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PaizoCon 2014!

So You Want To Be A Superstar Panel (Recording)


PaizoCon

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Andoran

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Hi, everyone, I haven't had a chance to level-check this, so it might not sound THAT great, but here is the So You Want To Be a Superstar panel.

Ryan Dancey, Neil Spicer, Sean K Reynolds, and Clark Petersen are your panelists.
Recording

Edit 12/7/2012: Old link dead, new link at Know Direction —SKR

Cheliax

cool

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Clark here, checking in from the Con.

The Superstar panel was AWESOME.

Neil had a great idea to do an item from scratch with audience participation. I rambled. Sean and Ryan were gods among men. And Neil was Neil.

Listen to the recording if you can. The seminar was really informative. It will be real helpful to designers for next year.

AND I hope that people take us up on our challenge and actually write up the item we came up with. A corset. Should be fun.

And frankly the item we came up with in an hour has all the potential to make the cut into the "Keep" folder.

Hope you guys enjoy!


Hey Jeremiziah! Were you in that seminar? I was the one toward the back that made the point about not having to use all the elements of a spell, giving the example of the belt item I made using reduce person, but only applying some of the elements of the small size to the person...


A nice listen. Great of you to put these up. Here's one con-absentee hoping for more. :)

Andoran

markofbane wrote:
Hey Jeremiziah! Were you in that seminar? I was the one toward the back that made the point about not having to use all the elements of a spell, giving the example of the belt item I made using reduce person, but only applying some of the elements of the small size to the person...

Yes, I was...I was the guy who, when Neil brought up there having been two lanterns that were low-level, one just didn't make it through, I said "That was me". I didn't turn around to see who was talking, so I still have no idea who you are, LOL!


[pseudo-sinister accent] There vill be trouble if thee importance of stampink on Asmodeus and hees minions like thee roaches that they are vas not emphasised. [/pseudo-sinister accent]


Jeremiziah wrote:
markofbane wrote:
Hey Jeremiziah! Were you in that seminar? I was the one toward the back that made the point about not having to use all the elements of a spell, giving the example of the belt item I made using reduce person, but only applying some of the elements of the small size to the person...
Yes, I was...I was the guy who, when Neil brought up there having been two lanterns that were low-level, one just didn't make it through, I said "That was me". I didn't turn around to see who was talking, so I still have no idea who you are, LOL!

Ah, so you were about four rows ahead of me. And, you didn't turn around, so I didn't see you either.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmmm, just getting a blank page.
Am I doing something wrong?

I can view the root page fine, with the band, but not the track.

Andoran

Snorter wrote:

Hmmm, just getting a blank page.

Am I doing something wrong?

I can view the root page fine, with the band, but not the track.

What browser are you using? It's definitely working on my end, even on my Android phone.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Firefox.
I do have an adblocker running, but that shouldn't stop the site.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Snorter wrote:

Firefox.

I do have an adblocker running, but that shouldn't stop the site.

It's working fine for me in firefox with adblock plus running

Andoran

Can you just right-click it and save the file, maybe? I honestly have no idea what would be causing problems for you.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

So who is going to get started working up the corset?

Great to see all of you who were there, by the way.

Andoran

Why do you think I'm still awake?

:D

Seriously, I'm brainstorming it now, and hope to have mine up by tomorrow evening, Tuesday at the latest.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Jeremiziah wrote:

Why do you think I'm still awake?

:D

Seriously, I'm brainstorming it now, and hope to have mine up by tomorrow evening, Tuesday at the latest.

By the way, I volunteered to return to judging RPG Superstar for this upcoming contest. I'll be joining Sean and Ryan and Neil as the judges. I can't wait!

So we can get started early by critiquing the corset! Feel free to make multiple versions.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

I made a thread in the Superstar General Discussion forum for the corset! Come on in and give us your versions of it!

linkified!

Clark


Uh-oh, incoming... Dive! Everyone dive! It's a Lucy Fury post.
<Leaps for cover>


Well that's interesting listening. At least one judge expresses a view that the name of the item is in the region of sixty per cent of whether the item does it for him or not, and if the first listed power of an item isn't attention grabbing enough it's likely to just be rejected then and there. Not going over word count is much more important than turning in rules perfect stuff, and the other judges tend to fall in behind Ryan and Neil in whatever they think of an item.
There are obviously considerable improvements which could be made to the process, but at least their hearts are in the right place...


