Critique My Item!

Welcome to the Critique My Item thread!

This is the place where you should post your item if you'd like to see the judge critiques (if any) and receive critiques from others. To keep from filling up the subforum's display with threads, we'd prefer if non-judges who want to critique items also use this official thread.

For anyone doing critique, please keep it civil!

Comments

  • And since I started this, here is the first bit, which is a generalized bit, from the submissions I saw, and which I think a lot of people could draw upon:

    1 - Follow the template. Don't copy it from anywhere else, as they can change in subtle ways without you noticing it. Especially if you're submitting to different publishers, this might catch you out. (Incidentally, that also goes for monsters). So follow the one we present, to avoid any issues.

    2 - It's Craft WONDROUS Item - not Craft Wonderous Item. - A surprising amount of people made that mistake.

    3 - The word count is 300 - No more than that. We had a few who blew past this target with 33% or more, though most people were well short (which is good).

  • Not entirely a critique but more a recommendation, I have found the Rogue Genius Style Guide really useful for picking up on some of the nitty gritty details in formatting correctly.

    Also, would anyone be interested in a design deconstruction of my wondrous item (Raveling Tunic)? Going through the inspiration, early design ideas and various balancing considerations and decisions I made.

    I know I'd love to know how some of the other competitors approached it. 


  • @piratej would love a deconstruction on your item. Always looking to learn. Will be posting my (non-winning) item for critique to see what I could have done better.
  • Didn't make the cut for round 1, but would love feedback on my item to see where I can improve. Thanks all!

    Temporal Treads

    Aura moderate transmutation; CL 11th

    Slot feet; Price 26,400 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

    Description

    These brown and weathered leather boots always seem to have sand in them. Harnessing sands of time, they allow the wearer to step through time as well as space. Once per day the wearer may use an immediate action to step either back in time or forward in time one round. However, due to temporal eddies, control is imprecise and not without side-effects.

    During your the wearer’s turn, they may step back in time to rewind events to the beginning of their current turn. Any events that occurred so far during their turn are considered to have not happened, though the wearer remembers them. At the start of each of the wearer’s following turns, temporal acceleration causes a cumulative 5% chance that the wearer is vaulted forward in time one round, skipping their current turn and ending the temporal acceleration affect.

    When it is not the wearer’s turn, the wearer may step forward in time to the start of their next turn, without having experienced the intervening time. For the next round the wearer is affected by temporal drag which prevents them from taking anything except free actions.

    When using an immediate action to activate the boots in response to being targeted by an affect, the wearer must do so before the results of the affect are determined or else risk being incapacitated before having a chance to activate the boots.

    Construction

    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, haste, slow; Cost 13,200 gp
  • edited July 5
    @noisyninjaneer
    Aside from the grammatical errors and confusing text structure, the book keeping it'd need seems horrible.
  • I haven't made a lot of magic items before and thought I'd try my hand at it. It didn't make the 1st cut. However, it did inspire me to continue to make magic items to get better at it. Thanks!!

    Mask of Greater Standing

    Aura Faint Enchantment, Illusion, and Transmutation; CL 3rd

    Slot Head; Price 29,000 gp; Weight -

    Description

    This red velvet mask is edged in gold trim and elaborately embroidered with gold and silver thread. These masks are popular with those of the lower castes of society, especially thieves, to gain the benefits of the higher castes.

    While wearing the mask of greater standing, the user appears to be of a higher caste or social standing than they actually are. The wearer’s appearance takes on that of an individual from that caste/social standing. This includes any clothing and jewelry that an individual from that caste/social standing would wear.

    Although the mask allows the wearer to appear of a greater caste/social standing than they are, it does not affect the wearer’s speech or actions in any way. The greater caste/social standing the wearer tries to emulate, the less likely he is to be believed.

    Caste Levels Above Current               Viewer’s DC Modifier

    1                                                         -5

    2                                                         -10

    3                                                         -15

    4                                                         -20

    The mask does, however, grant the wearer a +2 to any Cha-related ability or skill the user possesses.

