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John Benbo's page

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8. RPG Superstar 6 Season Dedicated Voter, 7 Season Star Voter, 8 Season Dedicated Voter. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,561 posts. 14 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Alzrius wrote:

A question to everyone: with the new cour about to start, what were some of the best anime of the cour that just concluded?

I like to wait until a series is completely done before I start it, so that I can watch it at my own pace. Given that, what among the recently-concluded shows should I turn my attention to?

(Bearing in mind that I only have Crunchyroll, and already watched Re:Zero and Grimgar of Ash and Fantasy.)

The Anime News Network critics pretty consistently picked both Re:Zero which you've already watched and Mob Pyscho 100 as the top shows of the Summer season. I wasn't a big fan of One Punch Man but I thought Mob was terrific mainly because of the premise of the main character who has tremendous psychic power but just wants to be "normal" like everyone else.

Two others that are very good which conclude today are the Prohibition-era, mafia drama 91 Days and the pseudo-fantasy war drama Aldermin of the Sky. Give the latter a couple of episodes because what seems like at first glance is going to be another run of the mill, haremy teens with powers show, actually gets quite serious and introspective as the show progresses. Definitely a show which consistently got better as it went along.

And all are available on Crunchyroll.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Rednal wrote:

Well, not once people found out who the writer was... but then, they deliberately hid his involvement for the first few episodes, I think. XD

And now he's writing a Godzilla anime with Polygon Pictures (Knights of Sidonia, Ajin)!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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8 years old, AD&D. Played a thief- a staircase trap triggered, turning into a slide that sent me right at a stone golem. I think it was a short session...but it was the Monster Manual that got me hooked.

Shortly after I snagged both a Player's Handbook and Monster Manual, 2nd edition came out, invalidating my first long running character- a half-orc fighter named Beorn. 10 year old nerd rage ensued!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Endzeitgeist wrote:
Consider me totally stoked for more Vathak after this gem!

I completed writing the Ina'oth GM's Guide in December- so it's currently at the layout/art stage. I'm pretty excited for that to come out.

I also went back and did a tighter edit of some of the Colonies projects and added some new material for a Colonies compilation. Rick wants to do new art for that- also in editing/layout.

And finally, there's the new SoV Player's Guide- it's going to be a big, gorgeous looking book.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Endzeitgeist wrote:
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Thanks again!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Thanks for the review- I'm glad you liked it as I thought Chris did an awesome job on these monsters!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Gundam Unicorn news. I love the OVAs so I'm curious to see how this turns out (it mentions re-edit and new footage).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Endzeitgeist wrote:
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.

Thanks again, Endzeitgeist! Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks to Creighton for setting this project up.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Finished watching Shirobako on Crunchyroll- an anime about making anime. Really enjoyed it- fun and light and a pretty interesting insight into all the work that goes into making anime. Definitely recommend it if you like slice of life stuff. Started binge watching the available shows ofShowa Genroku Rakugo Shinju- another slice of life about rakugo also playing on Crunchyroll. Very good as well.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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No one's talking about the last episode of Gate?

Spoiler:
I quite enjoyed the battle with the dragon. The disposable elves getting eaten and breathed on, the wizard using magic to impale it with swords, and then blowing the whole thing up with C4!- reminded me a bit of Kingmaker campaign since introducing the Technology Guide.

Also, Crunchyroll guest passes (and watch Erased!)

VZWXWF4JR63
KB3P5NL5QAV

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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There's a certain Rise of the Runelord mini- forget the name (a roguish human male dualwielding a rapier and dagger) that Snaps just loves to grab and carry off with her. Luckily, he is fairly common in the set.

Snaps has also trained my gaming group to feed her treats. She's shy, so the vet recommended giving her treats when strangers came over. Well, my friends come over every other week and always sit in the same place. Since Phil was closest to the treats, I had him give them to her. Now, when they show up, she comes over multiple times for treats and, of course, gets them. She does let people pet her a little bit, so it's working.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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I've seen a couple people mention the bone ship so I'm glad people are digging it. Along with the death coach, can't go wrong with some vehicular undead.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Glad to be a part of this. As someone who worked on It Came from the Stars for Zombie Sky Press, I was hired for this job because I have a very particular set of skills, skills I've acquired over a very long career...

