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Round 2 Challenge Preview

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Greetings, potential superstars! There’s been some discussion about the Round 2: Organizations challenge, as smart competitors want to start working on a Round 2 submission early just in case they make it into the Top 32. While we haven’t finalized the rules document for Round 2 yet, we have decided the Organization format will match that in the Inner Sea World Guide, which looks like this:

Organization Name

Alignment: [two-letter abbreviation]
Headquarters: [location]
Leader: [character name]
Structure: [multinational corporation, military hierarchy, orders of crusading lawbringers, loose affiliation of like-minded explorers, religious cult, assassin’s guild, and so on]
Scope: [regional, national, or global (specify region or nation, if any)]
Resources: [property, valuable assets, castles, fortresses, equipment, network of local agents, informants, safe houses, and so on]
[100-word introductory paragraph summarizing the organization.]
Structure and Leadership
[100 words on this topic.]
Goals
[100 words on this topic.]
Public Perception
[50 words on this topic.]

Note that the organizations in the Inner Sea World Guide are approximately 1,400 words, so your submission write-up is a lean, stripped-down version of that. If you don’t have a copy of the Inner Sea World Guide handy, here’s the entry for the Aspis Consortium - (3.9 MB zip/PDF) from that book that you can use as a model for your write-up.

Your organization should be something PCs would normally oppose or come into conflict with, not an organization a typical heroic PC would join. The organization doesn’t necessarily have to be villainous, but it should definitely be a potential antagonist.

Full details (including a BBcode-formatted template for this challenge and an example organization from the Inner Sea World Guide) will be available next week. In the meantime, use the above information to guide your design for Round 2.

Remember, the deadline to submit your wondrous item is January 6th! You can’t submit an organization in Round 2 unless you make it into the Top 32 by submitting a wondrous item!

Sean K Reynolds
Designer and RPG Superstar Judge

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Campaign Setting RPG Superstar
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Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ah! Excellent, this will give me time to plan; everything counted the total word count appears to be 400ish. That'll do :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Young Adult Aberrant Mixed Martial Arts Anthropomorphic Animal Society!

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The YAAMMAAAS are renowned throughout greater Garundi

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013 aka Shadow-Mask

Thank you, Sean, and everyone else. :D This will keep us all busy, I'm sure.

Everyone associated with RPGSuperstar and Paizo totally rock!


LoreKeeper wrote:
The YAAMMAAAS are renowned throughout greater Garundi

There has been talk of an operetta based on their exploits.

Andoran Star Voter 2013

Wonderful! My current leading contender/idea for an organization fits this well (antagonistic to the PCs).

BTW, I assume that if we make Round 2 (as part of the 32) then we can stop worrying about being anonymous with our ideas when we post on the message board? With my wondrous item I had a key question but couldn't ask about it because I couldn't think of a general way of asking which wouldn't lead to a judge knowing which item was mine. Certainly, I wouldn't want to blurt out my organization idea until it's time to post about it just for the effect but it would be nice to not have to worry about being so careful to be anonymous in my posts.

I hope I’m in the 32 and if not at least the ‘keep’ pile – it’s like waiting on Santa to give me a gift or more likely coal!!!!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

No, you're not supposed to talk about your next round's entry before its unveiling or during the voting either.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

Neil is correct, here. Forget I said anything. (In fact, I've removed my earlier post, to avoid confusing anyone.)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

Looks like a really fun challenge. Not as mechanically deep as last year's archetype round but I think that's a good thing. It will let the voting public get a feel for the contestants' writing abilities and creativity before they take the plunge in round 3 which sounds like it will test their mechanical design skills.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka primemover003

Yeah pretty much after the top 32 are revealed you can comment about your own wondrous item and the other 31's of course, but from that point onward it's best to stay mum on anything you're working on.

If you need help with things run it by your gaming group. They're ususally good at showing you a players view of whatever you're coming up with. Your rules lawyer and/or power gamer are exceptional at this task!

But anything else its all about research. Look at similar things on the PRD/PFSRD/Pathfinder wiki and shoot to hit the target. Be creative, be bold, go big or go home!

--Vrockstar

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

This is a huge help!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I was trying to brainstorm ideas for an organization with my kid. She recommended an organization of unicorns banded together to spread a form of magic known as friendship. I'm pretty sure that would infringe upon a known property.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

2 people marked this as a favorite.
michaeljpatrick wrote:
I was trying to brainstorm ideas for an organization with my kid. She recommended an organization of unicorns banded together to spread a form of magic known as friendship. I'm pretty sure that would infringe upon a known property.

Way to steal my idea.

Well, back to the drawing board...

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka motteditor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
michaeljpatrick wrote:
I was trying to brainstorm ideas for an organization with my kid. She recommended an organization of unicorns banded together to spread a form of magic known as friendship. I'm pretty sure that would infringe upon a known property.

