gp

Formatting:

:D I like that feat. Note that if you’re using it the returning weapon property is not helpful. The dagger returns to the square you threw it from.

The transformative effect is a bit random as are your construction requirements.

Does this add something to the game?

Nope.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

I could use it, although I’m not in love with the item.

As a GM?

It’s not bad, but the dagger’s mechanics make it hard to use in combat so I would favor other weapons for assassin themed baddies.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): First or Second Cull.

Star Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Trekkie90909 wrote:

a very thorough and insightful review

I don't know how I missed a command word being a Standard action, but that's a mistake I won't easily forget.

It's frustrating knowing I fell into the "Bag of Puppies" folly when I tried not to.
I ALSO can't believe I forgot the duration of the Sickened condition- ffs me, get it together!

In retrospect, I still like the visuals but the mechanics need an overhaul. I've also learned that the theme of time is dangerous territory and that I should try to be a bit more creative with the mechanics.

Thank you very much for your time and review!

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Anthony Adam wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:
Stepping back from the normal is good, but Desna’s weapon of choice is the star knife – this is a closed design space, no more room for development.
This to me is a very personal thing, I don't believe in restrictions being so tight. So I say to those reading this review, be brave in your choices, try things and be willing to take gambles and risks - I didn't make Top 32 but I did make Top 100 - so some of you must have liked it :)

It's not about restrictions, it's about being a good freelancer and respecting the bounds of the originating author and established setting. Desna is a core goddess, her weapons have been shaped by the original design team.

They have left room for future designers to develop her followers (less so) and related monsters/harbingers/hand maidens (this is basically unmarked territory as open as anything in the game). Ignoring this, and instead attempting to re-write part of the core setting is bad form and slightly insulting.

Not to be harsh, just explaining my though process. It's fine to reference existing game settings. It's generally fine to tweak existing game elements. There are boundaries.

Anthony Adam wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:
and act as a counting mechanism for charges remaining they do nothing star themed mechanically.
This was one of my more subtle things - only those who really know their Desna would know about her star symbology and that they can emit butterflies made of light - so I was tying to that theme AND at the same time to night time skies as an underlay to the time of dreams.

The star symbology is good, and I got that.

There's no mention of her having stars which shoot butterflies of light in anything I've read on either the Night Monarch (her avatar) or on Desna; I'm no expert however, and take your word for it. A link for my own edification would be nice.

Without the information that her stars shoot butterflies the star element looks like gilding ('filigree').

Anthony Adam wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:
The holy damage is more indicative of Desna than the Butterfly.
Exactly what I was aiming for, that the butterfly of light is an embodiment of Desna's power and so delivering holy damage - alignment based damage felt too cliche to me and was deliberately avoided. Desna herself has used butterflies of light, so was deliberately themed to that effect.

Holy (damages evil) is alignment based damage in Pathfinder. She is followed by butterflies of light, so again the symbology is present; the mechanical interpretation of which leaves something to be desired.

Anthony Adam wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:
The free feint rider seems out of place
The free feint was doing something no other ranged weapon can - offering a ranged feint, caused by the erratic approach of the butterfly being unpredictable. As a designer, you should always look for small bends in the rules that make your item different from all others, in this case, I chose to allow for a ranged feint.

The erratic/feinting flight of the butterflies could be better supported in your descriptive text. 'Dizzying flight' is more evocative of a sickening, dazing, or fascination effect than a feint. While feinting is a deliberate action less the result of chaos - I could see it being a favored tactic of Desnans. In which case the feinting should have been the focus and development of the item.

With the addition of your above text the idea makes more sense. If an item is named after an avatar of a specific deity, or a similar creature I expect it to have elements in common with those creatures. There is a line to walk between creativity and your declared theme, the feint falls too far from the theme on this one given your item's name.

Anthony Adam wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:
Final thoughts: Desna is the goddess of travel, stars, luck, and dreams. You only addressed dreams, and the way the item’s written that feels like an afterthought. Try to work on cohesion for next year

This is probably the one comment I really need to address for everyone. I chose a single theme, that of dreams, keeping my item on a narrow focus. If I had tried to cover all of the other aspects listed by adding a luck power and a travel power, I would have ended up with 3 (or possibly 4) loosely related powers - this would then have been a SAK (Swiss Army Knife) design.

Please, to avoid the SAK downvotes, retain a tight focus on a core central theme - items with shopping lists of powers rarely do well as the old timers in the competition will peg it as SAK very quickly. So when working off Golarion lore, please keep to a central core and don't try to cover every nuance.

I hope it gives you food for thought - games design is a mine field as no matter what you do, or how ever clever or subtle you can be, someone will think it's the best thing ever and someone will think the opposite.

A good caution, and one I advise you to heed. Given the item's primary ranged attack/feint ability your secondary dream ability (which requires two fans) feels randomly tacked on and out of place (your submission is a SAK).

In my opinion if you had stuck with one theme, dream or what have you rather than sticking in parts of desna, parts of her avatar, and random references to her portfolio you would have had a much better item.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Whip of Wounding Words
Aura moderate evocation and necromancy; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 58,302 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
Crafted from several shadowy strands, this black whip shifts and coils in answer to a rhythm it alone can sense. Each strand contains an echo of the words that created the multiverse. Caught in twisting shadow, these echoes of creation now wound reality.

The whip of wounding words serves as a +1 whip. In addition, the whip can be used to brand victims with wounding words and to unleash the sundering echoes of creation.

Branding: as a standard action the wielder can make a single, ranged touch attack with the whip. On a success, the shadowy strands of the whip burn words of unmaking upon the target. Treat this effect as inflict serious wounds (DC 16). The whip of wounding can be used to brand a target three times a day.

Echoes of Creation: as a standard action, the wielder can whirl the whip around him. Whispers fly from the shadowy strands, forming harsh echoes that sunder reality. Everyone and everything caught in the 15 feet radius of effect is hit by an effect that combines shatter (DC 16) and sound burst (DC 16). The shatter effect is total and complete, the wielder does not have to choose effects. The echoes of creation break brittle, nonmagical objects, they sunder all solid, nonmagical objects and they damage crystalline creatures in the area of effect. This effect can be used once per day.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Heighten Spell, inflict serious wounds, shatter, sound burst; Cost 29,302 gp

Formatting:

I like the description. I would have liked it more if this were a physical portion of the fabric of the universe; perhaps a thread of its eventual death. Unfortunately I think you oversell the item here; this is the sort of description I’d place on a major artifact.

The mechanics themselves are spell in a can and modified spell in a can. I do like the visuals, and the shatter + sound burst combination is nifty. I still associate words of creation with creating or ordering systems though so there’s a mental disconnect between your name and effect.

The price is really high for the benefit. Minor template issues.

Does this add something to the game?

Not really.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

I wouldn’t mind seeing it. Not something I’m actively interested in.

As a GM?

Nice cultist-y/drow weapon.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this: After the first cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Abacus of Probable Paradox
Aura faint divination; CL 1st
Slot wrist; Price 1,500 gp; Weight –
Description
The miniature bamboo slats of this wrist-mounted counting frame encircle countless skewered pebbles. The faint sound of tapping stones echo as the glyph-carved pebbles continually slide to and fro, as if guided by an invisible hand, while the mechanism calculates and verifies some cosmically vast equation.
Three times per day, the wearer of the abacus of probable paradox can perform one of the following:
The wearer gains a subtle focus on the probability of distinct futures and can inexplicably prepare for events which have yet come to pass. This allows the wearer when readying an action, to instead ready two independent actions against two independent conditions, and can act if either (but not both) triggering actions occur.
The abacus also allows the order of the wearer’s actions to become muddled in time, and occur long before their effects have been felt. After completing a readied action, the wearer can choose to have their initiative result remain unchanged and not be updated to the count on which they took their readied action.
Lastly, the abacus allows insight when it has calculated the probability of a particular, distinct future to be zero, allowing the wearer to end a readied action before the start of their next turn (as a free action), and perform a standard action of their choosing. This action cannot be used to interrupt another’s action and is treated as if the wearer’s initial action was to delay.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, guidance; Cost 750 gp

Formatting:

Run on sentence.

2x actions per turn bad.

Does this add something to the game?

It negates the balance to readied actions.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

No. Defensive emplacements are bad enough without this.

As a GM?

Ready actions are very strong, I don't support buffing them. I especially do not support buffing them at this price point.

Sees you can get an extra standard or move action per turn three times a day, grabs slightly used roll of newspaper and swats player on the nose: “Bad player, I said no mythic tiers.”

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): Pre-cull

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Armor of the Crow
Aura moderate transmutation and conjuration; CL 9th
Slot armor; Price 46,300 gp; Weight 15 lbs.
Description
This black +2 studded leather armor is entirely embossed with small crow feathers. When the armor is first created there are ten additional, larger crow feathers embossed on the chest, five just above each breast. When the wearer takes damage reducing her hit points to zero or below, but not dead, the armor instantaneously heals the wearer to 1d4 hit points above zero and transforms the wearer (including all of her equipment) into a murder of ten crows for three rounds. During these three rounds the wearer is not in control of the crows and is effectively unconscious. The crows use the three rounds to fly as fast and as far as possible (base fly speed of 40 ft.) to the safest location they can find (based on crow senses – GM’s discretion). At the end of three rounds they land on the ground and the wearer is transformed back to her original form. Each time the armor functions in this manner one of the ten larger crow feathers disappears from the armor. Once all of the larger feathers are gone the armor becomes normal +2 studded leather armor. If the wearer loses enough hit points from one source to become dead, the armor alone transforms into a murder of crows then dissipates into a black vapor, destroyed forever, leaving the body behind.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, cure serious wounds, beast shape II or Polymorph; Cost 23,325 gp

Formatting:

I’d have the armor consume feathers to heal the wearer (1d4 per feather seems reasonable) until they are above 0. Simply healing the wearer to 1d4 above zero seems a bit odd and doesn’t play into the imagery.

