Critique my Item! ...Please?


RPG Superstar™ General Discussion


Okay, so I am late to the whole RPGSS contest by around two years. I also understand that it is on semi-permanent hiatus with no plans for a comback anytime soon. I still want to make something, and I had a perfect idea on what to make in a pathfinder setting. I really do want to get into making games someday and this community seems like just the place! I just want to place this little thingamajuggernaut here and see if I can get some feed back on it.

Defiler's Maw
Aura Strong Necromancy and Transmutation CL 16th
Slot none Price 96,912 GP

At the tang of this Anchoring Exhausting Adamantine Mancatcher lies a symbol of a hand with a hole full of lying in the center of its palm. The tips of the fingers are also adorned with teeth similar to a lamprey eel's. Despite it being Adamantine, the mancatcher is black with brassy engravings of people enacting all manner of debauchery going down the shaft.

This mancatcher can grapple anyone of any size regardless of the size of the weapon. Once the wielder of this mancatcher manages to grapple someone with this weapon, they can let go of the weapon and treat the weapon and the person inside it as if they were under the affects of a Telekinesis spell, treating the wielder's character level as the caster level in terms of determining maximum weight lifted and will save DC.

Letting go of the weapon does not allow the victim to free themselves as a standard action as with normal mancatchers. Instead, the victim must make a will save (DC= wielder's character level + wielder's strength modifier) to set themselves free. Victims can also set themselves free by breaking the Defiler's Maw as with regular mancatchers, although it has 8 HP and a hardness of 20.

If the wielder is a worshipper of The Great Old Ones, they can also feed on the victim's vitality for their own depraved purposes. Once per day, when a victim is stuck in a grapple with the mancatcher, you can penalize one or two ability scores of your choice, as per Greater Bestow Curse. A will save nullifies this effect. If they fail the will save, not only do they suffer the ability score penalties, the wielder gains a profane bonus to the same ability score equal to the penalty inflicted. If you penalized two ability scores at once, the wielder may only receive a bonus to one of the two ability scores selected.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Weapons and Armor, Greater Bestow Curse, Telekinesis Cost 48,456 GP

Past the item idea, I guess anyone can come onto this thread in the meantime and submit their spare ideas here. At the time of writing (January 10, 2016), Template Fu is running a Psuedo-Superstar of his own with themes already underway. Here, people can submit their ideas "freeform" and get a critique as I hope to receive.


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Okay, using recent item rules, the word count of the above is 347 words, 47 words over limit and so would be automatically disqualified from the competition.

Templating Issues first...

Title - Defiler's Maw should be in bold.
Aura - nothing should be capitalised and should end with a ";" after transmutation
Slot - well done for using none instead of dash, but it needs to end with a semicolon again :)
Price - seems quite expensive on first glance - this often happens when applying the pricing rules religiously - I would check against existing items of similar power to see if there are some price reductions that can be applied. GP should be lower case in price (and cost)
Weight is missing - even if there is no weight, the weight label should be present with a weight entry of emdash. That said, what is the weight of a standard mancatcher - it should at least match that.

Quick scan of description -

Description Header is missing.
first paragraph - the whole of the item should be italicised, not just the modifiers
second paragraph - spell name should be slower case and italicised. Word confusion - affect / effect - when you are affected by something you are under its effect's :D - so you need the word effect and not affect. The Will in the save line should be capitalised.
third paragraph - as with normal/as with regular - reword this para so the duplication can be removed.
fourth paragraph - save capitalisation again, also spells should be italicised - also check existing save wording - you can merge two lines here saving quite a few words.

Construction section next

Header is present
Spells should be italicised, well done on getting them alphabetically ordered, that ordering is often missed.
Terminating ";" is missing again.
Cost is half of price - however with weapons this is not the normal calculation due to components item prices being included in the cost which are not doubled into the price. So I would have expected something like 96,912 for the price, as you have - assuming 912 is the material costs etc, then the cost would be 48,912 and not 48,456. This is a weapon, so the rules are slightly different to wondrous items.

okay, back to the description and effects.

Paragraph 1 - try to avoid like, similar and such words - be definite in your description, we don't want to know what something is like, we want to know what it is. The first paragraph is the place for description, materials etc so well done there but this description is way too long at 64 words - that's quite a chunk out of the 300 word limit. I personally start to worry if my description hits 50 words, and am uncomfortable at 40 words or more.

Paragraph 2 - the DC should be based on the spell and caster levels so should be calculated and quoted - by leaving it to the GM to determine, you are adding more work to an over worked player - don't do that when it can be avoided.

I like the idea of having a weapon that pins an opponent and can be left pinning them while you go deal with other threats - it could be a great way to catch someone alive for later interrogation.

Paragraph 3 - I actually think this is adding extra complexity that might get in the way of a smooth flowing combat scene. The magic of the item is being able to be left untended and should not really affect the escape from the item unless there was something magical about the grappling of the foe. I think this whole paragraph can be dropped, let the existing rules cover escape from the item.

