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RPG Superstar 2015

How I blew it.


RPG Superstar™ 2012 General Discussion

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Let me start by saying that my item was correctly judged not good enough for top 32 status. Probably not even for top 100 status. And let me say that I understand the goal of the contest is to find writers, even more than it is to find items.

But I wonder if the judges have seen really cool ideas that were poorly executed and been inspired to fix them for use in upcoming books.

I really liked my item, in the sense that I felt like it was conceptually a really interesting thing that could really added to the game. It "fixed" a problem I see occurring in the game with some common character concepts without creating new problems or causing balance issues.

But I had a lot of trouble with deciding on pricing. I didn't do very well with the name. I didn't do well making the description paragraph flavorful. Hell, I probably had a ton of other problems I don't even realize.

This was in part because I rushed to submit rather than letting it simmer, and in part because...well...that isn't something I'm particularly good at. After I pushed the button I had a ton of ideas on how to integrate into the setting, what I should have called it, little nuances I could have added to make it less "spell in a box" like...but all after I pushed the button.

Did anyone else feel like they had a good item that they failed to do justice to?


I kind of felt the same way - I loved my idea, I thought it was cool (the folks I game with seemd to like it too).

I even thought that it addressed an issue (though not one that comes up often) in the game.

Congratulations to those who won - I do hope that a lot of folks will comment when the thread for items that didn't make the cut opens up.


I think you are being a little harsh on yourself. The main thing is to ask yourself 'What will I do different next time around?' Above all, I think that if you believe your item has got what it takes, you need to get behind it 100%. If you do, revise it for next year :) Looking at all the weak keep/reject comments among the 32 (and there are a lot) is an indicator that no one item is perfect in the judges eyes.

If it makes you feel any better, try to look at the top 32 as being the judges opinion as to who they think is best out of this year.

Spoiler:
In my opinion, there is only a handful of good items and a lot of really bland ones --so I can imagine that my top 32 would probably look completely different.

FWIW: I entered and I did not get in. This is my third entry since the competition began and I have put in a different item each time. I'll post my item in the critique column and see what comes of it --maybe I'll have a better entry next year :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

While I fretted plenty over my item, having now looked over the Top 32, I find myself having no idea what I 'did wrong', and so I'm really going to have to get a lot of feedback, because I don't actually feel that my item is any weaker than the majority of Top 32 entries. I certainly feel that I could have done better, so I know the feeling you're referring to, but I also feel I did well enough to at least make it to the alternates, given the competition, so I'm going to have to give a lot of thought to this next year and really take to heart whatever critique I get. Ironically, the worst possible critique I feel I could get is something like: "you got 2 keeps but no golden ticket", because although I'd be elated to know I came that close, I'd have no idea how to reach the next level.

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I, for one, encourage Paizo wholeheartedly to take my non-top-32 submission and consider it (or its core ideas) for future wondrous items; say for Ultimate Equipment. ;)

Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015

I would have been happy to place this year, but I'm happy to have lost, too.

This was my first year, and I submitted on a whim. I was at the site for another reason, saw that RPG Superstar was going on, and though, "what the hell, I'm working toward getting into this business and I already do lots of design for Pathfinder, so I'll give it a try."

In the process of working on this year's submission and discussing the competition with other people on these boards, I've become much more serious about the contest. When I looked back over my entry after seeing that I hadn't made it, I though, "It's okay, because this isn't close to the best work I can do. I can already write a better item than this just from practice between the submission deadline and the results announcement. By next year, I can be in another league completely."

I always thought I could play at this level, but having failed once, I care about proving it for the first time. Next year will be fun.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

LoreKeeper wrote:

I, for one, encourage Paizo wholeheartedly to take my non-top-32 submission and consider it (or its core ideas) for future wondrous items; say for Ultimate Equipment. ;)

This is absolutely my thought. I keep going "I want this it the game, I know it isn't right for the contest. I know I could have fluffed and polished it more, but it would be a great item to play with."


I tried to write a solid item up instead of show off my writing skills. I now see that was my error since a good portion of the top 32 broke a few SAIC reccomendations or had stat block errors such as assigning an item to the "necklace" slot.

