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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Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

I look forward to offering advice to the competitors this year and seeing what everyone brings to the table!

Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Interesting twist! So back to the drawing board...

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

19 people marked this as a favorite.

I am already getting some *very* friendly hate mail. :)

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

20 people marked this as a favorite.

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.

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

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I made sure to use an anonymous account and not sign my name when I sent that, right, Owen?

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

6 people marked this as a favorite.

If you're event slightly thinking about it.... ENTER! You have nothing to lose but your fears! Make it happen and dare to be AWESOME!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka burrahobbit

A twist! Excellent - I'm excited to see what everyone comes up with.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Jatori

Whoa, 6 days...

Good luck everybody!

EDIT: 7 days, sorta... silly time zones.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

OH SNAP

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

Here we go again.

AHHHHHHH!

Edit: Just read the twist. OH DAMN! I had a feeling this would be the year they'd do something like this. I hope this didn't mess up too many well-laid plans.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I have been following Superstar for years but could never enter. But, I can this year. :)

Also, I think its awesome that the Jacobs all still have the same avatar. :D

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Kiraya TiDrekan wrote:
Also, I think its awesome that the Jacobs all still have the same avatar. :D

I had it before it was cool.

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

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Maybe, but once I had it, it became cool. :p

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Dang, there went my first time being prepared early.

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Woo Hoo no wondrous items! My heart rate just skyrocketed. I am not sure if it is the short deadline, the contest opening, or drinking soda without lunch... :)

Good luck everyone, bring it on!

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

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I mostly just keep the avatar to mess with people who are reading the Superstar forums. Whenever possible, I try to time my post to come just after one of the other Jacobs. :-D

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka artofcheatery

And this is why I didn't put anything on paper yet

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka nate lange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

That's awesome. I've been waiting/hoping for round 1 to change :)

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Let's do this!

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

1 person marked this as a favorite.
N. Edward Lange wrote:
That's awesome. I've been waiting/hoping for round 1 to change :)

For the record, if anyone has thoughts on ways to improve the contest, I am always all ears (though don't do that here, where people are just cheering right now).

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I think you've taken a good step by restoring a Round of 8. Pleased to see the return of that.

I hope you'll also follow more recent tradition of revealing each round's twist a week ahead of time instead of just a few days.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I'll probably end up saying this multiple times as the deadline nears, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to get it out there now...

Enter! Don't be afraid. Don't let worry keep you from submitting an item and progressing to the end!

Good luck everybody!


So.
Much.
Awesome.

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

Mikko & Steve as judges too!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

That's right, Adam. Enter. It's so much fun and if you break into the Top 32 it willbe the ride of your life!

And you don't even have to win to break into rpg freelancing. I personally know of dozens of people who all have published Pathfinder products with their name on because of this contest.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:

I think you've taken a good step by restoring a Round of 8. Pleased to see the return of that.

I hope you'll also follow more recent tradition of revealing each round's twist a week ahead of time instead of just a few days.

Obviously we made a major change to the first round this year, and we didn't mention it until the contest started. Likely, full details of each round won;t be available until the round begins, and there are several reasons for this.

The biggest one is -- writing good material quickly, under tight deadlines, often without much warning, is a big part of a successful freelancing career. Very rarely will you have even as much as a week to produce 300 words -- more often you have 6 weeks to produce 20,000 words (or even more). I once got a freelance gig on a Friday to write two monsters, each of which had to fit a specific CR, type, and place in an alphabetical listing, by Monday.

When the bigger word count projects come along, I want everyone who has progressed a round or more in Superstar to be confident they can handle that kind of pressure, and not allowing people to do much preparation before each round starts is one way to do that.

I also think some people (not necessarily you, but some folks) over-think their entries. You can self-edit all the flavor out of something, or make so many adjustments your originally clear description gets muddled. So I want to encourage people to start with a blank slate, write a solid entry, put it aside briefly, possibly sent it out to friends and colleagues for private feedback, look back over it, fix it, and send it in.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

4 people marked this as a favorite.