    As long as the viewer accepts the wearer’s appearance and mannerisms of being from the caste/class he is emulating, the viewer will treat the wearer as such, including assisting the wearer, within reason, with whatever he may desire, including gaining access to quality items only those from a higher caste/social standing have.

    Construction

    Requirements Craft Wondrous Items, charm person, disguise self, eagle’s splendor; Cost 14,500 gp

    Note: The caste levels/dc mod was originally in a table.

  • Some comments on these first two items. I'm happy to discuss further if designers/others have questions on my comments.
  • Temporal Treads: Gnurro is correct that these are unworkable with the aspect of turning back time -- I simply couldn't adjudicate everything that would require as I don't keep track especially at higher levels of what happens in each round (other than for duration of effects). It also wasn't clear what stepping forward actually meant -- we were guessing that you were effectively "off the board" (and thus couldn't be targeted by anything, maybe have durations reduced for any effects) for a round? Time is always a tempting area to play around with -- I did a Superstar item that tried to play with initiative one year that didn't get me into the contest -- but it's really tricky. I could see maybe a rewind effect forcing someone to reroll a success (or failure), but I don't think that would be "Superstar" -- or "DesignFinder," for that matter (DesignFound? Not sure our contest name works as well as an adjective).

    That said, your template use looks almost perfect (Requirements and Cost should be bold). I can see you're thinking about design in your last paragraph (but it should be "effect" not "affect" and that end of that sentence isn't really necessary -- we know what the risk is), which is good. As a judge, those are the little things I look for in a contest like this where I'm trying to extrapolate an item out to a designer's overall ability.

    One other note: In your descriptive first sentence, you use "seem." That's one of my bugaboos as it means I'm often left wondering. They seem like they've got sand in them (but presumably don't?). How does that work? If I look in them, I see illusory sand? I suspect you meant when they're worn, but that's not really what it says.

  • Mask of Greater Standing: First of all, I'm thrilled that this has inspired you to make more items (and hopefully eventually other designs!). That's the point of the contest!

    This was a somewhat odd item, because there aren't any rules for castes/social standing in the eligible rules. It felt like this was trying to impose some specific levels/values that other folks may not play with. I think if we'd allowed some other rules in there, this could have been adapted to play with that (perhaps social combat from UI, or the patronage subsystem introduced in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Qadira, Jewel of the East (I think the War of the Crown may also have a similar subsystem, but I'm playing in it so haven't read through for fear of spoilers). Beyond that, while this has some story behind it (and I'm a big fan of masks and the idea of masquerade balls -- to the point I did TWO mask-based magic item books -- so this hits me in the right spot), it feels a little too much like a skill item. For some, the overall effect might weigh more, but personally I would want to see a little more innovation in the item's mechanics.

    Template-wise, it looks pretty good. The aura and slot values (faint enchantment, etc., and head) should be lowercase. Also, you don't need to italicize the first paragraph/description. That's for monsters. Also with your description, I would have stuck with the first sentence -- describing the item -- and just completely skipped the second. Most magic items don't tell you who they're popular with. Let the players and GM determine that, since they may be used in other ways in different settings.
  • @motteditor thanks for the feedback! The "affect" versus "effect" kills me, because I'm actually usually pretty strong on grammar. Doh! I was focused more on design and forgot to fully proofread. =P I'll keep the "seem" tip in mind.

    I can see that I needed a clearer explanation on the "step forward" in time. However, I don't think many people understood the "rewind events to the beginning of their current turn". I understand this requires a bit more bookkeeping and overhead, but the effect is literally just that player turn, not the entire round. So, for example, the player wearing the boots starts their turn, takes a standard action to something, maybe deals some damage, takes a move action and stumbles into a trap, receiving a dose of poison, and decides to rewind. The only overhead is undoing the damage he dealt, poison received, and resetting the trap. I'll have to play-test, but I feel like the overhead wouldn't be burdensome.