<Emerges from rubble, dusting self off, and inspecting fingernails anxiously for damage>
Damn! I broke a couple of nails. That's only two days and I need another manicure already.
That post was brought to you by taking-things-waaaaaay-beyond-context-and-twisting-them, deranged, 'don't-mention-the-whole-fallen-or-Asmodeus-things', Lucy Fury.
We now return you to your regular debate.


On a sort-of-serious note, however, the umming and ahhing of the judges and the general air of intelligent waffle that comes across in the recording kindly linked to by Jeremziah leaves me with an impression that the whole process of superstar style item design is (please pardon the language) bloody difficult, even for the industry experts.
Regarding the recording there are a couple of moments where people in the audience say things which are almost inaudible, but otherwise it comes across reasonably well.
Edit:
For the record, the recording played on my computer without any technical problems on Windows Media player.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Lucy Fury wrote:
Not going over word count is much more important than turning in rules perfect stuff,

If I call you up to interview for a job, and one of the things I tell you is "show up in a formal business attire," and you DON'T show up in formal business attire, you have failed an incredibly easy task, whether out of...

laziness ("eh, I didn't want to deal with that")
ignorance ("oh, I wasn't paying attention")
forgetfulness ("oops, I forgot about that part")
spite ("I'm stickin' it to the man!")
or arrogance ("your rules don't apply to me because I am so awesome").

If you can't or won't follow the most basic task ("your item must be 300 words or less") that even a 10-year-old child should be able to follow, why should I bother to try evaluating any other aspect (for example, the harder parts of designing a magic item, such as making it cool or pricing it correctly) of your submission? Why should I risk paying you hundreds or thousands of dollars for an assignment when you've shown you can't follow a simple limitation?

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lucy Fury wrote:

Well that's interesting listening. At least one judge expresses a view that the name of the item is in the region of sixty per cent of whether the item does it for him or not, and if the first listed power of an item isn't attention grabbing enough it's likely to just be rejected then and there. Not going over word count is much more important than turning in rules perfect stuff, and the other judges tend to fall in behind Ryan and Neil in whatever they think of an item.

There are obviously considerable improvements which could be made to the process, but at least their hearts are in the right place...

I would not call that a particularly fair summary of the comments. Sure, Ryan said name is 60%. That's not to disregard the other 40%. And, while I can't speak for him, you can tell a lot about the design of the item and the quality of the contestant's entry by the name, so frankly I agree with his assessment. As to other judges just falling in line behind Ryan and Neil, that's hardly true. I tend to agree with Neil's mechanical analysis, and the comment of us following what he says is more a comment that Neil is a machine and is so fast in his review that we are nearly always second to post in an item thread, as opposed to how you seem to present it that we don't exercise independent analysis and somehow just adopt what others say without using our own judgment, that is just not true. And as for rejecting if the first power isn't good enough, I think it was nice of us to tell you that. Good designers, Superstar designers, don't "bury the lead" as Sean explained. We are trying to HELP you by telling you that. The choice of presentation is yours, if you choose weak presentation, get ready for the reject button.

The whole point of this panel is to help you understand the process and design better. In fact, I can tell you that a competently executed version of the item the audience hashed out in an hour would almost certainly make the "keep" pile (would it be top 32, that depends on the other submissions).

Not going over word count IS more important than a "perfect submission" because you can't have a perfect submission and be over word count. The two are mutually exclusive.

Besides, there has never been a rules perfect submission that I am aware of. A perfectly designed +2 stat buff item is just not superstar. An interesting and unique item that has some flaws, on the other hand, is. Again, absolute perfection of design of the item is not the point. Having your item result in your selection to compete in RPG Superstar is.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and if that is what you took away from your listening to the seminar, that is your choice. I, however, don't feel your summary is at all correct.


Lucy Fury wrote:
comments on the seminar...

The impression I got was the name was important in the expectation that it set for the item, both in power level and in function. If the name was misleading in either of those categories, it tends to be very off putting.

And I am still astounded by the focus put on word limits. The word limit is the lowest bar you have to exceed to enter. Having it over the limit is no different than not hitting the "Submit" button for the entry; if you don't do it, you just won't be considered. And they spent way more time than they should have to explaining why it is an important requirement.

Plain and simple: Superstar isn't a contest on developing cool stuff. It just isn't. Its an extended job interview for a freelance position to develop cool stuff.


Clark & Sean wrote:
...sage advice...