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Go wyrmwraith!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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We are closing in on the half-way mark. If you liked Zombie Sky Press's "It Came from the Stars," you'll dig this. Were the former was a toolkit, Aethera is a fully fleshed out sci-fi fantasy galaxy! I was a designer on ICftS and I'm looking forward to contributing sci-fi goodness to this project.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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I think people are really going to dig this project. Robert and his core team did a great job of creating the initial concept and making a world that feels both sci-fi and the classic RPG you know.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Some write horror to exorcise their demons, but Pett writes horror because he is a demon :).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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For those of you with Netflix streaming only- it recently added Durarara!! and the 1st half of Durarara X2!!. It's got quite a bit of everything in it but I enjoy it quite a bit.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Happy birthday, Raging Swan! Looking forward to many more years!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

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Even though my Kingmaker campaign is on the last AP volume, yeah, I'm going to have to throw one some templates or class levels on this monster and send a bunch of them after the PCs. Love the imagery and the feel of this one- kind of like a lower-CR wendigo (a nice monster but at its CR, more than likely won't get as used as a hollow one). Nice job!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

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Congrats, Kiel!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

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Petty Alchemy wrote:
I'd be interested in a "Where are they now" list of their design credits (both Paizo and 3PP).

A lot of designers, myself included, keep a list of products we designed on our Paizo profiles here for prospective employers. Plus links to websites and such. I typically don't include a product until its available for sale (as I like to include a hyperlink to it for anyone who wants to buy it).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Oh, who am I kidding. Even at $50 bucks for the BluRay, for Gundam, that's cheap.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Looks like Rightstuf is releasing Mobile Suite Gundam next on both BluRay and DVD (Turn A was only on DVD). I have to debate this one as I purchased a DVD copy of the whole collection a year ago for a lot less money. Doesn't look it it's adding anything additional.

I hope Zeta is next.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Personally, I'm not upset about being in the Top 8 and not competing- I've been freelancing consistently since my Top 8 finish in 2011 including currently serving as the line developer for the Shadows over Vathak campaign setting published by Fat Goblin Games and design work for Paizo in the last three hardcovers starting with Occult Adventures. I wouldn't compete even if I could because I have too many paying projects to keep me busy.

I don't say that to brag but to illustrate a point (forgive me as I climb up on my soapbox here)- making the Top 8 is exactly what started my freelance career. Not just opening doors but I didn't even know that I wanted to freelance until I entered the contest and had a lot of fun.

I've written before my advice for those trying to break in. Even as a Top 8, I had to be very proactive in approaching companies including flying out to PaizoCon (which is crazy for an introverted hermit like me). I'll do a brief recap here-

1. Find a company whose products you enjoy/use. Write reviews and engage the publisher on forums (not just here but Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Check their website for to see if they accept freelance submissions (some may even hold contests like Raging Swan does occassionally).

2. Attend conventions frequented by the publishers- for Pathfinder, I recommend PaizoCon and then GenCon. Putting a face to a name is a big help. That's how I got work with Paizo. Even this year at GenCon, I stopped by and talked to Kyoudai Games (Thunderscape), Sasquatch Studios (Primeval Thule), and TPK Games. Make sure you have a business card and follow up afterwards.

3. Have some written material ready- blogs, previous work, any sort of writing/rules crunch sample. People will ask for one.

If you're serious about freelancing and you have the time to do it, with a little bit of determination, you can get published, regardless of whether your Top 8 or Top 100. (climbs down for soap box).

Too long, didn't read?- Don't cry too much for John Bennett, he's doing ok and if you have any questions about breaking into freelancing or the freelance life, just PM him, he'd be happy to give you pointers.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Brandon Hodge wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Anybody (devs too if they want!) feel like sharing stuff they really loved?

Mr. Brookes already covered one of the most awesome aspects of this book, and that was the unparalleled collaboration between all the teams. We had a blast talking about real-world mysticism and debating esoteric topics, and putting our heads together to bring those concepts to the gametable. Erik and I had about a year of bouncing this totally bizarre, gonzo stuff between us that we obsess over in real-life, wondering how in the world all this was going to manifest in a hardcover. But finally bringing the developers in was like watching the slo-mo walk of career badasses in Reservoir Dogs--they arrived to get. it. done. Then they called in the freelancers they knew got what we were doing and it was just about the most crack operation I've seen in RPG publishing.

