Get Ready to See Stars!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's that time of year again, we're beginnig to announce details for the next RPG Superstar™ contest! Every year, Paizo holds an annual open-call RPG design competition to give the best and brightest aspiring game designers a chance to show the world their talent. This year, we're going to be shaking things up a bit.

For starters, I'll be acting as your host throughout the contest. For those of you who have no idea who I am, my name is Owen K.C. Stephens and I was brought on as a developer by Paizo earlier this year. I work primarily on the Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Player Companion lines, and I have a long history of writing for Paizo on a number of products. Since the prize for winning RPG Superstar™ is an adventure we'll publish in one of our RPG Modules, I'm getting involved in the contest early and will be helping oversee it this year.

The contest itself is going to be ramping up the degree of difficulty in several rounds as a result of how consistently amazing the entries have been year after year. We're convinced the talent pool exists to make several of the stages tougher than previous years, and that the best contestants are going to thrive under the pressure. That shouldn't discourage anyone from entering! Instead, think of this as an even better test of your skills. Anyone who makes it to the last few rounds of this year's contest should be confident they have what it takes to get work in the tabletop RPG industry.

What won't change is the core concept and processes we've developed over several years of RPG Superstar™. We have some surprises for you, and some rounds will have new challenges, but things will seem very familiar to fans who have followed the contest for several years. Where things significantly change from previous contests, I'll provide extra guidance on how we envision the round going, and why we made the change.

The first big change: entries for Open Call are not wondrous items, as they have been in every other year of the contest. Instead we're asking contestants to create a magic item from one of the following categories: armor, shield, weapon, staff, ring, or rod. As always, the magic item should conform to the rules and format given in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook for items of that type. In the case of a magic suit of armor, shield, or weapon, it should be an example of a specific armor, shield, or weapon, rather than one created by adding magic special abilities. Think breastplate of command and life-drinker, rather than a +1 ghost touch chain shirt or +1 keen flaming bastard sword. Further if you decide to do a magic staff make sure you have a concept that elevates it above a "spell-in-a-can" with multiple spells. We are, after all, looking for Superstars!

We're making this change to the first round for a number of reasons. First, we want to strongly encourage contestants to create something new, rather than re-submitting an item they've used in previous years (even if they've modified it since then). Secondly, we want to see how well people can do with a surprise and a tight deadline. Writing in the RPG industry is often done with short schedules and sometimes the needs of a project change after you've already started working on it. By shaking things up in the first round, we'll get finalists who know they can handle the chaos and pressure of writing for RPG projects in real-world conditions.

Open Call is otherwise very much as past years. The open call begins today, and you need to have your entry in by December 16 at 2:00 PM Pacific time. We'll be maintaining public voting for these initial entries as we've done for the past 2 years. So your magic item will initially be judged by being presented to voters along with another randomly determined item. That means if you submit a magic ring it'll be compared to many items that aren't rings, so be sure you present something that can stand up to competition in any form. The top 32 items will be determined by the community along with feedback and oversight from our judges for this round, and those 32 competitors will face other game design challenges in the remaining rounds of the competition!

So loosen up your creative muscles, start crafting a magic item, and get ready to be the next RPG Superstar™!

Owen K. C. Stephens
Developer and RPG Superstar Host

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Contests RPG Superstar
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Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Excellent. :) And I remain ineligible. ;) I'm looking forward to see what this go around generates.

-Ben.


I looked and looked but couldn't find an answer to this: is each participant limited to a single submission?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My wishlist for future years in this competition is a voting app for phones. :)

Unearthly Serpent: Yep, one entry per contestant. Trying to submit more than once is grounds for disqualification.


OK, since the contest is anonymous, I should avoid getting dinged for asking dumb questions. Are shields armor? They are sort of the same section, but not exactly.

Sorry I am so behind on this.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I would again recommend you look at the listed sections of the CRB - specific armor, specific weapons, rings, rods, and staves - and look to see if anything in those sections is intelligent.