And it's useful to have these clarifications from RPGSuperstar judges, in easy-to-refer-to posts, now, because if it's so simple to take half-listened to and recalled things out of context only several days after the panel, what's it going to be like in six or twelve months time when the only thing someone vaguely recalls is that a judge said something about sixty per cent name and can't find a working link to a recording any more?

If the intention of the panel is to raise the level of entries, it seems to me that the more of this stuff is in clearly explained writing (rather than relayed second or third hand in 'Oh, and Sean/Ryan/Clark might have said this' snippets, quoted out of context, the better for everyone.
Thanks for stopping by to make those clarifications. I hope that they're useful to the community in general.
On a mischievous note, if there's an audio typist out there, with the time, I dare say a full transcript would be unbelievably useful to all future contestants...
And sorry for not flagging up the Lucy Fury post more clearly in advance. I thought that the post after it would make sufficiently clear, but eh, I probably should have nested them.


The seminars were all video taped, and I would be concerned that a transcript would lose a lot of the nuances and tones that you get in a live conversation.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

I think the judges in this contest have been unbelievably helpful year after year to help people know what to do. I dont know how much more help we can give other than to call you personally and help you write your item. And actually all that help helps us. Because if a proposed freelancer (and that is what you are when you enter) can't even follow these instructions with all the help we give, that says something to us. BUT if you are serious about being a freelancer, then do your homework and win.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. And the success of the superstar top 4 each year is pretty impressive. Neil and Jason Nelson are doing major writing for Paizo. Heck, they hired Rob. Clinton writes for Paizo and is also doing a book. I mean, the list goes on and on. Jim Groves and some of the other guys from other years also contribute to Paizo products. So what we are doing is working. Its not like there are 20 awesome authors out there that we have missed or passed over and who are now setting the industry on fire. Bottom line: our process is finding the awesome freelancers.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Got it now; saved from the link with a right-click.
Listening to it now.

It's like that parlor game; "I went shopping, and I bought...a hairpiece, a wooden spoon, a bag of sand...."

"I went shopping, and I bought...a hairpiece, a wooden spoon, a bag of sand, a corset...."


Clark Peterson wrote:

I think the judges in this contest have been unbelievably helpful year after year to help people know what to do. I dont know how much more help we can give other than to call you personally and help you write your item. And actually all that help helps us. Because if a proposed freelancer (and that is what you are when you enter) can't even follow these instructions with all the help we give, that says something to us. BUT if you are serious about being a freelancer, then do your homework and win.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. And the success of the superstar top 4 each year is pretty impressive. Neil and Jason Nelson are doing major writing for Paizo. Heck, they hired Rob. Clinton writes for Paizo and is also doing a book. I mean, the list goes on and on. Jim Groves and some of the other guys from other years also contribute to Paizo products. So what we are doing is working. Its not like there are 20 awesome authors out there that we have missed or passed over and who are now setting the industry on fire. Bottom line: our process is finding the awesome freelancers.

I have found this year's discussion a good deal clearer on what the judges are looking for and thinking of when they sort items than last year's 'do nots'. Sufficiently clearer that if I were an awesome person like the demigods of the top 32+ of previous years...

Eh... ah well, all I can do is cheer from the sidelines those who do make the grade.

Edit:
Again, thanks to those past/current/future judges who have taken the time to post on this thread. I'm certain that there are some out there who will make the 'keeps' folder in a future contest on the basis of what has been written in this thread.


Judging from Clark's inflammatory responses on mine and several others requests on the previous contests, I don't look forward to the next contest knowing he is a judge.
I'm certain my opinion means little, but looking over the stuff his company has published and the comments he's made before, and listening to his stuff here, I just don't see how his opinion is worth anything.

Paizo Employee Developer

Clark Peterson wrote:

By the way, I volunteered to return to judging RPG Superstar for this upcoming contest. I'll be joining Sean and Ryan and Neil as the judges. I can't wait!

Aw. I wasn't told that I didn't get to do it again this year :-( Thanks for breaking my heart, Clark!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for posting this... great discussion, and great for those of us poor bastards who aren't able to attend!


Mark Moreland wrote:
Clark Peterson wrote:

By the way, I volunteered to return to judging RPG Superstar for this upcoming contest. I'll be joining Sean and Ryan and Neil as the judges. I can't wait!

Aw. I wasn't told that I didn't get to do it again this year :-( Thanks for breaking my heart, Clark!

