Round 2 Assignment Questions--Taking Your Input


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion

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Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I am putting the finishing touches on the assignment for Round Two. I expect the assignment for Round Two will be posted at the same time that the top 32 are announced (but that isnt up to me, its up to Vic and Lisa and Co.).

So as I sit here finalizing the instructions, I was wondering if you all who might be working on this already had any particular areas you wanted me to make sure we address in the instructions.

I'll take your input, if you want. The turn around on this round is short so I'd rather get your input now.

Here are some basics, though I wont provide details.

*There will be a word limit that will apply to the entire submission.
*The country you design must be based on SRD content or content you create, it cannot use or refer to any existing or previously-published campaign setting, including Paizo content (this is different from the Open Call for wondrous items from Round One which could refer to Paizo content).
*There will be a list of content (such as name of country, etc.) that MUST be included in the submission. Everything else is up to you.
*A sample format will be provided, but it is not mandatory that you use it if you feel a better format will show off your creation to better advantage.
*The purpose of this round is to judge your creation abilities and writing talents. It is NOT meant for you to create content for Paizo Inc. or for any other existing or previously-published campaign settings.
*The submitted country must be for a fantasy campaign world, as might appear in a published gazetteer.

What other questions or issues would you like to see addressed in the official instructions?


For me personally, I would like to know if I need to stat out important people, how big an area it is (like are we limited to something the size of Idaho, the Pacific Northwest, or is the only limit what we want), and whether or not we can include spoiler information for adventures. Also, will there be limits on religions/alignments, or will that be taboo? Lastly, do we have to map out the country, or just describe it?

Thanks :)

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

storm_wolf wrote:

Lastly, do we have to map out the country, or just describe it?

Thanks :)

Good call. One of the major issues to be addressed, I think, is the question of maps: will the contest (as one of the other folks on the board earlier suggested) be a fill-in-the-blank competition, with a generic black and white map featuring a small number of icons (sans legend, obviously), or will we have to do without visual representation?

Maybe we could get a couple of maps? Six, perhaps?

I, for one, would need at least SOME level of imagery to “get” a country in a way I don’t need, necessarily, for an item or even a villain.

Just my $0.02, of course.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Clark Peterson wrote:
*A sample format will be provided, but it is not mandatory that you use it if you feel a better format will show off your creation to better advantage.

. . . and THAT answers all of my other questions. Perfect.


I have been feeling like the second round would be less like American Idol and more like Iron Chef, with the 32 contestents finding out at the last minute what sort of kingdom they would be asked to describe.
"If its chicken, Chicken a la King, if its islands, Islands a la King, if its mountains, Chicken a la King"
To paraphrase the great Bender.
My main concern was that the second round requirements would advantage contestents with a good collection of Paizo content source material, and from what Mr. Peterson says, that worry can be allayed.
I like the idea of providing maps, but as long as no maps are required as part of the submission, I see no need to do so. After all, nothing is stopping the second round contestants from doodling up a map of their own to reference as they create. The ability to convey with text alone well enough to obviate the need for visuals is the essence of good writing. Just look at how half-@$$ed REH's maps of Hyboria were. No one would suggest that the kingdoms of the Conan saga weren't well realized. Not while I was in the room, anyway.
A real sticking point would be the word count requirements. Would there be a maximum, a minimum, or both? There's only so much you can say about a country in 1000 words. just look at how difficult it was for some people to describe a simple magic item with 20% of that. With no upper limit, however, the contest will heavily favor the unemployed contestent, I suspect, as people will find it hard to vote against the entry that includes detailed descriptions of every settlement of Small Town status or better and a run down of 50 NPC baddies with adventure hooks.
Keep in mind if I am one of "the 32" that I have lots of free time and would totally go "shock and awe" on an unlimited word count, so, I'm just sayin', is all.
Much love and good luck
DD

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for the chance for input Clark. It may seem intuitive or obvious, but a frequent questions from this round seemed to be along the lines of "is everything included in the word count?"