    Playing with time is tricky. I feel like pen and paper RPGs are a great space to do it, however, since we have complete control over events. I'll refine for next time. Thanks again!
  • Ah, yes, stepping backward is certainly more reasonable if it's only the wearer's turn, though at higher levels even that I think could get a bit confusing.

    I hate when I inadvertently use the wrong it's/its or your/you're, but it happens sometimes.I try to make sure I wait a day between finishing my designs and then doing a final read-through, but it's frustrating how often we find mistakes after even multiple edits of our own work.
  • @motteditor thanks for understanding. =) For now I'll go brainstorm with the others here on the boards and prepare for next year. There will be another competition next year, right? ; )
  • I certainly hope so!
  • I didn't make it past the first round either, but please tell me what you thought.

    Earring of Obscuring Mist

    Aura Faint Conjuration; CL 2nd 

    Slot Head Price 1,100 gp; Weight --.

    Description

    This small silver earring, with a small Onyx teardrop gem hanging from it, is a favorite of thieves, bards and wannabe magicians. When command word is spoken, the wearer calls forth an Obscuring Mist (similar to the spell) surrounding the wearer extending to a 20-foot radius. This allows the wearer an easy or quick escape. The fog disperses after two minutes. There are 25 charges in this earring.

     Construction

    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Obscuring Mist, White Diamond worth 200 gp Cost 550 gp

  • Hi @sportszahn. I like the earring aspect of this. We don't have enough jewelry-type items in Pathfinder. When I reviewed this earlier, I noted that it fell into the "spell in a can category," where the item does exactly what the spell does. So, I was hoping for something more (for example and just off the top of my head, maybe it could create a foggy duplicate of the wearer for a couple of rounds to help with the concept of using it to escape).

    You did a decent job of following the template. The values in the aura and slot sections should be lower case, and your spells should also be lower case (and italicized). You don't have to add the item used in its creation. A magic item is most likely going to be made from some kind of expensive item, which you can indicate in the text (speaking of which, the requirements reference a white diamond, but the description says it's an onyx gem, so there's some incongruity there). Finally, as Jacob mentioned above, you don't have to indicate who favors the item. GMs and players will figure that out.

    I hope all the above helps you out. I'd love to see what you have to offer next year!
  • @toni_d I'm just a contestant, but here's my feedback on your item:

    Feedback for Mask of Greater Standing
    I can see where you were going with this, it's a cool idea, but I think you needed some more iteration. On first reading your intention didn't quite come through. You use most of your words on what boils down to "you can use a Hat of Disguise to disguise yourself as somebody from a different caste/social class." The mask does not affect your behavior or speech, which again is like a Hat of Disguise. The bonus to Charisma makes sense in that you need that help with your impersonation. But then I realized that the last section is basically if the person fails to see through your disguise, they are sort of charmed to help you. Now it starts to make more sense, but it took a while to get there. It's confusing though that the in the middle part of your description the mask doesn't affect your speech or action, but then later (once the target is charmed) people accept your mannerisms.

    My suggestion would be to lean into the idea of an item that helps you impersonate a member of a different caste/class. Something like this:

    Wearing a Mask of Greater Standing helps its owner blend into any level of a society. Physically it allows its wearer to alter her appearance as with the disguise self spell. Culturally, the mask passively detects the thoughts of nearby creatures, providing a +4 bonus to Knowledge (local) checks to adapt to cultural traditions and mannerisms. The knowledge of cultural strata gained from the mask also provides a +4 bonus to Diplomacy and Bluff checks when interacting with members of a social class you are impersonating, and a +4 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidation checks when dealing with members of lower classes.

    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Items, detect thoughts, disguise self Cost ? gp
  • I would also love to hear what feedback the judges (and others) have about my item...anxious to know if it didn't quite make the cut or was horrible in some way I didn't see! Thank you in advance! (note: the table is formatted a bit differently on this forum than in the email I sent. In the future I would definitely avoid creating any items with tables...for lots of reasons!)