Surely if the three runner-ups will be getting a PFS scenario to write again, you'll be asked to guest on some of the relevant rounds!

Yay! Welcome back, Clark! I thought you'd said last year your job prohibited you from judging contests with prizes? Is it because you actually don't decide who gets the prize in the end, but just help select the finalists and offer educated opinions on subsequent rounds?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Mark Moreland wrote:
Clark Peterson wrote:

By the way, I volunteered to return to judging RPG Superstar for this upcoming contest. I'll be joining Sean and Ryan and Neil as the judges. I can't wait!

Aw. I wasn't told that I didn't get to do it again this year :-( Thanks for breaking my heart, Clark!

I wasn't told that I would be doing it again. Thanks for the heart attack, Clark. ;-)

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Vistarius wrote:
I'm certain my opinion means little, but looking over the stuff his company has published and the comments he's made before, and listening to his stuff here, I just don't see how his opinion is worth anything.

Yeah, it's not like Clark's company published the very first d20 system monster book, available at Gen Con the same day as the 3E PHB, and two months before the 3E MM, or anything like that.... :)

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Neil Spicer wrote:
I wasn't told that I would be doing it again. Thanks for the heart attack, Clark. ;-)

Well, you could always talk to your wife about having a kid around that time, that would give you an excuse to gracefully bow out.... ;)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Vistarius wrote:
Judging from Clark's inflammatory responses on mine and several others requests on the previous contests, I don't look forward to the next contest knowing he is a judge....I'm certain my opinion means little, but looking over the stuff his company has published and the comments he's made before, and listening to his stuff here, I just don't see how his opinion is worth anything.

You do realize Clark is a three-time judge of RPG Superstar and served as one of the inaugural judges from the contest's very inception? If you don't think his opinion is worth anything, you are sadly, sadly mistaken. I also find it hilarious (and unfortunate) that people continue to view Clark's efforts in advising and offering feedback as "inflammatory." He's been the most supportive, most vocal, all-out cheerleader for this event from the very beginning. He goes above and beyond to try and help people. But, as he pointed out, there's only so much the judges can (or should) do for everyone. Eventually, people need to learn/perceive these lessons for themselves. There's no handbook or recipe that you can follow which ensures you'll make the Top 32. Instead, part of being a Superstar-caliber talent is demonstrating the due-diligence involved in educating yourself and recognizing how to present things in a professional manner. And that starts with how potential competitors conduct themselves here on these boards, as well.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Neil Spicer wrote:
I wasn't told that I would be doing it again. Thanks for the heart attack, Clark. ;-)
Well, you could always talk to your wife about having a kid around that time, that would give you an excuse to gracefully bow out.... ;)

o_O

Stop giving her ideas! You don't know the dangers involved in messing with the biological clock, my friend! ;-)


Neil Spicer wrote:
Vistarius wrote:
Judging from Clark's inflammatory responses on mine and several others requests on the previous contests, I don't look forward to the next contest knowing he is a judge....I'm certain my opinion means little, but looking over the stuff his company has published and the comments he's made before, and listening to his stuff here, I just don't see how his opinion is worth anything.

You do realize Clark is a three-time judge of RPG Superstar and served as one of the inaugural judges from the contest's very inception? If you don't think his opinion is worth anything, you are sadly, sadly mistaken. I also find it hilarious (and unfortunate) that people continue to view Clark's efforts in advising and offering feedback as "inflammatory." He's been the most supportive, most vocal, all-out cheerleader for this event from the very beginning. He goes above and beyond to try and help people. But, as he pointed out, there's only so much the judges can (or should) do for everyone. Eventually, people need to learn/perceive these lessons for themselves. There's no handbook or recipe that you can follow which ensures you'll make the Top 32. Instead, part of being a Superstar-caliber talent is demonstrating the due-diligence involved in educating yourself and recognizing how to present things in a professional manner. And that starts with how potential competitors conduct themselves here on these boards, as well.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

I respectfully disagree and say that you are the one you described. I tend to think you are the better of the judges, but that's not relevant.

I also tend to dislike Sean K. Reynolds, not only in a judging capacity but as a developer in general, along with his general attitude. I think as a professional in any industry, not only should you be supportive of others seeking to get into the industry, but open to criticism as well.

