CONTEST: Announcing the very first DESIGNFINDER talent search competition!


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I'm very excited to announce the first Designfinder talent search competition, beginning NOW!

Over the course of the summer -- culminating right before GenCon -- this RPG Superstar-style contest will take competitors through four rounds, with the winner earning a contract to write a (first edition) Pathfinder RPG adventure for d20pfsrd.com.

Entering is simple: All you have to do is submit an original wondrous item of less than 300 words (see below for more information!). All the submissions will be examined by a panel of judges, which will pick 16 to advance to the next round.

Those lucky enough to advance will be asked to submit a map and adventure location, which -- after judges offer their opinions -- will have to win public approval with a vote determining who advances to the next round. The Top 8 competitors will each submit a villainous NPC, again needing to win a public vote to advance them to Round 4, where they will pitch their adventure idea. A final public vote will determine the ultimate winner, who will get to go on to write an 8,000-12,000-word adventure for publication.

ELIGIBILITY
The goal of this contest is to find and encourage new talent in game design, so those who've already begun to make their mark are not eligible.

The contest is open to the general public, with the following exceptions: Employees of Paizo, their immediate family members, and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are ineligible. Anyone who has been employed full-time as a designer for a game company is ineligible. Anyone with a cover credit on a hardcover RPG book is ineligible. Anyone who has a design credit in 3 or more of Paizo’s Pathfinder and/or Starfinder products is ineligible. The top 8 finalists of all RPG Superstar™ contests are ineligible. Contestants must provide their real names. Legal identification must be produced on request.

ROUND 1
The item must be a wondrous item. Do not make your item a cursed item, artifact, minor artifact, or device that requires rules from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Technology Guide. Do not reference any rules not available in the Pathfinder Reference Document. (This means you may NOT use rules from Pathfinder RPG Horror Adventures, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Intrigue, or Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Wilderness, among other options. Do not use rules from Pathfinder Player Companions or any other source that is not available on the PRD.)

Entries must be submitted to designfindercontest@gmail.com (which can also be done through the submission button at http://designfinder.opengamingnetwork.com/) and must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time June 10, 2018.

The top 16 entries, and the designers who will get to compete in the contest, will be announced June 18, 2018.

The entire submission must not exceed 300 words.

In addition, please include your full name and hometown; the word count for these do NOT count toward the submission’s word count. (The judges will not see who is designing which item; a facilitator will copy each item to a Google Doc, where the judges will look at it).

JUDGES
A panel of judges will look at each item, which will be presented anonymously, to determine the Top 16, with the designers of those items going on to compete in the rest of the contest. Each additional round will be examined by judges too, who will offer feedback and thoughts on who should advance, though the final decisions will remain in the hands of the public, who will vote on each item.

* Jacob W. Michaels and RPG Superstar Mike Welham will be judges for each round of the contest. The pair have helped organize and run several contests, including the annual Here Be Monsters design contest and Villain Codex contests that led to publication of books featuring several dozen villains.

* Open Call: Kate Baker, the creator of the wildly popular morlamaws in Starfinder, and writer and editor Rep Pickard round out the panel of judges for Round 1.

* Round 2: RPG Superstar Steve Helt will judge adventure location submissions along with Jacob and Mike.

* Round 3: New Paizo Developer and accomplished adventure writer Ron Lundeen will weigh in on contestants' villains, helping determine who advances to the final round.

* Round 4: The final panels of judges features Rachel Ventura, the business director for Legendary Games, and RPG Superstar Neil Spicer, an accomplished freelancer and former RPG Superstar judge.

Find out more about our judges here.

TIPS
To give you a head start on the contest, we've included some tips that we encourage contestants to look at. These aren't hard and fast rules, by any means, but may help you do your best work.

RULES
Find the full list of rules here. Clicking on the pull-down Contest Rules menu will take you to individual rules for each round.

--

As always, please ask if you have any questions, and we'll do our best to answer.


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Small addendum: We don't anticipating having to ask contestants for legal identification. Someone with a name they use every day that is different than their birth/legal name is welcome and encouraged to participate.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

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I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. I have really missed RPGSS!

--For those about to Vrock, we salute you!

Silver Crusade

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Can't have been in a hardcover, eh?

(Hides copy of Spheres of Might)

Seriously though, I can't wait to see who comes out of this. We've got a few people in the devcord who are already talking about the adventure they're gonna write once they win. We've just included a channel in our discord about it, so if anyone's interested in joining and discussing your entry, PM me here or email me at ehnjaminjolly@gmail.com to discuss it.


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I look forward to seeing how this comes together! While I won't necessarily offer my assistance to contestants (as it might significantly tip the scales), I may be willing to help those who don't make it through a given round refine and fine-tune their designs and understand where they might have erred. ^_^


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can’t wait to see some awesome magic items!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4

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Good luck to all the contestants!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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Good luck everyone! May your entries be truly wondrous!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Very exciting! Don't think I have the schedule to participate, I'll be following along :)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

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Excellent! I'm excited to see the entries.

