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Efreeti

Anthony Adam's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 2013 Marathon Voter, 2014 Marathon Voter, 2015 Marathon Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 2,577 posts (2,747 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 4 wishlists. 4 aliases.


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Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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So, let's start with the first open call - beginning with the circus itself. In the first part of the suggested storyline, the PC's will start travelling with a small circus of around 4-6 wagons, one will contain the circus tent, signs, banners and so on, a couple will be gypsy like caravans, brightly coloured homes to the circus population. Others will contain the stalls, stands and smaller tents for the sideshows and attractions to entice visitors to the circus tent.

So, please send me by PM any side stall attractions rules crunch...

a) The name of the attraction (max 5 words)
b) A read to pc description of what they see when they first encounter it.. (min 30 words, max 200 words).
c) What dangers could be presented by the attraction (200 words max)
i) while it is running
ii) while it is closed during circus down time
iii) while it is on the road
d) What rewards can be won (if any) if that attraction is a competitive one as opposed to a side "show".

Don't worry about detailing NPCs yet, we simply want a goodly selection of pre-circus show entertainments to allow the PCS the ability to mingle and rumor gather and the like.

Don't worry about formatting, I'll handle that as part of putting the selections into a pdf to share and vote on.

e.g. This is an example for a show like submission...

Pan's Parlour

A red and yellow striped tent, crusted with the dirt of age and use, sits behind a small staging area. The hawker calls forth that the show will soon be starting, and at just 1 copper per person!

"Come one, come all, see pan and hear the pipes play, but, I warn you all, hold tight to your loved one lest you lose them to pan's charms!"

The GM can choose whether the creature is male or female but should note that it's music charms those of the opposite sex to itself.

On entry to the tent, you find a number of chairs arranged in 3 rows, slightly arcing around what appears to be a small stage covered with potted trees and shrubs, creating a hidden wild grotto as the setting for the show.

Ethereal pipe music is heard as a creature, half human and half goat, steps out eliciting gasps of horror and wonder from the audience.

The creature, although appearing harmless, is one of the advance vanguards of the invasion, using the circus as cover to assess the lands and spy out weaknesses in those they wish to subjugate.

It wanders free when the circus sleeps, seeking stragglers and those loners who often hand around a circus after the lights dim. It will lead them away, and when far enough away, will open a portal leading the victim from the mortal lands.

While moving, it sits impassively in an cage like wagon, allowing potential customers a glimpse, to enthral and entice them to the circus.

The GM is encourages to entice the PCs or allow them to observe the pan disappearing into the woods late at night with another npc. Allow them to follow it and observe the portal opening. Let them decide if they wish to act or retreat to consider their actions.

It is their first clue that something is odd about some of the circus denizens and that maybe they have stumbled onto something that needs to be stopped.

- in this example, the abilities, CR, etc., are not defined, these and all of its abilities, skills, attacks will be detailed by either a reference to a bestiary entry or detailed in full as a new creature in the adventure indexes.

I think that should be enough to give you a good run at what is needed at this point.

We are starting with the circus as it is the circus that will provide the central and connecting theme between the chapters and so although not all submissions may get used in the first chapter, there is a good chance for submissions to be used to grow the circus as it travels and merges with similar wandering shows.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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OK, This is your chance to take part in something that I think has never been done before. And I know I am setting myself up for a lot of work and late nights, but I think this could be one of the most interesting challenges ever set before the superstar family.

It begins with Paizo, a company that will soon give us Adventure Path issue #100. The have challenged our minds, our game, our table, our friends for years. They have given us the opportunity to become noticed as a potential game designer of the future. They have taught us, encouraged us and provided feedback on our submissions.

So, as someone on the other side of the fence still, a want to be like so many of us, I thought, how can I show my appreciation for this company that has become so central to my hobby.

Then it hit me.

They have challenged our tables. They have an in company game night. So...

How about WE challenge THEM?

That's right!

I have the formatting skills, I have adobe acrobat to made the pdf, office to make the documents!

So we, the long term superstars who never seem to break that round 1, the Top 32s and alternates, the top 100s and the 100s who don't even make that list have a chance to write collaboratively a celebratory "Challenge Paizo AP" in honor of 100 APs they have given us.

So, to begin, this is a pdf or series of PDFs that we will write and add maps and art to - I will format it all into pdf(s)/word docs and then send these to all particpants and one or two Paizo volunteers who will run our challenge on Paizo game nights, to give us the kill tallies and game updates.

So our first hurdle is finding those Paizo volunteers willing to do this for us on the Paizo side. So there's the gauntlet Paizo - who amongst you are willing to be our "insiders"?

The next hurdle is, there is NO money in this venture. You work purely to put your encounters, creatures, items, art and design before Paizo - not as a "proposal" but as a full blown "gaming challenge". Another route to getting noticed if you will.

I will happily act as lead designer for the project, I have a core idea for the AP sub theme, so I am now looking for those wanting to take part to let me know by private message.

Our first task once I have chosen from those interested will be to decide on the AP story line, I have a skeletal theme which I can propose, and I will be writing some parts too.

So, who amongst you wants to turn the tables on Paizo and give them an adventure, a challenge that will shake them to their gaming core?

PM me if you are interested.

In that PM, let me know what you like to design and write, do you like fluff or crunch, are yo a monster whizz or an encounter genius, are you a master with art packages, an amazing cartographer, etc?

Above all, please tell me as much as you can about how you would like to contribute and how much time you can spare to the project.

I will endeavour to use as many of those willing to participate as possible.

