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

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Tags: Contests RPG Superstar
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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

How about generic-named items (like "+2 conductive shield spikes") or items that make my pc worse instead of better?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

There's always the ever popular "pretty cool item that also does something really terrible to you when you use it, presumably to provide 'balance'" and the "item requires you to do something really disgusting in order to activate its powers."

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

That is a pretty good category for Bingo, Jeff!

Have....you got your entry in yet? : )


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm in it to win it, Steven.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Ixxix

wait we're supposed to try to win?

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Nah. If you win, you can't play again. Just keep going for top 16.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The top 8 is a rough spot. You can't compete in future years AND you don't get to write a module/scenario. I would prefer 16.

That said, I want to see some cool items already. Tired of waiting.

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

Jacob, you are the perfect man to make that joke.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Clay Clouser wrote:
wait we're supposed to try to win?

Not we, me. If everybody is trying to win, that makes it exponentially harder for me to do so.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Steven Helt wrote:
Jacob, you are the perfect man to make that joke.

Yeah, I'm a little like Crash Davis. Here's hoping I can match Tom Phillips with a third run at the brass ring.

Of course, if I do get in, then I need to decide if I want to give myself a chance to set the record in 2016.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I will say that if someone hit top 8 in any year, even if it is the end of entering Superstar it should just be the BEGINNING of working on a freelance career, if that's what is desired. Between Wayfinder, 3pp, blogs, and the opportunity to post things in the forums for fan feedback there are tons of ways to move forward once you have proof you're a cut above the pack, even if you aren't getting picked for Paizo projects yet. :)

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

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I will say that if someone hit top 8 in any year, even if it is the end of entering Superstar it should just be the BEGINNING of working on a freelance career, if that's what is desired. Between Wayfinder, 3pp, blogs, and the opportunity to post things in the forums for fan feedback there are tons of ways to move forward once you have proof you're a cut above the pack, even if you aren't getting picked for Paizo projects yet. :)

He's right - very, very right. "Winning" RPGSS isn't about winning RPGSS - you win the moment you realize that IT can be done, and that you're already doing it.


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?

I agree CGF. I have a really cool Ring idea I want to submit next year! I really hope they keep the new round one format.

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I will say that if someone hit top 8 in any year, even if it is the end of entering Superstar it should just be the BEGINNING of working on a freelance career, if that's what is desired. Between Wayfinder, 3pp, blogs, and the opportunity to post things in the forums for fan feedback there are tons of ways to move forward once you have proof you're a cut above the pack, even if you aren't getting picked for Paizo projects yet. :)

Heck, you don't even have to make Top 8 to make that happen. A lot of the Top 32 and Top 16 finalists from previous years are working with 3PP publishers at the moment, including myself.

I almost didn't enter this year because I already have a couple of projects lined up and a project I'm in the middle of finishing. (Sorry, Creighton. The Village Backdrop WILL be handed in on time, I promise!)

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

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jacob Trier wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I will say that if someone hit top 8 in any year, even if it is the end of entering Superstar it should just be the BEGINNING of working on a freelance career, if that's what is desired. Between Wayfinder, 3pp, blogs, and the opportunity to post things in the forums for fan feedback there are tons of ways to move forward once you have proof you're a cut above the pack, even if you aren't getting picked for Paizo projects yet. :)

Heck, you don't even have to make Top 8 to make that happen. A lot of the Top 32 and Top 16 finalists from previous years are working with 3PP publishers at the moment, including myself.

I almost didn't enter this year because I already have a couple of projects lined up and a project I'm in the middle of finishing. (Sorry, Creighton. The Village Backdrop WILL be handed in on time, I promise!)

Guys, you don't even have to make Top 100 :P - I have just signed onto my first paid commission for a 3PP. I can't say anymore at this time, obviously, but I grew through this competition and the advice held on these forums.

So you don't need to win to become a freelancer, you just need to work hard, be an active forum member and get yourself noticed. One way is this Competition, do lots of feedback posts, another way is the excellent Wayfinder magazine - which is in need of submissions of the Ustalav themed issue - you have just under 3 weeks, here's the open call.

I also recommend those serious about becoming a freelancer seek out Freelance Forge - a forum of Top 32 finalists from prior years that assists new freelancers to hone their craft.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Here's hoping I can match Tom Phillips with a third run at the brass ring.

Cheering for you! We need more three-peats.

Although my record of three consecutive years should be safe for another few years. ;-)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Morphemic

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tom Phillips wrote:
Although my record of three consecutive years should be safe for another few years. ;-)

We'll see about that. I think there are a few of us going for three consecutive this year. :)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka RainyDayNinja

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Tom Phillips wrote:
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
Here's hoping I can match Tom Phillips with a third run at the brass ring.

Cheering for you! We need more three-peats.

Although my record of three consecutive years should be safe for another few years. ;-)

Ahem.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Ixxix

i'm hoping to get my 2nd this year and with a bit of luck not even be eligible to compete next year.

