Word Count


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion

1 to 50 of 94 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

Is anyone else out there having trouble with the word count? I have finished mine and it comes in at 450 words.
Do we need a back story for our item? If not I can trim nearly 200 words, but it doesn't make as much sense without the backstory.
Man... 200 words is a killer.

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Try telling the back story in only 2-3 sentences. Much more than that and you are telling a real story, not describing a magic item. Remember that brevity is the soul of wit.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

I submitted mine at about 160 words or so. No backstory. You might want to consult the SRD and look at how brief the item descriptions are - basically the same as from the DMG. They have a sentence or two on the physical description, and the rest is just the abilities of the item and construction requirements. The backstory and history of an item weren't introduced until later formats like the DMG II and Magic Item Compendium.

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
JoelF847 wrote:
I submitted mine at about 160 words or so. No backstory.

I managed 131 words with backstory. Personally, for new magic items or unusual magic items, I like a little backstory. But you are right. The SRD has no stories in it to speak of about anything.


Nope. I had trouble pushing it over 150. Cost was a little iffy for me: taken one way, my item was about 3400, taken another, 54,000.


mwbeeler wrote:
Nope. I had trouble pushing it over 150. Cost was a little iffy for me: taken one way, my item was about 3400, taken another, 54,000.

So how did you decide? Split the difference?


My question is does the name of the item count towards the word count? May not be a big deal but what if someone is submitting: Ghost Touch Gauntlets of Slightly Ogre-ish Power and Improved Grappling.

No that's not my idea but now that I think of it it's kinda cool. Unfortunately there's words left for a description.

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

Talion09 wrote:
mwbeeler wrote:
Nope. I had trouble pushing it over 150. Cost was a little iffy for me: taken one way, my item was about 3400, taken another, 54,000.
So how did you decide? Split the difference?

I always suggest let the DMG be your guide. Find an item(s) of comparable power/requirements/and check your results against those. You often see an average cost for your item. The lists of items in the DMG by cost, also help as you can usually see where in the chart your item might fall too.

After that I suggst a dartboard and a whole lot of postits.

-Jeremy

Scarab Sages

Ragwaine wrote:

My question is does the name of the item count towards the word count? May not be a big deal but what if someone is submitting: Ghost Touch Gauntlets of Slightly Ogre-ish Power and Improved Grappling.

No that's not my idea but now that I think of it it's kinda cool. Unfortunately there's words left for a description.

The rule of thumb that I've used when freelancing is this: if you have any doubts whether or not something counts towards your word count, immediately assume that it *does* and go from there.

Even if you're wrong (in this case, if the name of the item doesn't count), you still can't be disqualified for being slightly under your allotted word count. And it's written well enough, those ten words you didn't use in your word count shouldn't make or break your entry. Just choose your fewer words with greater care.

Marathon Voter Season 8

In another thread they say everything counts.


Does "DC 20" count as 2 words or 1?

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 aka Fatespinner

Ragwaine wrote:
Does "DC 20" count as 2 words or 1?

Every time you hit the spacebar, you are starting a new word. For "DC 20" that would be 2 words.

Marathon Voter Season 8

It used to be that a word was 5 charactera, with a "W" counting as two-and-a-half characters, and an "i" or "l" counting as half.

That kind of thing.


Jeremy Clements wrote:
Talion09 wrote:
mwbeeler wrote:
Nope. I had trouble pushing it over 150. Cost was a little iffy for me: taken one way, my item was about 3400, taken another, 54,000.
So how did you decide? Split the difference?

I always suggest let the DMG be your guide. Find an item(s) of comparable power/requirements/and check your results against those. You often see an average cost for your item. The lists of items in the DMG by cost, also help as you can usually see where in the chart your item might fall too.

After that I suggst a dartboard and a whole lot of postits.

-Jeremy

What kind of gamer answer is that? lol

Just roll a random handful of dice, its much more accurate than a dartboard ;-)


I use Word 2k7. My word count feature said 200 words, including the 1 line "sales pitch" description. Will they throw out submissions with 201-205 words... probably not. I think the spirit of the word count is to prevent the 3000 word submissions and to really make you think about your submission. If you can't make it cool and understandable in 200 words, will people actually bother using it in game?

With all that said, I wouldn't chance going over.

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
Otter77 wrote:
. I think the spirit of the word count is to prevent the 3000 word submissions and to really make you think about your submission.