Deadlines:

PMs should be receieved by 12 noon GMT, Friday 8th May, 2015

I will send the skeletal plot synopsis to all those responding on Saturday 9th May, 2015

We will then spend two weeks in conversation via a google doc share, using the comment facilities to thrash out the underlying theme and storyline.

This to complete on Friday 22nd May

I will then break down the tasks for the first part of that adventure, using existing APs as the framework for word counts and the like. I will PM everyone with their assignments and word count targets, and will point to the APs that their assignment should follow for formatting, content, flavor etc.

First draft of work should be returned by the last day of June 2015

I will spend July 2015 reviewing everything, sending edits and change requests all while putting the initial pdf/doc together.

Our aim is to have 1st draft or the first part of the AP complete and ready for proof readers and play testers by the end of August 2015.

September 2015 will see that 1st draft go out to volunteer artists and proofreaders.

The aim, to have Challenge Paizo AP #1 into final edits and ready for issuing by the end of October 2015.

November we will review what we have done, learn from it, read the play reports from the Paizo table, celebrate and then knuckle down on challenge AP #2 - the time table on this one will accouont for 3 months of RPG Superstar, so I will not ask you to give up too much of your time during that period.

Lets do this everyone, lets give something back to Paizo to say thanks for 100 APs.

But please, as exciting as this may sound, IT IS A LOT OF WORK, so please only PM is you are serious and able to spend the time and make the commitment, you need to be willing to take feedback on the chin, to make copious edits and changes and follow through a full development of something that could be unique and special.

Thank you everyone for reading this and giving it your valuable time and consideration.

Please, one last thing, publicise this post to those you know who want to be games designers - lets build not only a challenge but a showcase of as yet undiscovered talent.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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R Pickard wrote:
I just want to say I check the boards every day, if not several times a day, solely to check on PBPs and see if Anthony's reviewed my map yet.

I'll do yours next then :)


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Well, if we can blame Cosmo, we might as well blame big

...

I blame Cosmo for...

a) The leak that started in our kitchen - from a central heating pipe above the ceiling...

b) The ceiling coming down in the kitchen

c) The test for asbestos proving positive that moved us out of our home until it was all removed (yeah, all ceilings, not just the one that was leaked on)

d) Having to turn off the heating until it was fixed with temperatures outside of 1d6 degrees centigrade >.<

e) The first plumber turning up four hours late and then going away doing nothing and not coming back or even telling us he wasn't coming back!

f) The second plumber "fixing" the leak only to have it start leaking in the same spot again 1 day later

g) after the third plumber fixed the leak, the builders who were to put the ceilings back not being available for another month...

Yeah, what a great Easter week eh?

Ah well, it can only get better... right? Please?

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
365!

I hope that's not days 'cos if it is, Superstar doesn't start till March next year! >.<

But...

If it is hours...

*joy*

See you all again in 15.2 days! :P

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Also, leaving feedback is so important, which I've also really tried to push this year. I don't know if other designers do, but I still go back from time to time and read comments on all of my entries, and they can be powerfully motivating, whether they're praise or criticism or both.

Definitely! Although freelancing time demands didn't let me participate hardly at all this year, I have started going back to the map round and adding a review when I get the chance - I will do this through the next month or two until I have done them all :)

5 down, 27 to go ;)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Monica Marlowe wrote:
Curaigh wrote:

Great job Feros.

I hope Monica or you or both do this again next year. Very entertaining and informative. I hope this becomes a tradition :)
It could be a lot of fun. I think I'll be over my sleep deprivation enough to come by again next year ;-)

You had better do missy - this place wouldn't be the same without you!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Story Time!

When I first got a job at Wizards of the Coast in 2000, I was eventually paired to work on "Tempest Feud" with Jeff Grubb. I was more than a little in awe of Jeff - I still have the 1st edition Monster Manual II I got as a birthday present from my parents in 1983, which though credited to Gary Gygax has Jeff Grubb as a "design consultant."

So I stammered and goobed and generally made a fanboy of myself, and kept calling him "Mr. Grubb."

Eventually, Jeff said if we were going to get anything done, I'd have to call him Jeff. That felt weird for weeks, but eventually I got used to it. And then it helped me feel like we were in the same community.

I have no issue with people being either polite or formal, and I think there's a time and place for using someone's full name.

I also think of all of us as part of the same community. I was a Pathfinder fan long before I was a Paizo employee.

So if anyone is more comfortable using my full name, that's totally fine. But I'm also perfectly happy with being called by my first name here.

:D

Fact Time :P

At least one of us on these boards is a little in awe of EVERY Paizo employee, past, present and future - and a tad jealous too ;)

So I guess, you are all now our "Mr. Grubb" equivalents!


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My baby brother who seems better attuned to this round ;)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Lady Firedove wrote:

I third (fourth? fifth?) the nomination for Curaigh!

The only shame is that Superstar season is almost over for this year, so he wouldn't get the benefit for long.
Maybe he should be the honoree for next season, and next season he nominates someone else. :)

That's okay, my key still fits the lock... so once you get one of us in, you can't get rid of us so easy ;)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Hi everyone

Last year, I was given an honorary allowance to be allowed into the Superstar only guildhall due to the time and commitment I had shown to the competition.

I think this should be an annual thing and after thinking about it for some time, as the first recipient of this honor, I would like to propose someone for this year. Passing the torch and honor on so to speak.

The nominee I have in mind is someone who feedback's regularly year in, year out. But more than this, they carry the spirit of the competition through the whole year. They have initiated one of the most participated and well loved threads in the competition - one that starts a few weeks after the winner has basked in glory, and it finishes a week or two before the next competition starts.

A thread of mutual participation, encouragement, learning and feedback that has run for many years now.