PS:I am in no way recommending ignoring their advice, but the writing is first. This can not be stressed more.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I know how you all feel.

This year, I managed to avoid the gonzo overbloat enthusiastic fill it till it breaks of previous years.

I wanted simple, elegant and smart.

I now fear I dumbed down too much - I'll find out probably when the feedback threads open, but that's my current suspicion - that I held back a little too much.

Marathon Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm convinced mine was just too damn awesome for mortal men to gaze upon.

Or maybe I broke one of the guidelines and they didn't like the concept enough to look past that.

Nah, going with the first.

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

Caelesti wrote:
While I fretted plenty over my item, having now looked over the Top 32, I find myself having no idea what I 'did wrong', and so I'm really going to have to get a lot of feedback, because I don't actually feel that my item is any weaker than the majority of Top 32 entries.

Feel free to request feedback in the Critique My Item thread once it opens. The judges (well, Neil and I, and maybe Sean) will likely summarize for you what our thoughts were and offer some advice. Our goal is to help you improve.

Liberty's Edge

I can't wait for that thread to open up. I'm very eager for their comments and advice.

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

ciretose wrote:

But I wonder if the judges have seen really cool ideas that were poorly executed and been inspired to fix them for use in upcoming books.

Not that I am aware of. In fact, very few items or content from RPG Superstar has made it into any books at all (a few exceptions). RPG Superstar is for finding designers, not for finding items.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
ciretose wrote:
LoreKeeper wrote:
I, for one, encourage Paizo wholeheartedly to take my non-top-32 submission and consider it (or its core ideas) for future wondrous items; say for Ultimate Equipment. ;)
This is absolutely my thought. I keep going "I want this it the game, I know it isn't right for the contest. I know I could have fluffed and polished it more, but it would be a great item to play with."

+1

I really like my item, and feel it would be a solid inclusion in the game, even if the judges apparently feel it's not Superstar material. But then, there's only maybe a dozen Top 32 items since Superstar started that I would ever actually include in any of my campaigns, so clearly it's not all about making a good item.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Clark Peterson wrote:
ciretose wrote:

But I wonder if the judges have seen really cool ideas that were poorly executed and been inspired to fix them for use in upcoming books.

Not that I am aware of. In fact, very few items or content from RPG Superstar has made it into any books at all (a few exceptions). RPG Superstar is for finding designers, not for finding items.

Interesting. That was kind of my thinking from the selected items. They were very well written and showed a lot of creativity.

But none of them were as exciting to me as something as simple as a handy haversack or an efficient quiver. Items that don't break the game, but made a lot of sense and solve problems.

I guess I'm more a function over form kind of person. But hey, maybe next year.


I am function over form also. During my item critique which will I will continue later tonight the question of "would I buy the item" is paramount.


It kills you to wonder what you did wrong. I've lost sleep the last couple of nights wondering if I didn't format the {b\} correctly for the post. I've wondered if I tinkered with the rules too much when I wrote my item. I've wondered if I got 2 votes and was close or was an auto reject and way out the ballpark. It's fun and stressful all wrapped up into one joyful bundle. I can't wait for the critique thread. No...I don't want to know....yes I do...no I don't...ARGHHH!


ciretose wrote:
Clark Peterson wrote:
ciretose wrote:

But I wonder if the judges have seen really cool ideas that were poorly executed and been inspired to fix them for use in upcoming books.

Not that I am aware of. In fact, very few items or content from RPG Superstar has made it into any books at all (a few exceptions). RPG Superstar is for finding designers, not for finding items.

Interesting. That was kind of my thinking from the selected items. They were very well written and showed a lot of creativity.

But none of them were as exciting to me as something as simple as a handy haversack or an efficient quiver. Items that don't break the game, but made a lot of sense and solve problems.

I guess I'm more a function over form kind of person. But hey, maybe next year.

Personally, I'm more form over function. I really love magical items that are really beautiful re-skins on an effect, like Lief Klennon's Top 32 entry from Superstar 2010. It's the sort of item that really can set a tone for a campaign, starting the players out in the midst of the action with an NPC using something like that really conveys the flavour, I feel.