Why crows? When I think of birds associated with death I think of ravens.

Does this add something to the game?

Reactive heal + get out of dodge very helpful, especially to martials and plot important NPCs.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

At the price I’d likely never see it, and things which hit me for death would likely bypass the armor’s ability to save me. I’d be better served with something that increases my AC.

As a GM?

I don’t usually expose my players to the end game baddie until they’re at a point in the story line where he can die safely. That said, many people like to taunt their players with very powerful enemies, and this armor would help keep them from raging when the big baddie inevitably dies from the encounter.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): First or Second Cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Swashbuckling Sash
Aura faint abjuration and transmutation; CL 7
Slot belt; Price 12,000; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This bright red strip of cloth ties simply at the waist, leaving long ends at the wearer’s side. When worn, the ends almost imperceptibly quiver with potential energy. The sash grants the wearer a +5 competency bonus to both Acrobatics and Climb checks. In addition, while climbing the character may cling to a rope or object with the sash instead of a hand, allowing the character to take actions that would requires two hands instead of the usual one hand.
Three times per day when hit by a melee attack, but before damage is determined, the wearer of a swashbuckling sash may expend a use as an immediate action to gain a +3 Deflection bonus to AC as the end of the sash darts out to parry the blow. If this raises the wearer’s AC above the triggering attack roll then that attack is resolved as a miss.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, cat’s grace, shield of faith; Cost 6,000 gp

Formatting:

My sides are above my belt-line, so I immediately get a reverse gravity image from this. I know what you meant though. Always good to be specific “..leaving the ends to dangle down the wearer’s leg” is a bit more direct.

More descriptive imagery for the sash’s actions would help; the sash animates as a semi-prehensile tail, allowing the wearer to make acrobatic stunts and scale challenging obstacles with ease.

The 3/day active is obviously inspired by dodging panache. The wording here is a little clunky, and the benefit potentially better than what a swashbuckler would get from their class feature.

Does this add something to the game?

Not really, we have a prehensile belt-tail, we have items which give competence bonuses to acrobatics, and to climb. So it’s a feat in a can with some slight modifications.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

Hard to compete with the big 6. If using the unchained or other variant rules for stat progression I would use this on a fair number of characters.

As a GM?

I don’t like the changes to dodging panache.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): After the first cull

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Crystal of the Gathered Mind
Aura faint divination and enchantment; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 5,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This three inch crystal orb contains the figure of a green humanoid head with closed eyes. The eyes of the figure open with a bright silver light whenever the orb is used as a focus with any spell-like ability, supernatural ability, or spell which is mind affecting. The eyes of all targets affected by the spell or ability flash silver at that moment and their minds become bound to that of the wielder, giving access to their knowledge and intellect.
This bond exists for 10 minutes, during which time the wielder knows any language known by any of the affected subjects and can substitute a subject’s skill bonus for any Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma based skills used by the wielder while the bond persists. This applies even to those skills which require training and in which the wielder has no skill ranks. The wielder may once per the duration of the bond draw on the mental abilities of the subjects as a free action and add an insight bonus of +1 for each mind in the bond to one action. Doing so imposes a –2 penalty on any actions a bonded subject makes until the start of the wielder’s next turn.
The orb takes the place of any material components 100 gp or less and any focus required for a spell used in conjunction with it other than divine focuses. The crystal can be used alongside a divine focus, however. The wielder can end the bond at any time before the duration runs out.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, seek thoughts (Advanced Players Guide pg. 242); Cost 2,500 gp

Formatting:

Seems in order. Figure generally refers to a full body; I’d have said bust or caricature. Could save yourself on word count in places “..with any mind affecting spell…” as opposed to “…which is mind affecting.” All the abilities you reference are magical, so magical ability would further cut word count without loss of clarity.

I would have structured the description so that the stipulation "only mind affecting magical effects can use it as a focus" is closer to the part of the description where the item can ignore material components worth up to 100 gp.

Eschew materials or blood money might make sense as a construction prerequisite. Drawing on the bond should involve some sort of action or break the bond.

While thematically appropriate insight bonuses don’t stack, so gaining a +1 bonus per mind is less useful than gaining an insight bonus equal to the number of minds affected.

Does this add something to the game?

It provides a route to help allies in ways which are not currently possible (by sharing your knowledge of languages or skills as an example).

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

I could see the party wizard getting this. I wouldn’t like to see it on an enemy; mind affecting spells are generally overpowered enough as is.

As a GM?

It’s swingy, and it piggybacks off of spells which are swingy to begin with. It has some uses which are fun, but overall I don’t like it.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): After the First or Second Cull

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Flood in a Bag
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 5,235 gp (type I), 10,470 gp (type II), 15,630 gp (type III), 20,940 gp (type IV); Weight 2 lbs
Description
Intricate brocade patterns on this blue silk belt pouch depict foam tipped waves poised above a scenic landscape. Closely inspecting the flotsam within these patterns often reveals interesting items.
A command word activates the pouch, expanding it into a Bag of Holding, using the appropriate statistics by type.
Once per day the bearer of a Flood in a Bag can cause water to gush forth from the bag’s mouth by opening it and issuing a second command word; generating up to 4, 8, 12, or 16 five-foot cubes of water per round until the bag is closed (a free action for the user). Cubes must form a contiguous figure radiating outward from the bag’s mouth and last 3 rounds or until the bag closes. Holding the bag open in subsequent rounds is a standard action requiring two hands and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Water within the cubes flows as whitewater rapids (Core Rulebook, 432) directly away from the bag’s mouth. Creatures entirely encompassed within the water move 60 feet downstream at the end of their turn. Those ejected from the water by this movement may attempt a DC 10 Acrobatics check to prematurely end their movement. Creatures only partially within the water are instead knocked prone unless they make a DC 20 Acrobatics check, and are not moved. Swarms caught in the water immediately disperse; reforming 1d4 rounds after the bag is closed.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, control water, secret chest; Cost 2,618 gp (type I), 5,235 gp (type II), 7,815 gp (type III), 10,470 gp (type IV)

Format:

Numerous template issues fixed from feedback. The item’s descriptive text could be directly tied into the item’s mechanics. Some verbiage improved from feedback, further development necessary.

Two paragraphs to describe mechanics a major weakness for the item; people don’t like to be rules-lawyered by their items.

Choosing an item with four separate types leads to a certain lack of consistency in design and hurts overall quality by curtailing wordcount.

Many things repeated in the item description from the whitewater rapids description; don’t repeat what you can reference. Worse the repetition muddies the item's mechanics. I know what you mean, but other people won't know what's in your head or that you were just trying to help.

Does this add anything to the game?

Definitely; being able to summon and manipulate different terrains is not possible without combining multiple high level spells, and doing so will not result in this effect. It brings seldom seen game elements to the table (moving water rules for example).

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

The price point is affordable by mid levels; the active is significantly better on later versions of the bag. On these later versions it’s an effective large scale disengage and/or crowd control mechanism, and there are times when I’d like to have that. On the other hand I could have simply invested the money in more damage and let the wizard worry about all that.

As a GM?

It presents some headaches when the party is in small enclosed spaces, particularly for later versions. The DCs are reasonable, but the movement could quickly destroy a scenario if the dice willed it.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): Around the second Cull

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

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Trekkie90909 wrote:
Quote:


Nettlefin Sash

-a *little* bump in the queue by request-

Formatting:
Everything looks to be in order. The item is generally well written, but the mechanics are not well integrated into your descriptions. I like that you list the poison at the end for the reader, but the Adaro reference feels out of place. With the Adaro description, the poison description, and then the poison text you spend a lot of your word-count describing something which is secondary/tangential to your item. The item would have benefited if some of that attention had been applied to its main theme.

Very good points. In fact that is an amazing review. You nailed the issues I felt confusedly when seeing my item during the voting process.

Note to self : do whatever is needed to get Trekkie90909 on my pit crew next RPGSS season.

Quote:

Rather than have a list of things the spikes do, work them directly into the description.

“The sash does not require being affixed to armor.” You already have a sentence saying the sash inflates in combat; why not build self-affixing directly into that sentence? It would aid form, function, and clarity.

“The wearer is always considered proficient in its use.” This is good information, and would need a separate sentence; something like ‘the exotic nature of the nettlefin puffer fish’s scales conform naturally to the wielder’s expectations, granting even the clumsiest wielder proficiency in their use’ (my phrasing is clunky, but you could clean it up)

That is spot-on. When reading my item later on, I felt that the juxtaposition of fluff and crunch was clunky. And I realized when reading your review that I had been praising the ability of other people (notably Top32) to flow naturally between fluff and crunch. This is exactly what I was meaning and what was missing in my entry. Thanks a lot for pointing it out.

Quote:

“At the beginning of the wearer’s turn, she may choose to use the sash until her next turn as either a secondary natural attack or an off-hand weapon.”

I was a bit confused by the secondary natural attack bit in the description: I get that it’s made from/is highly thematic of a certain creature’s natural attacks, but this reads as “I want to dual wield a two handed weapon, and my armor spikes.” Imo the item would have been stronger without that provision.

Actually, the item originated as spikes for druids venerating Gorum (so that they would not lose their powers), hence the add-on of the natural attack thing which in retrospect added nothing to the item and detracted from its focus.

Also I did at one point make it usable to "dual wield a 2H-weapon and my armor spikes", until a brilliant workshopper (currently in Top32 BTW) wisely told me that RPGSS is not the place to make a stealth-patch to a rule you may not like ;-)

Quote:
On the other hand I like that it can utilize buff spells directed at either manufactured or natural weapons; it’s a neat little play into the imagery. There are a few good spells which increase size category (or effective size category), and I’d love casting them on the sash for that puffer fish visual.