The Exchange

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Hey everyone! John from d20pfsrd.com Publishing here! I'M SO PUMPED FOR THIS! Can't WAIT to see how this develops so GET GOING!!!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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That's fantastic! I can't wait to read these entries. Get to it, competitors!

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

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I'm so excited for this!


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Looking forward to seeing everyone's submissions! Good luck folks.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

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::casting prestidigitation to clear the dust from the judging chambers::

Alright, folks! Let's get this show on the road. And, always remember:

Spoiler:

EXPLOSIVE RUNES!!!

Jon Brazer Enterprises

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Well this looks interesting. I'll be following along.


The "send in your submission" button doesn't seem to be working :/


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Hmm. Thanks for the head's up. I'll take a look at it and see if we can get it fixed. In the meantime, you can also send it in an email to designfindercontest@gmail.com -- please put the item in the body of the email, not as an attachment.


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We were asked in another forum about rights of entries that don't win the contest. We've added the following to the rules to clarify (the rules previously noted the rights to Open Call submissions that weren't accepted into the contest; this covers entries that are submitted for Rounds 2-4).

Quote:


Open Gaming Network reserves the right to publish any entry from a contestant in the Top 16, as presented in the contest, in perpetuity on the website. All other rights of any submission in Rounds 2, 3 or 4 that do not advance (or, in Round 4, win the competition) are released to the designer at the end of the contest. d20pfsrd.com maintains the exclusive right for one year (until August 2019) to publish -- for its standard paid rate -- any entry that advances its designer to the next round. After that time, if the entry is not published, the rights revert back to the designer in full, other than the reserved rights noted above. The rights to the winning adventure pitch entry remain the property of d20pfsrd.com until and unless it relinquishes them.

--

So basically, if your entry doesn't advance, it goes back to you after the contest ends, with the caveat that d20pfsrd can keep it on the website in the form it was submitted in.

If your entry wins a vote, d20 can publish it for one year (paying the creator the standard rate). If it chooses not to publish it anywhere, the rights go back to the creator minus the caveat of keeping the original version on the website.


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I haven't decided if I'll participate or not, but for those who are less-experienced with creating original items, I'd personally recommend at least considering the item slot affinities.

(Basically, certain effects tend to be more appropriate in certain slots. The Eyes slot leans towards things that affect vision, Bracelets often deal with allies, and so forth. It's not an absolute rule or requirement, but it's generally best to avoid "cross-slot" effects. Of course, it's up to the judges to decide what they feel is most appropriate for this particular contest. XD)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Looks like I'm not eligible (just over the Paizo credit cutoff), but it'll be cool to see what people come up with!

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

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Good job to everyone getting this contest up and running, and best of luck to the contestants! I'm certainly going to be paying attention to this.


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I'm more familiar with Starfinder than Pathfinder 1e, but I'm willing to learn and this seem like an interesting opportunity.

I'd actually be really interested in reading the consolidated advice thread at the tips link, but at the moment none of the links indexed in the first post of that thread seem to work. Just FYI.


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Oy. Thanks for that catch. They must have gotten lost in the changes to the website. Here are the correct links, and the Tips page is now updated as well.

Wondrous Item advice #1: Spell in a Can
Wondrous Item advice #2: Swiss Army Knife
Wondrous Item advice #3: Backstory/History/Description Item
Wondrous Item advice #4: Item Ought to be Not-An-Item
Wondrous Item advice #5: Item Fails to Follow Game Rules
Wondrous Item advice #6: Item is a Variant of an Existing Item
Wondrous Item advice #7: Obvious Pricing Errors
Wondrous Item advice #8: The Random Item
Wondrous Item advice #9: The Intellectual Property Violation
Wondrous Item advice #10: Item isn't Spell-Checked or Proofread
Wondrous Item advice #11: The In-Character Quote
Wondrous Item advice #12: Item is a Joke
Wondrous Item advice #13: Item makes you blind and not blind
Wondrous Item advice #14: Item is something we can't advertise due to mature or offensive content
Wondrous Item advice #15: Item is unclear on how often it is useable
Wondrous Item advice #16: Item's name is a real-world item name
Wondrous Item advice #17: Item is modern technology presented as magic
Wondrous Item advice #18: Item makes bearer unable to be lost
Wondrous Item advice #19: Item involves vomit
Wondrous Item advice #20: Item makes GMing harder
Wondrous Item advice #21: Item gives a class ability or a feat
Wondrous Item advice #22: Item makes adventuring safe
Wondrous Item advice #23: Item's drawback is actually a benefit
Wondrous Item advice #24: Item repeats existing rules text in its description
Wondrous Item advice #25: Item is a child's toy
Wondrous Item advice #26: Item encourages metagaming
Wondrous Item advice #27: An awesome item may disregard the other advice


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Got my idea. Beginning to sculpt...

