Announcing RPG Superstar Season 9!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hi, I'm Owen K.C. Stephens, the host of RPG Superstar. Welcome to the beginning of Season 9!

You probably already have some questions!

Once again, we'll be doing things a little differently for RPG Superstar. First, as you may have guessed, the next contest is happening MUCH earlier in the calendar year than before. This time we are starting the Open Call round next Friday, August 7th. We'll run five rounds total to find our winner, who will be announced October 30th. There are lots of reasons for the scheduling changes, not the least of which is that fans, potential contestants, and judges can't participate when we hold it over the holidays.

Every year there are some folks who would like to be involved, but don't hear about the contest until after it's gotten started, so we're announcing it early! The hope is that by announcing the schedule in advance, we can encourage fans to help get the word out and increase the chances that everyone who wants to be part of this event can do so. We also announced the new schedule at the "Be the Next RPG Superstar" panel yesterday at Gen Con.

It's also worth noting that we've switched to "Seasons" of the contest, rather than attributing each to a year. Since this is the ninth RPG Superstar contest, we're calling it "Season 9." That's a change in name only, since we've already crowned Monica Marlowe as Superstar 2015. We thought it was important for the folks involved in the both 2015 and Season 9 to know they don't have to “share" Superstar titles and achievements.

The above are only a few of the things that we've changed up this time. How we determine the Top 32 and our 4 alternates is now going to be decided exclusively by the popular vote. We'll have the same comparison voting we've done for the past several years, but the bottom few percentages of vote-getters will be culled out every few days. Once voting closes, we'll also provide a list of the items that fell short of this mark, but landed in our top 100 entries in alphabetical order. For the first time, all the voting for the Open Call is entirely in the hands of the fans. Our Open Call judges will give feedback about the Top 32 because we know how important that feedback is to a lot of people, but not until after voting is over.

Here are a few more Season 9 details:

  • The Open Call round has changed to: design a wondrous item, magic armor, or magic weapon
  • We're allowing 50 words of description for the maps in Round 2
  • We're going to have some pre-generated maps contestants must use for their encounter design in Round 4.

Exact rules for later rounds will be available as the contest progresses. The main thing to know for Open Call is the category of items to submit, that we aren't allowing siege weapons, intelligent items, or cursed items, and that the only rules contestants should reference are those available on the PRD.

We also have a wonderful line of judges lined up including two return RPG Superstar winners, some interesting challenges, and many fewer last-second twists than last year. Which isn't to say we may not have more twists in the future! I believe making sure we don't get into a rut is important, but for now, the earlier contest schedule and revisions to Open Call are plenty of change.

So get your calculators and graph paper ready, warm up your playtesting dice, and spread the word for everyone to prepare for RPG Superstar Season 9! You can find more information on the main RPG Superstar page.

Owen K. C. Stephens
Developer and RPG Superstar Host

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Tags: Contests RPG Superstar
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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, 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

Holy moly! Super early! Glad I checked in.

So uh...*sheepish grin*. Sorry about dropping off the face of the earth last time, everybody. Life got weird and busy for about half a year. But I'm back and will be active. :)

EDIT: I'm liking the changes! It seems progressive and in line with what the community was asking for. I hope the voting method will be good for the judges' sanity as well.

My mind and body are ready. Let's do this.


*starts sharpening some pencils and digging out research materials*

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

2 people marked this as a favorite.

*shuts off loud music playing at the Top 32 Guildhall and Beach House*

"Okay, party's over. Everyone squatting in the Guildhall needs to go. The Superstars will be here on Friday... Yes, this Friday... No, you can't sleep in the back room while the contest is taking place... Everyone who isn't here for Superstar needs to clear out by Thursday afternoon at the latest. The Guildhall opens for business on Friday."

Scarab Sages Developer

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Feros wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Okay, stupid question time, does magic armor refer to only armor or to both armor and shields? Since they're usually grouped together like armor/shields.
Last time around it included all shields, so no reason to assume otherwise.

To be clear and official: shields are considered armor for purposes of this round of this contest.

