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It's late November, and I'm starting to get that annual tingling feeling... and checking in with my very favorite forum far more frequently than is in any way appropriate...
It's been a while (it always is!), and I'm looking forward to another great contest!
:sensibly unbates breath:
Sean - all the best. I'm not very deep in Paizo, PF or D&D communities, but I'm in awe of what I've seen you do here in RPG Superstar, and the huge whopping lot more I know you've done in the whole rest of the field. Thanks for finding so many awesome ways for us to have fun :) And all the best with wherever you go next!
An inspired creation, giving motivation and color to the things that go bump in the night. Terrific job.
I do have one nitpick: I think this entry does suffer from a bit of Fridge Logic. Because, well, fire is easy to come by. And it's, y'know, self-replicating. Wouldn't it be easier for the chimney trolls to keep one big fire burning somewhere safe, and break off torches and flames to sustain themselves? That'd kind of destroy the entire concept here.
But that's just a minor bump in a very excellent entry. All the best moving forward :)
Best of luck, y'all.
I've had to sit this year out participation-wise, but I've been following along and I'm really looking forward to spectating this year. I saw an incredible amount of good content in the voting, and I can't wait to see how the contest goes with the new rotating judging panel.
It's gonna be fun. Enjoy, everybody!
Gungnir, are you familiar with the various reasons for disqualification?
There are some which can fell an entry quite quickly, including:
* Are you sure your entry was at 300 words or less?
Hopefully, you read the rules and knew not to make any of these errors... or, you've still got your full entry text, so you can double-check.
If not, I'm afraid I might have only made your paranoia worse... but if so, I hope next year you'll be more paranoid before submission, and get everything perfect for your entry :)
Glad I could help :)
Whiskey Jack, I hope it's clear now that "ranking" between items you don't like is really important too - first of all, that's what allows Paizo to make the cull, which means more interesting voting for us all :) And secondly, each individual vote is just part of a much more complicated net. Once you start thinking about "clusters" and how the data is likely to look over groups of submissions, that' when things get really interesting. :)
Imagine a group of a dozen random items from Ultimate Equipment, one magnificently Superstar item, one joke item, and a handful of boring SIACs full of typos. Assuming you get a full graph of votes - each item is compared to each other item once, and votes come from different people, and can conflict - how would you expect the graph results to look?
The math behind the voting here is very cool, but it's also a little tough to wrap your head around. I'll see if I can dig up one of the nice explanations from last year, but rest assured - everything's extremely well managed, and you're not hurting your chances one whit by voting on other items.
Until I have a good explanation to link to, let me just give you the five-cent intuition: you are not voting on which item is best, and we are not counting which item got the most vote-clicks. Instead, you are making links in a huge chain of items - I like A better than B, and B better than C, and C better than D...
Imagine you build this whole entire chain without ever voting on your item, and at the end, I ask you: OK, where in this chain does your item go?
Well, obviously, you say "It goes at the top." You've already put all the other items "in order," so by saying "my item is better than the very best item," you're actually saying - with just one vote! - that your item is, in fact, the best of all.
Now, the actual mechanism here is way, way more complicated than that. The "chain" isn't straight; it can branch every which way (Say, you like A more than B and A more than C, but you haven't voted between B and C),and your own votes will mesh in with everybody else's, which will contradict your own. That being said: the cool math makes this all work, and basically manages to meaningfully combine between everybody's votes.
Crusader of Good wrote:
so, possibility I make it to marathon and never see mine, yet by chance make it into 32?
Ok, let's see.
Last year we counted roughly 885 valid submissions; let's round that up to 900.
Just to repeat: only one Star Voter in five has seen his own item. Only two Dedicated Voters in three have seen theirs. And even for Marathon Voters, for every 9 who have seen theirs, there's also one who hasn't.
So don't get too worked up quite yet :)
I'm making a simplifying assumption here - I'm assuming pairs are chosen randomly, when in fact, once a particular pair has been drawn, it won't be drawn again. That would be very tough to account for in our math, particularly since you're not the only person voting and "removing" pairs from the pool. I'm assuming the probability pretty much remains indifferent to this factor.
Crusader of Good wrote:
so, possibility I make it to marathon and never see mine, yet by chance make it into 32?
Nope. If you make in into the Top 32, I guarantee you, it's not by chance.
Crusader (and any others): if you're fairly certain you know what the DQ criteria are, and you're fairly certain you didn't do anything that might meet those criteria, then you're probably right.
The odds of seeing your own item are quite small (last year IIRC I saw my own item twice in the entire voting period).
Even if you feel you're seeing a lot of items repeating, that's just simple statistics. If there are 1000 items, and you've seen 250 of them already in your voting, then your chance of seeing your item in a given vote is only 1/1000+1/999 ~~ 1/500. But your chance of seeing something you've already seen is ~250/1000 for the first item, plus ~250/1000 for the second item (if you want to be precise, it's 250/1000 + (750/1000)*(249/999) = 0.44 ) , and even your chance of seeing two items you've already seen is as high as 1/8. And these numbers just get worse and worse the more unique items you've seen :)
Last year IIRC we guessed there were about 1200-1300 entries. With those numbers, it would be quite unremarkable to go 400-500 votes without encountering one particular item.