To save questions later, might be worth spelling this out in painful detail.

The Exchange

Once completed the assignment is first looked at by the judges but only voted on by the community (including the judges?).

Could you outline what the purposes of the judges are in detail. The community voting seems alot freer but guideines may help everyone (including the Iron 32)?

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

If I get into the second round I just plan on randomly selecting a real country, looking up its Wikipedia entry and throwing in the words, 'elf', 'dragon' and 'sword of wounding'

:)


Set a high enough word count limit that entries will be distinguishable from one another and demonstrate the author's ability to cover everything that needs to be covered in a country.

Look at published country gazettes that you consider good and count the words.

Brevity is not the soul of wit when it comes to country creation. It should be complete (address everything that an adventurer would want to know prior to setting foot there) and leave the reader with the feeling that "hey, my PC needs to go there."

How long this needs to be depends on the nature of the country. A land of magic poor people under the thumb of (wizard of the week) needs comparatively few pages, the conflict is simple. If there is a conspiracy undermining the country, the conspiracy needs to be explained in some detail or the country makes no sense.

Based on my own head scratching, I would guess 5,000 words would be a good max. But the shorter you go, the less opportunity people have to stand out.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

neorxnawang wrote:


Based on my own head scratching, I would guess 5,000 words would be a good max. But the shorter you go, the less opportunity people have to stand out.

5000 words per person may be too much. All this content needs to be read by the public/voters and 160000 (5000 x 32) words may amount to that not every entry is read.

1000 words would amount to 32000 words....

And that is an amount ensuring that every entry is read.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Perhaps you could identify what you feel is necessary in the write-up, what you think is just a nice bonus (for example you said formatting in the Wondrous Items wasn't necessary but would help), and what you really don't need to see at all.

To me, building a fantasy adventure country not only requires that it be a place where fantasy adventures can happen, but also has some basic elements to help suspend disbelief that this, is in fact, an actual county. That means economics and trade, religion, race relations, tensions with other countries, internal strife, overall aggression versus static growth, history and lore.

Heh, now you might say, "Whoah, you're making this too complicated!" Maybe I am! :) But therein lies my question, there's a lot of information that could go into making a country. What is the priority? Because it's not about what I think is important, it's what you the Judge and Possible Editor think is important.

Example: In the first round you came to the boards and let people know that fluff didn't hurt your entry, but it wasn't necessarily helpful either. You established a priority. You also stressed that it should have a cool name. Also establishing a priority. I'm not complaining, I listened, and I hopefully benefited from it.

However the Judges might not have the time or opportunity to do that again, so it would be great to have a sense of what you consider to be a priority right away, and what might be just a waste of word count.

**************
Comment on maps.. that seems problematic with the deadlines, and I don't mean for the contestants but for the Tech Team. The maps will have to be hosted and visible. That means guidelines in size and memory count have to be established. Also, if maps become *optional* for one contestant, they might come across as *mandatory* for all contestants, if they're afraid of not competing on an even level. You start to come into a real uniformity issue by which people are supposed to evaluate entries. Finally the Tech Team has to be ready to handle all of these possible computer images in a short amount of time. Proceed with caution I humbly suggest.


I think maps would be difficult to say the least. With the possibility of images not making it, or links breaking down and not showing. I think it would hinder the writing and rules side more than help. One good map would be better than 100,000 words in picking the winner. Especially if the entries are far too wordy.

Lets face it, the community has less than a week to review all 32. I think most folks would, if faced with 32 ten page entries would run out of time. Or worse read one or two, get bored and vote then.

I think a lot could be done with 1000 words or less. Lincoln summed up the Civil War in 10 sentences.


Maps can change as ideas change, or improve with an artist, so I'd rather see it limited to just words for this submission.

How about a brief stat block? Things that are important like population? Also, are there any limitations on what you can create within the context of the country? Obviously you can modify SRD content as long as you only reference it (and with a short submission I wouldn't want to drill down deep into game design), but are there any "don'ts" with respect to style, content, etc?