So, yes. :)

Scarab Sages Developer

Scott LaBarge wrote:
So going forward, is RPGSS going to be every 6 months, or irregularly scheduled, or what? I'm curious how it will be timed after this.

It absolutely won't be every 6 months.

Everything else is dependent on enough factors that I can't give you a firm answer. It has technically been "irregularly scheduled" each year all along, but that schedule always hit roughly during the holiday season. We don't know yet if this is a move we are sticking with for a long time, or not.


Thanks for all the heads up Owen, looking forward to a great competition year, I shall do my best not to disappoint.

Marathon Voter Season 9

So just to confirm, this would be specific armors and weapons, not qualities?

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
So just to confirm, this would be specific armors and weapons, not qualities?
Open Call Rules wrote:
Magic armor and weapons should be presented as a specific armor or specific weapon, not stand-alone special abilities (such as keen or bashing).

EDIT: I would go so far as to say, since special qualities are their own section under magic armor and weapons, and no magic armor or weapon posted on the PRD details a specific quality within the item alone, you should not attempt to do so either.

Marathon Voter Season 9

Yeah, I just found that. Thanks, works for me.

Dedicated Voter Season 7

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I promise i'll add something to the reject pile this year!

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

BigNorseWolf wrote:
I promise i'll add something to the reject pile this year!

Just shoot it by me first and I will do a quick pass if you want BNW. It would be a shame if I had to add your item to the list of items I have reported for DQ. I think I am almost to 70 items over the last 3 years...

Dedicated Voter Season 7

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
I promise i'll add something to the reject pile this year!
Just shoot it by me first and I will do a quick pass if you want BNW. It would be a shame if I had to add your item to the list of items I have reported for DQ. I think I am almost to 70 items over the last 3 years...

I usually see them after the cull so not THAT reject pile.

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

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Are there workshop groups? And if so, how does one join them?

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

So to be clear are choices for magic items are wondrous, weapon, armor, and shield only correct?

Sovereign Court Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

I think I've got just the thing to enter. Just need to run it past a few other sets of eyes first.

It's okay, it's not going cost bonkers GP, or turn into a CR 3 creature again! >.>

Also, Dragon78, I think as long as you read over your construction requirements and your required feat is either "Craft Magic Arms and Armor" or "Craft Wondrous Item", you'll be in good shape. Shields fit in the category. But I would definitely go with to word of one of the people of staff for that.

Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8

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I just want to say good luck, we're all counting on you.

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

I am excited about RPGSS per my normal exuberance, however I do have one small request.

Could we please get either the format example fixed, or confirmation that it is the same format-wise as last year?

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

Wow. Glad I checked in today. I'll enter for sure, but I think I liked the holiday schedule better. The other changes are ok with me to some extent.

I wondered why they did not dispense with the judges picking through the top 100 or so before, though this way might make the cabal theory more likely. I guess we will see how many top voters are also in the top 32. But it probably balances out and I support it. In any case the next few rounds will weed out the pretenders if there are any.

A number of small culls are definitely better than one large one.

I like the item types allowed. It gets rid of people gong for "hard mode" of staffs and rods. It is less restrictive than last year. There will be very few items that should have been a different item type this year.

I'm glad all five rounds are back.

Not sure how active I will be on the forums or in the post 32 critique, but we will see. Good luck, everyone!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Scott LaBarge wrote:

So nice to see twists affecting *other* people this time around!

Looking forward to watching and rooting for people from the sidelines. It'll be interesting to see how this change of timing affects the competition.

Right? It was kind of fun watching the looks on the faces in the crowd from the panelist table when Owen made the announcement. I'm sure I'm going to hell for chuckling.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Hmm. I was just looking for the Round 2 rules of the last contest, but they seemed to have disappeared (presumably so contestants for this one ('season 9') don't read the wrong set.)

I was looking since I have a feeling that the Round 2 rules of the last one said one thing, then the judges proceeded to do something entirely different when marking the round, which rather put me off (well, that and the moderator deleting a post I made to try and cheer up someone to whom the judges had delivered a darned good kicking).
:(

Oh well...