Forgive my ignorance, but are shields considered armor? In the blog you mention that shields can be submitted, but in the post I quoted you do not mention them and they aren't mentioned here either.

Thank you good sir.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

Mazym wrote:

OK, since the contest is anonymous, I should avoid getting dinged for asking dumb questions. Are shields armor? They are sort of the same section, but not exactly.

Sorry I am so behind on this.

No such thing as a dumb question!

As far as I understand it, a shield is a shield, and not armor (they have different slots on the body). It's looking like the formatting is identical for both though (the same as for Wondrous Items). And they both have the same crafting feat: Craft Magic Arms and Armor.

goldomark wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I would again recommend you look at the listed sections of the CRB - specific armor, specific weapons, rings, rods, and staves - and look to see if anything in those sections is intelligent.

Forgive my ignorance, but are shields considered armor? In the blog you mention that shields can be submitted, but in the post I quoted you do not mention them and they aren't mentioned here either.

Thank you good sir.

I'd go with the official blog post. Shields are definitely allowed. He must have just omitted it by mistake in that forum post.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Ezekiel Shanoax, the Stormchild

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Huzzah! Another most excellent season begins. Kudos on Paizo for changing things up.

And All Hail our new host and master, DOC OKCS! (Catchy, no? Eh? Eh?)

Star Voter Season 8

Yay! Let's do this!

Star Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Excellent news!

Only my second attempt at this, we'll see if I can improve on last years dismal performance!!

I must have bee one of those who really misjudged everyone else's idea of a cool wondrous item!


If I can make an item that actually follows the rules, is priced properly, and is original, I'll be happy. Baby steps.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Good luck everyone! Only way to improve is to give it a go and learn from your mistakes. :-)

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mamaursula

Jacob Trier wrote:

It is as if a thousand carefully prepared wondrous items cried out in horror and were suddenly discarded.

The plot twists come early this season. Well played, Paizo.

You must have been typing this here while I was typing it on Facebook. Great minds.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

Unearthly Serpent wrote:
I looked and looked but couldn't find an answer to this: is each participant limited to a single submission?

Yes. Entries are limited to one entry per person. For further reference: we strongly discourage multiple accounts (you can find this in our Community Guidelines) or attempting to circumvent this requirement as it will lead to disqualification. I'll make a note to clarify this in our FAQ when I am in the office tomorrow.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm looking over the list of items that already exist on PFSRD, just to prep myself and see what's out there.

I think that to go along with SIAC, we should formalize BWAC! ("but what a can!")

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka primemover003

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Boom, a plot twist as big as the girdle of opposite gender! Can't wait to Vrock the Vote on this year's batch of magic items!

--So you wanna be a Vrock Superstar...

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Chris Shaeffer wrote:
Mazym wrote:

OK, since the contest is anonymous, I should avoid getting dinged for asking dumb questions. Are shields armor? They are sort of the same section, but not exactly.

Sorry I am so behind on this.

No such thing as a dumb question!

As far as I understand it, a shield is a shield, and not armor (they have different slots on the body). It's looking like the formatting is identical for both though (the same as for Wondrous Items). And they both have the same crafting feat: Craft Magic Arms and Armor.

goldomark wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I would again recommend you look at the listed sections of the CRB - specific armor, specific weapons, rings, rods, and staves - and look to see if anything in those sections is intelligent.

Forgive my ignorance, but are shields considered armor? In the blog you mention that shields can be submitted, but in the post I quoted you do not mention them and they aren't mentioned here either.

Thank you good sir.

I'd go with the official blog post. Shields are definitely allowed. He must have just omitted it by mistake in that forum post.

Shields aren't listed under the rules:

rules wrote:

Submissions may be disqualified for the following reasons:

Submission is not a specific armor, specific weapon, ring, rod, or staff.

That said the first table on the PRD under 'armor' is 'Armor and Shields.' The the next four tables split armor & shield most notably 'specific armor' v. 'specific shield.' Slots on the body is another indicator, and weapons also use the Craft Arms and Armor feat when they are not armor.