Huh.

And here I thought the 200 word count was to see if you could follow instructions and deliver a product within the parameters specified.


What a pain. My original word count was about 475. Then I got it down to 200 and realized that in the weight specification I had put "weight 1b." That had to be changed to "weight 1 lb." and I was suddenly back up to 201!

The writing's definitely not as elegant as something I would normally write but it is consice.

The Exchange Kobold Press

As a judge, let me just say that we have already rejected some entries for length. You want that item to be concise.

I'm not gonna ding you for 1 word over, but Mona might. :)


Sorry for the delay, conked out after cutting apart a few metal items into tiny pieces. :)

I ended up running with the less expensive cost, rounded up a little. Item + spell + spell *.75 + component, rather than spell * 50 + component * 50. The hardest part was deciding if the item is actually "Casting" the spell, rather than the effect just being delayed more or less. What it does "is" powerful, but it isn't game breaking, depending on the specifics of how things (don't want to be more precise than this after last time) work in your game, plus it does have some serious downsides.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Word processors have "word count" features. Use them.

Remember, designers have to both have great ideas and be able to write to specifications. Following instructions is part of the test, people.

Think "inspiration + professionalism". One without the other isnt good enough.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I just reread my post and it sounded a bit harsh. I dont want to seem that way. I am trying to help :)

I just want to make sure everyone knows that when there is a rule we really want people to follow it. Please check your word count. :)

Good luck everyone! I am really having fun reading the submissions.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

Clark Peterson wrote:

I just reread my post and it sounded a bit harsh. I dont want to seem that way. I am trying to help :)

I just want to make sure everyone knows that when there is a rule we really want people to follow it. Please check your word count. :)

Good luck everyone! I am really having fun reading the submissions.

Oh I quite understand the reasoning behind it and have cut it down to 200 words.

I was just saying that the item has changed slightly from what I intended and the item loses some of it's "wow" when it doesn't have it's back story attatched. So what might have been a good item with a story to back up why it does what it does, now may only be an average item because what it does makes less sense (if that makes any sense to you).

Cheers

Grand Lodge Contributor , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Hi! I'm new here at the Paizo boards, but I've been a D&D geek for almost 20 years. When a friend told me about this RPG Superstar thing, I knew I had to create an account and submit something.

Anyway, word count can be a pain, but it's good to remember that conciseness is a virtue in all writing, be it either technical writing (which is my profession) or prose. RPG rulebooks combine elements from both ends of the spectrum: well-defined rules elements and juicy bits that give flavor, and both are equally important. The trick is to intertwine your fluff and crunch.

My entry will be 90-100 words, complete with backstory and an adequate amount of crunch and fluff. The first draft was longer, but I slept on it and re-wrote it. Writing is an iterative process - don't post anything in a hurry!

Good luck, everyone!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

That is excellent advice. Good writing is rewriting.

That said, you dont get graded down in the submission is 199 or 200 words. That meets the guidelines. So dont feel like you have to be way under 200. You dont.

It is literally this--is it 200 or less, yes or no?

If no, its probably getting rejected (if I have to go to word count to reject it; generally entries that are blatantly over word count have other weaknesses). Like Mr. Baur, if it is 1 or 2 over, I probably wont notice.

Dont give me an excuse to reject your submission. I had one that was kind of blah. And the word count looked a little large to me. I word counted it. It was over (not just by 1 or 2). It got rejected. It was a no-brainer.

I know there are some out there who say--"but my genius simply cannot be demonstrated with less than 225 words." Guess what, yes it can.

Clark

Grand Lodge Contributor , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Yeah, I guess it very much depends on how complex the item is. Mine is fairly straightforward which explains the low word count. Now it's submitted and I'll keep my fingers crossed until the 28th. =)


I thought briefly about some sort of background story, but as I turned to the wondrous item section of the d20srd I realized that there are none there. They simply explain what the item is, what cool feature it has, how it functions, what a crafter would need to create it and how much it costs.


DM's have a tendancy to want to backstory each and every thing we create. It's ingrained into our psyche's from years of trying to make the fantastic seem real. It's not really a bad thing, but it is something to be aware of.

"where did the 50 foot slime monster come from, how does it breed, what are its goals?" Then all the players want to do is kill it... but that was the whole point, right?