I nominate this year that this golden ticket be awarded to the grand master of the Blazing 9 thread.

I nominate Curaigh.

If you second this motion, please add your support here and maybe one of the competition heralds, e.g Owen, can ratify this permission for one of the long time regulars and stalwarts of the competition.

Thank you all for yet another wonderful competition.


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If you are looking at the My Downloads page stuff - could you consider having two tabs, one with "My Paizo Downloads" and one with "My 3pp Downloads"?

My page is getting very very long and takes an age to load now :)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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I was wondering how other people have viewed this years rounds... it is undeniable that we have had another great crop of contestants, entries, and lessons in games design.

So I though a thread where each competitor, finalist or not could suggest one SMALL change for next year what it would be. I'm not talking about the rounds being different or reintroducing rounds that have fallen by (anyone remember trying to design a memorable villain? - sheesh!)

I wonder if this year has left an impression on you on some small way that maybe caused your interest in the competition to wane. There have been comments about the lack of posting (my own reason is freelancing time demands - which is a nice problem to have I suppose), but I wonder if some of the lack of interest is somehow related to the rounds.

I'll start the ball rolling with my thoughts by way of example.

The change of round 1 brought freshness to the competition, exciting and new was in but now, four round in...

Too...

Much...

Nar Voth!

Yup, I said it.

I am losing interest because the variety of setting seems to be missing and I am not being given the chance to assess the contestants work in different environments/areas of Golarion. For a roughly three month period, that underlying central theme has started to wear very thin.

What I found amazing in previous years was the variety of locations, settings, and environments. This year we have, subterranean creatures, now subterranean encounters and soon to be (most likely) subterranean module proposals.

So my summary for this year is not enough variety in the challenges underlying theme, once a competitor has proven they can handle Nar Voth, I would have liked to have been able to assess them working in other thematic areas. Can someone writing well for Nar Voth write as well for Cheliax? If a writer has affinity for Varisia write as well for the Worldwound?

I am being brutally honest here I guess, but my viewing of the round rules in these later rounds has been very much "Sigh, Nar Voth... AGAIN! Sigh."

I hope I am not offending anyone, as my intent is purely to let Paizo know how at least one of us (aka me) feels about the tasks set from the voter point of view.

Anyone else have anything they would like to feedback on the competition? Let's summarise it all here in one thread for Paizo to access easily and please try to be reasoned with not only the what you feel, but why you feel that way. :)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Thank you for the kind shout out Monica.

If I have helped, then let me just say "you are very welcome".

I loved reading each of your submissions and can see how you have grown already as a designer. I also see that same growth in all the designers each round.

That's why I love this competition, seeing the birth of new stars and maybe the next Gary Gygax.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Having just completed my first gig for Outland, let me also show how 3PPs can be a great boon. It started something like this...

"We have a product range, xyz and we think you could contribute - would you be interested in a, b or c?"... So I looked at the existing products, thought about a, b or c and then sent back a brief (as in two short paragraphs of email) saying I was quite kean on "b" and my thoughts would be "to take it down this line..."

We had about 4-5 e-mails thrashing out the direction and agreed on the content expected, word count and so forth. So we kind of collaboratively fleshed out the specification of the requirement together in a quite friendly and supportive manner.

Then, again, because I was kind of untried, I sent in a weekly document with my progress thus far, the first couple were looked at and the feedback returned was quite light, sort of "yes, you are on the track we agreed, keep going" sort of thing.

About mid way, I received more detailed feedback on the sections I considered done and ready for review and also received other items, spells and so forth from other designers to assist in choosing which extras would be added to the final product and for me to review them for a close fit to my original concept.

I fixed up the feedback on my work, provided detailed feedback on the extra pieces I had been supplied with. Two more weeks of working closely with my "producer" contact, the document for my side was done.

I am now in that dead zone of waiting (the product is in art acquisition, editing, layouts and so forth) before I can say "I did this!", but for a first piece of work, the amount of guidance and support I received truly showed how every games producer understands what it is like to be that first time contributor, and is usually very willing to give that guidance you might need. Paizo and the larger companies don't have the time for this, so 3PPs are an excellent way to learn the real ropes and hone your craft.

Yes, some of the feedback was on point, some I could argue my case, and some caused the odd section to be redone - but - I took it on the chin and buckled down. Now, I am able to look at my submission and understand why things were changed, why the feedback I received was so important to the product, how they guided my writing to their style and so on.

They have already nailed me down for another one - only this time, there isn't going to be so much hand holding - so it is both satisfying that they want more, but also a little more scary as this submission will be much more of my own imagination and direction. Here's hoping I can get it right.

So, just like GM_Beernorg said above - thanks Paizo, without this competition, I think I would still be dreaming wistfully rather than being a writer and game designer with a product in the works and a new shiny to work on already.

I will pop into Superstar threads once my first actual product is out - and encourage you all to come back and have a look and let me know what you think.

And to all you finalists and fellow dreamers, it can be done, and although it can be painful and long hours, it seems to be a great deal of fun and provides a great sense of achievement too. Well worth the effort. I promise.

And look, be honest now, if this here 52 year old can learn how to do it, I am sure all you young whipper snappers can too! So, put yourself out there. I look forward to playing in your imagination too!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Work submitted, signed off and paid for!

Officially a freelancer now :D

I am just finalising a list of thoughts and ideas for another item I have been asked to look at - I must have done something right because the 3PP wants more :)

What this means is that this weekend is my first free weekend for a while, which means I can get back at those maps and start posting again. Better late than never I guess ;)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Captain Phoenix wrote:
RonarsCorruption wrote:
I just want to say, as a usability geek, this is one of my favorite threads of this years competition. I really appreciate all the contributions within.