Excellent point. And when I recently thought about streamlining the item for a better version, I would have removed this part along all the references to natural attacks, which would have been a mojo mistake. Because those were so connected in my mind. Another thing I need to be aware of in the future :-)

Quote:
“If the sash is worn with armor spikes, it ceases to function.” Normally you do a really good job of building the imagery right into the mechanics. Something like “Normal armor spikes will puncture the sash when it inflates, leaving it useless for x duration as the scales regrow” would flow better.

Once again, spot-on.

Quote:

Does this add something to the game?

For those who like armor spikes changing armor can be a very costly business; an item like this would defray that cost nicely. I’ve also wanted armor spikes on a number of characters who did not wear armor, so I like that you’ve addressed that niche.

Would I want this in my games?
As a player?
Yes; I get grappled by things more often than I grapple them so the spikes would always be working to my benefit. If I were playing a grappler, paralysis is a very punishing condition, and while it’s thematic of the puffer fish I would not appreciate seeing the item on enemies for this reason.

Glad you liked it. It means a lot to me to know that even if I did not make Top100, some people could enjoy what I brought here.

Quote:
The price tag’s a bit high for me to see buying it much; +1 spike ~ 2k gp, proficiency with a specific weapon ~2k gp, endless well of poison (expensive), slot efficiency tax + getting something you don’t normally have access to without armor tax to up the cost.

I think I did not quite get the details of your point here, but that it is a bit too costly. I must say that the pricing part is mostly art and guesstimates when the item is not just a SiaC. I tried to get an estimate based on the effects, compared it with items in the same price range and checked if I would be comfortable with the levels at which a PC could buy or create it.

Quote:
I’d like the item better if the poison were a limited times a day thing so you could drop the price and address my abusability concern

I thought I wrote it as a limited ability with the "This ability can be used three times per day as an immediate action." I guess it was not clear enough when reading the item (likely a bit too far from the description of the poisoning ability).

Quote:
I'd also like a bracers of armor style +1 to +x spectrum so I can upgrade this at later levels without bribing the GM.

I had thought at first of things like this and also being able to make it of special materials, but the latter made it too over the place and I threw the whole idea away. Now, with a streamlined description and thus a reduced word count, the upgrading part could fit easily. I think I will make a revised version to integrate the great comments given by you and other reviewers.

Quote:

As a GM?

Very nice, thematic; I’d put it on all high CR Adero, and many other aquatic races. The exotic nature of the fish means that while the item has broad use there are not many non-aquatic villains whose theme this fits. That said everyone needs a good shark tank to drop annoying pests into, so maybe I’d just have tanks full of Adaro warriors in every dungeon.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this item (based on this year’s experiences): Around the third cull

Thanks a lot for this very informative and insightful review :-)

Dedicated Voter Season 9

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
Note to self : do whatever is needed to get Trekkie90909 on my pit crew next RPGSS season.

;) scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

The Raven Black wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:
The price tag’s a bit high for me to see buying it much; +1 spike ~ 2k gp, proficiency with a specific weapon ~2k gp, endless well of poison (expensive), slot efficiency tax + getting something you don’t normally have access to without armor tax to up the cost.
I think I did not quite get the details of your point here, but that it is a bit too costly. I must say that the pricing part is mostly art and guesstimates when the item is not just a SiaC. I tried to get an estimate based on the effects, compared it with items in the same price range and checked if I would be comfortable with the levels at which a PC could buy or create it.

Sorry about that, I tend to circumlocute around issues. Yes my point is that the price is higher than what I would be willing to pay (as a player) given the item's bonuses. Mostly this comes from the power gamer in me who doesn't like relying on variable effects like poisons (the major cost component and central theme of your item), so take that feedback with a grain of salt. I have not done enough research into poison items/weapons to know how much a 3/day immediate action use poison item would cost. I would guesstimate somewhere in the 20-30 k gp range based on poison costs so your numbers look right. I should probably do a more in depth comparison. Paralysis is definitely worth the money, it's a strong status ailment. The GM in me likes the item's price point.

The Raven Black wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:
I’d like the item better if the poison were a limited times a day thing so you could drop the price and address my abusability concern
I thought I wrote it as a limited ability with the "This ability can be used three times per day as an immediate action." I guess it was not clear enough when reading the item (likely a bit too far from the description of the poisoning ability).

OOPS. o.O Even after reading this it took two read-throughs of your item before I caught that. My eyes kept jumping the last sentence before the poison description. Many apologies. Yes, three times per day as an immediate action allays many of my fears.

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

Trekkie90909 wrote:

Whip of Wounding Words

Thanks for the review, but now I am curious what the minor template issue was.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Anticipation
Auramoderate divination; CL 5th
Slot slotless; Price 64,000 gp; Weight 12 lbs.
Description
This halberd’s only decoration is an intricate silver etching of an eye, it’s pupil a rose colored gem. The eye seems to stare, almost as if it’s studying you.
This halberd sharpens your wariness, granting a constant +2 insight bonus to initiative. The wielder can choose one target within sight as his focus and after the target is chosen, the halberd mentally aids the wielder in anticipating the target's every move. The wielder gains a +2 insight bonus to Armor Class versus the target but due to this intense focus he suffers a -2 Armor Class penalty versus other foes.
Upon the first successful attack the target must pass a DC 18 Will save, or the mental connection strengthens, granting you a +2 insight bonus to attack and damage rolls versus the target. If the target passes the Will save he blocks further focus and is immune for 24 hours. Due to the mental connection, whenever the target misses you with an attack, the insight bonus to attack and damage increases by 1 (to a maximum of +5) as the target's concentration slackens from anger.
The wielder may change the target being focused on once per round, doing this resets the attack and damage bonus.
Construction
RequirementsCreate Magic Arms and Armor, anticipate peril, anticipate thoughts; Cost 32,000 gp

Blurb: This was my first-ever up vote.

Format:
Minor issues: Ensure you’re using spaces to separate words. Its (possessive) not it’s (it is)—English is a fickle mistress. Nice job sticking to the theme--insight bonus is a good choice.

Major issue: Your halberd needs to be at least a +1 weapon before it can have other magical effects.

More descriptive imagery than “choose a target” would have helped. +2/-2 AC is a fair tradeoff, but reminiscent of a challenge; I fail to see how it fits a general description of ‘anticipation.’

Anticipation is something you the wielder should be doing to gain an edge; unless you’re performing Jedi mind tricks or otherwise hypnotizing people forcing a will save feels out of place. If you are performing Jedi mind tricks try to build that into anticipating things with descriptive imagery.

The scaling utility of this item is immense, the price offsets this but since the item’s base statistics haven’t been factored in it’s hard to say if it is balanced.

Other than the bonus to initiative I would categorize your item as “Concentration,” which is a clearly different theme, but still plays to the insight bonus.

I like that you chose a pole-arm for the weapon; they’re well suited to parrying attacks and keeping the wielder out of harm’s reach.

Does this add something to the game?

Nope.

Would I want this in my games?
As a player?

The item fits my power gamer mentality. Needs revision before committing one way or the other. Price is probably out of my range.

As a GM?

This is a lot of really powerful bonuses all packed into one item. It screams I can solo the boss, which is something I try to work around so everyone on the team is useful/mandatory. Weak rejection.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): First Cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Maurice de Mare wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:

Whip of Wounding Words

Thanks for the review, but now I am curious what the minor template issue was.

Double checked the issues I saw and they aren't actual issues. I had assumed after checking armors and shields (Format: slot armor, slot shield) that the CRB format convention for weapons was slot weapons. This is not the case the weapon convention is slot none. The other thing was a brain fart on my part I read heighten spell and for some reason did not compute that it was a feat :P.

Thanks for asking the question, always nice to learn something new.

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

Trekkie90909 wrote:
Maurice de Mare wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:

Whip of Wounding Words

Thanks for the review, but now I am curious what the minor template issue was.
Double checked the issues I saw and they aren't actual issues. I had assumed after checking armors and shields (Format: slot armor, slot shield) that the CRB format convention for weapons was slot weapons. This is not the case the weapon convention is slot none. The other thing was a brain fart on my part I read heighten spell and for some reason did not compute that it was a feat :P.

Alrighty then, nothing for Template Fu :->

Dedicated Voter Season 9

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Quote:


Stirgenest Quiver
Aura moderate transmutation and necromancy; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 8,600 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Description
Resembling an extremely large hornet's nest, a stirgenest quiver can contain up to 20 arrows, bolts, or light piercing throwing weapons. When at least one valid projectile is placed inside, the stirgenest quiver begins to emit a loud buzzing. The noise is not deafening, but does cause the bearer to take a -10 penalty on Stealth checks.
Inside, projectiles quickly take on new, stirge-like qualities: Weapon points become longer and thinner, similar to probosces, little spindly legs emerge, and, most noticeably, two pairs of vestigial wings appear, flapping weakly on the sides of each weapon. These changes do not adversely affect use. When an affected projectile hits a target, its proboscis sinks in, its legs latch on, and it inflicts a -1 penalty to the target's Constitution score. This penalty stacks with other stirgenest quiver projectiles' penalties, but each can be removed as a move action by extracting the proboscis.
Additionally, further attacks with affected projectiles against the target benefit from a "feeding frenzy", gaining an insight bonus to hit equal to the number of projectiles already latched onto the target. This bonus cannot exceed +5.
If a projectile removed from the quiver goes 1 minute without inflicting a Constitution penalty, its stirge-like qualities rapidly fade.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, animate objects, bleed; Cost 3,800 gp

Format:

Everything seems to be in order. You do a pretty good job of meshing form and function. Not a huge fan of items with drawbacks as they inevitably seem to be placed in order to justify a low price. You do a good job of incorporating yours into the item, and so I can partially ignore that.

While you grant descriptive effect to the proboscis, and spindly legs you don’t address the vestigial wings. It would be nice if your item fully embraced its description.

It’s a little unclear if the penalty is removed with the arrow; I assume yes.

Throwing weapon could be anything from handaxes to javalins to goblins/humans/boulders (don’t we just love barbarians?). Thrown ammunition (i.e. shuriken) might have been a more appropriate choice.