That just made the question worse didn't it? :)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

Curaigh wrote:

Shields aren't listed under the rules:

rules wrote:

Submissions may be disqualified for the following reasons:

Submission is not a specific armor, specific weapon, ring, rod, or staff.

That said the first table on the PRD under 'armor' is 'Armor and Shields.' The the next four tables split armor & shield most notably 'specific armor' v. 'specific shield.' Slots on the body is another indicator, and weapons also use the Craft Arms and Armor feat when they are not armor.

That just made the question worse didn't it? :)

Oh my, that is problematic then! We need some word of god all up in this.

*Looks eagerly to Doc OKCS*

The Exchange

Going to enter for once this year. So many ideas! Just going to roll a die to pick one and submit it.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's unfortunate we were not 100% clear and uniform in our wording. I'll improve on that as we go.

Specific magic shields are absolutely acceptable, as mentioned in the blog post. They are considered a form of magic armor for purposes of the official rules.

I apologize for any confusion.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

It's unfortunate we were not 100% clear and uniform in our wording. I'll improve on that as we go.

Specific magic shields are absolutely acceptable, as mentioned in the blog post. They are considered a form of magic armor for purposes of the official rules.

I apologize for any confusion.

Awesome! That is all.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

Thanks for the clarification! I think there is a lot of good design space for shields.

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Gio

Not that I don't like the twist, or the challenge, but this timing... I can't just really make it with my current schedule, of all the years this could've happened .... I must've pissed off someone up there. Anyway, this *most likely* means I'm out of RPG Superstart 2015 quite early.

Good luck to everyone else.

PS: And I say "most likely", 'cause I might just give up sleep and come up with an item instead


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'll be honest, I was thinking of skipping it this year because coming up with a decent, workable, original wondrous item has been such a pain in the ass for me in past competitions. (Intellectually, I know if I was writing for Paizo normally it's something I'd have to learn in any case. But some stuff is easier to learn with an editor as opposed to trial-and-error.) But opening it up like this means there's a decent chance I'll be able to submit something.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

As an RPG roadie, I hope your aspiring superstar bring your A+ game, especially with the first round changes.

Scarab Sages Star Voter Season 8

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Ow, man, just when I had tought up the best Folding-item ever! (we need more Folding-items!)

But then again, this is also pretty sweet. *puts thinking cap on*

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

2 people marked this as a favorite.

[Serious]

I would like to thank Paizo and the whole superstar community for what looks like a great start to another great year of RPG Superstar. This will undoubtedly be a wonderful year with an impressive set of creators.

[/Serious]

:-)

*Happy Snoopy Dance*

This is awesome!
Love the round one twist!
Love the round of 8 returning!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

*Dance, Dance Dance*

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

This is disappointing, I have finally thought of some wondrous items that I am happy with and now this:(


3 people marked this as a favorite.

So, You think to catch out the Template Fu with this item change up round? The grand master of template use will tell you the answer to that thought! You have...

NOT... A... CHANCE! :P

Hah!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Template Fu wrote:

So, You think to catch out the Template Fu with this item change up round? The grand master of template use will tell you the answer to that thought! You have...

NOT... A... CHANCE! :P

Hah!

*Cowers before the great template master*

Not my points! I beg you, no! *Sob, Sob*

PS. Anthony you are a major part of why I find this contest so fun. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful contributions.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Yay. Much better, this 2015 Open Call round.

Good luck every body. :)

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Covent wrote:
Template Fu wrote:

So, You think to catch out the Template Fu with this item change up round? The grand master of template use will tell you the answer to that thought! You have...

NOT... A... CHANCE! :P

Hah!

*Cowers before the great template master*

Not my points! I beg you, no! *Sob, Sob*

PS. Anthony you are a major part of why I find this contest so fun. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful contributions.

You are all very welcome.

NB: Template Fu has offered his annual template check, so if you are nervous about your template use, he will help you privately if you wish - check out his offer in the forum thread ;)

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm really happy that Paizo has decided to broaden the design task for Round 1 to designing a magic item rather than a wondrous item. Last year I was hoping that they might change it up to keep the competition fresh and was a little disappointed when it didn't happen.