So true. Such a wealth of information. This is what I've been loving about RPGSS, it's a free school for 3PPs and freelancers.

I'm interested to know how an editor runs through a writers work and checks dashes. Find & Replace was mentioned, but is there more to it than that? Does Find & Replace catch all the variations?

Also, with regard to style guides, what other guides are common in the industry? Are there British English style guides that anyone can recommend?

The Oxford one is about the one and only one to refer to - BUT - your best style guide is to look at the products produced by the company you are freelancing for... their style is the style to which you should refer and emulate.

As a new freelancer who is British in origin, I know how painful this can be, but if you work at it, it does start to become second nature.

Most Publishers, 3PP, etc., are US based and for those that aren't, more often than not, the non US ones do follow US styles and spellings for consistency in the market. There are exceptions, but in the main, US is the best starting point to learn well.

In short - the style you want is the style of the product you are writing for. You will often be able to get a company / product style guide once you are commissioned and contracted to a company for work. So always ask, it doesn't hurt.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Kalervo Oikarinen wrote:
Well there's still some pain left to be experienced this year, maybe enough to last a lifetime. :9

Nope, you get to experience a new pain - the freelancer pain - and that is far, far worse :P

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Wow, not long now till the Top 8 are known.

Those lucky souls will never have to face the Superstar pain again! :)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Monica Marlowe wrote:
I just found out that my father will be having an angiogram on Tuesday at 1pm EST and possibly surgery. So, Tuesday just got a lot more exciting for me and not in a good way.

Hugs from the UK.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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I'm hoping for some weird and wonderful - when you imagine creatures living in the ground, away from sunlight for life, you have to imagine what sort of developments mother nature would give them to survive.

In the same way the fish that have surfaced from the depths of the ocean have exoskeletons and their own form of light, sightless eyes, and so on, carrying that through to the underground...

It would make sense that the creatures are blind, maybe seeingthrough other senses, scent, tremor sense, bat like sonar and so on. Those with eyes would certainly take penalties in any light, even torchlight should hurt them, but those using other senses shouldnt be affected by a light source.

Would they be humanoid, hmmm, maybe, but I also envisage elongated and stretched torsos for squeezing through gaps in the walls. Maybe spiked appendages for clinging to sheer rock walls or even cavern ceilings.

Would they all be carnivorous, well, there would be the predator vs prey thing but what about something that exists on fungus and molds, or something that eats minerals from the very rocks in which it lives.

How would they carve their dens/homes/nests - claws or shovel like hands maybe.

In short, for me, the vote winners in this next round will be the original creep me out entries. I want my Nar Voth to be scarier than spending a night with Count Strahd von Zarovich!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Feros wrote:

Hmmm...I wonder if we commentators can work together to make sure each commentary mentions a fatal flaw in every map...but not explain specifically what the fatal flaw actually is until after the voting is complete.

I wonder how that would affect the Top 32's sanity levels? An interesting sociological experiment is born! ;)

Or pointing out the fatal flaws now with just enough time left for a despairing wail! ... something like this maybe?

*evil grin*

Titulus in omnibus debuit convertere in chartis.

*really big evil grin* as they all rush to google translate...

Don't spoil it now! ;)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Just touching base with this years Top 32 - I know most of you are waiting for your Template Fu map reviews and I will be posting more shortly.

I am very busy right now, but hope to post some more by the end of the week. Please bear with me. Those reviews are coming, on the slow train... >.<


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Scott LaBarge wrote:

I have a soft spot for trickster monsters that aren't so much about eating your face as they are about playing pranks -- stuff like the faerie dragon and some other small fey. With a bit of creativity they can make for some great gaming sessions.

On a different note: I cast commune last night seeking information from Cayden Cailean concerning the parameters of the Monster round. Only response: "Hic!"

Your parameters are ...

CR 1,
No Templates,
No Outsiders,
No Humanoids,
No Dragons,
No Fungus,
No Oozes,
No Jellies,
No Molds,
No Slimes,
No Undead,
No Plants,
No Constructs,
No Swarms,
No resist fire, cold, electricity or poison immunities,
No Existing Mythological Creatures reworked to PF stats,
Small or Medium only.
LN, LE, NE only.

They must simply come from each entrant's devious imagination only :D

Hmmm, Mr. Daigle might think that's a little constricting... :P

Ok, dragons are allowed then BUT only if they are one of the colors of the rainbow AND their breath weapon is either a cone of joy and delight pacifying enemies or a line of soapy bubbles that make enemies struck float away...

Will that do for you Scott?

Template Fu
Representing Cayden Cailean

:P

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Congratulations on completing and submitting your map on such a tight time-scale. Very well done, you should take pride in that achievement!

Disclaimer: The review of your entry that follows is from a non-official source, I have no formal part of RPG Superstar, and the review thoughts are mine alone and so should be considered carefully bearing this in mind. You can choose to digest or not each part as it seems of best value to yourself.

Note for all: I am spending at least an hour per map in order to be as extensive and thorough as I can, so with other time demands and the like, you will only be getting one or two reviews a day. Sorry, but real life and freelancing work does take precedence when they crop up.

I have already viewed all the maps and chosen my votes, so I am just typing up my notes in more human readable form - If voting closes before I get to your feedback, don't fret that you missed my vote :)

I am starting with map reviews this year while I brush up my knowledge of the different item types used for round 1. So let me begin...