(edit: I need to use 'really' less, but work has had my brain utterly fried lately, so synonyms aren't coming to me as readily as I would prefer.)


wraithstrike wrote:
I am function over form also. During my item critique which will I will continue later tonight the question of "would I buy the item" is paramount.

That question "would I buy it" drove me crazy last year. I made an item that was a function item and it didn't even make it past one judge. I understand the process. But it still drives you a little crazy when you think a certain way and kind of expect everyone else to do the same. I would love to see a breakdown of criteria from the judges on what was important. I think it would be intersting to see who has what criteria as the top of their list.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

9 people marked this as a favorite.

I've listed my Top 5 criteria before. There's probably a post buried somewhere in the messageboard forums about it. But, essentially, it breaks down this way for me:

Spoiler:

1) Cool/Innovative Idea - Give me something that shows you're thinking big and thinking awesome. As judges, we often say it's possible to teach someone the rules of the game. It's possible to teach them the proper formatting for a particular design. It's even possible to help them improve their writing (though this one is tougher). What you can't teach is spark/mojo/whatever...that je ne sais quois quality which shows what kind of ideas you're capable of generating. You can't go gonzo here, though. It still has to be an awesome, compelling idea that works within the rules and context of the game. When designers show they can do that (or hint towards it with the core idea in their item), that's when we sit up and take notice. In and of itself, that's not the be-all, end-all of our assessment, though...

2) Well-Written/Inspiring Description - You can't fake this. Well, I suppose you can have someone virtually write it for you or edit it to the point that they've masked all your shortcomings as a writer. But, in general, I look for folks who can express themselves reasonably well. When offering feedback, I'll usually try and point out areas where I think someone can strengthen their writing, but this too is a hard-earned skill. And it takes time and practice to get really good at it. In addition, I'll point out that I'm not just looking for evocative flavor text here (though it helps). I'm also looking for well-written explanatory text when it comes to articulating how an item functions within the rules of the game. You need to hit both of those marks to score really well here.

3) Solid/Surprising Mechanics - The next most difficult thing to master are the mechanics of the game...and the ability to innovate within them. You need to recognize when something is broken or where it threatens game balance. This is both a combination of mastering the actual rules of how your item works, as well as how you priced it, the CL and aura combination with the spells in your construction requirements, and anything you can introduce where you're doing something new and innovative with your mechanics. You've got to be careful with that latter element, though. If you go too in-depth on introducing an all new sub-system, that winds up detracting more than enhancing your work.

4) Accurate/Polished Presentation - This is how well you used the template. What's your professional polish on your submission look like? Does it read and compare well to all the other items in the game? Could I lift your item and put it in a future Paizo product without blinking an eye? Do you know the difference between "wondrous" and "wonderous"...? How you measure up in this category is usually a pretty good indicator of how dependable you'll be as a freelancer. How well can you follow directions? How much trouble will you be for an editor or developer to adjust your turnovers? You want to make everyone else's jobs easier. Not complicate them by doing your own thing and ignoring what your developer asked you to do. Or, frankly, what a publisher is paying you to do. I probably elevate this category a bit higher than most of the other judges, because I honestly think it's a pretty fair indicator of who will have staying power as a freelancer. You can be the best "idea guy" in the world, but if you don't have discipline to follow through on things like proper presentation, it can seriously hold you back.

5) Fun/Fitting Name - This is like a bite-sized nugget of creativity. Can you cook up a flavorful name that matches what your item actually does...without getting campy or trying to make an inside joke? Can I envision writing your item name down on my character sheet and having some idea of a) what it is, and b) what it might do? If so, you're well on your way to crafting an item that'll have my interest.

Oddly enough, I find that I often assess these things in reverse order. Primarily, because that's the order in which they visually come up for me. For instance, the first thing I'll see is an item's name. If it paints an interesting mental image before I go into your descriptive text, that's a good thing. If you live up to that mental image in an interesting, innovative, and entertaining way, that's even better.

After that, the next thing that immediately catches my eye is your presentation. If you butcher the template or have something jarringly wrong, I'll notice it. That's just because I'm that detailed and OCD in real life. Small things bug me. You don't want to have me feeling bugged or annoyed by something that leaps off the page which is obviously wrong with your presentation before I even get into reading your item.