Feeding Frenzy == Furyborn; a furyborn weapon would cost a minimum of 18 k gp. Furyborn ammo would modify individual arrow cost by +160 gp. Since you do them in batches of 20 that’s 3200 gp per batch. I’ve had low-level ranged characters without rapid shot go through ~40 units of ammunition in a 4 hour session before (the Kobolds almost won that day). Your item cost is 8,600 gp and has benefits other than the furyborn effect which are similarly underpriced.

Does this add something to the game?

Truly temporary ability score penalties is not currently a thing, and I approve its introduction (assuming I’m reading your item correctly).

Would I want this in my games?
As a player?

I find ability score damage of any kind makes fights extremely swing-y, and usually not in my favor so I’m not a huge fan of it. Stealth is hard enough to pull off that taking a penalty to it is not really a trade off, so the power gamer in me likes this.

As a GM?

Ability damage, penalties, and drain are all very powerful, reducing what can be a challenging fight to a simple requisite number of hits. I don’t like this, but might be convinced of its balance at a higher price point.

I like that you kill the stirge-arrows after a minute as this prevents some abusability. Players will still try to exploit the 60 second window, so that’s an area for improvement but can compensate with the town guard.

The item trades off flavor (stalking prey), and the associated ability to utilize various portions of the environment for large mechanical bonuses that re-emphasize the standard stand in place and full attack mentality. I don’t like this, and it is not super star worthy.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): In actual fact I voted for this into the third cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Atlatl of Volcanic Eruption
Aura strong conjuration; CL 16th
Slot none; Price 187,200 gp; Weight 2 lb.
Description
This obsidian +1 flaming atlatl has 4 charges that renew daily at dawn. As a swift action, the wielder spends 1 to 4 charges, summoning an obsidian atlatl dart that makes a ranged touch attack; each charge spent increases its enhancement bonus by +1 and does 1d6 additional points of fire damage.
The wielder targets a square, intersection, or creature on the ground with the atlatl; if targeting a creature, the wielder must spend at least a number of charges equal to the number of squares of its facing. When it hits, a pyramid-shaped volcano erupts from the ground with a square caldera a number of squares across equal to the number of charges used to activate it, its height is double the caldera’s width, and the base of the volcanic pyramid around the caldera is twice as thick as the caldera’s width; its slope has a 45 degree angle.
Creatures in the caldera’s area of effect must make a DC 22 Reflex save or be trapped in it, taking 4d6 points of fire damage each round; a creature hit by the atlatl dart does not get a saving throw. The Climb DC of its interior walls is 30. Creatures attempting to fly or use teleportation magic to escape are caught in an eruption of lava for 16d6 points of fire damage, DC 22 Reflex save for half, and must make a Concentration check or lose the spell.
Creatures leaving the caldera continue to take damage, however the number of damage dice are halved each round.
The volcano vanishes after 16 rounds.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, produce flame or scorching ray, wall of lava, Cost 93,600 gp

Formatting:

While it is a weapon according to the PRD, I think of an Atlatl as a tool and the javelin placed into it as the actual weapon. As such I have a mixed opinion of the weapon right out of the gate.

That price is practically un-obtainable.

Since obsidian is a physical attack, not a spell, force effect, or gunshot I don’t see why the attack should be a touch attack.

Mechanics which increase player agency, such as by giving them control over the number of charges they can spend on an individual attack, are always good.

Why would I ever not use this to make a volcano? I mean, yes that plays to the item’s name, but the rest of the ability seems useless by comparison.

I’d reuse the lava environmental rules for the inside of the caldera. The auto eruption mechanic seems a touch punishing. Perhaps players could instead spend some of their charges to cause an eruption of scaling magnitude as an immediate action.
Does this add something to the game?

While the overall effect is reminiscent of a pit spell, summoning a volcano under your enemies is new. The charge component is also fun.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

I wouldn’t want to buy it, but I’d love throwing volcanoes around. Ahahaha, fear my power puny mortals! More seriously this extends at most 8 squares (40') into the air, and everyone's flying at this level so I'd be surprised if it were very useful. I can target any intersection? Can I have a flying/floating volcano (that I summon in mid-air)?

As a GM?

Summoning volcanoes everywhere should probably have a significant impact on the planet’s overall tectonic activity. While I appreciate the imagery involved this is a little too joke-y for me.

What happens in skull & shackles when someone targets a ship? Or the ocean?

Point at which I’d stop up-voting this item: Around the second cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


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

Formatting:

Everything is in order. There’s not much flavor to the item description.

How does one direct the segments? Can they move themselves? Do I have to break the staff into smaller segments? So I have the choice of making either 2,3,4, or 6 extra attacks per turn with this? That seems strong.

Does this add something to the game?

We have a sort of transformative effect, a sort of dancing effect, and a sort of returning effect. The end result is novel, but it’s not terribly unique in its construction.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

It’s good, there are characters I’d get this on. I wouldn’t want to see enemies with them.

As a GM?

I’d like to see this refined into a smaller number of bonus attacks with an over-arching theme. As is it’s strong, but not really something I would excited to see in game.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): First or Second Cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

May I ask for my edification?

In the review of the abacus of probable paradox, you said:

Quote:
2x actions per turn bad.

But I don't really see that happening in the item.

I'm not challenging you on whether it's unbalancing to be able to set 2 different conditions such that either could end your ready-state and allow you to take one of 2 different actions you had prepared. I just am not sure if that's the same as getting an extra action.

Or is there something else that grants someone an extra action? I missed it when reading the item.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

CripDyke wrote:

May I ask for my edification?

In the review of the abacus of probable paradox, you said:

Quote:
2x actions per turn bad.

But I don't really see that happening in the item.

I'm not challenging you on whether it's unbalancing to be able to set 2 different conditions such that either could end your ready-state and allow you to take one of 2 different actions you had prepared. I just am not sure if that's the same as getting an extra action.

Or is there something else that grants someone an extra action? I missed it when reading the item.

Right; the two action turn exploit comes from the item's second ability - to not change your initiative count after successfully using a readied action.

Say initiative looks like this

19 - me (with abacus)
17 - bob the bard
15 - bbeg
-2 - bbeg's big muscle minion

Round one bob the bard tells you he's going to diplomatize things. I ready an action to intercept anything which tries to charge bob.

Lets say bob fails to defray tensions and bbeg does stuff and tells muscles to charge bob. At this point my ready action goes off, and I get whatever my free standard action was, usually an attack against muscles (maybe more attacks if he provokes). Normally my initiative is now set to -1; just before muscle goes. He gets hit, then his charge action is resolved. Normally bob and bbeg guy would go before I can do anything else, possibly prolonging muscles agony (also bbeg usually has more minions).
Instead because of the abacus it is now my turn again (still at 19). So I get a full round action and since muscles is over extended likely drop him. Bob is now free to do his bard things to bbeg, who should probably retreat.

Lets run the same scenario, only this time I'm a wizard. Everything happens the same, but this time I drop muscles into a pit with my readied action. I turn and save or die bbeg. I've just 'won' by myself in one action sequence.

The double up is thus only really beneficial at the start of combat, but it's so beneficial that it ruins the encounter. It's also pretty much always available.

The move action exploit is similar to the standard action exploit, but involves the item's third provision which changes the standard action ready action into a full round action delay action.

It's worth noting that by making your ready action from the second scenario movement you can get either an extra standard or move action based solely on that provision.

EDIT: Well that's not an entirely true reading of the third action since there's a provision stipulating you can only take a standard action during the delay, so you can end up losing a move action from it.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

69 items to go, that seems like a good break point. Will likely be busy most of today, so fewer reviews.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Cloak of Nine Lives
Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot shoulders; Cost 4,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This thick silk cloak is well crafted, with simple but elegantly stitched silver embroidery around the edges. The large, black shaded hood is adorned with nine intricately embroidered feline eyes, in various states of pupil dilation.
As long as the cloak holds its enchantment, all rolls to confirm critical hits against the wearer must roll twice and take the worst result. Each time a critical hit against the wearer fails to confirm, one embroidered eye closes. Additionally, when the wearer would be subject to falling damage, the first damage die is negated and each remaining die is converted to non-lethal damage, up to the number of open eyes on the hood. One embroidered eye closes for each die of damage negated or converted. The cloak cannot convert more damage dice than available open eyes.
The enchantment of the cloak goes dormant when all nine eyes have closed. When the wearer has rested for 8 hours, all closed eyes re-open. The rest does not need to be consecutive.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, cat’s grace, feather fall; Cost 2,000 gp

Format:

Technically correct, reasonably well written. Pricing is very low. Fall effect could use more descriptive imagery to further tie into the cat theme.

Mechanically abusive; Nap stack would make it even more so and is commonly available to parties.

Does this add something to the game?
Nope.
Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?
It’s certainly useful, but at that price point and with that many times per rest roll twice take the lower result would be the norm rather than the exception.

As a GM?

I’ve run games without critical hits, I don’t mind doing away with them. Not big on an item which does so.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): First or second cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Item Name Avatar of the Elements (Air, Earth, Fire, or Water)
Aura Strong Conjuration, Moderate Transmutation; CL 13th
Slot Shoulders; Price 53,200 gp; Weight 1lbs
Description
Seemingly a well-used traveler’s cloak, its true appearance is revealed upon wearing. As it is placed across the wearer’s shoulders this cloak changes based on the element it has been imbued with. A wisp of clouds drifting behind the wearer, a mantle of fire flickering in the wind, a cloak of shale dropping dust and gravel with every step, or a waterfall flowing down the wearer’s back.
Each day the wearer can, on command, choose one of following:
1)As a swift action, take on the small form of the related elemental, as per the Elemental Body I spell, for 5 minutes. The effect is dismissible. This duration need not be continuous, but it must be used in 1 minute increments.
2)As an immediate action, utilize the connection to the Planes to channel that energy into his body, gaining Fast Healing/2 as if on a Positive-Dominant Plane for 10 rounds. This duration need not be continuous, but it must be used in 2 round increments.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Elemental Body I, Regenerate
Cost 26,600 gp

Formatting:

Technical aspects look fine. “This well-used traveler’s cloak” is a much stronger opening than “Seemingly…” As it is = when. “changes based on the element it has been imbued with.” Is a weak phrase, it lacks description, flair, and is passive voiced. “Flares to life with the brilliant power of its elemental bond….(mechanical description with elemental imagery here)” Or something to that effect is stronger.