    Kettle of Poured Jewels

    Aura Faint Transmutation; CL 3rd

    Slot none; Price 1000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

    Description

    This bronze kettle is decorated with a waterfall motif and covered in a light green patina. If fresh water and dried tea leaves are added and the lid is closed, the kettle will brew a pot of tea without any external heat source. The kettle takes two minutes to complete brewing and then maintains the tea at an ideal temperature for one hour without becoming bitter. The outside of the kettle never becomes more than pleasantly warm.

    Alternatively, if a gemstone is placed in the kettle with water, it will brew the gem into a potion or oil based on the gem used:

    Gemstone

    Worth at

    least (gp)

    Potion/oil

    Gemstone

    Worth at

    least (gp)

    Potion/oil

    Any mixture

    25

    Light

    Jet

    50

    Vanish

    Freshwater Pearls

    25

    Purify Food and Drink

    Alexandrite

    300

    Invisibility

    Sard/Citrine

    50

    Ant Haul

    Aquamarine

    300

    Cure Moderate Wounds

    Carnelian

    50

    Magic Weapon

    Garnet

    300

    Barkskin

    Pearl (not black)

    50

    Cure Light Wounds

    Black Pearl

    300

    Darkvision

    Zircon

    50

    Endure Elements

    Spinel

    300

    Spider Climb

    Bloodstone

    50

    Enlarge Person

    Topaz

    300

    Levitate

    Onyx

    50

    Hide from Undead

    Emerald

    750

    Neutralize Poison

    Jade/Peridot

    50

    Hide from Animals

    White Opal

    750

    Remove Disease

    Amber/Coral

    50

    Jump

    Black Opal

    750

    Remove Curse

    Tourmaline

    50

    Keen Senses

    Fire Opal

    750

    Haste

    Amethyst/Moonstone

    50

    Mage Armor

    Sapphire

    750

    Water Walk

    Chrysoberyl

    50

    Reduce Person

    Corundum

    750

    Fly

    Jasper

    50

    Remove Fear

    Star Sapphire

    750

    Water Breathing

    Sardonyx

    50

    Remove Sickness

    Diamond

    750

    Cure Serious Wounds

    Quartz

    50

    Sanctuary

    Jacinth

    750

    Flame Arrow

    Chrysoprase

    50

    Shillelagh

    Ruby

    750

    Rage

    Chalcedony

    50

    Touch of the Sea




     

    Construction

    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Brew Potion, Heat Metal; Cost 500 gp


  • edited July 9
    Neat idea. I think the biggest issue is that it's effectively a canned feat - brew potion. It's important not to take away the coolness of an existing option by either making a flat better version of it, or by switching a high cost (feat selection) for a much lower cost (1000 gp magic item.)

    It also doesnt have any specifics on how long it takes to create the potion, which I presume means it's instant, which is a big upgrade from the brew potion feat, which requires a day or more, so you end up with exceptional flexibility as well. 

    I do like how it offers a party with no casting some strong utility. I think it would be a really neat basis for a crafting system in a video game, or a very low-magic setting.

  • edited July 10
    I didn't make it past the first round either, but please tell me what you thought.

    Earring of Obscuring Mist

    Aura Faint Conjuration; CL 2nd 

    Slot Head Price 1,100 gp; Weight --.

    Description

    This small silver earring, with a small Onyx teardrop gem hanging from it, is a favorite of thieves, bards and wannabe magicians. When command word is spoken, the wearer calls forth an Obscuring Mist (similar to the spell) surrounding the wearer extending to a 20-foot radius. This allows the wearer an easy or quick escape. The fog disperses after two minutes. There are 25 charges in this earring.

     Construction

    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Obscuring Mist, White Diamond worth 200 gp Cost 550 gp

    This almost certainly was rejected because it's a spell-in-a-can, but I see some other problems, too, that perhaps by pointing out you'll be positioned to avoid next time.

    First, look carefully at Paizo's items to see what's capitalized, italicized, and such. You'll see that "Faint Conjuration" shouldn't be capitalized, "Obscuring Mist" in your requirements needs to be lower case and italicized, and lots of little things like that. They matter to judges.