What if you had them all be bears? Perhaps with a tattoo on their chests to differentiate them?

Qadira Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Shadowborn

Should we presume the entries need to be tailored to Golarion?

Paizo Employee Developer

Shadowborn wrote:
Should we presume the entries need to be tailored to Golarion?

Yes. Ultimately, the winner(s) will be writing for Paizo, and thus Golarion, so showing your knowledge of the world and ability to write within established constraints is a good thing.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

This is ultimately a very helpful piece of the puzzle, thank you Sean for providing this "model" for those of us that would like to brainstorm and write-up our ideas.

Going off of Shadowborn's question... may we provide a write-up for an organization that's in the World Guide but not officially written up?

(I'd give a "for instance" but afraid I'd tip my hat for what I have in mind).

I do have something original in mind... but wanted to ask this anyway... just in case.

Thanks in advance,

Dean

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka DankeSean

Celestial Healer wrote:
michaeljpatrick wrote:
I was trying to brainstorm ideas for an organization with my kid. She recommended an organization of unicorns banded together to spread a form of magic known as friendship. I'm pretty sure that would infringe upon a known property.

Way to steal my idea.

Well, back to the drawing board...

Sub in blink dogs for the unicorns. The judges (Clark in particular) love to see blink dogs in this contest!

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:

This is ultimately a very helpful piece of the puzzle, thank you Sean for providing this "model" for those of us that would like to brainstorm and write-up our ideas.

Going off of Shadowborn's question... may we provide a write-up for an organization that's in the World Guide but not officially written up?

(I'd give a "for instance" but afraid I'd tip my hat for what I have in mind).

I do have something original in mind... but wanted to ask this anyway... just in case.

Thanks in advance,

Dean

Go for originality would be my recommendation.

Qadira Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Shadowborn

Mark Moreland wrote:
Shadowborn wrote:
Should we presume the entries need to be tailored to Golarion?
Yes. Ultimately, the winner(s) will be writing for Paizo, and thus Golarion, so showing your knowledge of the world and ability to write within established constraints is a good thing.

*looks up from his borrowed copy of the Inner Sea World Guide*

That's what I figured. Thanks for the clarification, Mark.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Sean McGowan wrote:
Celestial Healer wrote:
michaeljpatrick wrote:
I was trying to brainstorm ideas for an organization with my kid. She recommended an organization of unicorns banded together to spread a form of magic known as friendship. I'm pretty sure that would infringe upon a known property.

Way to steal my idea.

Well, back to the drawing board...

Sub in blink dogs for the unicorns. The judges (Clark in particular) love to see blink dogs in this contest!

I had that same thought! lol :)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:
...may we provide a write-up for an organization that's in the World Guide but not officially written up?

I haven't seen the final rules for Round 2 yet, but I'd certainly recommend against that. Remember, the ultimate goal of RPG Superstar is to show what you can bring to the table. Not just what you can do with what someone else already put out there. So, building your ideas in such a way that they're highly dependent on what someone else already created isn't necessarily the best way to stand out. Of course, it's important that you also play well within Paizo's IP. You don't want to shatter Golarion by introducing some kind of radical change. But you also don't want to just rehash something where you slap a little extra interpretation on it and hope that'll be seen as Superstar.

Make sense?
--Neil


Very exciting to get this preview of Round 2, but man, the word-count is killer!! Write up an original, compelling, flavorful organization that is well-embedded in Golarion...with only 50 more words than a wondrous item?!?!
So this is more of a proposal for an organization than an actual write-up, seeing as it's only 1/3 of the size of existing faction descriptions.
This task is going to be more difficult because there really is no model for contestants to look at. For monsters, templates, wondrous items, etc., there is a wealth of reference materials. We know, through published material, what Paizo designers want a 1,200 word count faction write-up to do. We don't know what they will want from a 350 word faction because there is no such thing. It is somewhat frustrating to be asked (not that I've been asked yet:) to write something that has no place in Pathfinder books.
Sorry if I have to whine a little bit to wrap my head around the challenge;)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Welcome to RPG Superstar, where the challenges are never as easy as you expect them to be.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I don't have the Inner Sea World Guide and don't have access to it either, so if i make it to round 2 i just have to hope my organization doesn't too closely resemble any of the ones in there.

Creating an original idea when you know what's already published is hard, but creating one blindly with no reference points to guide you - now that's a challenge.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Did you follow along at all last year and happen to notice that the Top 32 all got a PDF copy of the Inner Sea World Guide expressly so they'd all have a level playing field going into the second round? Or notice that this year's FAQ indicates the same thing?

In addition, have you ever visited the Pathfinder Wiki before and used that online resource as an encyclopedia of all things Golarion?