I confess; I'm baffled by anybody objecting to style and formatting requirements.
Anything you post needs a stage of proofreading. Otherwise you're just saying "I don't care enough about this to make sure it doesn't have glaring errors."
Now, as far as I'm concerned, you can have your first draft smeared in lipstick on a sheet in Comic Sans font. You can write it in 1337speak. You can fill it with (PUT FORMATTING HERE) notes. Whatever works for you.
But once you're done writing, you're ready for proofing. and proofing just means going over the entire thing, correcting errors, and getting it ready to publish. It's straightforward; it's well-defined; it's nearly mechanical, if you actually know all the rules. If you see the value of both a spellchecker and forum BBCode tags, you should be able to see that formatting is A Good Thing (tm).
The only question is: do you know all the rules?
Some are easy. Some are hard. Some are extremely easy to check an existing reference for; some get mentioned frequently in the forums so regulars know 'em; some are obscure, nasty surprises. (Hint: the obscure, nasty surprises? The other voters won't know the right way either.)
But really, all it means is having a vague sense of what bits might need formatting, and an idea of where to check on what formatting is correct there. Poring over the forums will give you this really, really quickly.
If someone's showed good attention to formatting and proofreading but missed a couple of minor things, I'm not going to ding him for that. If someone's work is riddled with typos and style errors, though, I know for a fact that he didn't put a whole lot of effort into not making any mistakes. And if I see somebody who's clearly dotted every i and crossed every t, I go, "Hey, this guy really knows what he's doing."
Anthony Adam wrote:
Precisely this. The best items will appeal to both; otherwise, there's something in it that's turning off one group or the other.
Don't make any mistakes. Know why your item is cool. That should get you by both of 'em.
There's also a long-standing RPGSS guideline, whereby nobody subjects an item to direct public critique unless its creator has OK'd it specifically (or, y'know, made it into the Top 32).
That's aimed to make the contest friendlier and kinder - you will never be subjected to criticism or mockery, unless you specifically say that you're willing to hear other people's feedback.
(That being said, Clark has a long-standing tradition of pointing out general trends and individual errors, without tying them to particular items and submissions. Now that the public also sees the entries through voting, we can also join in the fun.)
Just wanted to peek in and make a couple of notes on the game so far. Primarily, I owe y'all an apology, because I've been ridiculously slow to respond, and also I forgot how ridiculously slow play-by-post games can be. I didn't anticipate that starting out with a character-heavy intro would play out in the somewhat stretched-out manner it has; I'm sure you're all raring to be past the intro and into the action, and I think both combat and character will be doing a lot better once we're past the initial hump.
Bearing that in mind, I'll try to speed up any prep we have left. You can start considering whether there's anything else in particular you'll want inside the village before you set out. And I encourage PC banter as a great way to establish character and pass the time :) And I am sincerely making every effort to up my own pace.
Soon enough, Arthorion's path trails into a large village. The first structure appears to be a sawmill, and the elf can clearly see humans bustling about dragging lumber to and fro.
But as they continue towards their goal, a tall figure stations herself in the middle of the road, by the sawmill and clearly positioned at the very entrance of the village. By the time Arthorion and Zeldax are near enough to see the individuals distinctly, a full contingent is assembled - three humans and a elven woman. They mill in place, all but the elf whispering among themselves. They make no move towards Arthorion as of yet, but their attention is clearly focused upon him and his companion.
This is not Arthorion Aegas's first failed attempt to cross into Irrisen, but it has proved by far the most disasterous. His memories of the sudden pursuit are vague and bloody, and his last recollection was falling broken into the snow.
When he awoke, Zeldax was lapping at his face, his entire body kept vacillating between complete numbness and searing pain - and he was somewhere utterly unfamiliar. A forest, with a bright sun shining above, but without a hint of warmth. The place was cold, cold as Irrisen, though it looked anything but.
Although eager to nurse himself back to health, getting out of these unnatural woods was also a priority. Over the course of several days, Arthorion dragged himself through the forest, growing only more concerned when a heavy snow began to fall. Soon he was clear of the woods - and past its edges, the chill was gone.
Though it took him some time to recuperate, Arthorion is now fully himself again. He has determined that he has arrived, somehow, in Taldor; there is a small village just a few miles north, but he has not yet ventured to enter it. Meanwhile behind him, the forest grows colder and more menacing with every hour.
Arthorion, what's your next step?
The sleepy village of Heldren has rarely seen so much excitement or concern. First, hunters from the nearby Border Wood spoke of unnaturally cold weather, descending upon the forest at the very height of summer. Heavy snow followed, and those who returned speak of an uneasy presence in the woods - as well as new, dangerous predators. No one knows what this event means, but the town's soothsayer, Old Mother Theodora, claims dark times lie ahead.