Lists: try to avoid them, usually they are indicative of a spell in a can idea. They also don’t flow as nicely as a descriptive paragraph.

Bullet point two is reasonably well written; you don’t need the positive dominant plane statement. It’s nice, but still x in a can.

Does this add something to the game?

Spell in a can, racial ability in a can. The theme is nice, but we already have elemental transformative items.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

I would not get this at your price point. That said there’s nothing offensive to my sensibilities.

As a GM?

The item’s a little boring, something playing to elemental races might be a little better. I could tweak it and make it fit something.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): Around the second cull

Marathon Voter Season 9

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Trekkie90909 wrote:
Throwing weapon could be anything from handaxes to javalins to goblins/humans/boulders (don’t we just love barbarians?). Thrown ammunition (i.e. shuriken) might have been a more appropriate choice.

I do hate to argue, but I think you might have misread. It only affects "light piercing throwing weapons". Which still excludes shurikens, actually. Maybe "piercing ammunition/light throwing weapons" would be the best course of action.

Thanks a ton for your feedback; it was very helpful (and dead-on, aside from the possible error above). I didn't know about Furyborn, though I knew I'd underpriced the quiver, and in a new draft I'll definitely limit usage more.

The tactical viewpoint is an interesting way to look at it, and definitely opens up room for improvement. I think a simple "bleed effect" would probably better encourage tactics like what you suggest, but at the time I wanted to do something weirder.

Encouraging PCs to take tactics other than "kill them before they kill us" is pretty tricky regardless, sadly. :P

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:
Throwing weapon could be anything from handaxes to javalins to goblins/humans/boulders (don’t we just love barbarians?). Thrown ammunition (i.e. shuriken) might have been a more appropriate choice.

I do hate to argue, but I think you might have misread. It only affects "light piercing throwing weapons". Which still excludes shurikens, actually. Maybe "piercing ammunition/light throwing weapons" would be the best course of action.

Thanks a ton for your feedback; it was very helpful (and dead-on, aside from the possible error above). I didn't know about Furyborn, though I knew I'd underpriced the quiver, and in a new draft I'll definitely limit usage more.

The tactical viewpoint is an interesting way to look at it, and definitely opens up room for improvement. I think a simple "bleed effect" would probably better encourage tactics like what you suggest, but at the time I wanted to do something weirder.

Encouraging PCs to take tactics other than "kill them before they kill us" is pretty tricky regardless, sadly. :P

Thanks for pointing that out, I definitely missed it :P. Glad to help.

The tactics thing has bugged me for years, and short of messing with spell casting or large-scale house rules have had difficulty changing. That he can pull it off and strike a balance between new tactical options and old is what makes Mark Seifter an excellent designer in my opinion. Doing that with an item is even harder, but (if well executed) would get an immediate up vote from me.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Greenwarden Gauntlet
Aura Strong Transmutation; CL 13th
Slot Hands; Price 71,750 gp; Weight 1 lbs.
Description
Intricately carved to resemble tree bark, this weapon functions as a +2 greenwood gauntlet when worn individually. Worn as a pair, the gauntlets cover both arms with a bark-like growth providing a +2 natural armor bonus enhancement. Once per day as a standard action, the wearer can merge forms with a tree by placing both hands upon it. While merged, the new form functions like that of a tree animated by a treant's Animate Trees ability. The target tree must be Large size or larger. If of Large size, apply the young creature template to the treant statistics block. This ability has a maximum duration of ten rounds.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, animate plants, barkskin; Cost 35,875 gp

Formatting:

Weapon slot is none. Gauntlets usually come in pairs. Enhancement bonus to natural armor is the conventional way of phrasing that. Active is an ability in a can. Polymorph effects in pathfinder usually maintain the base creatures statistics. The spell plant shape might have provided you with a better framework.

Another thing about polymorph effects in pathfinder; your gear melds into your flesh so you stop benefitting from it. While the bark gauntlets and the tree shape ability are thematically strong, it’s weird that you can’t actually benefit from the gauntlets while using their special ability. Some wording to add a limited wild armor effect would be useful.
Descriptive imagery is well done with the active; less so with the passive. Given the gauntlets change the wearers form with their active I’d have some passive imagery that foreshadows this, subtly altering the wearer’s body to be more treelike; having bark-like growths or sprout little branches/leaves.

Does this add something to the game?

Nope

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

Definitely useful, too expensive for my taste.

As a GM?

Cool imagery; too expensive for the bonuses provided, but this can be easily tweaked. Would make a nice addition to a druid, although that immediately makes me think of the monktopus and groan. The item could use a little something extra to broaden its appeal. I'm not a huge fan of paladins, but I've known enough nature defenders to find the idea of a true-neutral nature deity worshiping paladin interesting. Restructuring to include appeal for to those knightly orders dedicated to protecting nature would help.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): around the second or third cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Gebbite Officer's Shield
Aura Moderate Illusion; CL 5th
Slot shield; Price 31370 gp; Weight 15 lbs.
Description
This +2 Clangorous Heavy Steel Shield bears the image of an anguished, tongueless face mid-scream. Created during the war between Geb and Nex, the officers of the Gebbite infantry relied on these shields to bolster their troops against their foe's magics. This shield grants the effects of the Improved Shield Bash Feat. Three times per day, when used to make a successful shield bash, the wielder can create a 20-foot cone of silence as per the spell originating from the shield for 5 rounds. The effect moves with the shield and can be rotated without moving as a free action.
ConstructionRequirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Silence, crafter must have the Improved Shield Bash Feat; Cost 15,685 gp

Formatting:

The clangorous weapon property adds blindness/deafness, and sound burst to the construction requirements.

As a rule I don’t like antipodal items, they’re rarely well done because they require heavy use of imagery and a descriptive theme. If you have a noisy shield, don’t make it silence things. If you have a shield which silences things the only time it makes noise should be if it’s vampiric and is releasing stored magical charge.

On the other hand, when they are well done the resolved contradiction usually creates new design space within the game. This item could have been better written with a tighter emphasis on your theme – taking what spell casters dish out, and returning it. As written it’s a disjoined on hit effect with a spell in a can.

The feat rider is also random.

Does this add something to the game?

Nope.

Would I want this in my games?
As a player?

As a rule I like things which are useful against casters, that said I like being sneaky and this is both a shield (armor check penalty) and noisy.

As a GM?

Not really.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): First Cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Quote:


Coin of Chance
Aura light enchantment; CL 3rd
Slot none; Price 1000 gp; Weight -
Description
These old Varisian coins, with the grinning goblin on one side and a goblin skull on the other, were made to give its owner confidence in battle and to dishearten enemies. The fate the coin affects (for good or ill) is that of the owner and his allies, not his enemies. If flipped on heads the coin owner and his allies gain a +1 luck bonus on attacks and saving throws for 3 rounds. If tails comes up the owner and his allies suffer a -1 penalty on attack and saving throws for 1 round. If held at the start of combat, the Coin of Chance can be used as a free action as part of the initiative roll, otherwise activating the coin is a swift action. The Coin of Chance can be used once per minute.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, bless, bane; Cost 500 gp

Formatting:

Well written, simple, and to the point. It feels like something the clergy of the goddess of luck should carry as a holy symbol; some sort of tie-in there would have been neat.

Does this add something to the game?

Are you feeling lucky punk? I like the idea, it’s fun – reminds me a bit of a swordmaster’s flair but is unique enough to stand on its own.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

I could see getting this on certain characters. Honestly it’s playful and cheap, I might get it anyways just for fun.

As a GM?

Ugh, another thing the fate’s favored people will be clamoring over. Swift action activation means people will be constantly trying to hedge their bets by ensuring they have the buff before charging into combat – this will slow gameplay and create a source of friction. Restricting the activation to the start of combat would be a better design mechanism.
Size of the effect? Can allies opt out of it? I could see this being a major point of contention at tables where someone didn’t want to risk the penalty.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this item (based on this year’s experiences): Second Cull

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Axe of the Roaring Crowd
Aura moderate enchantment; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 32,320 gp; Weight 7 lbs.
Description
This +1 furyborn hooked axe appears unremarkable until its wielder fights in front of a crowd. If the bearer of the axe of the roaring crowd is engaged in combat while being observed by at least five onlookers (sentient creatures who do not contribute to either side of the battle, excluding combatants who have yet to act), he can start a performance combat as a free action. When so used, the axe takes on a polished, glinting sheen, the slightest wounds it deals spray great arcs of blood in the air, and its missed strikes ring loudly off enemy armor.
These effects grant the wielder of the axe of the roaring crowd a +1 luck bonus on all performance combat checks. Additionally, during any performance combat, the wielder gains a luck bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls equal to the number of victory points he has.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, divine favor, rage; Cost 16,320 gp

Formatting:

I would not design an item around an optional sub-system unless it were for a specific player’s companion-type product.

Starting a performance combat is like starting any other combat; it does not require a specific action.

Your item addresses lethal performance combats, but not non-lethal and the activation as part of a standard combat bit makes it feel munchkin-y.

The theme is otherwise nice; it's swingy, but then that's what the performance combat rules are designed for so that actually contributes to the theme rather than hurting it.

Does this add something to the game?

It references a seldom seen portion of the game.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

No.

As a GM?