Next, I quickly skim over the header stuff and construction requirements of each item. Stuff like the chosen aura, CL, price/cost, and spells give me a preliminary angle on what your item might involve. Again, if that compares favorably to your item name, I'm further intrigued. It also starts building an early idea of how you've mechanically built it.

Then, I dive into the descriptive text. The initial bit of flavor helps me determine how well you can write. But that's only half the story. I also want to see how well you can present the mechanics of your item. Is it balanced? Is it correct? Or do you obviously not understand certain rules in the game...or have no concept of what's potentially game-breaking?

After I weigh your rules-fu, I can then hold that up next to all that flavor text and get an overall sense of how well you can write across the board. If your grammar is all messed up or you're relying way too much on passive verbs, I start getting worried. On the other hand, if you've managed to leave an inspired, lasting image in my mind about your item and how I can envision it in play, either as a GM or a player, you're well on your way to making a good impression.

Finally, I consider the entire idea behind your item. This assessment really starts forming as soon as I get into your descriptive text. But I'm kind of building up my opinion of your creativity and mojo even as I'm weighing your writing ability and knowledge of the rules. Primarily, I'm looking to get a sense of what kind of designer you could be. Not necessarily what kind of designer you already are.

That's because the contest itself will teach you a lot of things. It's a crash course in game design. Just comparing your entries round-by-round to all the other competitors and hearing the feedback of your peers (as well as the voting public and the judges), it'll further educate you on game design. Personally, I'm still learning things everyday. And you will too if you go on to write for Paizo. That's because the game doesn't stand still. Paizo is constantly innovating within the rules. With the release of the Advanced Player's Guide, Ultimate Combat, and Ultimate Magic, there's always new stuff to absorb and add to your war-chest of design ideas.

Basically, we want to find people who can do that. Designers who have a wider sense of the game, who can expand their knowledge base--even on the fly under extreme pressure from the competition--to produce awesome material that supports all those aspects of the game. It also needs to include a core idea that will sell itself to those who come across it. You want to give people there money's worth. A good designer recognizes that and embraces it, even if it means writing for others as opposed to yourself.

So, that's just a glimpse into my process. Even after I build up a sense of your item as I go through that kind of progression, I ultimately come back and reorder how you graded out. To me, someone who's full of really awesome ideas rises above the crowd. Then, if they can write well and demonstrate a reasonable mastery of mechanics (or show us something new), they rise that much higher. Lastly, if they can follow directions and apply the template as flawlessly as possible, while attaching a name that works really well with everything they've crafted, they're that much higher than everyone else. You do those things and you'll knock it out of the park.

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

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I hate to say that, after reading my item 30+ times, only after submitting I realized a glaring mistake (it's post 200 in the feedback thread, go to see if you spot it if you like).

I felt a bit crushed by this although I think that compared to the very imaginative items that made the top33 my own idea (mistake or not) still lacked the superstar spark (but I still think it hilarious to play with).

This said the item I submitted was only my second choice because I couldn't get the mechanics to work on my original idea which I will try to do till next year (yes, that means my group will be my guinea pigs *evil grin*).

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Phloid

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Don't feel too bad about not making it. I've entered every year since the contest began and have not made the top 32 every single year. I’ve realized that roleplaying games and what one person likes in them is completely subjective. I prefer low magic and low level campaigns so that is the type of magic items I create. I like subtle magic that creates cool visuals in the minds eye, but are not super powerful or game impacting. As much as I would love to write for Pathfinder, maybe I just can't write for the mainstream (full level range) audience due to my own preferences.

Also I make a single mistake in Sean’s “26 Wondrous Item Advice” about every year. This year I think I went too much with a "plot device" item and that probably killed me.

But even if you have a cool idea and follow all the advice you might not make the top 32. Looking at the top 33 this year only seven of them got "Keep" designations from all four judges. That means 26 of them were rejected by one or even two of the judges, and they still made it. This is because it is largely a subjective judgment for the top third or quarter of submissions. There were probably a bunch of others that got two rejections and maybe even some that got only one initially and the judges who rejected it talked it down and convinced the others it wasn’t worth passing. If Skip Williams, Monte Cook, Gary Gygax, and Dave Arneson judged this competition (assuming the later two returned from the dead) you would likely have three quarters of the top 33 be completely different. (The old timers would likely really skew things).