Template
Yes, there is one, even for maps - it is the size, the compass rose, scale bars for each part of the map drawn at different scales, a key box describing the map elements, the map name on the map. The clarity of line and text also pays a part on this. Here is how you did...

Name: Present, functional, I kind of expect a fortress of some type and your map meets that expectation. I would be tempted to keep the title in the key and increase the font size, but the cartographer will likely sort that out, the important thing is it is present!

Size: Looks to be good, I like the quartering to provide 3 levels and a key area.

Compass Rose: Check - the orientation of each map is the same, so just the one needed.

Scale Bar: Scale is present - all maps drawn to the same scale - except the insert, which could have had its own scale - this is also where you could have labelled the mountain name too!

Key: Present, however split across two quarters, I feel you could have fit things into the one area, but the two key parts are beside each other in the layout, so no real harm done.

Golarion Tie-In
Everyone has their take on Golarion, guided by the products and supplements. This therefore is a scoring based on how I felt you had tied the Golarion world to your map, it's flavor, the feel of the map, is it generic or obviously. This is therefore a very personal view and evaluation of your entry and should be considered as such. Onwards my brave contestant...

Ok, originally, I struggled to find solid Golarion links, but I discovered with my last searches that Smokemount Hold is referenced in Pathfinder Society Scenario #4-11: The disappeared. This kind of limits the audience to society players recognizing the Golarion tie in - so what else can I find? Hmmm, it's set in a dormant shield volcano, but where? Do I have to get the PFS scenario to find that out?

They key generally seems to save maps for Golarion tie in, so looking there... ah-ha a temple to Torag, the father of creation. That does tie the map a bit more closely with Golarion. So the link is there but only just.

As a general note for all, when designing your area, try to make it known WHERE the encounter area lies in relation to the world at large. This will allow the cartographer to check the style of buildings in that part of the world to maintain feature and style consistency when rendering the map professionally.

Possible Areas of Improvement
Again, this is a personal evaluation of what, if anything, I think would improve the map and suggestions on things you could have done differently or added to the map. These are totally personal suggestions, but you might find something useful to consider herein...

I would have preferred to see a small insert showing where in Golarion this is located, especially as it was not easy to find in the core books and searching the prd and wikis.

My personal take on Golarion dwarves is their love of their mother mountain, so when I look at your map, it hits me just how square and perfect each room is - I would have been tempted, especially in the temple area to have at least one wall be a natural mountain surface, jagged, uneven and unspoilt to allow my dwarves to appreciate the mountain that provides their home. Purely personal, so you can ignore this if you like :)

One of the interesting things about this map is that it is part exposed to the outside world and housed in a mountain - which means any assault is likely to be frontal only ( unless a mine shaft/tunnel breaks into the darklands of course :) )

But looking around such a structure, where some rooms are above or below other rooms, it strikes me that there could have been some hidden passageways, chutes and trap doors to provide fast movement between the levels without getting stuck at the potential main choke point - the central stairs. A few chutes and a couple of hidden stairwells would help provide more options during an invasion type scenario - and most dwarves building structures like this will plan for retreat and regroup points and passageways.

You fell into the old trap of compass rose aligns with grid lines - it doesn't have to, it could have been drawn leaning slightly to the left or right - you also fell into the trap of builders only able to build walls along the compass rose axes. Everything is way too square on and very old school. Old school isn't a bad thing but I would have loved to see more Utilization of natural passageways, fault lines and caverns - and so showing a more natural growth and build of the internals of the hold. There is only one such area in the lower level, and I feel that there could have been more. Such diversity of rooms avoid "another x by y room with door in the middle" blandness.

Some of the rooms, for me, seem to have a too small size for the need for a double door - look at area 18, there are six 15 x 20 rooms, all having double doors - being store rooms, I can understand the need for larger item storage, but for every storeroom seems a little over the top. Areas 20-23 are all double doored, but checking their use, I wouldn't have expected that. Double doors should be saved for the really important rooms and one or two store rooms for housing larger stores, so you could have reduced on these a little, and so provide some variety in your room design. Taking it a step further, what about archways "three doors" wide on a single storeroom - not all rooms need a door ;)

The insert helps with vertical appreciation but there is one thing to watch. If you look at the upper level, it goes back into the mountain further than the other two levels, yet the insert shows the ends of the three levels in alignment - as the difference is around 5 feet, you get away with it for the insert scale but do be aware and careful of that when drawing your elevation / cut away inserts.

Finally, it is set in a mountain, some other interest and potential gaming options could have been made by showing unexplored/undiscovered caverns and passageways where you have solid filled with grey, maybe even rendering a rock strata effect to indicate the rock types.

Summary
I summarise my reactions to your submission here, stating if you are a definite vote winner, a potential vote winner or not. I am not
"scoring" the entries this year as I always struggle to maintain consistency in scoring, so I am now trying a more "gut instinct" summary. Here goes...

I have a Golarion tie-in using the temple, but overall the tie-in seems a little on the light side for me. A simple small world insert showing location (or naming the mountain) would have resolved this when coupled with the temple link already provided.

I like that we have three levels, but feel the opportunity for some fast chutes and level changing was missed. The whole feels consistent and defend-able, and offers some interesting encounter areas.

On the whole, I love my dwarven strongholds. The heating provided from a central volcanic shaft is nice and using melted snow as a water source is great. Yeah, this one has definitely made my "want to vote for" list. Well done.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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As a long term contestant who hasn't made even Alternate, I can confirm that you can break into the industry by building a board presence, learning and showing a work ethic and willingness to learn that encourages 3PP to give you the opportunities you need.

Once you get that opportunity, by working hard and trying your best to impress, more opportunities will follow.