    Larger issues, though are these two: first, never say an item is "favored by" or "made by" a particular race or class or so on; that's weak writing--your item's abilities should indicate who wants it, and the history of the item often isn't relevant at all (artifacts notwithstanding, I suppose). Second, you mention that the item has charges, but never say what the charges are for. To call forth the mist, maybe? Look at how existing items with charges start with something like "this item has 25 charges when created, and each use expends one charge" or similar. 

    (Note, I wasn't a judge for this particular round.)

    Thanks,

    Ron
  • edited July 10
    jataka said:
    I would also love to hear what feedback the judges (and others) have about my item...anxious to know if it didn't quite make the cut or was horrible in some way I didn't see! Thank you in advance! (note: the table is formatted a bit differently on this forum than in the email I sent. In the future I would definitely avoid creating any items with tables...for lots of reasons!)

    Kettle of Poured Jewels

    Aura Faint Transmutation; CL 3rd

    Slot none; Price 1000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

    Description

    This bronze kettle is decorated with a waterfall motif and covered in a light green patina. If fresh water and dried tea leaves are added and the lid is closed, the kettle will brew a pot of tea without any external heat source. The kettle takes two minutes to complete brewing and then maintains the tea at an ideal temperature for one hour without becoming bitter. The outside of the kettle never becomes more than pleasantly warm.

    Alternatively, if a gemstone is placed in the kettle with water, it will brew the gem into a potion or oil based on the gem used:

    Construction

    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Brew Potion, Heat Metal; Cost 500 gp


    (I cut the table for space.)

    Not horrible, but for me it evoked a lot of potential and then lost it. The description and tea-brewing is solid and fun (although my "ideal temperature" for tea might not be someone else's!).

    Before I got to the table, my thoughts went along the lines of "ooh, now from the name it's going to pour gems! And with a transmutation aura, too, because it changes tea to gems! But it has a low cost, so I wonder how the designer is going to tackle it..." and then...it's a just a store. It's a potion shop that takes your money and gives you a potion. Potion shops do that better than tea kettles.

    I wasn't a judge for this particular round, though; I'm just prowling around here and thought I'd post.

    Thanks,

    Ron
  • Ron and Nykidemus, thanks for the feedback!

    It was in fact basically meant as a sort of portable potion shop, albeit a limited form of one since the potions you can make are limited by what gems you have. I can understand if that's not the most exciting thing. The idea behind it was to make finding gems in treasure piles a little bit more interesting. It seems like gems are intended to be a way of spicing up loot, but in my opinion they don't really succeed in that regard. My thought was that if gems can do something unique depending on the type, maybe they become more intriguing. We find a spinel...we can hold onto it and sell it for 300 gold back in town...but hmm, maybe a potion of spider climb would let us explore that pit we recently saw....

    Anyway, that was my aim...but back to the drawing board!
  • Earring of Obscuring Mist
    This allows the wearer an easy or quick escape. 
    Mike got most of the critiques for this, but I wanted to focus on this one line as something that should be avoided -- similar to "favored by." While it may well allow the wearer an easy or quick escape, my guess is most PCs would actually use it as part of an offensive or to try to sneak around an encounter. It's one of the reasons we'd avoid putting this into a magic item, because we don't really know how players will use it. If everyone ends up using it differently, it's a bit silly to have it in there, as well as wasted words.
  • jataka said:

    Kettle of Poured Jewels


    Ron largely hit the problem with this item. I also thought what happens if there's some other gem? You got a lot in for your word count with that table, but there's so many jewels.

    A GM could certainly make up something else on the fly, but I'm always wary of items (and feats and other abilities) like that where it has a specific list. What happens if someone creates some new type of thing on the list that's not part of that list? (I'm trying to think of a good example of this, and not coming up with anything at the moment.)

    (Also, as a gamer of a certain age, I felt like pearls worth at least 100 gp should absolutely have become potions of identify. ;) )
  • Thank you everyone for your valuable points on how to improve for next time. I look forward to next year, and hopefully have a winning entry!
  • Thanks for the feedback!

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