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I understand it's nerve wracking, but so is a lot of what a freelancer has to do. I don't want to add training wheels to a contest designed to find a Superstar writer. In fact, I am a big proponent of making things harder, so anyone who makes it to the final four knows they have what it takes to be a freelance writer.
There are lots of different types of maps we use. Encounter Maps. Dungeon maps (which are really just big encounter maps). Overland maps. City maps. Region maps.
When it comes time to talk about the specifics of the next round, I'll absolutely give folks guidance on what is and isn't desired and acceptable.
I recommend you practice drawing them all. :D
As an example, I'm one of those cases. If for some reason I do manage to end up advancing, if I get as far as the Adventure round I'll feel guilty for eating up a spot because I've never played a pre-fab module. My lack of familiarity with them pretty much insures a failure when on a deadline.
With the deadlines, range of challenges, and competition we have this year, I'm happy to work with whoever wins starting the week after the contest to ensure we have a process in place to get through the actual work of designing an adventure.
I already have significant thoughts on the subject, to be honest. It's still a big leap, but I am convinced anyone who wins this can make it.
We're like to DQ an item if it's word count, the wrong item type (by which I mean it is actually not a suit of armor, shield, ring, rod, or staff, rather than WIiABM- Wondrous Item in All But Name), or some other amazingly obvious problem (if it violated our community standard for example, which I haven't seen yet but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen) or written for the wrong game system (or so badly formatted that there's no evidence that is isn't written for a different game system, and we have had one or two of those).
We might decide to DQ a WIiABN if a consensus of round 1 judges agreed it was a violation -- a magic sword with no magic sword abilities that happens to turn into a flying carpet, for example -- but that's more rare.
But no, there is no formal DQ notification process, at least in part because we're doing blind judging, and maybe a little because sadly that is also often part of the freelancing experience.
Kiraya TiDrekan wrote:
I am ALSO curious about this!
Kiraya TiDrekan wrote:
For me, personally, this was the first year that I had both time and opportunity. The first round twist was icing. :D
Thanks for sharing!
So, all the submissions for round 1 of RPG Superstar 2015 that are going to get considered are now in! Here’s some next steps.
Nickolas Floyd wrote:
I finally submitted. Instant regret. Should have submitted the other item.
"Sender's Remorse" is pretty common at all levels of game writing. A project's deadline is always at some point, and it's not unusual for me to look at something of mine that's already in print and think "Oh, I should have done this instead."
You submitted. That means you're already putting yourself in pretty rarified company. Congratulations!
Certainly I would't disqualify an item for bad pricing. It may impact my opinion of it... but again only in a few specific cases (such as wildly inaccuracy and Mark's "obvious error" category). In general a magic item that is interesting, well-written, clear, and uses solid rules is going to have my attention even if I find myself thinking "I'm going to have to adjust that price..."
As a policy, I do not share private email, even with names redacted. I know a lot of VERY smart people, and some folks have distinctive writing patterns. The best way for me to make sure I never expose communication intended to be private. I actually take that sort of thing very seriously.
I can ask if anyone who sent me some feels like having it anonymously shared, in which case I'd be fine with it. I've been surprised what people were willing for me to post in the past. :)
That said, Doc_Outlands is not too far off the mark of many of them.
Clay Clouser wrote:
I have received a few of the most amazingly polite hate mail. :D
As we near the last 24 hours of the submissions process (ending TOMORROW, 2pm PST)I want to reach out to contestants and people preparing to be contestants for a moment, and say: thanks.
Thanks for coming onto the boards and creating a helpful, encouraging community for everyone to enjoy and learn from.
And, most of all, thanks for having the courage to release your creation into the wild to see if it survives. Although I've never been eligible for Superstar, I know what it's like to put your favorite ideas up for scrutiny. It's not easy. It takes courage and conviction, and I'm constantly impressed by how professionally Paizo fans treat this event.
As a gamer and a fellow creative, and as the Host:
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. :)
To be fair, shields are basically armor. So much so that there was some question as to whether they were legal entries
As kind as it is of you to try to give some coverage, I don't think the person who made the official ruling that there really are 6 categories, and listed them, can really use that to cover a simple and glaringly obvious blunder.
It's okay, people make mistakes. I'm happy to point to this one, say "mea culpa," and use it as a teaching moment. :)
Obviously I'll talk about this more when the time comes, but as generic freelancer map turnover advice for any situation:
1. EVERYTHING Liz just said.
Eric Morton wrote:
Will the site be up when you try to submit your item? Should you anticipate extreme weather cutting off submissions three hours early? How do you, as an aspiring freelancer, handle the Round 1 challenge and the wrath of Mother Nature at the same time?
In my opinion, there is no need to plan to submit on either the first or last day of the contest's entry period. You can both give yourself more time to consider an item than 1 day (even if you have it done), and there's never a good reason to plan to wait until the last day to submit.
It's a truism in freelancing that in the last week of an assignment, the only brand new thing your developer should ever hear from you is "Here's my turnover." If there's anything else, you should have communicated the possibility beforehand.