Clark's particular response to my queries was not supportive, instead was mocking, insulting, degrading, and from a "better than you haha" stand point. You're welcome to review said post and explain to me (if you care to, I don't care either way) and inform me how he was aiming to be supportive and not just a giant, over-glorified troll.

I understand how many will disagree with me, but as representatives of not only this industry (but in Clark's case as a Judge) I believe there should be a higher standard in how things are dealt with.

I also don't believe Sean should be listing things that he absolutely is against, and then voting for over half of the top 32 list to include those things. It's misleading to publish a list of things you don't want to see, then endorse them.

Now nothing I said so far has been inflammatory, but I will go ahead and add this:
This is Pathfinder, something pretty much copy and pasted from someone else. I understand creativity goes into this thing, but few, if anybody involved is a pioneer of anything strikingly original.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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Vistarius wrote:
I respectfully disagree and say that you are the one you described. I tend to think you are the better of the judges, but that's not relevant.

Lengthy (as usual) response:

Spoiler:
I can assure you, in terms of experience, industry insight, and outright ability to identify mis-steps in mechanics, etc., I am dwarfed by these guys. All I know about evaluating wondrous item submissions stems from 30 years of playing the game, my own individual run through RPG Superstar a couple of years ago, and my limited experiences as a freelance designer for Paizo and a handful of third-party publishers. In other words, I'm the junior judge in this round-up. And, perhaps more importantly, I've learned a tremendous amount from these guys both during this past year and from their judging comments in prior years.

Vistarius wrote:
I also tend to dislike Sean K. Reynolds, not only in a judging capacity but as a developer in general, along with his general attitude. I think as a professional in any industry, not only should you be supportive of others seeking to get into the industry, but open to criticism as well.

First, you should know that I've got tremendous respect for Sean. He's tough, but always fair. He's also a realist and a no-nonsense kind of guy. He tells it exactly how it is, because that's the kind of medicine people realistically need. So, as a potential freelancer, you need to develop some thick skin when receiving and interpreting his feedback. But, you know what? You need that in this industry regardless. That's a trait which an RPG Superstar candidate should clearly demonstrate. Thus, it's not worthwhile to question or argue over the semantics of how these guidelines are given, how supportive they're interpreted to be, or the perceived attitude in which they're given (which is just a perception gleaned from a messageboard posting most of time and therefore absent of much of the inflection and nuance you'd normally need).

In my opinion, Sean does everyone a favor by making it very clear what he's looking for (or not looking for) as a judge. He does the same for his freelancers. So, it's a very applicable trait for both this contest and beyond. And, perhaps more importantly, after he's given you these guidelines and instructions, it passes to you to incorporate them. A responsible freelancer does exactly that. And a proper RPG Superstar candidate does so as well. As judges, we can usually tell when someone has done that. It's usually pretty clear when someone violated the auto-reject advice, for example, by not bothering to do their homework and incorporate those guidelines vs. when they're actually bucking that advice to bring something that's so awesome it overrides it. That's what I think a lot of people miss when reading and evaluating our preliminary advice for RPG Superstar.

Vistarius wrote:
Clark's particular response to my queries was not supportive, instead was mocking, insulting, degrading, and from a "better than you haha" stand point. You're welcome to review said post and explain to me (if you care to, I don't care either way) and inform me how he was aiming to be supportive and not just a giant, over-glorified troll.

I think you (like a handful of others in the past) read too much into the perceived snark behind Clark's responses sometimes. Same goes with Sean when he adopts a tough stance on an issue. In the heat of that particular moment, people sometimes take offense when none was actually meant. Instead, they were very clearly trying to help everyone...and, by that, I don't just mean the original poster. Sometimes, the situation is applicable to the general public that's following along. So, sometimes their messages aren't nearly as individually-"targeted" as some might assume. They're object lessons.

Now, sometimes it hurts to be an object lesson, not only because it's somewhat embarrassing to find yourself in that position...and what it might cause others to think of you. But, in addition, it's a situation that makes you feel singled out in an unfair way. That makes you interpret what they're saying as much more personal and offensive than the underlying lesson they're actually trying to convey. In turn, that often makes people miss the lesson and become defensive enough that they want to argue back. Sometimes, they argue against the perceived "rules" or advice that's being given, because they philosophically disagree with it. That's okay. But understand it's unlikely you're going to educate the judges and get them to bend on whatever stance they've adopted. Far more often than not, they're exactly right. Are they always right? No. We're human like anyone else. But when all three (or four) adopt the same stance, I'd suggest you might want to reconsider your own position. Either they're right. Or, you may be right, but you'll have to take a risk to prove them wrong.