I tend to agree with Watcher on every level on this. (Gasp! :-P)

A country is not a quality product unless it is comprehensive enough in light of the nature of the conflict it presents (and sometimes, the nature of the conflict requires discussion--sometimes a lot of discussion--about culture, trade, religion etc.) Which chews up a lot of words.

A short word count is going to skew the country submissions toward very simple, tried and true concepts: simple black and white conflicts, or travelogues lacking conflict (which is bad--the number one criterion for a country should be "why does my hero need to go here"?)

But with 32 entrants, it is going to be difficult for people to meaningfully read 32 fully-fleshed out, quality countries in the time frame allotted, wholly apart from the fevered efforts of people to write them.

To me, the country exercise seems like one that might have been better as the second-to-last round, because of the sheer volume of work and reading required. Countries IMO are way up there in importance of good game design ahead of villains and monsters (on which there is a limit to how varied they can be). To quote South Park, "Simpsons did it" is basically true. Clark made this point in another thread. Countries can set people apart, though, by allowing people to combine concepts in comparatively unique ways, and allowing a flair for wordsmithing. If there is enough working room to do so.

And if you make a map optional, I agree, in a voting-driven contest you are basically pressuring everyone into submitting one to keep pace.

I'll give you an example. If I pass to 32, I have a country, with a map, sitting on my hard drive. It is presently 8,500 words. It is basically written up like your standard Forgotten Realms/Greyhawk gazeteer entry. Maybe half of this is plot seeds, details I could take out, coverage of minor places that I could probably handwave or boil down to two paragraphs from two pages, etc. Rather than talk about "mysterious site x" in detail in an effort to get PCs to go there, I could say that the place exists and has not been explored recently.

A quick pass at that effort drug it down to 4,000 words. There are a few sites and things going on in the country that I could take out that wouldn't affect the core message or theme. My guess is that I could get it down to 3,000 words with gnashing of teeth.

I have another, shorter one that is maybe 4,000 words before any cuts get made. I could probably get it down to 2,000. But it just isn't as good or interesting. And it has a map too, that I would use if I could.

(As far as maps go, there are some shareware hexmapping products out there that produce old school hex maps in short order that are what they are, before you even get into things like CC3 or Dundjinni. Some are actually fairly visually appealing. But including maps turns it from a writing contest to an art contest, which I lose very quickly :-P)


I would perfer to the point of demanding of what a fantasy country is. A guideline to what is expected will help ensure responces are on key but still vital. When you say fantasy country, I think it could include things like

A Hard Sci-Fi Country (some will disagree but I think you can argue to lump sci-fi under fantasy not above or beside it)

A Steam Punk/Technomancy/Industrial Magic Country

A Alternative History Country (Germany Today, WITH OCCULTZIES)

A Renaissance version of the above

A Mid-evil ages version of the above

A middle ages version of the above

A Dark Ages version of the above

A Older/Different Version of the above ( entering Pulp , and sword and sandel territory here [I'm thinking Conan with pulp], or Sir Arthur Doyel [with his challenger line])

I think it would be really cool if you guys were as open as the word fantasy or peoples interpretations of it, if I'm out to lunch. I think a few of the possibilities here are probably not what you want. More clarification would be appreciated.

Silver Crusade

Maps are a big issue. I'd suggest restricting maps to one page. For various reasons _my_ maps would be easier than most, but I'm still worried that maps will matter too much. I do dislike the "here is a group of maps to work from" as I think it kills some ideas quickly.

Format is also a big deal. I'd prefer to be able to turn in a pdf rather than have to use the message board mark-up language. Tables and other things would be useful.

Word count is hard. I'd say whatever makes up ~4 pages in 12 point font single spaced. (4000 words?)

The definition of a country would be helpful. Is a nation that's part of an Empire acceptable? A state that's part of a nation? A duchy that's part of a kingdom? In Greyhawk I believe there are countries that are named duchies and in birthright there were no kingdoms per se. I'd prefer this be very open...