Scarab Sages

Jeff Lee wrote:
There's always the ever popular "pretty cool item that also does something really terrible to you when you use it, presumably to provide 'balance'" and the "item requires you to do something really disgusting in order to activate its powers."

Some of us would consider that last part a 'plus', though...;)

Scarab Sages

If SKR's 'Sword of Killing Hitler' is out of bounds, how about the 'Mattock of Macerating Mussolini'?


Snorter wrote:
If SKR's 'Sword of Killing Hitler' is out of bounds, how about the 'Mattock of Macerating Mussolini'?

I think Stalin deserves a named weapon first.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
JJ Jordan wrote:
Snorter wrote:
If SKR's 'Sword of Killing Hitler' is out of bounds, how about the 'Mattock of Macerating Mussolini'?
I think Stalin deserves a named weapon first.

The Sickle of Slicing Stalin. Just need to make sure it ALSO kills "Like, a bajillion dudes".

Scarab Sages

How about the 'Halberd of Hoisting Hirohito'?

Star Voter Season 8

So, we would also have Winston Churchill's Mauser?

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

Mace of mauling Mau?

Pick of oiercing Pot?

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mechaPoet

I feel like one could make a tidy sum of gold selling magic armor that protects against time travelers.

Maybe a Tyrant's Time-Lock Torc. ;)

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 Subscriber

A few ideas of more Paizo targeted theme...

Customer Care Bears' Horrendous Hugs of Talk to the Hand!

Store Ninja's Envelope Opener of Wallet Raiding!

James' Misdirect Games Convention Flight Wand!

and although he left this year, we can't leave him out...

SKR's Do It Right Beat-stick of Training!

yeah - reaching on those, but I was having my pre-Christmas brain dump moment. Trying to put it back in again now :P

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Cutlass of Critting Castro?

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 Subscriber

Cosmo's Golarion Snuffing Death Star - hey, it's a weapon that happens to carry people through space!

Dark Archive

I think RPG Superstar is a great idea and great fun to both participate in and vote in.

I'm very curious about how the next round is going to work, though ... wait and see, I guess :-)

Richard

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan

David Neilson wrote:
So, we would also have Winston Churchill's Mauser?

Non-sequitor

The other examples were individuals who were generally considered a blight on the face of humanity, not one of its defenders and heroes.

If the intent was to have this be a rifle Churchill might have used, then Churchill's Enfield would have been more apporpriate.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Churchill carried a Mauser C-96 "Broomhandle" pistol in the Boer War. You know ... what they made Han Solo's blaster out of...

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan

Doc_Outlands wrote:
Churchill carried a Mauser C-96 "Broomhandle" pistol in the Boer War. You know ... what they made Han Solo's blaster out of...

Which is true, and yet I stand by my statement.

Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan wrote:
If the intent was to have this be a rifle Churchill might have used, then Churchill's Enfield would have been more apporpriate.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I will say that if someone hit top 8 in any year, even if it is the end of entering Superstar it should just be the BEGINNING of working on a freelance career, if that's what is desired. Between Wayfinder, 3pp, blogs, and the opportunity to post things in the forums for fan feedback there are tons of ways to move forward once you have proof you're a cut above the pack, even if you aren't getting picked for Paizo projects yet. :)

Wow, that is literally my freelancing life story right there. Freelancing never even occurred to me until my run in Superstar.

However, as a Top 8, I still get that e-mail reminding me to submit my item, you know, just to rub it in a little... :)

Anyway, I encourage anyone eligible to enter. I look forward to voting again this year.


Ah, submitted my little entry, I wonder how I'll do, I don't expect much. Hopefully I can do better than 50% percentile.

Grand Lodge Contributor

Aaaaaannnnnddddd......

Submitted. Phew!

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

I highly suspect that just getting into the top 100 is going to be an acomplishment this year. Even with the changes to the rules we should see many, many more submissions this year.

I aim to make it to the top, but I will certainly crack open the good cheese and pickles for top 100. If the feedback I have gotten in past years is any indication, I have been slowly creeping up into top 32. And this year's item is my strongest yet.

Also, second what others have said. You don't need to reach top 8, or 16, or 32 to get into writing. Using this an opportunity to make connections will move you further. I have been able to benefit greatly in the past. Wayfinder, blogs, 3PP, and a little self publication have taken me far. My only downfall is that I still need to learn consistency and selling myself. But one step at a time, right?

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

Just a little reminder that for those interested in submitting something to the next Wayfinder (Ustalav!), time is running out; the deadline is December 31st, 2014. Don't wait!


Andrew Hoskins wrote:

Aaaaaannnnnddddd......

Submitted. Phew!

This is the last day. How do I submit it?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Goth Guru wrote:
Andrew Hoskins wrote:

Aaaaaannnnnddddd......

Submitted. Phew!

This is the last day. How do I submit it?

The deadline was 5:00 PM Eastern... :(


CalebTGordan wrote:
Also, second what others have said. You don't need to reach top 8, or 16, or 32 to get into writing. Using this an opportunity to make connections will move you further.

+1 I've already made some great contacts out of this!

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