No.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): First Cull

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:

Boots of the Swarming Mischief

Aura faint illusion and conjuration; CL 3rd
Slot feet; Price 15,200 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This footwear, easily overlooked as discarded scraps, appears as a decrepit pair of old boots fashioned from the least quality leather its tattered remains held together with lengths of old twine. When worn in swamplands, or in a sewer it conveys its wearer with the ability to become engulfed within a swarm of rats.
Upon activation, for up to 5 rounds per day the wearer is covered head to toe by hundreds of rats granting them all the traits associated with the swarm subtype as well as, upon a successful melee touch attack, the ability to utilize the rat swarm’s disease attack once per round (see the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary). The wearer, when using the swarm ability, cannot end their turn in an occupied square. While covered by the swarm, the wearer can continue to act as normal as if the swarm was not present. When the five rounds are over, or the swarm is dismissed or dispelled the user is granted invisibility as per the spell for the next 3 rounds, appearing to disperse as part of the rat swarm.
When otherwise not activated, the boots grant the wearer a +4 competence bonus to Disguise checks when attempting to appear as a commoner or beggar.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, invisibility, summon swarm; Cost 7,600 gp

Format:

“This pair of decrepit old boots looks like a beggar’s discarded scraps.” See how much stronger that is? And it saves word count. Rather than having a lot of imagery with leather and twine, why not have text saying they look gnawed upon, the leather gouged by teeth and claw marks – it sets up your swarm ability.

The active looks like a swiss army knife ability and doesn’t do much to aid the wearer.

Does this add something to the game?

It doesn’t do much that other rat themed items already do.

Would I want this in my games?
As a player?

No

As a GM?

No

Point at which I would stop up-voting this: Pre or First cull

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Shah’s Hookah
Aura faint conjuration and enchantment; CL 5th
Slot None; Price 6,500 gp; Weight 10 lbs.
Description

This hookah comes with a highly polished tube intertwined by gleaming golden statuettes of genies. While a Shah's hookah can be prepared with any alchemical substance, some substances may cause irreparable damage to both the users and the item, at the GM’s discretion. Any inherently magical substance (such as potions or alchemist’s extracts) may not be used with this item. A Shah's hookah must be set on the ground and filled with fresh water before it can be used.. It can be used by up to 4 creatures adjacent to it simultaneously, with each of them imbibing a dose as a full-round. Only one dose of a substance within is used during a round of imbibing it, regardless of how many choose to partake. A Shah's hookah can contain up to 10 doses of a single substance, and may be fully loaded as a full-round action.

The hookah, while reducing the damaging portions of drugs and magnifying their effects, make them harder to resist. All numerical effects of alchemical items imbibed from a Shah's hookah have the result increased by 50%; this does not apply to duration. In addition, all ability damage that is taken by drugs and other alchemical items that are imbibed from the Shah’s hookah is reduced by 2 (minimum 0). Finally, users of a Shah's hookah take a -4 penalty on their saving throw against addiction to the drug imbibed from the item.

Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, heroism, lesser restoration, creator must have 5 ranks in the Craft (alchemy) skill; Cost 3,250 gp

I've seen this somewhere before. It's frankly more a mundane piece of equipment than a magical item. I could use it as a setting piece as a GM, but it's niche even in that regard.

Pre-cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Replication Hammer
Aura strong divination and evocation; CL 13th
Slot none; Price 36,324 gp; Weight 6 lbs.
Description
This polished warhammer is crafted from a single piece of cold iron. Wielders not proficient with this weapon use it as a +1 warhammer. Proficient wielders use it as a +4 warhammer when attempting to sunder a melee weapon that possesses a special ability.
If the weapon targeted by the sunder is destroyed in this manner, the wielder of the Replication Hammer may allow it to absorb one special ability of that weapon. This does not change the Replication Hammer's enhancement bonus. If the weapon that was destroyed had more than one special ability, the wielder of the Replication Hammer may choose which ability to absorb. Upon absorbing a new ability, it loses any absorbed ability it currently possesses. The Replication Hammer always retains the ability to absorb other abilities. the wielder of the Replication Hammer may choose not to absorb an ability.
Construction
Requirements Str 13, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, shatter, limited wish; Cost 18,324 gp

Format:

Given that the special bonus is only on sunder checks I think the proficiency thing is a waste of words.

The absorption property is pretty strong but not overpowered; I have a hard time judging the price of the item based on this but find it to generally be overpriced.

Does this add something to the game?

Assuming I want to use a hammer this gives makes the random weapons loot a lot more interesting to me.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

I would not buy a +1 hammer at 36 k. Even with a +2 bonus (such as fury born) the item’s priced at about twice what the enhancement bonus is worth. At the level I could afford this the item’s not very useful.

As a GM?

It’s nifty, but it’s a player item. I wouldn’t mind them having something like this, but then I tend to house-rule in a cheap re-smithing cost for most loot if a player gets something they can’t use but has the magics they want.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): First or second cull

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Bloodseeker Sword
Aura Strong necromancy and transmutation; CL 18th
Slot ─; Price 84,815 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Description
This crimson blade is a +1 wounding blood crystal longsword, it has a disturbing aura that evokes hunger, the pommel and cross-guard is full of thorns with dried blood. Each time the wielder strikes a blow that deals damage with this weapon, the wielder gains temporary hit points equal to the amount of damage dealt. Temporary hit points bestowed by the bloodlseeker sword last for 1 minute. The wielder can give of his own blood to make the bloodlseeker sword more deadly, as a swift action the wielder may pierce himself with the thorns and inflict any amount of bleed damage he wants, the bloodlseeker sword gain one of the following properties according with the bleed damage inflicted:
• Keen (2 points)
• Impact (4 points)
• Speed (6 points)
• Brilliant energy (8 points)
• Vorpal (10 points)
This property last for 1 minute. If the wielder uses this ability again, the first property immediately ends.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, bleed, bull's strength, circle of death, continual flame, gaseous form, haste, keen edge, vampiric touch; Cost 43,315 gp

Formatting:

How does it evoke hunger; add some imagery, something that it’s drawing into itself or consuming with a voracious hunger (oh, hunger = sentience = intelligent item, need to be careful with that).

Dried blood would attract ants; I don’t like dirty weapons, they’re untrustworthy. Try to clean up the imagery.

Minor typos, normally I overlook these---getting your own item name wrong is BAD.

Swiss Army Knife design. Not a fan of cutting myself. Temporary HP abusable, negates your 'flaw' of requiring hp to gain bonuses.

Try to avoid lists.

Does this add something to the game?

No.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

No

As a GM?

No

Point at which I would stop up-voting (based on this year’s experiences): Pre-cull or first cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Revealing Ink
Aura faint enchantment; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 4500 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Description
Contained in cut lead crystal, revealing ink's multiple colors bloom and fade in intricate patterns. Distinctive hues of the local lands' authorities — perhaps an ecclesiast’s scarlet, a sovereign’s purple, or a legal record’s iron gall — take turns painting the inside of the phial. Put to page, the ink creates official-looking, intimidating marks covering as many as 111 pages, and for 24 hours its complex scent changes with the perceiver’s opinions of relevant government(s) on topics such as utility, hostility, alignment and charisma. Some sleuths use this to help identify the disloyal.

Indispensable when interrogating humanoids, one swallow (22 pages worth) of revealing ink forces a Will save (DC 15). Those who fail vomit ink on one nearby stainable surface, preferring paper or parchment. Folded then opened, the surface reveals an eery, symmetrical image of odd familiarity. Displaying this may cause the victim to believe the blot has revealed the victim's relevant secrets and begin chattering about a prompted topic. Success is automatic if choosing to prompt a topic once. Otherwise, it requires a Bluff check (DC 10, increasing by 5 each subsequent topic). A failed check or 24 hours' passage ends the effect — as does a prompt which reveals the interrogator’s inability to interpret the blot. “Now I will recognize your patron anywhere!” will work. “What does your patron look like?” ends the effect. Subsequent prompts on the current topic are permissible, possibly generating new details. Use the topic's DC (minimum 10, no retries; failure does not end the ink’s effects). The victim may still consider some details of the image too obvious to mention.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, suggestion, charm person; Cost 2250 gp

Formatting:

Hmm. Why lead? Some mention that the shifting ink makes forgery more difficult would be useful (I assume this is the point of the shifting colors). Something like the pattern of the shifts being unique to the author, with an associated increase to the forgery DC. Talking about the colors painting the inside of the phial in varied hues does not help the reader understand the item’s worth/use/value. The scent thing is very random unless synesthesia is part of the item’s creation/effect. If it is, the writing is too subtle to support it.
The Rorschach test bit is more interesting, and would make more sense in the above paragraph than the smell thing. Writing is clunky in parts of the description. Something about a hypnotic pattern coercing the subject to answer one question truthfully, and the item providing a circumstance bonus on sense motive checks involving the subject might be a little easier to understand.

The example prompts ending the effect similarly feel clunky. Depending on how limited you want to make the scope of this effect “Succeeding on a sense motive check by ‘the bonus amount’ or less ends this effect,” or “failing this sense motive check by 5 or more ends the effect;” in either event “as the interrogator obviously misinterprets the image,” would be clearer.

My suggestion is a significant butchering of your original mechanic; I suggest it as the coercion thing means you need all that extraneous text about how GMs can ignore it to suit plot. If it instead does not force coercion, but instead helps people interpret what the suspect says it is my belief that the item is strengthened. It becomes a method by which the GM can interject hints, instead of a method by which he has to reveal things. Further it gives the player more room to play. He has to figure out the suspects motives based on clues, and adjust his tactics. For a sleuth campaign that’s going to be a lot of the player’s involvement, so make sure you’re giving them agency in the scene. If they’re being interrogated it gives them the option to stand firm and not reveal their sources, which might be important to their characters. Also, it reinforces the Rorschach theme.

Does this add something to the game?

Yes, and I imagine that Ultimate Intrigue would benefit from a similar item.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

With revision. The price is a touch off-putting for a consumable.