In the meantime, publicly arguing with the judges to keep pressing your point isn't a win-win effort for anyone. It winds up detracting from the contest. It makes everyone more defensive and hyper-sensitive...i.e., you wind up feeling persecuted and the judges wind up feeling like they have to defend the contest or their own integrity. It also calls far more attention to yourself (in a negative way) than you'd want the general public to see (which might very well sway their support against you in later rounds).

Vistarius wrote:
I also don't believe Sean should be listing things that he absolutely is against, and then voting for over half of the top 32 list to include those things. It's misleading to publish a list of things you don't want to see, then endorse them.

If you truly believe this, then I'm left wondering if you bothered to read auto-reject advice #27, whereby Sean basically asserted he wants people to prove him wrong. He also said that items which flirt with those things he's against will still get through. They've always gotten through, even in the year which Sean didn't participate as a judge.

So, the lesson here is that it's okay to risk some of those auto-reject categories...as long as you're awesome in doing so. You've got to stand out somehow. And you don't accomplish that by coming back and arguing that the auto-reject categories are wrong. Or, by arguing against items that make it in, which "violated" such advice, as if they're somehow less cool than your item or someone else's item that perfectly avoided all of those auto-reject categories.

Vistarius wrote:
Now nothing I said so far has been inflammatory, but I will go ahead and add this: This is Pathfinder, something pretty much copy and pasted from someone else. I understand creativity goes into this thing, but few, if anybody involved is a pioneer of anything strikingly original.

Wow. There's so much I disagree with in your assertion that I don't know where to begin. And, considering I'd just ramble on and on and probably just go in circles, I'll distill down my feedback to the following points:

1) It's true that Pathfinder is built on 3.5 D&D, but the Pathfinder RPG itself has introduced a large number of innovations, too. Many of those innovations are great places for an RPG Superstar candidate to play around in so they can stand out.

2) As judges, we've always said that no one comes into RPG Superstar as a fully-formed Superstar designer. It's a process. The contest itself is designed to be a crucible, through which the competitors will hopefully come out stronger and more prepared for a career as a freelance designer. Sometimes we see a few pioneers and strikingly original designs over the course of RPG Superstar. And that's what we want to see. That's what we, as judges, are attempting to discover in those who submit their wondrous items. But it's also what we hope to encourage out of those who compete in each round of the contest.

3) On the subject of posting "inflammatory" stuff, I get where you're coming from Vistarius. I've been on the outside of this contest looking in and wishing I could compete while others go on to do so (i.e., I submitted in 2008 and didn't make the cut). I've also gone through the contest from beginning to end (in 2009), so I've seen how it plays out, what the judges expect of you, and understand what the contest is trying to achieve. Lastly, I've served as one of the main judges and that's given me insight into all the varied submissions, conversations, and feedback loops on the contest (including those from the general public, the competitors themselves, as well as my fellow judges). With all of that in mind, I can tell you there's nothing else like RPG Superstar. The judges are all absolute professionals. To a man, they want all of you to succeed. Their comments to you (no matter how you or anyone else have chosen to interpret them) are meant to help. Not just you, but everyone else, too.


Just my two cents,
--Neil


I appreciate your response, but I think if these people you're defending truly deserved it, they'd be able to demonstrate that for themselves.

Clark demonstrated nothing but braggart confidence and ridicule, despite what you may think. You responded to his post and said the same things he did, in a far more respectful manner.

But I digress, this won't get me anywhere. I don't believe RPG superstar is the best way to get into publishing at this point, and have thus turned my attentions elsewhere.

But again, thanks.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Vistarius wrote:
I don't believe RPG superstar is the best way to get into publishing at this point, and have thus turned my attentions elsewhere.

I'd be interested to know where that is, this mysterious "other place" to get into publishing.

Let's see...just off the top of my head Neil is writing for Paizo, Jason Nelson is, Russ Taylor is, Boomer is, Rob got hired by Paizo for goodness sake, Jim Groves is doing stuff, etc. And those are just a couple of the guys I talked to no later than yesterday in person at Paizocon. We see a pretty good chunk of the contestants from the top 4 each year getting their foot, if not entire body, in the door. So Superstar has multiple new people in gaming at a high level ('cause publishing stuff for Paizo is big time).