I have this week completed the first draft of my first paid gig and the 3pp has already approached me for more work! So it is possible to become a freelancer without even placing in this competition.

The fact you made alternate gives you a boost, so make those approaches for work, write for Wayfinder, for PF Society scenarios open call, build your portfolio of example work.

You are off to a good start, each and every one of you, alternate and Top 32, but now the ball is in your court as to whether you pursue further or not.

The ball wont come to you, you have to chase it!


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Dear finalists.

My master has been beavering away every spare minute of the day. He dozes right now before his sent email screen - 6 days ahead of schedule he worked so hard ;), finally he is able to relax.

So, I, the voracious one, aka Template Fu, am happy to announce that today, at 15:45 uk time, he submitted his first draft, complete, done, dusted and is now awaiting feedback. We still cannot say what it is he worked so hard on, but he achieved a first draft of 3,950 words out of 4,000, and is the biggest thing he has ever written to date.

He, silly human thing that he is, has released me from my cage to start looking at these entries you have in the Top 32 food store of mine.

Needless to say, reviews will be happening after all, but master needs some sleeps before it begins, and then he needs to work out how to review different item types in the same fair and structured manner of previous years.

There may be a few speed bumps too as he works through them pending on the reviews and edits that come back on his work, which still takes priority.

So gird your loins top 32, I am VERY hungry having been denied your delicious points for so long, and I will be feeding on you soon, most likely starting at the weekend.

Drooling-ly yours,

Template Fu.


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Am I allowed to eat him master?

You tell them every year not to edit in the preview window!

Pleaaaaaase?

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

These were just my thoughts during voting:

Energizing Breastplate - Bad, bad Template Fu! You listed most of the faults. Should be uses/day not encounter. Inadequete mechanics. Add simulacrum to requirements. Underpriced.

The per encounter was one I didn't pull out because I found these in the PRD! (bolding is mine)

Parting Shot (combat)
“Benefit: Once per encounter, when using the withdraw action”

Mythic Adventures Glossary…
“A mythic character might be rewarded with a boon several times in a single session, but no more than once per encounter

Grin, so that one was from a precedent - evil grin.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Monica Marlowe wrote:
I am a little crushed, it was something I was actually looking forward to,

That's why I am beavering away and only checking the thread once every 3-4 hours right now.

I know that every year the finalists look forward to them so I am going to try my hardest for you all to get all done, brushed up and happy to have a go.

The 3pp work, as it's my first, is a brilliant learning experience - I have discovered even when you are given 4k words, you can start to run out really, really quickly >.<

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Hi all

You may be wondering why Template Fu is quiet this year.

I can confirm that any reviews I normally do will not be happening as did in previous years.

The main reasons are two fold, and you deserve to know as some of you are waiting for them to start.

The two main reasons are...

a) I had a "flexible" schedule with a 3pp based on whether I progressed or not in the competition this year. I was culled, so I am concentrating on the 3pp work as priority - taking much of my spare time at the moment.

b) Having been culled, I realize that I have much to learn about magical items of the types for round 1 this year, and so I do not feel qualified to review on the entries as I have in previous years. I want to spend some study time before commenting so that I am happy that I will not be leading people astray in things I say.

So sorry, no template fu reviews this year - I may return in a month or two and retrospectively work through them, but for now, I am very busy with 3pp work.

I hope you understand.

Anthony.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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There is no reason you cant have a go at round 2, post it on drop box of google shares and linkify in a what I would have submitted thread.

That often happens with the latter rounds each year and it is good practice for when you do make top 32. :)

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Go on then 11 thru 32 are mine!


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GM_Solspiral wrote:
If one of the Champion voters wins detect mojo and gets into the top 32 is that the round 1 Triple Crown?

I think it's

Win Mojo
Top 32
AND... passes my template review :P

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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I'm sure you can design an elven city map with trees, bushes, tree houses, paddocks and streams that when observed from a bird's eye view, the whole layout would look like an aspergillum in full bloom. :P

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Lady Firedove wrote:

You want to see some crazy map rules?

Check this out. :)

Uh-Oh, I tried drawing on this gold leaf sheet but the crayon keeps getting covered in the stuff leaving great holes behind! :P

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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I actually tried not to second guess whether entries were converted wondrous items. My reasoning was that some wondrous items might be being shoe horned into a make do wondrous item type, I.E., the idea behind the converted wondrous item might work better as another more appropriate item type.

So in the instances of items I thought were conversions, I felt it was only fair to give them consideration like any other... it may be they had started trying to shoe horn their idea into a wondrous item, only to then be given the opportunity to create the effect in a more appropriate item type.

So anyone that took that route - there is at least one voter who checked your item properly and determined whether the item choice made MORE sense than being a wondrous item. If it did, then the conversion did not get counted against you in my voting.

There are borderline cases though, for example did all gauntlets start life as a glove? That's not for me to determine, I should and tried to look at the design, the idea, the implementation.

I don't and shouldn't care it was a converted wondrous item unless it was done really badly, what I do care about is the design behind the item irrespective of the base item it ended up being in.

I do worry that comments about "converted wondrous items" actually caused a lot of great designers to lose vote pairs simply because it was perceived that that was the correct thing to do. This is another reason I stopped reading the "I have seen" thread - it was part of my conscious effort to be fair to every single contestant.

Some people may agree with me, some likely will not - but I can say I have a clear conscience and voted every pair based on the design itself and not the source of the idea.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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I bought some new crayons too... And i think, 99.9999% I was culled, but that wont stop me having a go myself. Heck, i may even take a piccy, drop box it and share. Stranger things have happened.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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I would say the purpose of the contest is two fold - one, to discover new talent that is READY, and two, to nurture potential talent that is learning the game.