It was pleasure working with Brandon and the rest of the team on this. For me, personally, it was kind of like getting a crash course in Occultism 101 since I dug deeper into the topic than I ever had before. Many tomes were purchased for research (as well as the whole Akira manga, for me) to both get the right feel for the topic and inspiration. I particularly enjoyed a lot of the bold choices Paizo made in this book- skill unlocks, new subsystems, and some very meaty archetypes. I think you'll see the passion people had on this project really come through.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Mama, just killed a giant
Swung my axe at its head
Rolled a crit, now it's dead

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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8 episodes in, but so far, I'm enjoying Turn A Gundam. It feels very different than any other Gundam I've seen with its almost War of the Worlds vibe. Plus, Loran seems to be the most pyschologically well adjusted main hero Gundam pilot of all the ones I've seen (teenage angst Amuro and Kamille and homicidal tendancies Heero and Setsuna).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Creighton Broadhurst wrote:

Here at Raging Swan Press, we are only $30 away from something amazing.

We launched our Patreon campaign back in April and since then 40 of you have joined us raising almost $170 for every book we release. These guaranteed sales have in turn allowed us to triple the word rate we pay our designers. We’ve gone from paying one cent a word to paying three cents a word.

But I want to do more. I’ve taken another look at the numbers and our release schedule and it looks like if we hit $200 a release we can raise our pay rate again to five cents a word! That’s huge—and something I really want to do. It would put us almost on parity with publishers like Paizo and Wizards of the Coast and ensure our designers are getting a fair wage for their efforts. It will also mean that (hopefully) I’ll be able to secure even more releases from such awesome designers as Alexander Augunas, John Bennett, Richard Green, Jacob Trier, Josh Vogt, Mike Welham and more! Who knows—I might even be able to hire myself more often!

So I need your help. We are only $30 away from hitting that milestone. With $2 and $5 pledge levels we only need somewhere between 6 and 15 people to sign up. In return, you get:

A weekly dose of high quality GM focused material designed to make your campaign prep easier.
A warm fuzzy feeling that you are helping designers earn a proper wage for their efforts.
Every book before it goes on general release.
Every book cheaper than normal (if you pledge at the $2 level).

So if you’ve got a couple of spare dollars please consider joining us. Thanks very much in advance (hopefully) for your support!

I feel my will already binding itself to your evil plans...I tweeted the Patreon campaign in the Twittersphere.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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At one point, I was trying to learn Flash Man's stage from Mega Man 2 on the guitar- a great funky groove!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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#1 and 2 are my definitive favorites- after that, things get dicey and change on mood.
1. Beck/Mongolian Chop Squad
2. Angel Beats
3. Sword Art Online
4. Ghost in the Shell (any and all)
5. Cowboy Bebob
6. Samurai Champloo
7. Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn/UC
8. Knights of Sidonia
9. Log Horizon (season 1 only- season 2 was...ok)
10. Ghost Hunt (or is it Ghost Hunters)

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam probably would be up there but I haven't seen the last 10 episodes.

Guilty pleasures because I enjoy them immensely for whatever reason except they both kind of end feeling very unresolved.
1. The Sacred Blacksmith
2. Chrome Shelled Regios
3. Air Gear

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Thanks for the review! I'm taking notes for when we do the supplemental PDFs for our next region- Ina'oth.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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I really wanted the Gundam Unicorn OVAs on blu-ray but they are ridiculously expensive (episode 7 is listed for over $200 bucks on Amazon). I bought the DVDs instead (a little over $70 for the whole series) and the picture quality is amazing.

Rightstuf is advertising a preorder of Turn-A Gundam. Has anyone seen this and have an opinion on it? My only knowledge of it is from the Mobile Suit Gundam Dynasty game.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Only 10 bucks away from the $200 mark!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Ninjas and robots working together! Mass hysteria!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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My cats believe in the 15 minute adventuring day.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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I had the pleasure of working with Jason on a grimoire he wrote for Shadows over Vathak. He did a phenomenal job and Paizo is lucky to have him. Congrats, Jason!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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I have Hell Girl in my Crunchyroll queue. I'll have to watch that soon. I'm binge watching Cowboy Bebob since I haven't seen it in awhile and I'm thinking about doing a SAO 1 and 2 marathon.

