Round 5: Submit a Sodden Lands Adventure Proposal

It has been a difficult gauntlet, filled with perils and labors, but now our Final Four face the greatest and last challenge of RPG Superstar Season 9: design a complete proposal for a Pathfinder Module. As in previous rounds, the judges will comment on each entry and the general public will vote on their favorites.

The author of the submission that receives the greatest number of votes is named RPG Superstar Season 9 and gets a production deal for a Pathfinder Module. The intention is to publish the module outlined in the submission, so make sure what you present is not only popular with the general audience, but also publishable by Paizo. Paizo reserves the rights to make changes to the adventure during the editing phase, and will work with the chosen RPG Superstar to develop the best possible adventure product.

Pathfinder Modules are 64 pages and the winning adventure will end up being to 32-40 pages in length. The remaining material for the book will be filled with additional content appropriate for the adventure and its location, such as monsters and magic items. (Paizo will provide this additional content. Some of this additional content may come from earlier rounds of RPG Superstar Season 9; if so, the authors of that content will be paid for their work and credited in the module!)

Your proposal should take the form of an outline for a location-based adventure in the Sodden Lands appropriate for level 5 characters. You can use an existing location in the Sodden Lands, or you can create a newly-discovered area (or at least newly discovered by the PCs and, obviously, the conditions under which it is discovered). While it is acceptable to include elements of other kinds of plots, the focus for this adventure is a place or collection of places that makes for interesting adventures within the Sodden Lands.

Your proposal should accomplish the following two tasks:

  1. Convince the judges that you have the stuff to provide a logical, exciting, sales-generating adventure that truly fulfills your promise as an RPG Superstar.
  2. Garner the votes of the general public, who vote on the adventure they would most like to see published.

Accomplish this in no more than 2,000 words. If you don't have to use that many words, don't. There's no minimum this time, no map element, and no need to use material from earlier in the contest (though you can if you wish). Make sure you pitch an adventure you believe you are both able and excited to write, and make sure it isn't be boring. It's time to be a Superstar!

The following topics are to be considered mandatory:

  1. The adventure's proposed title
  2. The recommended starting level of the adventure (which must be 5th), and the level most PCs will be when they complete it successfully (in most cases this is 8th level).
  3. An outline of the adventure's overall plot including information on the setup, summaries of important locations in the adventure, a few spotlight encounters (not necessarily all of them fights), important enemies, and at least one bit of intriguing, original treasure. The Top 4 have already been provided information on pitching their adventure for review by the Creative Director so as to steer away from problem ideas and locations.
  4. The concept for a new monster involved in some way with the adventure.
  5. The concept for a location that is crucial to the plot and most of the action with the adventure, such as a ruined keep, enemy stronghold, or monster lair.

Like all Pathfinder Modules, the winning adventure will be placed in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting. You should set your module in a Sodden Lands location (in Golarion) that you feel comfortable writing about. You do not have to use any element (wondrous item, archetype, villain, or lair/map/encounter) of any previous round of this contest.

One hint: Your adventure must fit in 32-40 pages, and must be appropriate for 5th level characters. It may be tempting to aim for something big and epic, but your adventure must fit this page limitation. A typical 32-page adventure has about 20 encounters (including non-combat encounters). If your proposal looks like it requires much more than that to get the job done, it's almost certainly too long. Also, despite the location, don’t try to explain, explore, or end the Eye of Abendego or have the major campaign mysteries of Golarion be part of your adventure. Anything that major already has plans for it.

Another hint: Remember that at 5th level, PCs have access to abilities like delay poison, detect thoughts, invisibility, locate object, fireball, fly, speak with dead, and water breathing. Humanoid warriors are barely a threat, a Large fire elemental is an "average" difficulty encounter, and a missing object can be found with a simple spell. A gang of goblins or orcs isn't much of a threat, even a few ogres are an easy fight, and murder mysteries are easily solved by talking to the corpse. You need to tailor your adventure, its encounters, and its challenges assuming a well-built group of 5th-level PCs. The judges will hit you hard if your proposal isn't an appropriate challenge for these PCs.

Last and most important hint: Make the proposal awesome!

If this round's rules seem simpler than previous rounds, it's because they are—these basic requirements are all a Superstar should need to get the job done. You've earned the right to show us what you can do.

Proposals are due at 11:59 PM on Thursday, October 22, 2015. Public voting begins on October 26 and ends on October 29. The winner of this season's RPG Superstar will be announced on October 30. Work will begin immediately with the winner to set up a schedule for the writing, development, editing, and eventual publication of the winning adventure.

Good luck to the Top 4! Soon one of you will be the RPG Superstar!