I'm with you. I dont think I ever created a magic sword without a backstory. But my players wanted to know what it could do, not where it came from.

There are, of course, exceptions. I have players that love backstory as much as I do- as well as those that just want to kill the 50 foot slime monster with their new sword...

Grand Lodge Contributor , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Few items in the SRD have backstories, but that's no reason not to write one for your item. Backstories are flavorful and if there's a bard or loremaster in the party, you may allow them to make knowledge checks and then tell them the story. The story may link the item to a quest or an NPC... ahh, the possibilities: infinite.

In short: Backstory is what makes your item cool or badass.


Serpent wrote:
In short: Backstory is what makes your item cool or badass.

On this point, I'll have to disagree. While I enjoy the history of items in game, it is the functionality of the item that makes me want to purchase it for my character. When was the last time any of your characters bought or used an item because it had a really cool story?

In an extreme example, which of the following 2 would you pick?

Candlestick A

History:
Candlestick A has an illustrious history. It belonged to 7 generations of kings and 3 democratically elected rulers of the kingdom. It dutifully lit the chamber in which it was placed until the last ruler, in a drunken stupor, inadvertently knocked it over, starting the fire that led to the complete decimation of the kingdom.
Function:
It holds a candle.
Special:
It looks pretty.

Candlestick B

History:
Candlestick B was crafted by a wizard and sold to a merchant.
Function:
It holds a candle.
It looks pretty.
On command it functions as a daylight spell.
Once per day, it can cast fireball as a 20th level wizard.
Once per day, it can cause purple raindrops to fall from the sky.
On command, it grants enough experience for it's owner to reach level 20. You win the game. Also, you win at life.

I know which one I'd pick.

Grand Lodge Contributor , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Ok, I exaggerated a little, just like you did in your example =)

Let's have another example (ok these are weapons, but they illustrate my point):

+1 Scimitar of Frost

This beautifully crafted scimitar deals an extra 1d6 cold damage on a successful hit.

vs.

Icingdeath

Wulfgar of the Icewind Dale and Drizzt Do'Urden, an outcast drow, battled Ingeloakastimizilian (called Icingdeath by the barbarian tribes) and were able to defeat the near-invincible dragon. In its lair, Drizzt found this beautifully crafted blade and claimed it as his own and named it Icingdeath after the slain dragon.

When activated by a command word, Icingdeath deals +1d6 cold damage on a successful hit.

Badass, aye?


Much cooler for flavor, I agree. It comes down to play style I suppose. In a campaign it would be cool to design portions of it around Icingdeath. Perhaps Drizz't lost the sword in a battle or he rewarded the party with it for some help. If you (or your DM) like(s) to include High Profile NPC's in the story, items like that make great contributions. But I think they approach on the territory of artifacts, like the Books of Vile Darkness, and Exalted Deeds.

I suppose I am looking at this whole contest differently. The task set forth was to create a wondrous item with respect to the examples provided in the d20srd. To me, this is analogous to going to the supermarket to buy food. I buy food because I need to eat, not because I enjoy the process in which it is produced and its journey to the store. This is not to say that some people don't do just that.

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
Otter77 wrote:


In an extreme example, which of the following 2 would you pick?

Are we allowed to pick both.

The first sounds like a really cool antique/conversation piece. The second sounds like a really neat tool.

The world needs both.


Otter77 wrote:
items like that make great contributions. But I think they approach on the territory of artifacts, like the Books of Vile Darkness, and Exalted Deeds.

That's exactly my problem. All my favorite creations have back stories like this, so much so that when I started re-writing my first choice I realized it really was an artifact.

So then I moved on to my second choice and that had a lot of background. All of it had to be dropped so I could just squeeze in at 200 words the description and functionality.

Fortunately I think the item is pretty unique so the back story is not mandatory. If you're going to make up something that does the same thing as other items, let's say combines them. For example a helm that gives +2 Strength and +2 will saves. You need back story to make it interesting. Other wise it's just boring. Useful, but boring. You'd never catch me giving it out in one of my games without a story behind it.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I dont want to tell people what to do or not do. And a line or so of flavor is fun. But we asked for wondrous items.

Ask yourself: Is there even a single wondrous item in the SRD or DMG that has such a personal background as the example above for Icingdeath? I dont think so. We want wondrous items, not artifacts.

Just trying to help! :) Everyone have fun. This is an awesome contest!