Look at Garrett Guillotte’s Bottled Time. This player, though I’m sure an intelligent and creative individual, had never played Pathfinder before he submitted his entry. It is unclear what his other RPG experience is, but it is fairly obvious he had a decent idea, executed it well enough, and got lucky in the meat grinder. Based on the judge’s comments, Ryan and Clark barely saved him from a strong auto rejection by Sean and Neil. I wish him luck next year as I think this brush could inspire him to greatness, but he got lucky this time.

The judges might not admit it out of hand, but there is a great deal of personal preference in choosing the best 32 out of hundreds of entries. Don’t take it too hard and try again next year. I will.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Phloid wrote:
Don't feel too bad about not making it. I've entered every year since the contest began and have not made the top 32 every single year.

+1

This year I made that wonderful mistake of "concentrate on execution, forget invention".

Yeah, Held back too much, took too much out.

On the plus side, it does let me free to work on the template thread and continue amalgamating 5 years of judge and forum comments and feedback :)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 , Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I think Phloid makes some good points. Any contest that involves creativity is subjective by nature. Of course, there's a level of objectiveness in it; in the RPG Superstar contest, that's basically covered in the rules and in Sean's auto-reject advices. The judges have been open enough to let us know objectively what it is that they are looking for, but from a certain point on, it becomes a matter of personal preference. All items that made the keep file are probably on par in the sense that they are all "correct", but among all those that are "correct", the ones that make the top 32 are the ones that appeal most to the judges' subjective tastes. Look at Andrew Newton's sticky pugfoot; he ranked 33 in the judges' chamber, but has been selected seven times among the "top items" in the "Top 5" thread. That doesn't mean the contest is faulty in any way, it just means that the judges are people and people have different tastes.

There's no denying that Miró and Cézanne were both great artists, but that doesn't mean people who enjoy art agree on who was better.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
Pedro Coelho wrote:
I think Phloid makes some good points. Any contest that involves creativity is subjective by nature.

After two years of not making it in the top 32, I did learn this lesson. Subjectivity is the main action word here. Although my clam was horrid as my first submission, and my second concentrated to much on knightly romance, this years submission was handled with little investment emotionally, (in terms of loving/hating it). Once I submitted, I kinda felt like a guy whose female companion tells him she is leaving him for good after a long relationship, and deep down inside, the only emotion he feels is... good ridance...

CC

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
CuttinCurt wrote:
Pedro Coelho wrote:
I think Phloid makes some good points. Any contest that involves creativity is subjective by nature.

After two years of not making it in the top 32, I did learn this lesson. Subjectivity is the main action word here. Although my clam was horrid as my first submission, and my second concentrated to much on knightly romance, this years submission was handled with little investment emotionally, (in terms of loving/hating it). Once I submitted, I kinda felt like a guy whose female companion tells him she is leaving him for good after a long relationship, and deep down inside, the only emotion he feels is... good ridance...

CC

I'm my own worst enemy then, I get invested in my creations, I submit with pride, I get smashed into teeny tiny pieces and spend the rest of the year putting it all back together again...

better...

stronger...

faster...

the world's first bionic wondrous item... ooops thats an auto reject too. Smash.

Mum, I broke Steve Austin again.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm comfortable with my item (Vest of Aerial Perspective) not being up to snuff, but I was really hoping I'd be able to see the judges' feedback on it. My profile cryptically claims that I have one more messageboard post than can actually be found, implying that it is hidden even from me. Is there any way to get at it?

Among other things, I tweaked wording as I entered it into the submission form, so I don't have a copy of what I actually submitted anywhere.


Clark Peterson wrote:
Caelesti wrote:
While I fretted plenty over my item, having now looked over the Top 32, I find myself having no idea what I 'did wrong', and so I'm really going to have to get a lot of feedback, because I don't actually feel that my item is any weaker than the majority of Top 32 entries.
Feel free to request feedback in the Critique My Item thread once it opens. The judges (well, Neil and I, and maybe Sean) will likely summarize for you what our thoughts were and offer some advice. Our goal is to help you improve.