Tomorrow, I need to call Netflix and talk to them- I've just sent back the same Mobile Suit Zeta disc twice because it was cracked all the way through when I received it. This is on top of pretty much every other disc in the series so far coming to me obviously damaged. I've run into this problem with quite a few of the Sunrise Bandai discs (since they aren't in distribution anymore, figuring there's only so many copies and they can't be replaced) but a QC check would be nice before they shipped it off.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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Shadows over Vathak is a Lovecraftian survival horror campaign setting that is now available as Pay What You Want.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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In my Kingmaker campaign, my players (rulers of a lawful good kingdom) needed to cause a distraction in the evil king's city in order to infiltrate the castle and kill him.

I incorporated the Technology Guide based on the evil king's background and the players had recently defeated groups of gearsmen armed with arc rifles.

Upon entering the city and making contact with the mafia-like merchants guild, I was asked by the players if the merchant guild would help them in exchange for the arc rifles.

My reply was, "You are asking the mafia if they want guns? Yes, yes they want guns."

And that's how the lawful good Kingdom of the Eternal Light got into the gun running business.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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161). Refuse to call any NPCs by their actual names but instead refer to NPCs with names culled from pop culture and fantasy/sci-fi literature and movies. Said NPCs don't seem to mind and in fact respond to "Gandalf" and "Spock."

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

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Jeff Heikkinen wrote:
Chris Shaeffer wrote:

I really don't know how well this round is going to go for me. I'm worried! :|

But hey, let's remember: the worst case scenario for this round is that we lose now and enter again next year older and wiser. Right? :)

Actually, I kind of feel like the worst-case scenario is making the top 8 but not the top 4, because then you don't win but you can't enter again either.

I thought I would just speak about this as in a few weeks there will be four permanent 2015 Top 8s (as four of the Top 8 will move on).

Obviously, from my tag, I am a top 8- neither getting the module or scenario job or eligibility to repeat.

I've given advice elsewhere about how to break into freelancing but I'll quickly sum up my experience as a Top 8.

Placing in the Top 8 definitely gave me a sense of accomplishment and confidence to pursue freelance design work. Having never done any design work, being in the Top 8 served as my initial selling point to third party publishers (3PPs). In fact, when I pledged to a Kickstarter for Zombie Sky Press's It Came from the Stars, I was approached to contribute which shows that 3PPs do watch this contest. It also helped that I had recently done some design work.

If you want to work for Paizo, though, do not rest on your laurels. I didn't get my first Paizo job until I reached out to them, via attending PaizoCon, meeting the Paizo employees, and stating my interest in doing design work for them. I recommend that if you can attend PaizoCon, do so and bring a stack of business cards. Afterwards, follow up with an e-mail.

You might get lucky and Paizo and other 3PPs contact you out of the blue, but if you are seriously interested in doing design work, it is best to be proactive and approach the companies you wish to work for and establish a working relationship with them.

Summary- reaching out and networking after the contest will yield more design jobs than hoping companies contact you out of the blue regardless of how far you advance in RPG Superstar.

Now, I've been away for a week, so I have to read all your monsters!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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If you (or anyone else) is interested- Shadows over Vathak is now being offered as a Pay What You Want. The setting is a Lovecraftian Survival horror mash-up.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

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I'm creating this thread so we can post our thoughts on the Round 2 maps and maps in general to help future contestants if Paizo decides to keep this component in further contests. My hope is to offer advice to help future contestants should this type of challenge appear again.

First, I have to say is that there were definitely more maps I liked than I had votes for, so excellent job 2015 contestants! Secondly, for me, maps aren't easy- I've done quite a few professionally to know this and I learned a lot from going through all the submissions.

As a voter, my criteria were

1. clearness and readability- could I understand the map.

2. story- was there a theme or hook that made the map interesting and made me want to use it.

3. usability- lastly, did you create a map that I could swipe for my home game? I own more gaming material than I can hope to run, but I've been known to take maps from published sources and tweak them for my own needs.

Breaking the maps into categories, here are some of my overall thoughts-

1. Mini-regional maps- the maps which detailed a small region were pretty difficult to get my vote this round (I had only one I voted for). However, I think a mini-regional map has great potential to get a story across. However, they need to be clear and list interesting locations that spark my imagination which I can flesh out later. Very "Old School Renaissance" which I appreciate but make sure that features are easy to read and offer interesting places for adventure.