The unnatural weather was itself enough to attract the attention of Groflek and Yahn, tempting them into a short detour on their path. The half-orc insisted, saying a two-day journey was more than worthwhile just to see some snow again.
But as they drew near, the news from the village grew more dire. The story being told is that a noblewoman, the Lady Argentea Malassene, was travelling on her next leg towards Oppara. Her caravan stayed safely beond the edge of the forest - until strange, wintry creatures swarmed out of the woods, and dragged her away into the forest. In Heldren, the two travellers find a fearful townsfolk, their eyes constantly drawn towards the snowy forest, and their minds towards the question - what next?
Yahn Burson wrote:
That works fine for me. Just give me the job offer and I'm sure I'll take it.
Well, personally, I wouldn't start off with the job offer. I'd start off "in the present," having already gotten him out of the Thanelands and through some warmer climes (or, well, at least some of that route. I need to check the map; our little group is very diverse...). Start off in media res, as it were, with the two PCs already together.
I do love a good in media res.
Pedro, I've got a couple questions about Arthorion's background. Two major points: Firstly, it's only Elvanna's direct children, the first generation, who are taken with Baba Yaga. Further descendants become Jadwiga. So unless Naryanne was actually Elvanna in disguise... :P
I'm going to ask you to rethink this last part. Maybe something a little more modest, like Naryanne disappeared while pregnant and Arthorion's been trying for twenty years just to get into Irrisen. Or maybe Naryanne was massively terrified even though there was no reason for her to be - what did she know? What was different about her and her child? I'm cool with open-ended mysteries like this. Or, really, anything else that ties off this corner.
This is background, and I don't see any reason this should delay our starting posts. Just mull it over and let me know.
Ok! I've been refreshing my memory with the various characters - we've got a kickass team here, and I'm really looking forward to this! All we need to do now is come up with a bunch of lovely excuses to wrassle y'all over to Heldren, a sleepy little village in Taldor. Now your characters are intriguing enough that that's quite a challange... oh, hey, wait, RPG challanges are something us lot are pretty good at, right?
Joseph, Landon, let me run this one past you - how about we set Groflek up as one of Yahn's very first cold-weather clients? At first I was thinking, Oy, how's a half-orc with a polar bear gonna get anywhere in Taldor,, and then I thought, Huh, we actualy do have somebody who kind of does that for a living... How does that strike you? I think it'd be an awesome opportunity to work in a "preexisting" dynamic between some of the characters. If you like this idea, try to come up with some sense of what Groflek might be travelling for, and what measures Yahn might've taken to smooth their journey (we're just first level, so they aren't necessarily much good yet...)
Pedro, I'm thinking of working your character intro right into the opening scenes of the plot. I don't want to give away any major spoilers, but between you and me, this campaign has something to do with
OMG, a spoiler:, and also it's kicking off with
crud, another one:and I can easily work Arthorion's appearance in as part of the anomaly. Do you like that approach?
something mysterious happening,
Steven, I'm not entirely clear on Shalewigg's motivations to go adventuring or to be nearby. You've got less background and detail so far, so I'd love to hear what you'd suggest.
Of course, if anybody has other suggestions (for your PC or anybody else), go right ahead. Every player gets to decide for their own PC, and I'm really open to anything you're happy with.
If anything here looks problematic to you, now's the time to say so. :)
@All: I'll be summing up the Same-Page responses ASAP. Thanks!
I also realize I haven't mentioned: you may or may not recall that I'm shomer shabbat, which basically means that for a 25-hour period between Friday and Saturday each week, I'm completely offline. Shouldn't be a problem, but it does mean that the game speedup on weekends will be somewhat limited :P
@Landon: I think we've got at least rough directions for the other players; now's a good time to figure out what kind of PC you feel will fit in :D
@Joseph: Returning to the Gralton Infiltrator after all these months, I find myself pleasantly warmed by the notion of a class concept which goes "quiet, sneaky, inconspicuous, BOMB." :)
I trust your math; I'll be going over the details in more... detail so I can be sure I'm familiar with everything, so I might have more questions afterwards.
For the moment: you've written Knowledge(arcana,local); that's two separate skills, right? And, key question: Where do you see Knowledge(local) as being local to? I don't see the River Kingdoms nor Galt figuring heavily in the campaign; I also don't subscribe to the "Knowledge(local) applies to everywhere" school. Let me know what your take is on how you'd expect the skill to be used; we'll figure out what we want for it.
Additionally, I really really want every character to have some kind of hook to Irrisen. I'm really wide open on what kind of hook this could be, but I don't think you've given me any leads there :P Give it some thought? If you'd like suggestions from the group, just say so :)
@Pedro: 20-point buy sounds good to me.
@Joseph: A full-caster party could be interesting in a few levels. Starting at level 1, they'd probably get massacred fast :P
@Steven: Can I ask for the same-page questionnaire from you?
@Landon: Any-- nah, nothing yet. :P
@All: Any thoughts about character concept/personality beyond your class choice? As I said, I want to see connections to Irrisen - of some sort or other.