And the help you two gave was great. I mean, I was basically there if I'd just stuck with the name I was originally planning to use and had thought about how 'damage' could be interpreted to include ability damage. I really am interested in what people think of the item now that I've attempted to correct the mistakes.

my item:

Gloves of the Magus
Aura moderate universal; CL 9th
Slot hands; Price 10,800 gp; Weight --
Description
Favored by casters who enjoy delivering their spells while toe-to-toe with their enemies, these supple leather gloves with silver fingertips can retain and temporarily store small amounts of energy when the wearer casts certain spells, without diminishing said spells. Whenever a wearer successfully delivers a melee touch spell which deals energy damage (such as fire or negative energy damage) while wearing these gloves, an amount of residual energy will remain in the gloves until the end of the following round. The next melee touch or unarmed attack that the wearer makes, including one to deliver a melee touch spell, will deal an amount of bonus damage equal to the level of the spell that was cast, of the same type as the energy damage that was dealt. The gloves do not have the ability to store ability damage or other types of harmful effects or conditions. (As 2nd level spell dealing cold damage, casting frigid touch while wearing the gloves of the magus would result in the storage of 2 points of cold damage, but not the storage of the staggered condition.)

When worn by a magus, these gloves allow the wearer to channel this residual damage through their wielded weapon with their next hit if the triggering melee touch spell was delivered using the magus's spellstrike ability.

The gloves can only hold one such charge at a time, which will always dissipate harmlessly after one round if not used. If the triggering spell has multiple energy types, the wearer may select which type will be temporarily stored within the gloves.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, elemental touch; Cost 5,400 gp

Star Voter 2013

Maybe I'm just being hard on myself, but I think #1 is where I fall down the most. I can handle mechanics, and writing and all that jazz, but I have yet to come up with a really stellar idea for Superstar.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ah well, My item was slam dunked royally. Even gave the judges a headache it seems.

Moral of my story - dont get your item reviewed by like minded mathematicians >.<, they will think its easy to follow using the same mind set as the writer does.

Need more diverse reviewers.

Shadow Lodge

Anthony Adam wrote:

Ah well, My item was slam dunked royally. Even gave the judges a headache it seems.

Moral of my story - dont get your item reviewed by like minded mathematicians >.<, they will think its easy to follow using the same mind set as the writer does.

Need more diverse reviewers.

Your wife sounds like she could have pointed out the problem. She'd be a good place to start.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Phloid wrote:
Look at Garrett Guillotte’s Bottled Time. ... I wish him luck next year as I think this brush could inspire him to greatness, but he got lucky this time.

I absolutely got lucky, no doubt. If Clark wasn't a judge, I doubt I'd even be in the Keep pile.

I wrote up a post on how I came up with the item, but yeah, I have significant past experience playing RPGs (though 3.5 was the last and least of it; most was 90s Shadowrun/Earthdawn and WEG D6). This was my first experience writing content for any system.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Phloid

Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Phloid wrote:
Look at Garrett Guillotte’s Bottled Time. ... I wish him luck next year as I think this brush could inspire him to greatness, but he got lucky this time.

I absolutely got lucky, no doubt. If Clark wasn't a judge, I doubt I'd even be in the Keep pile.

I wrote up a post on how I came up with the item, but yeah, I have significant past experience playing RPGs (though 3.5 was the last and least of it; most was 90s Shadowrun/Earthdawn and WEG D6). This was my first experience writing content for any system.

I read through your blog post and I have to say that, although I believe all the top 32 had to have had a bit of luck on their side, you put a lot of thought and effort into your item and did your research. You took some risks and it paid off. It was close, but it worked. Bravo!

That brings me to, "why on earth did you drop out?" If you had the time to write the 4500+ words of your blog post analyzing your creation of Bottled Time, why didn't you spend a portion of that on the 400 words needed to submit for the second round? If it took you only four hours to work through your round one submission, it would have likely taken you maybe six hours to create an organization. You don't even have to worry about rules terminology for most of it.

I'm just jealous.

Good luck next year too.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Phloid wrote:
That brings me to, "why on earth did you drop out?" If you had the time to write the 4500+ words of your blog post analyzing your creation of Bottled Time, why didn't you spend a portion of that on the 400 words needed to submit for the second round?