Mark

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

French Wolf wrote:

Once completed the assignment is first looked at by the judges but only voted on by the community (including the judges?).

Could you outline what the purposes of the judges are in detail. The community voting seems alot freer but guideines may help everyone (including the Iron 32)?

Primarily, the judges will be the first to comment on each entry, and in so doing, will be leading the discussion for future rounds. Also, as submissions arrive, the judges will determine whether or not each contestant has actually fulfilled the assignment, and will eliminate any entries that violate the rules. (Hopefully, though, that won't be an issue.) They'll also be crafting the assignments for future rounds. The judges are allowed to vote, but their votes weigh exactly the same as yours.

Beyond that, it's all up to the voting public!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Mark Brehob wrote:

Maps are a big issue. I'd suggest restricting maps to one page. For various reasons _my_ maps would be easier than most, but I'm still worried that maps will matter too much. I do dislike the "here is a group of maps to work from" as I think it kills some ideas quickly.

Format is also a big deal. I'd prefer to be able to turn in a pdf rather than have to use the message board mark-up language. Tables and other things would be useful.

Word count is hard. I'd say whatever makes up ~4 pages in 12 point font single spaced. (4000 words?)

The definition of a country would be helpful. Is a nation that's part of an Empire acceptable? A state that's part of a nation? A duchy that's part of a kingdom? In Greyhawk I believe there are countries that are named duchies and in birthright there were no kingdoms per se. I'd prefer this be very open...

Mark

There will be no maps. Entries throughout the contest will be through the messageboard interface. I'd advise not getting hung up on definitions—if we ask for a country, and you write something that the judges think is not a country, you've just written yourself out of the competition. Why take the risk?

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

I guess the only thing I have been struggling with is the definition of 'country' for the purposes of round 2. You can define country as any political entity that occupies a geography, or any geography that possessesone or more political entities. It could be a settled land by definition, or any frontier for which its settlers have a defined mission or purpose.

I am going to adapt one of my current ideas to whatever parameters you tell me, unless something in those parameters suggests a radical change in approach.

If you are testing writing skills, I suppose there should be either no maps allowed, or one provided by Paizo. Let our writing draw a map in the readers' minds. That may seem like a tall order, but it seems like good prose and cohesion of character might be the priorities for this round. We really need to describe something unique, remarkable, with synergistic or thematic character.

Can't wait to find out if I'm in. Can't wait to get rolling on round two. Can't wait to start designing my villain.

Off to scrub all Paizo IP out of my five countries.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Neffier wrote:

Lets face it, the community has less than a week to review all 32. I think most folks would, if faced with 32 ten page entries would run out of time. Or worse read one or two, get bored and vote then.

I think a lot could be done with 1000 words or less. Lincoln summed up the Civil War in 10 sentences.

You have an excellent point. Which leads to this unsolicited advice from me: regardless of the length we assign, prospective authors should plan to make sure that the audience has fallen in love with the submission before they've read 100 words. Hit hard from the first sentence and don't let go. If you have a sentence that doesn't serve to gain you votes, rewrite it or remove 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

Well, Vic's reply wasn't available when I submitted my thoughts. Thanks for the advice and information, Vic.

Back to scrubbing.


As Watcher! and neorxnawang have said, I think it would be best to allow for a high word limit in this phase.

However, word count is a personal style kind of thing and some writers can indeed get everything they want to convey out in 1,000 - 2,000 words. Others might need 10,000. Which is better? Whichever ones the voters like better I guess. From personal experience, I know that many people don't like to read. That being said, we all geek out big time on this stuff, so it shouldn't exactly be torture for anyone in this community to read "longish" country entries, right?

I tend to write a lot and go into detail on many different aspects of a country. I do this to prepare a player that reads the entry (and going with the assumption that I will have curious and information demanding players - the whole "why my PC needs to even bother to go there" is key) as well as to prepare myself for the myriad questions that come up in game play. DMs know what I'm talking about. If you you don't know the "why, how, and when" of just about every aspect (and aren't prepared to make it up on the spot) of your country (politics, how religions co-exist, major threats, exports/imports, etc.), your game can suddenly grind to a halt while you figure that out (worrying that you are not considering some vital detail that will come back to bite you later). Good old fashioned prep work on how the country works can go a long way for you.