Where is this other, better avenue to get into gaming that you are talking about?

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Nevermind. Why did I get sucked into that. Rookie mistake by me :)

Trolls aside, go check out the corset thread and post your version!

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

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Sucked back in...

Here were my "braggart confidence and ridicule" comments to vistarius about his item:

Vistarius, how was Sean's comments not nearly as helpful as you had hoped?

Let me help you more.

Quote:

Heart’s Joy

Aura Faint Evocation, Faint Conjuration (Healing); CL 5th
Slot Neck; Price 7,840 gp; Weight -
Description
Soldiers who have something to fight for are often the most effective; and the same can be said of adventurers. To remind them of whom or what they fight for, many carry with them a memento. These ordinary objects renew their spirit and provide them the inspiration to fight against all odds and emerge victorious. Heart’s Joy is a silvery chain that glows slightly at the touch and ends in a claw shaped clip that can be attached to any small, non-magical, non-use item (such as a lock of hair, or a metal figurine but not a lockpick or a weapon) and grant that item magical properties while the clip is connected and the item is worn around the neck. The clip must be connected and the item worn for 24 hours before it takes effect.
Once per day, when the user has been reduced to less than 1 hit point, he is instead reduced to 1 hit point, the remaining damage negated (though it does not prevent death from massive damage or from causes other than hit point loss.). He is then granted either a move action that provokes an attack of opportunity (though he gains a +4 dodge bonus to AC against the attack) or an immediate attack of opportunity that automatically threatens a critical hit (though the roll to hit and confirm must be made as normal). This extra attack does not stack with those granted by haste or similar effects.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Mobility, Haste, Hero's Defiance; Cost 3,920gp

First, Lame name. Sure, not everything has to be "X of the Y Z," but your name really tells nothing about the item. So that right there is a big weakness in your item, your writing and your design decisions. [in fact, we address this very issue in the superstar panel discussion--make sure the name tells us what the item is. -Clark]

Second, all this should be cut: "Soldiers who have something to fight for are often the most effective; and the same can be said of adventurers. To remind them of whom or what they fight for, many carry with them a memento. These ordinary objects renew their spirit and provide them the inspiration to fight against all odds and emerge victorious." If you'd done your homework from prior years, you would see this content is frowned upon. It doesnt exist in actual published items. It shouldn't be in yours. What it is really is just poor restraint by the author who just can't help but add in some extra story! Learn to write for the assignment, not for you. So that tells us you aren't really following proper design instructions. Now, that said, I won't say an over-written intro sentence is fatal. It isn't. But its frowned upon, and you gave us two such sentences.

Third, and here is where Sean is very helpful in his comments, the powers of your item are not well thought out. How can you grant an immediate AoO if you were killed by a range attack and you have no targets near you? You can't. So that power doesnt work. Or is granted a move action. Who decides? The GM? The player? Poorly thought through and broken, just like Sean said. Plus, what is stopping a player from buying 5 of these, keeping them in the pocket and putting a new one on after the last is used up? You have to think through all these metagame elements of items, too.

He liked the idea that a momento item, such as a hair or some other token of a loved on, would grant a power. That is a neat idea. But then you have to execute.

Your item is a good core idea with really bad execution. This was not a near miss. This is a great example of a clear reject item. I'd be surprised if even one judge voted to keep. The fact your item got little comment from Sean is likely because there is little to discuss. I think you think your item is better than it is. Its not.

My comment would have been: "Broken. Reject."

Take these comments to heart. Think through all of the powers you grant. Get a better name and some tighter design. Cut out the useless writing that is just showing off and has little to do with item design (show me one actual wondrous item that has the prose in the first two sentences that yours does--you can't, because none exist), and come back strong next year. But don't suggest the judge's comments weren't helpful.

Clark


Disclaimer:
The following post accurately represents the viewpoint of a sophisticated, Abyssal originated, succubus who, whilst she certainly doesn't dwell in anything as gauche as an ivory tower, has been known to reside at times on the Isle of Kortes, in Taldor, and once (for twelve months by accident) in post-civil war Cheliax - and generally in the most sumptuous, tastefully furnished villas imaginable. It should of course, if you have any concerns at all about being visited by half a dozen alkiliths (intellectual property rights be damned - oh wait, they already are), be taken with The Utmost Seriousness...

