The changes between versions 1 and 2 were quite substantial, but how many changes did I make after that? Let's have a look at the third version, and I'll describe my thought processes and decisions.
- Name a deity whose favored weapon is a sword and who likes fire? I think the first deity that comes to mind is Sarenrae (though I'm sure there are other deities that also fit that description). Sarenrae is also called the Dawnflower, which ties nicely into the fire-blossom theme I picked for the item.
- To be consistent with the theme, I'll change the weapon to a scimitar, Sarenrae's favored weapon. Luckily enough, a scimitar costs and weighs exactly as much as a longsword, so there's no need to adjust those numbers.
- I intended to change the name to aurora's edge or edge of the morn, but Jacob W Michaels's comment on part 2 got me thinking. While I think that having "dawn" or a (near-)synonym of that word in the name would certainly fit an item with a Dawnflower theme, I realized that "fire blossom blade" is actually a very good name for an item with the theme I chose, that of a sun/fire deity whose title includes the word "flower". So I'm not going to change the name after all. (Hence the question mark in the title.)
- Another change I planned to include was that when you use up the three daily charges, the flaming ability goes inert until the charges are renewed at dawn, thus creating an interesting decision to make when you only have one daily use left. That would also have been another layer of thematic linking (renewed at dawn - the Dawnflower), but in the end, I decided against adding another ability that could have been seen as a drawback. Had I included it, I would have lowered the price, but not by much.
- The second version of the item had a minor formatting mistake: the item's name should not be italicized unless written out in full. So I changed each instance of "the blade" to "the sword".
- I decided to add a bit more flavor text to describe the secondary effect.
I ended up changing the item much less than I originally intended, which is good, I think. As I stated in a recent discussion, one should strive toward simpler rather than more complex items. While the old adage "the best writing is rewriting" is true, there's a point after which the text no longer gets better. The ability to resist changing and adding more and more is an invaluable quality in a designer.Fire-Blossom Blade
Aura moderate evocation; CL 10th
Slot none; Price 16,315 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
Both the scabbard and hilt of this +1 flaming scimitar are inlaid with rubies arranged in patterns resembling blossoming flowers. Upon drawing the sword, glowing words briefly appear along the blade's surface, praising Sarenrae the Dawnflower, then fade from view.
Three times per day on command, the sword causes its wielder to burst in a fiery explosion that sends gouts of flame, each shaped like the wielder, out to a 20-foot radius. As part of the action, the wielder may make a full attack action with the sword, targeting creatures caught in the burst as though they were within her melee reach. Each attack must target a different creature. The fire damage dealt by the flaming ability is increased to 2d6 for the duration of the full attack.
After the attacks are resolved, the flames produced by the explosion converge, and the wielder emerges in an unoccupied space of her choice within the burst, unscathed by the explosion.
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, fireball; Cost 8,315 gp
Despite the new flavor text added, the word count is still only 187. Based on my own experiences from 2013 and 2014, I usually read shorter items first in the voting booth, and long items really have to grab me the moment I start reading or I'll just skim the text, especially once voting fatigue sets in.
Would this item make the Top 32? I really don't know; the surprise twists for round 1 mean that it's much harder to predict what is going to be popular and what the judges like, and I'm biased anyway. At any rate, I think it'd have a chance, whereas the the first version would never even get past the cull.
Anyway, that's all for now. I hope you found it useful! Everyone who's entering RPG Superstar this year, I wish you the best of luck! Next week I have a special announcement, and the week after that I'm very likely post some map-making advice for round 2.
- Which of the three names I proposed do you like the best? Can you think of other names that would fit the Dawnflower theme and the mechanics equally well or even better?
- In your opinion, would the limitation (when you run out of daily uses) have been an interesting addition or just a waste of words?
- If you have any questions or comments, fire away!