That being said . . . something I'm wondering about is how important history is going to be for this write-up. I guess that is up to the writer eh? Some people can cover all the years of history of a country in a few sentences and some will need paragraphs. Only the voters can decide whether you've chosen a correct format or not. I am looking forward to seeing the example country entry though - at least as a starting point.


Will the next round contestants be able to save their work on the boards in private before finally turning it in for submission?

I like the sample format for setting a standard and the word limit for the wondrous items but an awful lot of time was spent discussing word limits for the contest and what exactly constituted a word.

Could we use another standard like the 2,000 word page standard and each contestant gets a certain amount of pages to work with since that is really the purpose for the word count in the first place the amount of pages you have to work with.

Take Cl 7 what exactly is that considered? IMO that could be considered 0 word Filler, 1 word or 2 words now multiply that through a manuscript and you could end up with a consensus that one or more great entries are over the word limit?

A picture can be worth a thousand words. Since the country is being "designed" to specifications for the Paizo contest like a country entry in a Gazettee, could Paizo provide a simple black and white world map with a few dozen numbered "open" countries or a few randomly generated large countries, small countries, land locked and islands? The country could be at the top of the thread and the contestants could say which country they were using. Could be interesting with identical countries picked.

Just a thought but after the contest is over those countries could be used to create the RPG Superstar world gazetteer. In the case of countries picked more than once the senior advancing contestant would have first claim to that country and Pazio could pick another open country for the other contestant.

Silver Crusade

Quote:
There will be no maps.

Good. I think that makes it harder in many ways. I can't think of a country (fantasy or real) that I've seen described without a map. But I think it makes sense here.

Mark

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Dark wrote:
As Watcher! and neorxnawang have said, I think it would be best to allow for a high word limit in this phase.

Well... Just to clarify.. I'm not exactly saying really high word counts are necessary..

But Clark really stepped up when the first round of entries came in and helped define future entries by offering some "do's" and "don't's", and if you listened to him- it paid off. I'm not trying to kiss his butt here, but if you were paying attention, he mapped the road to a better entry. He was able to do that because there was a long period in which entries were trickling in..

But Clark isn't going to be able to do that this round, with 5 to 7 days. I doubt many of the 32 will hand their entries in on the first day, and we won't get any insight based upon the judges comments on an early entry.

So if the judges want to help define what they're looking for, and what they don't need or want to see- they gotta give us that insight the first time out, if they're interested in doing that at all. They might consider that part of the contest.

I'll take the word count I'm given (and this not a put down to neorxnawang, because I do see his point as well).. But what I'd like to see is what is a priority for the judges. And if they can't really define that, fair enough, how about telling us what is not a priority?

Just my thoughts...

Scarab Sages

Clark Peterson wrote:


What other questions or issues would you like to see addressed in the official instructions?
Will you define country as:
  • an indefinite usually extended expanse of land
  • the people of a state or district

It must be clear if the 32 are designing for geopraphy or politics or both. Some people may be better at designing a country based on geography, designed expressly for exploration (e.g. the frontier). While others may excel at the development of a civilization and government along with cities and all the details.

I would like to see the criteria include both a description of at least one populated town, city, villiage, etc. where characters can go for some R&R and at least one known adventuring spot, where characters can go to hone their skills.

Word count should be kept small and challenging. Not more than a full page of text. You guys just got finished reviewing 1.7 million words in my rough generous estimate, so if you really feel like doing the same amount of work, I suppose you could allow 50K per submission, but I wouldn't :-)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

I think that they will go with a 700 word count. This is about the amount that will go on 1 page, I guess. I own the 3.0 Greyhawk gazetteer and all those entries are around that size.