Hmm. I'm trying to recollect what Fairness and Nice are supposed to mean in the context of the tragic-comic little dimension in which Earth exists. I think that one - or perhaps both of them - are supposed to be holiday resorts, right?
I would dictate more, but my scribe is a pathetic little mortal who needs his sleep and I sadly have to curtail this post here.
Hoping that this Post has nonetheless been Helpful.

Yours,

Ask A Succubus.

Further Disclaimer:
See the opening disclaimer. It is Very Important when regarding the Utmost Seriousness of this post. You might wake up with an Alkilith in your bed or not wake up at all... (Although actually, the latter is probably preferable and much more merciful.)

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

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I then wrote:

"V, I know it can be hard to hear but this is just not a good item. It shows some clear rookie design flaws. Improve. Use these comments. Grow. Come back strong next year."

I guess that's not supportive. :)

V, I still hope you decide to enter and that you come back strong and that you use our prior HONEST AND ACCURATE advice to improve. Of course, if you choose not to grow from comments that come from some of the people who would be the ACTUAL PEOPLE DEVELOPING YOUR WORK if you won, I guess that's your choice to reject that input.

I get it. The creative process is revealing and difficult and it exposes you to the world for critique and that can be difficult. So I know it stings when you get told something isn't good. But you have to learn to take it. Heck, Neil told me part of the adventure I am writing for Legendary Games sucked. And you know what, he was right, so Jason and I are changing it.

Just remember, we arent saying YOU suck. We are commenting and judging only the submitted item, not you as a person and not even you as an overall designer.

I hope you take that to heart and grow from it and use it and come back and compete. There really is no better way to get into the industry.

Good luck, whatever you choose.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Mark Moreland wrote:
Clark Peterson wrote:

By the way, I volunteered to return to judging RPG Superstar for this upcoming contest. I'll be joining Sean and Ryan and Neil as the judges. I can't wait!

Aw. I wasn't told that I didn't get to do it again this year :-( Thanks for breaking my heart, Clark!

All I know is that Sean and I are doing it. I dont know for sure who else is in. That's up to Lisa :) I thought she said Neil and Ryan but I could be wrong. What do I know, I'm just a "mocking, insulting, degrading, and from a "better than you haha" stand point, giant, over-glorified troll." ;) [good thing Vic can't put all that in a forum tag]

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Clark Peterson wrote:
...What do I know, I'm just a "mocking, insulting, degrading, and from a "better than you haha" stand point, giant, over-glorified troll." ;) [good thing Vic can't put all that in a forum tag]

Oh, I'm sure he could. He just knows you aren't really the demon lord Orcus you purport to be.

Andoran

Vic can do ANYTHING!

But that said, he shouldn't in this case.

I'm more excited than ever knowing that Clark is participating this year. Nothing against the other judges, I just really dig and value Clark's feedback.

And Clark, don't let this dude get you down - although given your line of work, I'm sure you're not, really. I guess I should have recorded the "Being Cruel To Be Kind" seminar. It might have benefited him more.

News Flash: Busy judges (busy people in general, actually) don't have time to stroke your delicate ego. If this comes as a surprise, many more are sure to follow, so buckle up.

Charles Evans wrote:
can't find a working link to a recording any more?

If people can't find this thread, that's on them, but I guarantee the link will still work five years from now. I have no plans to divest myself of my web space, and I haven't deleted anything in almost 10 years. My band has been defunct for 6 of those, and the website's still around, so I can tell you for sure it will still be there in another 5 unless I'm living in a band down by the river or something.

Tell you what, as soon as the Superstar forums go live for this year's contest, I'll post it again there, too.


The other sources are something I've been working towards for the past few years, and will come about when I'm ready for them to be. Working for Paizo as a freelancer is still slightly limiting compared to what I'm aiming for.

Regardless, I believe there was another post in there that you are missing. But regardless, doesn't seem like my opinion matters at this point.

All I'm saying is that trying to impress a bunch of judges who want you to write like they do isn't the only path into writing or publishing material. I think if you want superstars, you should give "superstar" material. As I've said during the contest, lead by example. The material we have to work with isn't nearly as good as many of the things that were submitted. Many were cliche items, but they fit your particular niche', so they were voted for.

Especially in the case of Sean K. Reynolds. (Course, I'm also referring to his incredibly BAD defenses of the bad decisions in certain Ultimate Magic books lying around that he so viciously defended, which was ironic, because he specifically said Pathfinder isn't about defending bad decisions.)

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