I've told people I was freelancing for about storm patterns, tornadoes, and ailing family members, to be sure if there was a sudden issue it didn't come out of the blue. And while you don't need to get to personal, and you don't want to pester your developer, strong communication and time management are huge parts of being a good freelancer.
So yes, considering such issues is good practice for real-world freelancing. I once had to tell Sean K Reynolds I was going to be late on a project... because of a hurricane. Since I told him a couple of weeks in advance (and the hurricane was national news), he was able to adjust my deadline.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Just be careful, you guys. When I say hard mode, while it is certainly a way to get my attention if you succeed, that's because I believe that even if all competitors submitted staves, fewer than 32 would succeed. Maybe "nightmare mode" or "hardcore mode" or "super-challenge mode" might indicate it more accurately.
It will not surprise me if a staff makes it into the top 32.It will not surprise me if one doesn't.
Given there are 5 broad categories (armor, shield, weapon, ring, rod, staff), it will surprise me if 1/5 of the top 32 are staves.
Lucus Palosaari wrote:
And I mean that in the nicest way possible Owen. I figure you mean to try not to limit us too much, because if its cool enough then :)
It is absolutely true that I don't want to tell people what is a good idea, just what the rules clearly already say is allowed.
If someone came up with a spell-in-a-can swiss army knife with a few format errors the price of which was a bit off that focused on how it was preferred by aboleths for use in creating weird circumstances, and it was AWESOME, it might still be Superstar material. So I don't want to say anything suggesting we'd bounce it.
But I wouldn't recommend it, either.
So we certainly have not stated that you are restricted to weapons from the CRB - making your magic weapon be a katana or be de corbin is clearly fair game.
The tricky thing about siege engines is that the rules section describing them are titles "siege engines" rather than siege weapons. In fact, the term "siege weapon" is uncommon, though not nonexistent, within the rules.
However, the siege engine rules outright state (under "proficiency") that "Siege engines are exotic weapons."
I don't have an official opinion of the wisdom of submitting a magic siege engine, but it is within the scope of the contest's rules.
Master Pugwampi wrote:
Yes. Yes, it is.
Heck, I was never eligible to enter the contest. :)
Christopher Dudley wrote:
A staff that does not feel like a SIAC is going to be VERY tough to pull off. But if someone manages to do it, I think we'll all be VERY impressed.
Crispy Gnoll Fajitas wrote:
So will the first entry change every year now, or can I come up with a cool rod idea and submit it next year?
In complete and total honesty: we don't know. When I pitched how I would like to see Superstar change up this year, there were many discussions (and numerous modifications and improvements to my original suggestions made by the smart folks who have been here past years). It is way too early for us to decide what we are doing next year -- we are still focusing on making sure THIS year goes smoothly.
We might keep this format. We might go back to wondrous items. We might decide to give everyone 250 words, or 400, or have a 200 word minimum (yes, sometimes game designers have a minimum words count. It's second in frequency only to a max word count).
We just don't know yet.
I want to keep everything on the table. Superstar serves a number of useful functions, and I hope to always be willing to make changes if there's good reason to believe they will make for a better contest.
I know many people had a wondrous item picked out to submit already, and this took them off guard. We've also heard from a number of people who felt changing the design space makes this easier for them. Andy change is going to impact different groups in different ways. I hope everyone decides to buckle in, do their best, and see where that takes them. I think the very best are likely to do well in any circumstances.
Certainly finding how to make a Superstar entry with a new selection of items is part of the challenge.
There is a difference between the life drinker (which is difficult for the living to use safely, so the note on who uses it is a practical matter as well as flavor), and saying (for example) drow are most likely to use a dagger of venom.
The advice on spell-in-a-can DOES apply to staves... despite them being spell-in-a-can devices. If you go for staff, make sure you have some idea that elevates it above just a collection of spell-in-a-can options. You CAN do an Superstar staff by the rules, but it won't be easy. It would, in fact, be a sign of amazing talent.
It's an opportunity to select a higher difficulty. Do so only if that appeals to you.
Grumpus, just as Sean's advice in past years mentioned about wondrous items, just because we have an item in the CRB doesn't mean that item would be a good Superstar entry.
That said, Mark's "Sword of Tricks" does not manage to tie its magic power into it's existence at all. It's just a magic sword that then has totally unrelated powers. Frostbrand takes elements tied to magic swords (illumination, frost ability), and ties them to further powers (frost protects you from, and can extinguish flames).
Summoning animals is not, by itself, always a wondrous item power. But if you want a weapon (or armor) to summon creatures, you need to find a way to tie it to the theme of the sword/armor.
I agree that the important thing is the end result. If I look at a suit of armor and think "That's neat, and well done!" then I don't care what it was originally.
If I think "That would make a lot more sense as a set of boots," I'll be less impressed.
I have, in fact, had to change a magic sword into a magic suit of armor as a result of miscommunication earlier in a project. If you can do it well, it's a useful skill. If you can't, and you try, it could sink you.