As I've pointed out earlier, anyone gunning for 2000+ words is ignoring that the public has to read all those (32) entries.

Paizo is trying to attract new people, not drive them screaming away.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Beyond that, it's all up to the voting public!

This is obviously the key difference between the first round and subsequent rounds. I think it'll lead to a lot less angst over the exact nature of the rules and exactly what 3 particular people want.

This is sort of a technical question -- if every country is going to have the same name, what is the voting page (the ballot, if you will) going to look like? I would suggest something like the author name and possibly something like an author-submitted byline ("That One With the Lich", "The Land That Time Forgot", etc.) But that's just me.

The word limit is a bit tricky... in that I'm not sure there isn't anything in place other than courtesy to stop an author from writing a 20K word appendix to his entry in the forums. But it doesn't seem right to completely gag the authors if someone has a simple legitimate question about their entry. This might be, as they say, a theoretical vulnerability -- it might not come in to play at all. We'll see.

Cheers,
Roger


The list in Clark's first post answers about all of my concerns, though--in the unlikely event that I'm among the 32-- I'd much prefer a midnight deadline Monday night than a noon one this time around. I admit this is a self-serving request: I rarely go offline for more than 18 hours, but I'll have limited (or possibly no) internet access from the 29th to early afternoon on the 3rd. So it's either that or a rush job for me.

Looking forward to the next round, as spectator or participant.

Alex.

Scarab Sages

Darkjoy wrote:
I think that they will go with a 700 word count. This is about the amount that will go on 1 page, I guess. I own the 3.0 Greyhawk gazetteer and all those entries are around that size.

The SRD averages between 600 and 720 words per page depending on the section. I have seen posts where people have 20,000 words. That's a short story.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

DCII wrote:
Darkjoy wrote:
I think that they will go with a 700 word count. This is about the amount that will go on 1 page, I guess. I own the 3.0 Greyhawk gazetteer and all those entries are around that size.
The SRD averages between 600 and 720 words per page depending on the section. I have seen posts where people have 20,000 words. That's a short story.

Searching for an example I came across this thread:

http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/community/offTopic/aoWFANFICPortraitsL ure

The second post is 1250+ words, now imagine doing it 32 times. Now try to make an informed decision.

-----

ETA: How does one link? Is there a guide?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

Vic Wertz wrote:


There will be no maps. Entries throughout the contest will be through the messageboard interface. I'd advise not getting hung up on definitions—if we ask for a country, and you write something that the judges think is not a country, you've just written yourself out of the competition. Why take the risk?

But that's exactly the problem. For instance: City-States (Ancient Athens, Monaco, Luxemburg, the Vatican), yay or nay?

(Of course, if I didn't make the second round, it doesn't matter much to me.)

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Well, as if I wasn't already screwed on the popularity aspect...

People. Use your brains. Paizo will release the guidelines for the country. Read the guidelines. Then ask yourself "does my idea meet the guidelines?" If not, think of something new or take a risk that maybe it'll work anyway. Quit asking them to hold your hand and tell you exactly what they want. If you can't follow basic instructions and interpret what they want, I would imagine you're going to have a hard time in this industry should you make it to the final round.

Paizo: Awsome. Now that you're the RPG Superstar, we want you to write an adventure about demons invading an island.

You: What exactly is an island? Can it be a continent sized island like Australia? Or how about a moon! A moon is an island of matter in space! And are fiendish bunnies demons?

Paizo: Yeah, we're thinking a small island, and the demons are the core book demons, but if you've got a cool idea, run with it.

You: Sweet. Alright, well I'll need 50,000 words to adequately describe the island, including its ecology, the uses of the plants on the island, words in the native language of the pygmy frog people, and how it relates to its nearest political neighbors.

Paizo: But, we need an adventure. About demons. On an island.

You: Oh. What about a penninsula with a really thin link to land? Is that an island? What if the adventure is set underwater? Could the island be a pocket of air?!?!!

Paizo: Maybe you weren't the best candidate...