If you answered "no" to these questions, then why not?

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Liz Courts wrote:
The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:

This is ultimately a very helpful piece of the puzzle, thank you Sean for providing this "model" for those of us that would like to brainstorm and write-up our ideas.

Going off of Shadowborn's question... may we provide a write-up for an organization that's in the World Guide but not officially written up?

(I'd give a "for instance" but afraid I'd tip my hat for what I have in mind).

I do have something original in mind... but wanted to ask this anyway... just in case.

Thanks in advance,

Dean

Go for originality would be my recommendation.

Thanks Liz, that settles it then. Of course, need to get into the Top 32 (or at least be picked as 1 of 4 alternates), but I have a better handle on what it is I'll work on/write up.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Neil Spicer wrote:
The_Minstrel_Wyrm wrote:
...may we provide a write-up for an organization that's in the World Guide but not officially written up?

I haven't seen the final rules for Round 2 yet, but I'd certainly recommend against that. Remember, the ultimate goal of RPG Superstar is to show what you can bring to the table. Not just what you can do with what someone else already put out there. So, building your ideas in such a way that they're highly dependent on what someone else already created isn't necessarily the best way to stand out. Of course, it's important that you also play well within Paizo's IP. You don't want to shatter Golarion by introducing some kind of radical change. But you also don't want to just rehash something where you slap a little extra interpretation on it and hope that'll be seen as Superstar.

Make sense?
--Neil

Makes perfect, crystal clear sense Mr. Spicer sir. :)

And it's honestly what I would have thought, but wanted that "extra" bit of clarity, y'know, just in case.

Originality, here I come. (Really hoping I make it into the 32 now, or at least an alternate).

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

Am I the only one who was glad to see that it is going to be a antagonistic organization? They're just more fun.


Actually, most of the organizations I naturally brainstormed were PC friendly. I think that the fantasy 'evil organization' is a more thoroughly mined idea than its counterpart.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Celestial Healer wrote:
Am I the only one who was glad to see that it is going to be a antagonistic organization? They're just more fun.

In a way I am sad they had to spell that out. The heroes of the game should be the PCs. Being the hero it is what makes it fun for the players. An organization spells out goals, operations, modis operandi and even a leader. These are all aspects players build into their characters; not much fun to play someone else's :).* Hopefully aspiring writers already know that it would be more fun for the protagonists, the players, to create their antagonists and not their boss.

Maybe it is more obvious with round 3 to create a foil for the PCs, but students of the contest (did I just call it that? :) would also realize round 3 is closely tied to round 2 (twists excepted). Your boss's fluffy white lap kitty has already been done.

*

Spoiler:
Not to say I have not created my own share of Jedi, Batman, Nightcrawler, Calvin and Hobbes or Relg characters. The fun with someone else's characters here is making them INTO the D&D/Pathfinder/champs/shadowrun rule set. :)
And yes, I realize boss and antagonist could be the same character. :)


I just chopped my organization write-up from 1200 words to 350 and it was disturbingly easy. Guess my perfect prose wasn't so precious after all. I think Pathfinder will survive without my faction's 150 word theme song;)

Taldor RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka primemover003

So this round is about introducing some new Heavy Hitters in Golarion on the level of the Hellknights or Pathfinder Society as opposed to the lesser factions from the Inner Sea World Guide like the Bloatmages or Lion Blades of Taldor.

Even National factions are going to be an interesting challenge in roughly 400 words. Game on!

--Vrocckupy Absalom


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Adam Frary wrote:
Actually, most of the organizations I naturally brainstormed were PC friendly. I think that the fantasy 'evil organization' is a more thoroughly mined idea than its counterpart.

I know. The first one I thought of was an organization that would make a good foil for a group of PCs but not 'antagonistic' enough for the contest. (Also, I realized after some thought that the organization would be a better fit for a subfaction of Aspis anyhow. Ah well, back to the drawing board.)


Most of the ideas I had were for PC friendly organisations. Ah well, back to square one and try again.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I think any organization can be antagonistic. Even one that is labeled as lawful good could have plans diametrically opposed to those of the PCs.

I hope that when the time comes to make a monster none of the contestants are bothered to find that it must be a potential threat and not just a friendly giant lizard who wants to make pies.

Great. Now I'm hungry for pies.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka motteditor

Wasn't there a Dragon magazie adventure with a pie golem?

Great, now I want to do that for Round 3.

Qadira Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Shadowborn

motteditor wrote:

Wasn't there a Dragon magazie adventure with a pie golem?

Great, now I want to do that for Round 3.

I don't know about pie, but there was a garlic bread golem, a chocolate bunny golem, a plush golem, and a chia golem (apparently to address the dearth of golems manufactured by druids).