As a GM?

With revision. If you took my suggestion to discuss forgery the price would need to remain high.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this: I spent 20 seconds on average to read through two new items, apply my rubric, and come to a voting decision. Had I seen your item I would have had to spend A LOT of time trying to figure out what you were doing. Depending on how tired I was I might not have done that. It’s hard to say. There’s good mojo to this, and the descriptive text supports the mechanics with a glimmering of brilliance. Those two factors combined signify a true superstar candidate. Unfortunately clunky phrasing and poor execution detract significantly from the overall design. I honestly don’t know where I’d stop up voting this. I think it would depend heavily on the individual match-ups. If it were in my voting group I think I'd get sick of re-reading it after the first couple days; if it were a one time thing I'd give it at best a 50/50 chance on any given pairing through the third cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Crossbow of the Embracing Vine
Aura Moderate Evocation and Transmutation; CL 7th
Slot None; Price 56450 gp; Weight 8 lbs.
Description
This +1 heavy crossbow is entirely created from deep, red wood. Alternatively name a type of wood; redwood for example. Vines are carved into the crossbow, twisting along all of its surfaces, enhanced with a light scattering of dim gold flecks in its leaves. Its string shares this golden sheen. Attached to the front of the crossbow is a small wooden grip.
As long as the crossbow is wielded in two hands, a red vine with golden leaves grows from the weapon and wraps comfortably around both of the wielder’s hands, giving the wielder an additional +1 on attack rolls with the weapon.
At will, the wielder can extend the grip and plant it into solid terrain. Taking root, the vines grasp the wielder’s arms and legs, stabilizing them. This whole process takes 1 minute of concentration without moving from the starting position to complete. The user can crouch or lie prone while using this ability.
When this is done, the crossbow’s range increment increases by 25 feet, the bonus to attack rolls increases to +3, and the crossbow gains a bonus to damage equal to half of the wielder's dexterity modifier. The wielder also gains a +2 bonus to their CMD against bull rush attempts. Finally, the wielder cannot move and loses their dexterity bonus to armor class. As a full-round action, the wielder can unroot the crossbow, returning the vines and grip to their normal position without affecting the terrain in any way.
Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Cat’s Grace, Control Plants; Cost 28050 gp

Formatting:

“Deep red” wood; go online, look up the shades of red. Pick one, name it in your descriptive text (just realized I made a similar mistake with my item :P). Alternatively pick and name a type of wood; redwood for example. Stick to active voice in your description; ‘Carved vines twist their way along the surfaces of this burgundy +1 heavy crossbow.’ Two sentences in one. “The golden sheen of the drawstring melds fluidly into the gold-flecked stems and leaves of the vines, ‘mechanical benefit.’ ” “A small wooden grip protected by a knot of leaves helps the user steady their shots, conferring mechanical benefit.”
I’d play up the jungle/vegetative imagery and make the set up process favored terrain dependent. A one minute set up time is too long. As written the planting bonus fails to have a mechanical benefit which plays to the vegetative theme, and the benefits read as a swiss army knife. I think playing into a specific favored terrain and perhaps tying in favored enemy would help here.

As an alternative to favored enemy/terrain, writing a tie in to vital strike would be thematic of a sniping crossbow; a lot of work would have to be done to make this fit the jungle/plant theme.

I’m not sure you need a flaw other than the set up and deconstruction time.

The vines embrace the wielder, but not enemies. You could further develop your name/theme.

Does this add something to the game?

I like the sniper imagery as there is room to develop or expand this design space; the current execution leaves something to be desired.

Would I want this in my games?
As a player?

Not something I’d use, I have nothing in particular against it.

As a GM?

Thematic of a certain type of NPC; not sure I’d use it as written.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): Around the second cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Trekkie90909 wrote:
CripDyke wrote:

May I ask for my edification?

Detailed, helpful analysis of consequences of resetting initiative.

Ah, got it.

Yes, I guess I was thinking about it only in a scenario where you're already fighting, so you're conceding a double action to your opponent in order to get 2 actions in a row later (and in separate rounds).

Put simply, this is a bit like something that guarantees you act in the surprise round ...and gives you a bit of extra control (not tons, but a bit) over the situation in a manner that makes it somewhat more likely that your opponent does NOT act in the surprise round.

That combination is very powerful.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Trekkie90909 :

Thank you very much for the most thorough review of revealing ink I've read so far.

I'm heartened to hear you say

Quote:


There’s good mojo to this, and the descriptive text supports the mechanics with a glimmering of brilliance.

I put a lot of effort into mojo and theme.

This is my first time entering RPGSS. I've heard people talk over and over about mojo. I really wanted to nail that.

But before your review I had come to the conclusion that despite Paizo's 300 word limit, to really win the voter it needs to be down near 220 words or less. This was too long.

Also, I learned something important reviewing items that I didn't really like. The item type I'm talking about had good mechanics but didn't show off the creativity and imagination (read: mojo) of the designers to good effect. In several of these, this was because of extensive copying and pasting with minimal modifications for new use. I realized as I was trying to make sure I gave good reinforcement for the things done well that there's an excellent reason to copy/paste mechanics. There are tons of pathfinder related books. No one can learn and memorize it all. It's actually doing a favor to the GM, the players, and the game itself to copy/paste when you can do it without undercutting your mojo.

Then I thought about it and realized that in the context of RPGSS and snap-voting, even if your mechanics are good and tight and flawless (which mine weren't), if they're entirely new to someone they're not going to realize how good and tight and flawless those mechanics are until they think about it for a lot more time than they have to vote.

So potential problems are going to be raised by an item with really new mechanics ... and whether you've resolved them or not isn't going to be clear before it's time to vote and move on.

While if something about RPGSS meant you had to design an item that would be worse for the game to suit the voters, that would suck. But that's not what's happening here. What's happening here is that the same thing that's good for the game (building substantially on existing rules until absolutely necessary to shy away to avoid stepping on your mojo's toes) is inflated in importance in RPGSS.

=========

Given my conclusions, I knew I had to throw out the entirety of my mechanics if revealing ink was ever to be a decent item. And yet, with no real positive feedback yet, i really had no idea if my work mojo and theme and role-play was valued by anyone, or if revealing ink deserved the possibility of a rewrite.

I was left kind of wondering if I had succeeded at anything, since I realized I had failed pretty hard at both being reader/user-friendly and at mechanics.

This statement by yours gives me heart that I do indeed have some skills to build on.

Thank you.

==========

And, yes, your further treatment of my mechanics' deficiencies, especially with the addition of your suggestions for improvements, was also very valuable.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Wardrum of the Tactician
Aura moderate abjuration and transmutation; CL 7th
Slot chest; Price 45,360 gp; Weight 15 lbs.
Description
This marching drum is constructed of red-varnished wood and cured calfskin, and is worn attached to a baldric harness decorated with regimental insignia. Small brass fittings, shaped like instruments of war, secure the stretched hide to the drum's frame. The drum is considered a masterwork tool for any Perform (percussion) check, and may be used bare-handed or with drumsticks.
Three times per day, as a standard action that requires both hands and provokes attacks of opportunity, a bearer with the bardic performance class feature may make a Perform (percussion) check to cause one of two effects. Allies must be able to hear the performance to be affected.
Footwork Drill (Su): On a successful check, every ally within 30 feet of the bearer may move five feet as an immediate action. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity, nor does it count against movement made on the ally's turn. The DC of this check is 20. For every five by which the bearer exceeds this DC, allies may move another five feet.
Timed Strike (Su): On a successful check, every ally who threatens a single designated foe within 30 feet of the bearer may make an attack of opportunity against the target. The DC of this check is equal to the target's CMB.
Construction
Requirements Combat Reflexes, Craft Wondrous Item, escaping ward, haste, creator must have 5 ranks in Perform (percussion) and the bardic performance class feature; Cost 22,680 gp

Blurb: Thanks a bunch for your review of Flood in a Bag! The insight you provided was a tremendous motivator for starting this thread.

Formatting:

Other than what you pointed out yourself, it looks like everything’s in order. I must say, the idea of running around with a giant marching drum strapped to your chest through dungeons and combat is a bit audacious.

“Three times per day, bearers with the bardic performance class feature may activate the item’s special abilities, beating the drums with both hands to accomplish the following effects.” Flows a little better. As written the bardic performance feature only functions as a throttle – it restricts the sorts of players who can use the item (curtaining its appeal), without rewarding the people (bard/those who play instruments) who would want it for flavor/theme. A 3/day ability which can be supplemented by bardic performance rounds, or better yet has some scaling with perform (percussion) would have been really cool. I must point out that putting a performance DC on a class item for bards+knock offs, who can take 10s and 20s freely on skill checks, is not the best idea—this isn’t as huge a misstep as it could have been, since at the point anyone could buy this they could succeed on a 1 anyways.

Lists are generally bad, not only do they make items into retextured swiss army knives but they distance the reader from your text so that they’re judging it objectively rather than enjoying a subjective experience; you want the reader to imagine they’re playing your drum so they’ll march to your beat in the voting.

Random note: Drills are practice runs; they happen outside of combat. They’re used so that in combat everyone knows what to do when they receive an order/command. If you name something as a drill, its benefits should occur from out of combat activity or grant a bonus to training/proficiencies.