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 7

It is a competition, Sebastian. With 32 people given the task of 'Make a country', there might be a lot of similar stuff. Nobody want to be one of the clones, so they try to be original (Or at least semi-original. See my question about really small countries). But they don't want to write themselves out of the contest: It doesn't matter how cool your idea is if it doesn't fit the round.

When actually publishing, though, there can be a bit more give-and-take. And it's not a competition. In the case of individual Modules, the back-cover text can be changed. If you have a good idea, they can publish it. With more constrained adventures, like Adventure paths, then I can imagine your conversation there occuring (though in a more brainstormy-less crazy fashion).

(Disclaimer: I am not an author, publisher, or in any way an expert on these things. If my above assumptions are incorrect, please correct me. It's the only way I'll learn.)

In any case, the country guidelines, if there will be such a thing (I agree with you, there likely will be), should answer most of the questions being asked. But they haven't been posted yet, so people are trying to get a sneak peek so they can start writing.

I alternately play and judge in a Magic-card creation contest at MTG Salvation, which runs four rounds a month. There are elaborate corner case discussions with just about every round. It's natural.

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

As funny as this is, it should be acknowledged that one of the judges asked the candidates for their input. When a thread is established about my entry, I want the conversations to be about the research I put in, the dynamics of racial tensions in the area, or the special juicy details I've hidden for those who are paying attention. I don't want a dialogue on whether my entry is technically a country.

Remember: we aren't pleasing the judges from this point forward. We are pleasing the crowd. Sometimes the crowd moves in funny directions. I want the conversation focused on characters and GMs wanting to buy my setting, not on whether my setting fits the technical description of round two in their opinion.

Paizo Employee Senior Software Developer

CastleMike wrote:
Will the next round contestants be able to save their work on the boards in private before finally turning it in for submission?

No. You get the "Preview" button -- use it to check for bbcode tags not being closed properly and the like. Once you hit "Submit Post" you won't be able to see your entry anymore.

I recommend writing your country in a separate text editor, and copy & paste into the submission form. Anyone doing serious editing in the submission form is a fool, I tell you. A fool!

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Ross Byers wrote:
It is a competition, Sebastian. With 32 people given the task of 'Make a country', there might be a lot of similar stuff. Nobody want to be one of the clones, so they try to be original (Or at least semi-original). But they don't want to write themselves out of the contest: It doesn't matter how cool your idea is if it doesn't fit the round.

Yeah, but part of the competition is using good judgment and exercising creativity within the constraints provided. Part of that is interpreting what the judges are looking for. If you can't follow instructions and be original, you're probably not the type of person they're seeking.

Ross Byers wrote:
I alternately play and judge in a Magic-card creation contest at MTG Salvation, which runs four rounds a month. There are elaborate corner case discussions with just about every round. It's natural.

Yeah, but magic is a much more technical game. Plus, if you look at the Magic design contest run by WotC, I think you will see that they ran the contest in a similar manner - giving out assignments that required interpretation and judging people by how well they performed within those parameters.

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

"The second post is 1250+ words, now imagine doing it 32 times. Now try to make an informed decision."

Easy enough. Vote for Ancient Sensei. I'll make a geographic setting so compelling that it won't matter how you defined 'country', and reading it will basically be free of word-wear. You won't even notice that a thousand words went by. You'll just keep wiping the drool from your mouth and clicking refresh in the vain hope that I have added another thousand words in a new post.

Don't forget to go to work, take a shower, stuff like that.

: }

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

ancientsensei wrote:


Easy enough. Vote for Ancient Sensei.

The response to that can only be: Vote Darkjoy!


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Sebastian wrote:

Well, as if I wasn't already screwed on the popularity aspect...

People. Use your brains. Paizo will release the guidelines for the country. Read the guidelines. Then ask yourself "does my idea meet the guidelines?" If not, think of something new or take a risk that maybe it'll work anyway. Quit asking them to hold your hand and tell you exactly what they want. If you can't follow basic instructions and interpret what they want, I would imagine you're going to have a hard time in this industry should you make it to the final round.