Paragraph 4 feels like a bolt on which leads to swiss army knife syndrome. I think if paragraph 3 is dropped, then this is probably okay. the wording does need some juggling as it is a bit bloated and non standard with regards existing save wording. I also think it is the major contributor to the cost.

If you drop the third and fourth paragraphs, you then have a nice weapon to pin opponents in place and be left untended. It would be simple, concise and eminently useable with a pricing point fitting nicely at the lower cost brackets of the game.

There you go, hope some of that is useful.


Thank you for the assistance! I made the revisions as you suggested and published them below.

Defiler's Maw
Aura strong necromancy and transmutation; CL 16th
Slot none; Price 96,912 gp; Weight 10 lbs.

At the tang of this Anchoring Exhausting Adamantine Mancatcher lies a symbol of a hand with a hole full of teeth lying in the center of its palm. Despite being Adamantine, the mancatcher's shaft is black with brassy engravings of lewd acts.

This mancatcher can grapple anyone of any size regardless of the size of the weapon. Once the wielder of this mancatcher manages to grapple someone with this weapon, they can let go of the weapon and treat the weapon and the person inside it as if they were under the effects of a Telekinesis spell. A DC 22 will save negates the Telekinesis effect.

If the wielder is a worshipper of The Great Old Ones, they can also feed on the victim's vitality for their own depraved purposes. Once per day, when a victim is stuck in the Defiler's Maw, you can penalize one ability score of your choice, as per Greater Bestow Curse. A DC 22 will save nullifies this effect. If they fail the will save, the wielder also gains a profane bonus to the same ability score equal to the penalty inflicted.

Construction
Requirements Craft Magic Weapons and Armor, Greater Bestow Curse, Telekinesis; Cost 48,912 gp


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Much cleaner indeed!

You missed a few formatting items though...

the first para should show start with the item in lower italics including the base item...

"At the tang of this anchoring exhausting adamantine mancatcher lies..."

second para, italicise the spell and remove the preceding "a" and following "spell". Capitalise the save type and shorten it as we know what it is a save against from the prior line.

"This mancatcher can grapple anyone of any size regardless of the size of the weapon. Once the wielder of this mancatcher manages to grapple someone with this weapon, they can let go of the weapon and treat the weapon and the person inside it as if they were under the effects of telekinesis. A DC 22 Will save negates."

para three, consistent wording on saves, and don't forget to capitalise the save type... a slight rewording to save words, it probably could be better, but I think it shows how revisiting a day or so later will allow you to catch and tighten verbose areas.

"...A DC 22 Will save negates. Failing the save imparts a profane bonus to the same ability score of the target equal to the penalty that would have been inflicted."

Construction line spells should be lower italics...

Requirements Craft Magic Weapons and Armor, greater bestow curse, telekinesis; Cost 48,912 gp

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

there is no feat called 'craft magic weapons and armor'.
you want 'Craft Magic Arms and Armor'

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Reduxist -

I have a history of long & harsh criticisms here. They have a particular format to them, and many people find the take-no-prisoners approach highly valuable. I am certain, however, that others would not like to receive a drill seargent-like tearing down, however useful it might be in eventually building up.

Therefor, I'll just say that I'm offering to perform the sort of criticism I've given to others, and you can decide for yourself whether or not that would be worth it to you.

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

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Grumpus wrote:

there is no feat called 'craft magic weapons and armor'.

you want 'Craft Magic Arms and Armor'

Good catch - missed that one!

An interesting gotcha to be wary of on these crafting feats when creating lower level items - the feats have a minimum caster level requirement! This item is far beyond those minimums, so not a problem on this one.

Even if your item used only magic missile allowing a caster level of 1st, you can't do that because the Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat has a minimum caster level of 5th.

The minimum caster levels vary on the creation feats... so be careful when designing low level items

Craft Magic Arms and Armor - minimum CL 5th
Craft Rod - minimum CL 9th
Craft Staff - minimum CL 11th
Craft Wand - minimum CL 5th
Craft Wondrous Item - minimum CL 3rd

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

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Anthony Adam wrote:

Even if your item used only magic missile allowing a caster level of 1st, you can't do that because the Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat has a minimum caster level of 5th.

The minimum caster levels vary on the creation feats... so be careful when designing low level items

That's not accurate. A number of wondrous items, for example, have a CL less than 3: brooch of shielding, elixir of swimming, elixir of vision, hand of the mage, pipes of the sewers...

A wand is typically created with the lowest CL needed to cast the spell (i.e. 1st for cantrips/orisons and 1st-level spells).


Grumpus wrote:

there is no feat called 'craft magic weapons and armor'.

you want 'Craft Magic Arms and Armor'

Nice catch, thank you!

CripDyke wrote:

Reduxist -

I have a history of long & harsh criticisms here. They have a particular format to them, and many people find the take-no-prisoners approach highly valuable. I am certain, however, that others would not like to receive a drill seargent-like tearing down, however useful it might be in eventually building up.

Therefor, I'll just say that I'm offering to perform the sort of criticism I've given to others, and you can decide for yourself whether or not that would be worth it to you.

I appreciate all the criticism I can get, so I would love another opinion.

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