Journalism made me a compulsive note-taker. I had more than 10,000 words of notes from the item creation round, and a lot of that post came from paring those notes down. I'm a much faster editor than writer; putting that post together was easier than it looks.

In the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after the Top 32 were announced, I had two lengthy job interviews and a six-hour volunteer commitment on top of vetting wedding venues.

Also, the more critical time constraints were reading enough about Golarion to create a proper organization--unlike probably everyone else in the top 35, I didn't even think about the other rounds until the Top 32 were announced--and the non-negotiable week off the grid that includes all three days of Round 3.

And after the Top 32 was announced and I'd recused myself, one of those job interviews bore fruit. I have two days of training starting Monday and go back to full-time work Feb. 13.

In other words, even if I could get lightning to strike me twice and I advanced to the Top 16 with even less preparation and relevant knowledge than I had for Round 1, I'd still have to pull out for Round 3.

IMO it'd be unfair to the judges and alternates for me to pull out any later than I did. In fact, that week AFK was set in stone back when I entered. By my own logic I never should've entered at all, but I had so little confidence in my item at the time that I didn't think I had anything to worry about.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 aka Cydeth

*coughs* I didn't bother thinking seriously about the secondary rounds until I saw I was an alternate. Then I freaked out and began fleshing out one of the (dozens) of vague ideas I come up with on a daily basis.

*ponders* Now that I think about it...I think that my life effectively revolves around gaming. Work is a means to an end, namely GMing/playing in games.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

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Benjamin Medrano wrote:
*ponders* Now that I think about it...I think that my life effectively revolves around gaming. Work is a means to an end, namely GMing/playing in games.

Same here. I carry around a small notepad in my pocket for notes. My boss has grabbed the pad to see what I was writing. One confused look later, he handed the pad back.

Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I've started taking notes on my iPhone as I have ideas. It survives better than any pad I've ever been able to find for my pocket, which all die horribly.

I agree with Garrett on fairness. I haven't entered (somehow I've managed to not notice the contest, despite running Neil's module 5 months ago, until the top 32 were announced this year). I happen to recall a corporate policy where I need to, essentially, run any other source of income by HR. (Now I noticed their wording was so bad that it implied I should ask their permission before ebaying or craigslisting some of my junk, which I'm certain was not their intent... but they are clearly not rules-writers.) So I now am aware that I need to check with HR when entering next year... because I would feel it unacceptable to discover any later than top 32 that my current job (which has no, repeat no, relation to game design) would prohibit me from earning money as a freelancer.

Yes, I've thought that far ahead, when I honestly have no expectation of making top 32 at all, let alone in my first year entering.

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

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Pedro Coelho wrote:
Look at Andrew Newton's sticky pugfoot; he ranked 33 in the judges' chamber, but has been selected seven times among the "top items" in the "Top 5" thread. That doesn't mean the contest is faulty in any way, it just means that the judges are people and people have different tastes.

Since he was my golden ticket, what it really means is that I have better taste than the other judges :p I know what the peoples want!

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

Garrett Guillotte wrote:
I absolutely got lucky, no doubt. If Clark wasn't a judge, I doubt I'd even be in the Keep pile.

Your item was great. As a judge it is real easy to get lost in the technical side of the contest and not look for spark. That is my primary thing I look for. Yours had that. All the other stuff you can teach, that you can't teach. I sure hope you enter next year. Don't be overly concerned that I was your primary supporter, as if only one judge liked yours. Listen, there were plenty of items we "kept around" but that didnt stay in the keep folder. Yours wasnt one of those. So any item in the keep folder, even if not championed by all 4 of us, at least had the tacit consent from all of us that it is good enough to be considered top 32. If we didnt feel that way, one of us would have said (as we did in other items), hey guys, reconsider this one, its not good enough. So that "Clark is the only one that liked it" isnt really right. I might have been the main champion but all 4 agreed it was worthy of consideration or we would have done something else with it.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
RonarsCorruption wrote:
Maybe I'm just being hard on myself, but I think #1 is where I fall down the most. I can handle mechanics, and writing and all that jazz, but I have yet to come up with a really stellar idea for Superstar.

I didn't submit this year. After looking at my best item, all I could think was "there is no moxie."