To echo Adam's sentiments:

Enter! Give it a try, and show us what you can do. If you've ever dreamed of writing for RPGs, one of the hardest parts is making the transition from a neat idea to actually contacting a publisher to get noticed. RPG Superstar makes that a lot easier.

I've spent a lot of time going through Open Call entries, and it's clear to me how creative our community is. You can get noticed for your great ideas in RPG Superstar in just 300 words or less!

Good luck!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Owen Stephens wrote:
The first big change: entries for Open Call are not wondrous items...

Way to kick this thing off with a BANG! That'll get the blood flowin'... ::two thumbs up::

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9 aka MillerHero

One week to submit your item and a new item type. This will be sure to find the best quickly.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka DLandonCole

Just dropping by to wish everyone luck and to say that if you're thinking about entering, particularly for the first time, you definitely should. I managed to get through a couple of rounds on my first go (it even says so!) and it was a huge amount of fun to do.

Now, where did I put that staff of RPG Superstar host finding?


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Now someone can actually submit the Sword of Hitler to the contest.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

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

I'd strongly recommend against it. :P

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I see the "Top 8" round is back... and I like it!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am so grateful for the chance to be a judge in this contest! Good luck to everyone, and please enter!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You seem to be quite the mystery man as a judge, Steven.

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

The valid items are "specific armor, specific weapon, ring, rod, or staff". Does this allow for magic ammunition? For instance, would something like the arrow of charming from Ranged Tactics Toolbox be disqualified?

Sovereign Court

Well, with all the practice I had with submitting test wondrous items, I am sure I will be able to design something great!

I am truly appreciative of the reasons behind the change. Nice work. ^.^

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

Yeah...I'll take responsibility for that. I didn't know it was going up today, and was letting the bio bake for a minute before pulling the trigger.

Mostly I suck at taking pictures.

Hopefully it'll be up soon.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Without going into details about items outside the CRB, I will note that the screaming bolt, slaying arrow, and sleep arrow are in the "Specific Weapons" section of Chapter 15 of the CRB.

Paizo Employee Designer , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Garrett Guillotte wrote:
The valid items are "specific armor, specific weapon, ring, rod, or staff". Does this allow for magic ammunition? For instance, would something like the arrow of charming from Ranged Tactics Toolbox be disqualified?

Open your CRB to the section called "specific weapons" (it starts on page 472). Check to see if there are any examples of ammunition. Then use that to inform your decision.

EDIT: Ninjaed by 2 seconds by Owen!

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

Garrett, the sleep arrow and screaming bolt are listed under specific magic weapons in the CRB so I would think a piece of magic ammunition would be fine.

Or what Owen and Mark said...

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Without going into details about items outside the CRB, I will note that the screaming bolt, slaying arrow, and sleep arrow are in the "Specific Weapons" section of Chapter 15 of the CRB.

Thanks for the clarification!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

2 people marked this as a favorite.

This rocks.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Jacob W. Michaels wrote:
You seem to be quite the mystery man as a judge, Steven.

International Game Designer of Mystery!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Phloid

Aaahh!
Does anyone want to buy 30 interesting and unique wondrous items?

I've got to say, after seven years I didn't think they would change the first round. Looks like I've got a week to come up with something different. I think I will take the rest of the night to relax and start fresh tomorrow. Good luck to everyone this year.

Shadow Lodge

I have a question not in the FAQ, can the item be intelligent?


At the risk of revealing how cheap I am, is there any way to get a good look at items that have been published outside of the sources that feed the PRD? There are so many APs, modules, etc. that I am pretty sure any idea of mine that is not really stupid is likely to be published somewhere. I have several modules and PFS scenarios and 3 APs. But there is so much more.

I have some ideas, but others probably know better. I know of Archives of Nethys, the Paizo PRD, and d20PFsrd. I cannot afford to buy the entire Paizo lineup to check for conflicts.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

1 person marked this as a favorite.

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.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Mazym wrote:
At the risk of revealing how cheap I am, is there any way to get a good look at items that have been published outside of the sources that feed the PRD?

I often reference Archives of Nethys.

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.

So odd. I struggled for weeks last year to put together an item.

I did it inside an hour this year. Now to polish it up.

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