2. Settlement maps- I've done a bunch of these myself and they aren't easy. When designing one, you need to make sure that the cartographer can easily determine what is he/she is looking at. A lot of the maps I've turned over professionally are often cleaned up and made nice looking by the cartographer and kept much of my detail. So it is important that they are well-detailed, defined, and look interesting. Also, the real important locations need to be labelled as these are the places players will be going to. Don't label half of them and leave us guessing as to the others. Out of my 8 votes, I only voted for two of these type.

3. Locations- I love the direction that Paizo has taken with many of their "Unleashed" Campaign Setting books- offering up mini-dungeons centered around a particular creature or NPC. If your doing a map like this, it is important to have enough details for the GM to use it. You are working on a smaller scale here and the details are important to help me, a GM without a lot of extra time, to run it. Also, it should not be something that I could come up with in 5 minutes with a piece of graph paper. Interesting structures and overall shape that fire the imagination help without making it too confusing to read or reproduce. Location maps received the rest of my votes (5) but the ones I voted for had a good story hook.

Noncontestants, please feel free to post your own thoughts.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

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Congrats, everyone! I hope that no matter how far you end up advancing, you find this contest a positive experience. As a long time gamer, first time designer, it changed my life for the better and was the start of a lot of great opportunities in freelance game design. Hopefully, you'll get bit by the design bug like I did!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

10 people marked this as a favorite.

My yearly advice to those who want to pursue freelancing-

1. Remember that while particapating in Superstar is great, it isn't the only way to break into freelancing.

2. Keep an eye out on the "Compatible Products from Other Publishers" forum on this board for contests and open calls from other 3rd Party Publishers (3PP). 3PPs are a good way to get your foot in the door and start building a resume.

3. Review the various Pathfinder 3PPs out there and find one who publishes the type of products you are interested in writing. Visit their website regularly/like them on Facebook (if they have a Facebook page) so you can keep up on any news they might have about contests/open calls. Also, see if they have a submission page and how open they are to working with freelancers.

4. Have material ready to show a publisher- a good way to do this is have a blog showing off gaming content you have created. I can't stress this enough. Last Fall, I reviewed prospective freelancers for an open call at Fat Goblin Games- some people were previous Superstar contestants, some were previously published, and some had blogs showcasing their work. All were considered. The only people that were immediately passed on had no writing samples for me to preview.

5. Engage in dialogue with publishers. Review their products- what did you like, what did you not like, what kind of material would you have liked to have seen in the product. It might turn out that you and a particular publisher have similar tastes and might work well together.

I have worked with plenty of fellow freelancers who have never gone through Superstar so I hope this advice helps.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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The first Shadows over Vathak module, Silhouette of a Shadow, is now availabe here at the Paizo store-

Silhouette of a Shadow

or RPGNow-

Silhouette of a Shadow

Silhouette of a Shadow is a 1st level adventure module set in the Colonies region in Shadows over Vathak. The PCs are tasked with finding a missing person who may be in over his head with a strange and mysterious cult whose designs threaten all of Vathak. You can read more about it here at the Fat Goblin Games website.

Though not necessary to run the adventure, Silhouette of a Shadow is compatible with both the Colonies Player's Guide and the Colonies GM's Guide- both availabe here at Paizo or in print over at RPGNow.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I will say that if someone hit top 8 in any year, even if it is the end of entering Superstar it should just be the BEGINNING of working on a freelance career, if that's what is desired. Between Wayfinder, 3pp, blogs, and the opportunity to post things in the forums for fan feedback there are tons of ways to move forward once you have proof you're a cut above the pack, even if you aren't getting picked for Paizo projects yet. :)

Wow, that is literally my freelancing life story right there. Freelancing never even occurred to me until my run in Superstar.

However, as a Top 8, I still get that e-mail reminding me to submit my item, you know, just to rub it in a little... :)

Anyway, I encourage anyone eligible to enter. I look forward to voting again this year.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

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In the past, people have used IndieGoGo to fund going to a convention- usually getting 3PPs to donate some PDFs as a "reward." Might be something to consider for GenCon in the future.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

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I have very little artistic skill but I frequently have to do map turnovers as a freelancer. Besides the obvious "practice makes perfect" advice, I highly recommend spending some time scouring websites that offer cartography advice. For example- Jonathan Roberts's website, Fantastic Maps is full of excellent tips that I've used to improve my mapmaking skills.

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