Clark

Grand Lodge Contributor , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Clark and everyone else, thanks for the comments. Well, Icingdeath was an exaggeration from my part to illustrate my point, as was Candlestick B from Otter77. Power level wasn't the issue I meant to address so much as the importance of appealing flavor. I meant that if there were two mechanically identical items to choose from to use in my campaign, I'd pick the one with more interesting flavor. I'd probably not use Icingdeath in my campaign, but it certainly is a more interesting item than a plain +3 frost scimitar (in 3.5, Icingdeath is just a +3 frost scimitar, i.e. not an artifact).

I actually only used one sentence for backstory in my entry; the rest of the text is supposed to support the flavor of the backstory and vice versa.

Hehe, is your wondrous item going to be a trick or treat? ;-)


Both...


I hear you Serpent, and I even agree with you. I'd much prefer an ancestral weapon to any vanilla + weapon out there. I have a whole campaign designed around 2 intelligent swords that are at war with each other.


Otter77 wrote:
I have a whole campaign designed around 2 intelligent swords that are at war with each other.

That's so cool! Now what can I do with that idea? Hm....

Marathon Voter Season 8

CassandraE wrote:
Otter77 wrote:
I have a whole campaign designed around 2 intelligent swords that are at war with each other.
That's so cool! Now what can I do with that idea? Hm....

You can buy the issue of Dungeon which basically already has that adventure in it.

Contributor

Does showing your work, as far as calculating price, count against the word count?

I assume it does not, but I thought I'd put it out there as I'm sure someone else may have the same concern.


EP Healy wrote:

Does showing your work, as far as calculating price, count against the word count?

I assume it does not, but I thought I'd put it out there as I'm sure someone else may have the same concern.

I asked that question on another thread... well, actually I asked if they wanted us to show the work for calculating price...

Alas, I think it got lost in the posting frenzy after the contest was announced.

However, I'm fairly sure we don't have to show our work, as it isn't specified in the entry rules.

Liberty's Edge

Most likely they are going to check your whole item description for word count from beginning to end. So it would be best to assume that from the name to the last word you type should be under 200. They only want to read 200 hundred words and thats it.

Contributor

Nani Wahine wrote:
They only want to read 200 hundred words and thats it.

That's a long item description! :P


EP Healy wrote:
Nani Wahine wrote:
They only want to read 200 hundred words and thats it.
That's a long item description! :P

You'd be surprised how quickly you get to 200. Don't forget that if the item has a spell function, you need to add caster level info and the other details that are needed for a crafter to make the item.

Dedicated Voter Season 6

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Vic Wertz has said in the Format Question thread that EVERYTHING counts towards the 200 word limit.

The Exchange

Nani Wahine wrote:
Most likely they are going to check your whole item description for word count from beginning to end. So it would be best to assume that from the name to the last word you type should be under 200. They only want to read 200 hundred words and thats it.

50 words in that post. 200 is not a large amount of words to discribe how various powers interact in an item.

Either keep an item simple or keep the rules for it simple.
Just a suggestion.

FH

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Short of the long: 200 words is not a hard direction to follow. There is no crazy formatting, no instructions about how the item has to fit in a particular world, nothing about how there must be 3 discernable plot hooks in your item's description, and no restrictions on using the letter "e" (yes, there is a writing contest out there where you can't use the letter "e").

If you can't encapsulate your idea in 200 words, how can you be expected to follow more difficult instructions?

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

For those saying you cant blow us away in under 200 words, take note:

Last night we got a submission that was a name, two lines of text and then one line of the crafting, price, etc. And it was without doubt one of the best items we have seen.

Thats not to say we want these submissions short. You arent penalized if you use all 200 words. Write what you think you need to. But be mindful of the word count.

Believe me, great items can be designed in 200 words. Heck, the one I was talking about above was under 90 words and it was really great.


Serpent wrote:
In short: Backstory is what makes your item cool or badass.
Otter77 wrote:


On this point, I'll have to disagree. While I enjoy the history of items in game, it is the functionality of the item that makes me want to purchase it for my character. When was the last time any of your characters bought or used an item because it had a really cool story?

I had a player in my campaign who had been granted a huge undeveloped tract of land (several acres). He traded it to a local merchant for a tiny house in the warehouse district because the home had once belonged to the original founder of the city.

1 to 50 of 94 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2008 / General Discussion / Word Count All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.