We cannot expect first timers to have the professional know how and experience to handle being culled or rejected as gracefully as someone who has gone through the experience a time or two.

If they are leaving because they are culled, we need to be sure to encourage them to try again.

This means when the critique thread comes around, don't be 100% negative, always end your reviews on a positive note. You will be amazed how any critique that ends with noting something done well encourages and motivates people.

Please don't post things like "they need to leave" because they don't. What they need to do is try again, what they need to do is put themselves out there for constructive and balanced critique, what they need to do is learn and be better next time.

What WE need to do is encourage them to not be scared about coming forward for that critique and to nurture the next generation of superstars.

Sorry for the rant everyone, but this is something I feel very strongly about. You could probably tell >.<

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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One of the things I will be looking at, (without knowing the round rules yet), is the key -

If the map type is one that needs it, does it show a compass north?
If the map type is one that needs it, does it include the scale?

Are there symbols on the map, or areas which aren't listed in the key - this would cause me to have to come back and ask the designer what they are if they are not really obvious.

Basically, I won't be scoring on artistic merit, I will be scoring based on whether I have enough information to professionally render the map design without having to come back to the designer to ask questions.

Then after that I will look at the area from a play perspective, are there environmental challenges that add to the encounter areas? But until we know the round rules, I can't say much more than that for now. I am sure this part of the check list will grow once we know the round rules ;)

For tie breaking - did you use a clean sheet? Did you ink over your rough draft lines so that it scans/digitizes well enough to be read easily when we see it? Does the map layout look clean and legible? Does it give the impression that the designer really cares about the map/encounter areas they are designing for.

Artistic skills, art packages, map making tools will not be a criteria if I can choose the best entries without needing to use those as a deciding factor.

I want clarity.
I want completeness.
I want environment to be considered.
I want it to look like an interesting area to play in.
I want the number and size of player characters and foes encountered to be sensible for the area being portrayed (no dragons in the 5' x 5' loo :P) - if it's a lair, make it big enough for the occupant to be comfortable :)

I will not care if you can draw or not, so long as I can work it out :)

I will post my annual list of things I will be looking for once I know what the criteria for the map will be. For now, I hope that generic summary will do.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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So you got culled.

I'm in that boat...

... but ...

I am smiling wide because I now know the great secret of being culled!

*even bigger smile*

*like a cheshire cat smile*

Why I am smiling so, you may be wondering...

Well...

I have no pressure on ME.

I can kick back, put my feet up, sup on a tall iced cola, and...

enjoy everyone else's week of agony, angst, and suffering.

Hah!

Who said being culled can't be fun? :P

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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I did say that the quality of entries this year would result in a much flatter distribution of votes. Yay, i got something right ! ;)

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Feros wrote:
mamaursula wrote:

My item vs my nemesis item

I will have no guilt and may quit voting after this to leave on a high note.

...only later will she discover that was her 4,999th vote...

Evil!

Love it!

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If I ever made top 32, the first post I would make as part of the thanks would include this...

"Please do not vote from my entries going forward because of who I am, please only vote for me if you think my submissions deserve to advance."

I do worry that my "forum presence" may be too much temptation to gain votes I wouldn't deserve - it is one of the reasons I have chased the dream through other avenues :)

So yeah, I would prefer anonymity - but for every single round, only finding the names out at the very end!

Just in case I get tempted by all the Jacob(s), Marmasula, Curaigh, Andrew, Feros, Brill, Nickolas, Jeffrey, Jason... and any long term Blazing 9'er I missed in that brain dump... entries that will be Top 32 this year! ;)

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I agree with the identifying, the question I was trying to raise was whether we are influencing the voting of others and whether we should.

For example, and this is total honesty here, so I am raising my hand. I read the thread, chuckling at first until the comment about earrth breakers. The next few votes passed and I got my first earthbreaker, I found myself looking at it not as "a new item" but as "another earthbreaker". I stopped reading the rant thread at the time because the way I was viewing items, and thus my voting on them, had been compromised.

This is the issue I wanted to raise.

Voters may want, nay, need to vent, I understand that but cant we strive to do so privately with our own circle of friends? Or saving the venting in a notepad document, then after reveal using it then - even as part of the feedback critiques.

It was just a wondering about the impact this thread has on how people vote, and I will admit it did affect mine - so I stopped reading it out of respect for everyone's submissions and for each entrant hoping to advance.

I guess all I am asking is you ask yourself before posting comments, have you been influenced by prior comments and are you influencing others. Treat every other entrant with the same respect and courtesy you wish to be treated with yourself.

I don't want to think we can only stop this with banning such threads - that is where I don't want to go. All I ask is we be a little more considerate. When I got grouchy, I left the keyboard, had a cup of tea, took a break.

I have been guilty and I have been influenced this year. I will not read such threads next year until after I am done voting. The realization of how much it was affecting my vote will not let me do otherwise. I want to be totally fair to every entrant new or old. I am taking this stance myself because I don't want to force actions on the forums either way.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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mplindustries wrote:
quibblemuch wrote:
GM_Solspiral wrote:
One of us, one of us, one of us

*lurches forward, groaning, staring at the Marathon tag that refuses to change*

I'm beginning to suspect that "Champion Voters" are actually Skynet. You're Skynet, aren't you? It's okay, I won't tell.

Yeah, I've had Marathon for a while and, not only can I not believe I don't have Champion yet, I do not understand how the current Champion voters got their tags so quickly.