This should get the creative juices flowing again.

Good luck to everybody!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Good luck, everyone!

Don't worry too much about this year's twist. A true RPG Superstar will thrive in this sort of chaos. Open your slimy, creepy, genius brain and ... Go. For. It!

Dark Archive Star Voter Season 6

Sigh. I finally have the guts to enter this year with, in my opinion, a pretty solid wondrous item and then you go and change things on me Paizo. Well time to see if I can come up with a cool magic item in 6 days; if not there is always next year I guess. Good luck everyone.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

I really like the change for the opening round, and I'm looking forward to seeing all the creative entries during voting.

Good luck, everyone!

Dark Archive

So will the first entry change every year now, or can I come up with a cool rod idea and submit it next year?

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

I think the change is brilliant, and I'm excited for this year's contest.

Please don't be discouraged if you worked hard on a wondrous item! The things you learn about great item design will still translate to your new entry, and if you were going to commit yourself to the full tourney before this week, only a small element has changed!

Step forward! Fear nothing! And give us your very best, Superstars!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hmmm, so what is the judge with no bio hiding then... eh?

Pokes Steven T. Helt...

"Come on, fess up!" :P

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Judge Helt remains a man of mystery, in a witness protection program in an undisclosed location.

He knows too much, people. He's seen things you don't want to know.

Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes, YES! *readies her judgin' hat*

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Steven T. Helt requires the following offering before revealing his bio and image to the masses:

* One holy sword, disenchanted, melted down, and molded in the image of a fiendish locust,
* The fasting of a mythic antipaladin, and
* the conversion of three good oracle, clerics, or paladins into ghouls.

Give me these things, and he will reveal himself to you all.

EDIT:

Spoiler:
Aw.....on the Superstar forums, I can't post as Famine. : (

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

@Lord Famine: How about a fairly good inquisitor, a really good/OP druid and a kind of ok shaman? I have the melted antipaladin and the epic hasted sword of locusts.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Sold! To my old friend from Iskandria!

I'll just get the web avatars to do their thing and we're good!

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Never mind, I have thought of some interesting items under those categories;)

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

That's the spirit, Dragon78!!

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

6 people marked this as a favorite.

HAH! Got the better of you this year Paizo! I in fact did not prepare a submission in advance so I'm perfectly poised and primed for this twist!

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Crispy Gnoll Fajitas wrote:
So will the first entry change every year now, or can I come up with a cool rod idea and submit it next year?

In complete and total honesty: we don't know. When I pitched how I would like to see Superstar change up this year, there were many discussions (and numerous modifications and improvements to my original suggestions made by the smart folks who have been here past years). It is way too early for us to decide what we are doing next year -- we are still focusing on making sure THIS year goes smoothly.

We might keep this format. We might go back to wondrous items. We might decide to give everyone 250 words, or 400, or have a 200 word minimum (yes, sometimes game designers have a minimum words count. It's second in frequency only to a max word count).

We just don't know yet.

I want to keep everything on the table. Superstar serves a number of useful functions, and I hope to always be willing to make changes if there's good reason to believe they will make for a better contest.

I know many people had a wondrous item picked out to submit already, and this took them off guard. We've also heard from a number of people who felt changing the design space makes this easier for them. Andy change is going to impact different groups in different ways. I hope everyone decides to buckle in, do their best, and see where that takes them. I think the very best are likely to do well in any circumstances.

Silver Crusade Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Honestly this is an exciting change. Though I've never hit the top 32, I was always very proud of my Wondrous Item submissions.

This year the field is wide open. 7 days (6 now) is a short time to come up with something cool, but I'm already brainstorming and have put unique items together for my home games as particularly memorable treasures.


I just ... realized ... I HAVE AN ITEM!!! Something I've toyed with many times before! ~WOOT~!!!

Contributor

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Jeff Lee wrote:
Now someone can actually submit the Sword of Hitler to the contest.

Nope, that item © Sean K Reynolds. :)

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