Paizo: Awsome. Now that you're the RPG Superstar, we want you to write an adventure about demons invading an island.

You: What exactly is an island? Can it be a continent sized island like Australia? Or how about a moon! A moon is an island of matter in space! And are fiendish bunnies demons?

Paizo: Yeah, we're thinking a small island, and the demons are the core book demons, but if you've got a cool idea, run with it.

You: Sweet. Alright, well I'll need 50,000 words to adequately describe the island, including its ecology, the uses of the plants on the island, words in the native language of the pygmy frog people, and how it relates to its nearest political neighbors.

Paizo: But, we need an adventure. About demons. On an island.

You: Oh. What about a penninsula with a really thin link to land? Is that an island? What if the adventure is set underwater? Could the island be a pocket of air?!?!!

Paizo: Maybe you weren't the best candidate...

You so stole my lines.

;)
Triple G


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Darkjoy wrote:
ancientsensei wrote:


Easy enough. Vote for Ancient Sensei.
The response to that can only be: Vote Darkjoy!

The response to that can only be: Are you (or anyone) officially on the ballot yet?

Ah well, back to my non-Paizo deadlines.

TTFN
-GGG

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Sebastian wrote:

Well, as if I wasn't already screwed on the popularity aspect...

People. Use your brains. Paizo will release the guidelines for the country. Read the guidelines. Then ask yourself "does my idea meet the guidelines?" If not, think of something new or take a risk that maybe it'll work anyway. Quit asking them to hold your hand and tell you exactly what they want. If you can't follow basic instructions and interpret what they want, I would imagine you're going to have a hard time in this industry should you make it to the final round.

This was a pretty angry post Sebastian, setting aside what it was you actually were trying to communicate. You have something to say, but you elect to say it in a way that is pretty much intended to hurt somebody, make them feel stupid, and worthless for even asking a question.

What I think is uncool and unfair is the fact a Judge solicited the question. It wouldn't surprise me if the judges really did think some of the questions they're getting are stupid. But you know? That's their call. They only have themselves and their sense of professionalism to decide if they want to make a terse reply to a 'dumb' question, or just ignore it altogether. I don't think anybody needs you standing at the door, passing judgment and screening posts on their behalf.

It's the day before the results are in. People are excited. They're nervous. Cut them some slack willya? And for pity's sake don't discourage other people from asking a new question, because it might not fit your criteria of an 'appropriate question for someone wanting to break into the industry to ask.' This contest was open to almost anybody, and nobody should be stifled and silenced because you feel like being inpatient.

There's a lot of nervous, anxious people in this world in all sorts of jobs. They have a lot of energy and creativity, and they work really hard. Their contribution to the world is just as meaningful as that of the cool, the collected, and the sarcastic.

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

Great Green God wrote:
Darkjoy wrote:
ancientsensei wrote:


Easy enough. Vote for Ancient Sensei.
The response to that can only be: Vote Darkjoy!

The response to that can only be: Are you (or anyone) officially on the ballot yet?

Ah well, back to my non-Paizo deadlines.

TTFN
-GGG

Have faith, Triple G! We do! :}

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

Ooh! I want to be cool, collected and sarcastic!


Vote for the best!

(If it has my name on it, then cool. ;) )

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Watcher! wrote:


There's a lot of nervous, anxious people in this world in all sorts of jobs. They have a lot of energy and creativity, and they work really hard. Their contribution to the world is just as meaningful as that of the cool, the collected, and the sarcastic.

No one's ever called me cool before! Woot!!!

You were calling me cool, right?

And here I even edited that post to make it nicer!

Sovereign Court Contributor

<puts ancient sensei in the fridge with all the others>

Sorry, I can't help you with the sarcastic.


You can vote for the best or you could vote for Sanjaya.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Back on thread.

I don't believe there is anything more that could be said now until the official outline is released with word count, optional format, etc.... later tomorrow. So until then to those 3.7% of entrants who make it to the next round. Good luck.

G-Cube

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