One of the reasons I suggested last year adding a tag at 2.5k votes, I might vote more if that were present but the gap between marathon and champion is simply too huge to contemplate.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Okay, by Pit Crew, I am referring to the review circle we all havem our gaming buddies, our friends, our family.

I don't just get my pit crew to review my submissions, I get them to review everything I write (some see more than others depending on NDA I am under).

Now let's look at some figures...

My voting circle numbers around 10. Of those 10, on average we all voted 800 times, (some less, some more). So that's 8,000 votes. My item was seen by a pit crew member... 4 times, - just 4 out of 8,000 votes, so any pit crew "preference" is already massively squished to non existence.

Lets also look at that again, 4 out of 10 voters saw my item. 40%. That means, if there were 1,000 voters, on average only 400 voters saw it. So using a review circle improved my writing but has little to no effect on the vote outcome. The numbers prevent that.

Some voters only vote till they see their item, some see it really quick, some don't. So there isn't any way you can really affect the vote totals enough to swing things in your favor unless you get a 1000 plus circle voting for you - even then, those 1,000 plus voters would still have to vote on everyone elses items as they search for your.

I have no issue with people having any size pit crew, if it helps improve their design and their design skills, that surely is better for us all.

What does concern me, like many others have hinted at, is the "so far" thread.

When we see someone post "ack, so many xyz", then they are swaying votes away from xyz, when they say "earthbreakers are awful, there are no good ones", some voters will simply see earthbreaker vs anythingelse and hit anythingelse.

We all need to learn to say what we think about the items we vote on without classifying / identifying them. We should not comment in such a way that we dissuade/influence voting for particular item types and categories. Some items this year got very dangerously close to identifying specific items. "It has a really long name" for example.

This is why I didn't post a great deal in that thread and why I read it only after I had finished voting - I didn't want my voting influenced adversely in any way.

So pit crews? - fine by me, comments during voting? - hmmm, we need to be a lot less identifying.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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I am gradually transferring my pdf notes into an online resource at www.gamesdesignadvice.com so thanks for those kind words! I will be posting again soon on that site, but for right now am concentrating on the competition.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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The black raven wrote:
stuff...

I empathise with you whole heartedly. If it is any consolation, after eight years of trying, I can confirm the disappointment is no less than it was that first time.

I am burying myself now in some 3PP work I have acquired through becoming noticed on the forums. I am also turning to look at Wayfinder 14 work now that call has been posted. I am getting back on that bike as they say.

I have seen some very tight well balanced items join me in the cull - maybe one of them was yours. I do wonder at times if the competition not been open vote based, would they have been contenders for Top 32 under the old judge selection. I believe some of them most certainly would have.

The open voting is fun, you learn a lot from it, but it is also very much a mood based participation sport with all the randomness and fluctuations that entails. In short, you are trying to be one of the fish in a very big barrel. A writers life is moments of exhilarating joy interspersed with the sadness of rejections, so all of us wanting to be designers must develop that never say die attitude, must keep on reaching for that goal.

If you have the designer heart, you have to take these disappointments and be honest with yourself. Look hard at your entry, real hard. Make reviews of those that did make it - why did they make it and why did the judges select that item as top 32 out of those in the top 100 or so?

This competition isn't the only way you can get noticed, submit proposals for the PFS scenarios calls, Wayfinder, approach 3PPs and tout for small items of work to get the chance to prove yourself on a one to one basis.

I have been trying the competition now for 8 years, but only really trying hard and seriously for around the last 5 - that was when the fan-boy excitement of taking part got replaced with a realization that I could actually do this, and that I really wanted to. That's when I started knuckling down. I have even seen posts from industry pro's who openly admit they couldn't place in this competition. Take heart from that.

As for my item, I have decided not to share this year for the first time ever. My reasoning is this. I created it, considered game balance, had a cool visual. I am happy with it. I know where I made mistakes ( yes, even I can slip up occasionally :), so I am turning now to working on my craft again, in earnest. I am starting to have confidence in my abilities.

AFTER I had submitted my item this year, I took a very cheeky and very big gamble and contacted SKR. I found that he was not involved in the competition in any way this year, so I cheekily asked if he would consider looking at my item and giving me private feedback. He did so! THAT is how highly he regards the entrants of this competition. He took a look and gave me more of his honest feedback...

Six years ago, my Proliferating Pocket Purse gave him a headache and sent him home (yes - that WAS my feedback on that item, it was also the kick in the pants I needed to really start working hard), this year, my item received a summary of "neat item" from him.

I can't describe how that made me feel - like all the hard work was coming together at last. Ok, he didn't say wow, or great. But I knew that getting neat item from him was a good indication of growth in my design skills. I KNEW my design was solid from those words. The best item I have ever done. And... it was culled.

So please don't give up, you might never get a Superstar tag, I have come to accept that this year and that is a hard thing to accept - everyone believes they are superstar material, it's perfectly natural.

Don't let this disappointment stop you from getting noticed and becoming a games designer if that is your dream. You just have to pick yourself up, soldier on and work for it. It is one item in the grand scheme of things. Not every item you ever design will get used by a publisher.

Come on, crack on, join me in the chase to being published in a hardback and becoming recognized as a games designer!

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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mamaursula wrote:
quibblemuch wrote:

Wifi? Luxury!

I've been yelling into the phone: "100011101011100111100101011101111101111"

We're never going to hit 5000 comments at that rate, you're going to need to give up the dial up quib.

Parity error detected!

Initiating reboot sequence...
Wiping forums posts...
Wiping Voting Achievements...
Wiping Votes...
Wiping Entries...

Please restart - you have 24 hours to re-enter, and 3 days to vote. Make champion now :P

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