:)


Does the item (or any other parts of the contest) have to be based on Golarion?


No. Basing anything on Golarion (or any other company's intellectual property) would be grounds for disqualification, as that material isn't considered open content.


EDIT: Ninja'd by someone who can speak officially. XD ...Leaving my response anyway.

I'm not one of the judges, but I'm very confident in answering "no".

Golarion is Intellectual Property belonging to Paizo, and outside sources are not permitted to use anything Golarion-specific (locations, deities, etc.) except, in most cases, under the terms of Paizo's Community Use Policy. Paizo may also issue other licenses for the use of their IP at their discretion. I'm pretty sure this contest doesn't fall under either of those scenarios.

Of course, you could make a generic item referencing a "nation that made a deal with devils" or "a major trade city located on an island", but my entirely unofficial guess is that winning items are probably going to be setting-neutral and appropriate for just about any game.


Thank you!


That's an interesting event! I'll work my mind on an idea for sure...

Am I right to think that the item should be sent in the mail itself, and not as an attached file? (I couldn't find this in the rules...)


Sliverik wrote:

That's an interesting event! I'll work my mind on an idea for sure...

Am I right to think that the item should be sent in the mail itself, and not as an attached file? (I couldn't find this in the rules...)

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Hmm. Thanks for the head's up. I'll take a look at it and see if we can get it fixed. In the meantime, you can also send it in an email to designfindercontest@gmail.com -- please put the item in the body of the email, not as an attachment.


Well thanks, I focused a bit too much on the original message and the first answers...

And the links to the nice pieces of advice are gold! (I've never seen them before, I guess they must be old for some... but still good!)


#13 appears to no longer exist.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Malachandra wrote:
#13 appears to no longer exist.

Try this link.


Mike Welham wrote:
Malachandra wrote:
#13 appears to no longer exist.
Try this link.

Thanks!


Mike Welham wrote:
Malachandra wrote:
#13 appears to no longer exist.
Try this link.

Argh! Thanks, Mike! (The link on the DesignFinder site has also been updated.)

Dark Archive

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Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Wondrous Item advice #25: Item is a child's toy

Okay, first of all, how dare you. pouts

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Daosvaria wrote:
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Wondrous Item advice #25: Item is a child's toy
Okay, first of all, how dare you. pouts

:)

This could be superseded by advice #27.

Grand Lodge

Guessing for the map and location round the entrants will need to hand draw a map. That immediately puts me out of the contest.

Good luck to those who enter.


Kevin, the map doesn't have to be hand-drawn; it could be done via computer program.

Trust me, mapping is *not* my forte, but it's a critical skill for several aspects of game design.

Grand Lodge

Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

Kevin, the map doesn't have to be hand-drawn; it could be done via computer program.

Trust me, mapping is *not* my forte, but it's a critical skill for several aspects of game design.

I figured. I just don’t have full use of my hands so drawing is practically impossible for me.

If you have any recommendations for map programs, I’m open to suggestions. The ones I have are pre-designed for individual homes, caverns, or the inner walls of castles, including magma pits.


For what it's worth, there are some pretty decent mapping programs out there. I know Mapforge - a newer program - has a content category that's specifically allowed for commercial use...

The Exchange

N. Jolly wrote:

Can't have been in a hardcover, eh?

(Hides copy of Spheres of Might)

That's not what they said.

"Anyone with a cover credit on a hardcover RPG book is ineligible." (emphasis mine)

So unless your name is on the cover, it doesn't count.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

A super-cool list from Sean K. Reynolds including this:

Wondrous Item advice #27: An awesome item may disregard the other advice

Thanks for including those tips, Jacob! I did enjoy them and found most of them quite educational. I was especially excited by the beautiful description of Neil Spicer's Last Leaves of the Autumn Dryad. So lovely -- I enjoyed seeing the evocative description vs the simple mechanics!

Hmm


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My pleasure, Hmm. For what it's worth, I think spending a lot of time in the Superstar forums are a great learning tool for any prospective freelancers/designers. My first time in the contest, I spent hours just going through previous threads and learning so much from various comments about a wide variety of design elements. I highly recommend it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I see what you mean. I'm looking through the RPG Superstar threads now. Do you have any idea of why they stopped the contest?

Hmm


I believe Paizo basically no longer felt it was a good return on their investment (of time and energy). I think that's emphasized even more by the seeming struggles of the module line as a whole.


Magical Tattoos are classified under Wondrous items in D20pfsrd.com, and share many of the same slots and affinities, but have their own item creation feat.

Would they be eligible for the first round of the contest?


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Unofficially? Unlikely. They've asked for the only rules references to be from Paizo's PRD, and Inscribe Magical Tattoo is from Inner Sea Magic (which is not on Paizo's PRD).


Missed that bit, thanks!

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