Statesman's Top Hat
Statesman’s Top Hat
Aura Moderate Enchantment CL 10
Slot Head Price 16,800gp Weight 1lb
A favorite among unscrupulous Gnomish politicians, this elegant silken top hat looms imposingly at nearly a foot and a half in height. Despite its unwieldy height, a Statesman’s Top Hat remains snugly upon its wearer’s head and is not in danger of falling off.
The wearer of a Statesman’s Top Hat appears to stand at an imposing height to observers, regardless of their actual height, causing the wearer to be treated as one size larger than they actually are for the purpose of size modifiers to Intimidate checks. Additionally, once per day when the wearer uses the Intimidate skill to force another creature to act friendly towards them, the wearer may activate this item by tipping their hat in respect to enhance the attached Intimidation. When the Intimidate expires, the creature does not automatically become unfriendly and must succeed at a DC:16 Will save or forget that the wearer had Intimidated them, removing the memories of being Intimidated (as per Modify Memory).
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Modify Memory, Enlarge Person; Cost 8,400gp
COMMENTS FROM THE JUDGES:
JACOB: First of all, congratulations; welcome to the Top 16 of the very first DesignFinder! I like the area this item plays around with; size effects are not overly used, so are a fertile design space, in my opinion. It’s a solid item that could see use in a lot of games. I’m personally not a big fan of items that feel anachronistic (which this does to me, though I think some may certainly not feel that way), but this was able to win me over despite that. I also don’t love the opening clause, about being a favorite -- that opening sentence in my opinion should be basically a read-aloud for the GM to describe what the PCs see when they see the item, and using “favorite of” assumes something that may not be true. Gnomes might be treated completely differently in a homebrew/other campaign setting, and may not have this type of whimsy associated with them.
I do have some concerns about the designer’s ability with the mechanical aspects of games writing. There are a lot of style errors in this, including some that diverge from the template we provided (the semi-colons were removed in place of tabs, it looks like). Some other issues: spells should be lowercase, as should the name of the item in the description) and the aura and slot. The CL should be 10th, not 10; there should be a space between the price/cost and “gp” and the weight and lb.; the spells should be in alphabetical order in the requirements. Also, it should be a DC 16 Will save, with no colon (but good job making sure it says they must succeed at the save, not just attempt).
Why does all that matter? It can be the difference between becoming a successful freelancer and not. If a developer has to spend tons of time fixing basic formatting mistakes, he/she is not going to want to hire that freelancer again. Round 2 is lighter on the rules content, but if this designer advances to Round 3, I’ll be keeping a close eye on his/her ability to present the information the way it’s expected.
KATE: This is a really fun item! I think it would be really popular among Small PCs who want to use the Intimidate skill, since that size penalty can be killer. The image of the wearer tipping the hat to use it is great. The opening has some presumption about the setting, and I think it would be better to rewrite this without the specific “Gnomish politicians” reference. I also feel like this item could use one more related ability, though that wouldn’t be absolutely necessary. Jacob covered the template issues pretty thoroughly. Nice work!
MIKE: This is a great item which is useful not only for Small characters trying to make their way among humans and other tall folk, but also for Medium characters who have to deal with giants and other intelligent, large creatures. You eschewed granting a flat bonus to Intimidate checks and used the more flavorful option of increasing the wearer’s effective size. The top hat’s additional effect of removing the memory of an Intimidate effect was a nice touch, and it adds a social/intrigue dimension to using the item. As mentioned above, you could do away with the initial clause entirely; a GM can decide who favors this item in their campaign setting. The rest of the description in the first paragraph is wonderful, though.
Congratulations and welcome to the top 16!
REP: Congratulations! While the “favorite among” or “favored by” is cliched language, I nonetheless appreciate the particular imagery depicted in the item, which is also well designed mechanically for the most part. It’s not overly powerful, and it serves a distinct purpose. One nitpick on mechanics however: if the intent is that the target does not become hostile at the end of the effect, I’d rather that have been said explicitly. Template is good, but remember that spells (and everything in its own category) get listed alphabetically. While the copy is mostly clean, you could have benefited from one or two more proofreading passes.