It's possible to find them, but it's incredibly difficult. You have to find the original forum post that has the rounds enumerated on the upper right hand side. I did a little digging and didn't see it, but that is where you will find the rules and they are still in here somewhere, because I had to find them for previous years for various reasons. It may be because they are rolling out Season 9 a little early that Season 8/2015 isn't archived completely yet.

I'm not sure what you mean by the rest of your comment, but the rules are still here...just finding them could be a challenge.

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

R Pickard wrote:


I wonder how this announcement being so close to Gen-Con will affect participation. I expect a lot of would-be participants are still in Indy and unlikely to be checking the boards as often as they usually would. Although perhaps they're advertising it at Paizo's table? If not, perhaps they should.

The first people to know about the change were at the RPG Superstar panel, so they had a leg up on everyone briefly ;-)

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I dig the Hall of Fame page. The winners and their work deserve to be shown off! It's also a great resource for future contestants.

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

Mike Kimmel wrote:
I dig the Hall of Fame page. The winners and their work deserve to be shown off! It's also a great resource for future contestants.

Agreed. 'Tis very cool :)

I wish we could also see the Top 4 that have done PFS Scenarios. Hall of Fame implies more than just the winner. :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Yay! I was wondering when Mamaursula would show up! Superstar's not the same without you around.

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Scott LaBarge wrote:
Yay! I was wondering when Mamaursula would show up! Superstar's not the same without you around.

Then you should know how she operates by now... she lurks in the muddy waters, pops up like a navy seal command and wastes your...

*urk*

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

I know there's not much time between the close of voting and the posting of the items the next day, but I hope last year's Final Four are brought back as guest judges/commenters for the Round 1 entries. I really used to enjoy that in previous contests.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

The changes are all cool. Allowing 50 words of description on the map is a HUGE help, and I suspect it will lead to much more interesting maps.

The top 32 being all voting I'm a little mixed about, but it's worth experimenting to see what happens. It definitely shapes my thinking about what I'll enter.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Also have the subjects of the rounds been announced or is that still up in the air?

Is it Item, Map, Monster, Encounter, Proposal?

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rusty Ironpants

Well from Owen's blog post above, we know rounds 1, 2 & 4. Nothing has been confirmed for rounds 3 or 5. Although the last round has always been the adventure proposal.

Community & Digital Content Director

The rounds on the contest page are the confirmed rounds, but more details will be available as each round draws closer :)


Just clarifying, no staves right?

EDIT: Never mind, just found confirmation. No staves, rings, rods, or wands. Got it. Back to the drawing board.


Terrordactyl wrote:
Just clarifiying, no staves right?
Owen K.C. Stephens wrote:
The Open Call round has changed to: design a wondrous item, magic armor, or magic weapon.

Scarab Sages Developer

R D Ramsey wrote:
Is it Item, Map, Monster, Encounter, Proposal?

Details will be forthcoming in advance of each round, but yes.

Star Voter Season 9

I'm going to echo people from earlier posts, but I was surprised to see RPGSS starting so soon this year! I don't check my mail often, so I only coincidentally happened upon the roll call this year when I was talking to a friend about it and got to work to make sure I could enter this year (missed out SS2015).

Are people usually nervous doing this sort of contest? I think I'm gonna be an insomniac all week until the voting happens and either I get voted up or I bomb in the polls! Either way, look forward to being involved for the first time despite what could be a busy schedule in the near future.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Logan Ehntholt wrote:
Are people usually nervous doing this sort of contest? I think I'm gonna be an insomniac all week until the voting happens and either I get voted up or I bomb in the polls! Either way, look forward to being involved for the first time despite what could be a busy schedule in the near future.

In 2014 when I made it to the top 4, I suffered from insomnia, especially during the encounter round. Oddly enough, that also was my most successful round.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, 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

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Either that, or I'll resubmit the beardforge now that the cruel judges can't blatantly ignore the overwhelming will of the people.

Ah Beardforge. Seriously one of my favorite items ever. You were robbed, Garrett!

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

RPGSS is one of my favorite times of the year, even if I'm not competing. Weapons, armor, or wondrous items will be an interesting round 1 this season. Can't wait to see the goodies claw their way to the top.