Liberty's Edge

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If you've ever been a professional proofreader for even an hour, you'd know why game publishers auto-bilge anything that looks like it'll take even the least smidgeon of effort to cleap up: that polishing will have to be performed by ANOTHER employee.

I.e., Paizo might like the fact that you're creative -- but if they can't afford to hire you, they won't.

Dark Archive

I had a similar item made but it was a sword that added a +1 to the caster level of it's user. It is also just a +1 sword, very nifty (and costly) item. I think it was worth if I remember correctly like 34,000k

I do think Schneider has a point, but it is just a point not necessarily how Paizo operates, but a very good one to keep things on the budget and avoiding an excess of people that end up doing nothing but making things slower and less efficient.

Dark Archive

Deiros wrote:
I had a similar item made but it was a sword that added a +1 to the caster level of it's user. It is also just a +1 sword, very nifty (and costly) item. I think it was worth if I remember correctly like 34,000k

@Deiros: Unfortunately, sarcasm via internet isn't often successfully interpreted, so I first hoped you were being sarcastic about that. I apologize as I don't recognizing your screen name off the top of my head, so I checked your messageboard posts on your profile counting from today back to January when the Top 32 were originally announced for 2012; it looks like you are pretty busy on the homebrew threads and other things and I've seen some interesting posts from you.

However, in the "Some Common Misteps I'm Seeing This Year" thread you posted something similar shortly before you had posted the message above that I am initially responding to.

(Please keep in mind I'm paraphrasing what you had posted on the other thread and so I didn't copy over anything that didn't stand out as possibly confirming what I first thought when I read your post above; I linked to the paraphrased post in case anyone wants to read the rest of it...)

Deiros wrote:

I'm just pissed I couldn't make it to participate in this year, since I had at least 2 things (magic Item & Monster) already made polished ready to participate but will save them for net year...

...redundant item?...

...a total different things if they ask for something more specific like a monster with CR X for certain region, or Magic Item for uses in the APG XX set in XX part of Golarion...

The 1st Round of RPG Superstar since it began in 2008 has always been to design a Wondrous Item, never has it been to design Magic Arms or Magic Armor or Potions / Rings / Rods / Scrolls / Staves / Wands or any other type of magic item except for what is, per the Core Rulebook pg 496,
Quote:

Wondrous Items.

This is a catch all category for anything that doesn’t fall into the other groups. Anyone can use a wondrous item (unless specified otherwise in the description).

I don't like giving bad news (even when it's not really bad news, and sorry I'm digressing), but if you had entered a sword it would have been auto-rejected for being in the category of Magic Arms and Armor instead of Wondrous Items.

Just wanted to make sure that was pointed out to you so that you don't make that kind of mistake if you are planning on entering the contest next year or any time after that, and sorry if I come off as

el guajolote sabelotodo:
...a know-it-all turkey, for anyone who isn't Spanishly inclined and still wanted to know...

Dark Archive

It was not a sword ^^ but it was a wondrous item or a consumable item, but I'm happy to know my consumable item would be "rejected" so would still have something to get in.

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

Deiros wrote:
I had a similar item made but it was a sword that added a +1 to the caster level of it's user. It is also just a +1 sword, very nifty (and costly) item. I think it was worth if I remember correctly like 34,000k

Are there other swords that are wondrous items? I think not. You should tread very carefully here. There are only a couple "its also a weapon" wondrous items, and they come from the history of the game (such as the mattock of the titans, for instance). But it is first and foremost a digging tool. Your sword that gives +1 caster level would most likely be viewed by the judges as not a wondrous item but actually a weapon.

Dark Archive

Yes I was corrected earlier and yet again. Thank you again for the correction and sorry for my mistake or miss understanding I have caused.

Wondrous item was actually a hat that gives initiative and a caster level basically. I do have to post it in a proper thread in other part of the forum just to be sure it's a solid choice..

I enjoy reading your reviews Clark by the way.

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

Thanks for following up Deiros. Sorry if my comments duplicated what you already got. Good luck next year.

Dark Archive

No problem there, critique, advice and comments are always welcome when they help improve or make someone notice their mistakes.

Glad you like some of my Homebrew stuff Ian.

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