This is going to get off topic:
On that note: Traditionally wind instruments are favored over drums for giving these commands; the Scots use the pipes, and many ‘modern’ armies of the world used the bugle (trumpet nowadays) before portable radio communications systems were developed---the tradition extends back a long ways in history, various pipe and horn prototypes have been used by armies (the Romans used both). Basically this is because someone needs to keep time, and drums are well suited to that - also if you're going to be near combat it helps if you have an instrument you can readily drop to defend yourself (pipes or bugles are easier than a strapped on drum); their contribution to marching orders and formation changes however tends to be small embellishments made to reinforce/draw attention to what the wind instruments are playing. The wind instruments, be they pipe or horn, play a series of notes which are assigned to a particular command, so that commanders of various detachments can be assigned orders quickly and accurately. The complexity of the music depends on the size of the force and the scale of the battle. As an example within a division you’d have a string of notes to signify which brigade is to receive the orders, this would repeat and then the order notes would be transmitted and the brigade commander would relay the message to his troops; if more specificity is required more strings of notes can be played down through regiment and company although likely not going into such fine detail as squad. Similarly by having larger pipe and/or bugle corps you can spread your players over a larger area, so that smaller chunks of music are required to signal individual detachments. After signaling attention in this way, there’d be a string of notes which contain the orders, “right flank” as an example – agreed ahead of time and well drilled. Then there’d be a sign off string so that commanders would know they message is over and to relay their specific orders to accomplish the objective.

I would have liked abilities which single out single targets, and give them reactive options to combat. I worry about large scale tactical repositions since they cut down on the agency of the opposing force considerably; apparently I’m the only one who does however, since Wolflord’s Fang made the top 32 with a near carbon copy of your Drill ability. One thing that entry does better than yours is it draws the user into its effects, letting them play along and help the Fang-weilder accomplish his intimidation. This might have had an influence on votes for your item, since the drill is less immersive.

Thematically the timed strike is spot on for a drum. Trading your 1-3ish attacks for up to the Party Size number of attacks is an interesting idea which would be difficult to balance. I like that this is giving the bard-type flexibility in what he can do but find reinforcing the 'gang up' circle of doom to be uninspiring.If the DC were at least variable (Like your drill ability), perhaps based on the number of party members threatening the target it would be better. I still run into abusability concerns with bardic knowledge static ‘roll’ results. The take 20 per day scaling means that this item has some wonky scaling. Balancing this would be the hardest part of a rework in my opinion, but something which would need to be addressed before publication.

Does this add something to the game?

No, this is a stealth patch of the marshal from the mythic system.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

I don’t play in mythic games because I honestly just don’t like how swing-y lots of free-ish ‘extra’ things make combats; if I want to powergame I usually favor video games over Role Playing Games and Tabletop games in general, but that’s only one person’s perspective so take it with a grain of salt. What you have is less offensive than what's in the mythic book, unfortunately they're just so similar that I get a residual bad taste in my mouth when I read through them.

As a GM?

It’s an escalation of power item; relegated to bards it’s not so bad – they could use a little love at higher levels. That said I’m not sure I like the direction it takes the game. Since right now it’s relegated mostly to bards it would not be something most of my parties would get to interact with much; I look for items which will receive a lot of playtime and make my parties happy as much as something which fits into a villain/cohort’s theme.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this (based on this year’s experiences): I’d tie it with Wolflord’s Fang somewhere around the third cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Blood Twin’s Quills
Aura Faint Illusion; CL 5th
Slot No Slot; Price 20,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Description
A pair of delicate, gold filigree and crystal quills lie side-by-side in the velvet-lined box. A crystal vial etched with scenes of sacrificial victims completes the set.
The quills function as a Masterwork Artisan Scribe Set, except with used to Scribe Scrolls. When used with that intent, a small incision opens on the caster’s arm. The trickle of blood from the wound fills the crystal vial used for ink. The blood ink activates the second quill and allows the user to make a second, identical scroll. These scrolls can only be read by the scriber and take only the time it would normally take to make one. To anyone but the scriber, the scrolls read as nonsense, even with the use of Read Magic and Comprehend Languages. The scrolls cannot be sold, as they would not work for another user. The scriber takes 1 bleed damage per hour of crafting to account for the ink used. Any healing of the wound while scribing the scrolls will negate the effect of the quills and the second scroll will not be scribed. If the scroll has a material component, you must double it to account for the second scroll.
A little blood and sacrifice to get the powers flowing.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Blood Transcription, Illusory Script, Mage Hand, Masterwork Artisan Scribe Set; Cost 10,000 gp

Formatting:

Minor typos. The gibberish bit could have been replaced with a thematic tie in to the caster’s own powers. The bleed damage is thematic, but doesn’t really do anything. Taking the damage to power the scroll would have been more thematic. Either way it’s just another cut myself for extra dmgs type item which is pretty boring.

Mechanics issue: Material components are expended when the scroll is activated. No need to address it in the scribing text and it’s already provided for in the core rules so referencing it only muddies the water.

Does this add something to the game?

No.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

No, now the magical loot on all the baddies is worthless.

As a GM?

No, it doesn’t add anything to the setting and just creates the potential for abuse if a suitably minded player gets one.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this: First Cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Boiling Heart Gauntlet
Aura faint evocation; CL 2nd
Slot hands; Price 8000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
Description
This leather, brass-plated gauntlet is covered in flexible copper tubing running its length, and down each finger. Embedded in the forearm is a small beating heart with copper tubes running through it. When donned the copper tubing extends into the wearer’s flesh. The user can then produce a 15’ cone of steam from the gauntlet’s fingers 10 times per day. This scalding water causes 1d4 points of fire damage and living creatures are sickened for 3 rounds. A reflex save (DC 15) halves the damage and negates the sickened effect.
Alternatively, the gauntlet can be used to produce a rainstorm of boiling water 5-foot square emanating from the air within 30-feet. Living creatures within the area take 2d6 points of fire damage. Each such use expends two daily uses. The bearer can choose to effect up to three more 5-foot adjacent squares at two uses per square. Each such shower remains in effect until the beginning of the user’s next turn. Any creature entering an effected square suffers 1d6 points fire damage. A fortitude save (DC 15) halves the damage.
After four uses are expended in a day, the user is sickened from dehydration and becomes nauseated after eight uses. The user can remove the effects by spending a full-round action drinking water.
While this articulated gauntlet allows the user to wield and carry items in that hand, the hand must be free to use the gantlet’s powers and the user receives a -2 penalty on all precision based tasks involving that hand. If the gauntlet is removed the wearer takes 1 point of damage from withdrawing the embedded tubing.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, produce water, steam memphit heart; Cost 4000 gp

Formatting:

Some awkward pharsing “…of boiling water 5-foot square emanating from the air…”

Charge mechanic largely reminiscent of a staff.

Gauntlets are usually designed so the user can freely use and manipulate items with their hands. You could have used the cestus as a base and saved wordcount.

Does this add something to the game?

Spell in a can.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

The damage is pretty weak, this would have made a better staff.

As a GM?

I don’t see the point of the item.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this: First Cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Whispering Blade:

In addition to what you've mentioned:

Items which let you create hordes of things are not generally liked by GMs.

Plot-specific items are a turn off; sometimes they can be repurposed, but a lot of their mojo is devoted to something you (GM or Player) might not be interested in.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:

AURA: Normal Moderate Abjuration CL: 7th

SLOT: Armor PRICE: 47,320 gp WEIGHT: 20 lbs. when exhausted, Does not weigh anything with spells stored in the armor.
DESCRIPTION:
This set of hide armor looks normal aside from the four pearls sewn into the neckline. However, a wearer with arcane spell powers can store one spell per level up to 4th level, transforming this armor into what appears to be a shirt made of many pieces of parchments layered on top of each other. While the wearer has spells stored in the armor, the armor weighs nothing and has no chance of Arcane Spell Failure, though a Max Dex Bonus of +4 still applies.
The wearer may cast the stored spell as a standard action as a scroll which is taken off the armor. The wearer must be able to cast the stored spell and once it is cast, it is gone until replenished as per pearl of power. For each spell used, the armor loses one point of protection. So if you have used two of the four spells, the armor drops to +2 until replenished. Once all four spells are used, the armor reverts back to a masterwork hide shirt with all bonuses and penalties until the spells are replenished.
CONSTRUCTION
REQUIREMENTS: Craft Magic Arms & Armor, Mage Armor, Pearls of Power x4 (1st-4th level) COST: 23,820 gp

Format:

Capitalization issues. Underpriced. There's nothing to really grab at me and say 'cool,' it reads like a mechanical wishlist.

Does this add something to the game?

Mage armor equivalent with a little extra scroll availability; each are available sold separately.

Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

Why not?

As a GM?

It feels munchkin-y, but is not unreasonable. I’d put it on an evil librarian.

Point at which I would stop up voting this: Around the second cull.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Quote:


Canvas of the Dreamer
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 10,250 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
Awaiting the paints, inks, or charcoal of a master artist, this yard of blank linen canvas transforms a work of art into a powerful servant. An artist makes a Craft (paintings) or related skill check to render on to the canvas an image of a creature of their choice. Composing the image takes at least 10 minutes of dedicated work and a DC 20 skill check. If the check is successful, the artist has bound the creature to the painting. If the check fails, it dispels the magic of the canvas. Images that are not specifically creatures, like an object or landscape, retain that basic shape but otherwise function normally.
Once a creature’s image is bound to the canvas, it can be called for one hour to serve anyone that destroys the canvas. Destruction of the canvas can be done by cutting it, burning it, or similar means, but serves as a 1 round action that provokes an attack of opportunity as if casting a spell to call forth the creature depicted. The called creature is treated as an unfettered eidolon (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 3) with 16 evolution points (EP) + 1 EP for every 5 points by which the artist’s check exceeds the DC. The eidolon and its evolutions are chosen by the artist when it is composed, and cannot be altered after the check is made.
The creature’s alignment always matches that of the caller’s and serves them faithfully as if they were a summoned creature. If killed or one hour has passed, the creature reverts back to mere ruined canvas.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, planar ally or planar binding; Cost 5,125gp

Formatting:

Another Naruto item. Well written, but ultimately just a monster in a can. At 10k+ this is a very expensive consumable.

Does this add something to the game?
No.
Would I want this in my games?
As a Player?

No. Anything a summon is used for is something I could have been playing through.

As a GM?

Mimic my player thoughts, besides I have avenues to gain things like this for my villains without blowing their budget.

Point at which I would stop up-voting this: After the First Cull.

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