--So you wanna be a Vrock superstar?

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

Arrow quiver full of pencils, check.
17 spiral note books made into breast plate, check.
700 lbs. of coffee, check
9 gum erasers made into a buckler, check.
tinfoil helm, check.
longbow made from 204 paper clips and 23 rubber bands, check.

Now ADVENTURE!

Final verdict of shop-keep who sold the stuff, it must be SuperStar RPG season!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, 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

That reminds me. We'll have to make some new traditions, since we can't do a holiday theme... No more 12 days of Superstar. :'(

Beach party?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Petty Alchemy

Back to Superstar?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Halloween will slip in there. Back to school too, alas.

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

I'm sure I can think of something to amuse you all... I'll do my best.


I think I'll skip this one. The lack of feedback available on the last one was a bit too irksome. They should at least let ya know what the votes were on your item, and roughly how that compares. Not even getting that data just made it too uninteresting to me.

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

5 people marked this as a favorite.
zlefin wrote:
I think I'll skip this one. The lack of feedback available on the last one was a bit too irksome. They should at least let ya know what the votes were on your item, and roughly how that compares. Not even getting that data just made it too uninteresting to me.

There's plenty of feedback of the useful constructive criticism kind in the "critique my item" thread (which should also give you a sense of the general reception).

At the risk of sounding preachy--which is not my intent, but I recognize this could be read in that tone--what's "interesting" about this contest is the tremendous design practice and experience you get and the opportunity at exposure. If that's not "interesting" enough alone, then it's probably not the contest for you. Indeed part of freelancing is learning to deal with the fact that you don't always get the response or communication you'd like.

Star Voter Season 6

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Whoa! I just saw this in my e-mail. I almost missed it since this is such a crazy-busy time of year for us Florida teachers who have just started up our classes again and are trying to get everything going well. With the RPGSS schedule shift and the short notice, I doubt I'll be able to enter this year. I don't have much extra head space right now. However, I love the contest, I love seeing all the familiar friendly avatars posting here, I like most of the contest rule changes, and I'm looking forward to cheering everyone on when I have the time. I encourage anyone who's uncertain to give it a try. Go, RPGSS! :)

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

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Welcome back Lady Firedove. Unless you mean you won't be able to finish future rounds, an item you complete in one day's time has a better chance than no item at all. Indeed, such pressure often brings out the ingenuity :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Tothric

Seriously, enter an item. I wish to learn from all the peoples. The more people that enter: the more I can observe and learn.

Dedicated Voter Season 9

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
R D Ramsey wrote:
Is it Item, Map, Monster, Encounter, Proposal?
Details will be forthcoming in advance of each round, but yes.

I understand we will get more details soon, but does anyone know how to find the details for the map round from last year's Superstar? I'm new to RPGSS and I've been looking around at past submissions. I found the actual maps that people submitted, but I couldn't find the rules for that round.

I'm not presuming that I'll advance to the top 32, but if I do I'd like to have planned a little beforehand, if possible.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka ChesterCopperpot

mbauers wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
R D Ramsey wrote:
Is it Item, Map, Monster, Encounter, Proposal?
Details will be forthcoming in advance of each round, but yes.

I understand we will get more details soon, but does anyone know how to find the details for the map round from last year's Superstar? I'm new to RPGSS and I've been looking around at past submissions. I found the actual maps that people submitted, but I couldn't find the rules for that round.

I'm not presuming that I'll advance to the top 32, but if I do I'd like to have planned a little beforehand, if possible.

I wouldn't get too caught up in last year's map rules, as they look to be changing a bit for this year. From what Owen said, it's going to be a map that fits on a Flip Mat and you will have 50 words to describe it.

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

I couldn't find them either, I think they are in a space between limbo & archives at the moment. As Matthew Pointed out, they have mostly changed. One thing I would like to play with is the dpi, memory size, and the technical side of things. Those are likely going to match previous round 4 rules however, which should be available through the archives.

FWIW mbauers, I would look at the entries themselves, the rules might change but good maps are good maps, and bad maps have commentary. :)

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