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Scott Fernandez wrote:

So this round is about introducing some new Heavy Hitters in Golarion on the level of the Hellknights or Pathfinder Society as opposed to the lesser factions from the Inner Sea World Guide like the Bloatmages or Lion Blades of Taldor.

Even National factions are going to be an interesting challenge in roughly 400 words. Game on!

--Vrocckupy Absalom

Did I miss where that was mentioned by one of the judges, or is that your interpretation? I reread the thread and didn't see anything that made me think it had to be a heavy hitter necessarily. Am I missing something? Apologies if I missed something obvious.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Neil Spicer wrote:

Did you follow along at all last year and happen to notice that the Top 32 all got a PDF copy of the Inner Sea World Guide expressly so they'd all have a level playing field going into the second round? Or notice that this year's FAQ indicates the same thing?

In addition, have you ever visited the Pathfinder Wiki before and used that online resource as an encyclopedia of all things Golarion?

If you answered "no" to these questions, then why not?

Actually i did follow along last year, i just forgot about the pdf copy. thanks for the reminder.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka primemover003

Seth White wrote:
Scott Fernandez wrote:

So this round is about introducing some new Heavy Hitters in Golarion on the level of the Hellknights or Pathfinder Society as opposed to the lesser factions from the Inner Sea World Guide like the Bloatmages or Lion Blades of Taldor.

Even National factions are going to be an interesting challenge in roughly 400 words. Game on!

--Vrocckupy Absalom

Did I miss where that was mentioned by one of the judges, or is that your interpretation? I reread the thread and didn't see anything that made me think it had to be a heavy hitter necessarily. Am I missing something? Apologies if I missed something obvious.

Well the Inner Sea World Guide lists regional as the entirety of the Inner Sea, national is pretty much a whole country, and global is self evident.

We won't really know for sure until the official round 2 rules are out, but its a good question to throw out there. I think an Organization tied to a single city is pretty doable and wouldn't tip the apple cart too much to drop in a campaign. Of course it is a challenge to come up with another global organization that could rival the Pathfinder Society in 450ish words!

Contributor

No hints on the twist yet? I think I'm going to hold off on the fine tuning of my ideas until that hits the fan... Like the Antagonistic idea, though... could be challenging.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

This word count is bananas. I've been shaving my words bald this morning trying to describe the goals of a major organization in 100 words of compelling prose. I hope that the final template at least gives a total word count rather than a section-by-section breakdown, so that we can buy a few words in vital areas by skimping elsewhere.

Public Perception in 50 words? If you're not spending ten percent of that word count on proper nouns alone, you're a better man than I am.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you. This challenge feels sort of like those "make a dress out of garbage" challenges on Project Runway -- not a good way to make a dress, but a good way to test a dressmaker.

Shadow Lodge

To be honest, this challenge is the most interesting to me--both in coming up with an original idea *and* its limited scope for creative description.

I'd like to get through Round 1 just to see what I could do here.


I'd suggest starting with the main goal and if you still have words left, add subordinate goals. Simplicity is often the name of the game when trying to meet low word counts.

I might write one up even if I don't get through, just for the challenge. Sadly, I'm much better at creating things like organizations than at creating magic items.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I know it's to soon to know, but I'm wondering if the word counts are not entirely rigid. I mean, I expect the overall maximum to be as absolute as with Round One. But will it be allowable to write less than one hundred words in one paragraph so as to get a few extra words in another?

I guess time will tell.

Shadow Lodge

HerosBackpack wrote:
Sadly, I'm much better at creating things like organizations than at creating magic items.

+1

I always feel I'm much better at organizations. But, that's also where my interest is--I enjoy making up "fluff" on the fly when my PCs suddenly think something has more importance than I'd originally ascribed to it.

And antagonistic organizations, foils for the PCs, those can be the most fun. Not outright evil, per se, just...thorns in the sides of would-be heroes. Evil can just be killed, antagonists typically have to be dealt with by more creative methods.

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I dunno. My philosophy is different, I guess.

The way I see it, the goal is to get your foot in the door. Once you do have your foot in the door, you won't have the luxury of weeks to think about an assignment before it's handed to you, and certainly not weeks and weeks after it's handed to you.

So, while I almost didn't submit this year, I did, and when I did, I took a couple of hours to write it and then spent a day or so pondering it before I submitted it, rather than agonizing and overthinking it for weeks.

I'm not going to burn energy on writing up an organization unless I need to, and 1/24 is a long way off. With the length of the submission, three days should be long enough to write it and finalize it.

I'll spend my time and energy on my home campaigns and on Dark Roads and Golden Hells, I think :)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I just finished my rough draft of my organization. Of course, I have plenty of time to rewrite or even scrap the whole idea altogether.

This is assuming I even make the top 32 which is extremely iffy.

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