Reasons I love this contest:


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion


I'm not a fan of reality TV shows (though I did watch a season of Last Comic Standing), this contest has me checking this board several times a day.

Questions, observations, musings…

1.Contestants now have a portfolio: Are voters looking at each round exclusive of the others, or are voters weighing the contestants’ work in former rounds? The ‘country’ and ‘villain’ rounds were comprehensive and revealing in terms of each contestant’s abilities.

2. Stylistic decisions: Are the contestants writing for the audience, or just trying to write the best piece they can for that round? Do what gets votes or go for what you do best and hope that puts you through? It seems that the core, traditional swords and sorcery ideas are losing out to more alien, far-out, let’s-stretch-the-imagination ideas. What are voters looking for- the fresh take on a traditional theme (such as Joe Outzen’s Kotalya villain entry) or the new and imaginative (like Boomer’s Cackling Whirlwind)?

3. The celebrity judges: Reading the comments of these gaming professionals is enlightening, to say the least. Each seems to view the entries from a particular standpoint: Wolfgang Baur sees them primarily through a DM’s eye, Clark Peterson as a player, and Erik Mona as a writer/editor. Not exclusively, of course, and the judges’ comments show they consider every aspect of each entry. But these ‘leanings’ are neat.

4. Cool or un-cool? Some who are eliminated have posted their entry to be judged by the message board. Is this anyone’s chance to be critiqued, or does this take away from what the remaining contestants have accomplished?

5. I could not do this: Even if I had half the talent and knowledge of the top 32, I don’t think I could produce the quality ideas the winners have produced given the time constraints )oh, gawd the time constraints), word limit and scrutiny. That's pressure, man.

By the way, congrats to the Top 32 and subsequent winners. And thanks- you’re all providing a boatload of ideas and inspiration to this audience.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

I'm just glad to know that you love this contest as much as I do - and for so many of the same reasons.


I have heard different things about #1. I personally go round by round, ignoring the prior round's work.

#2? I think they're just trying to write good stuff. And honestly, in the FRPG realm, where most things have been done at least once, if not well, unusual concepts will get attention. But then again, look at one of the villain winners, Hetty. Not what I would call anything like Abzirael at all. Both are good.

#4? Point for discussion. One could argue that folks are trying to show off. Or one could argue that those who didn't advance want to join in the fun and get a lot of feedback. (Don't most of us who DM and write for RPGs love getting people looking at our stuff?) I chose not to post anything personally, but that was mainly due to having other things doing at the holidays.

I'll say this. I do check every day, and the contest has generated some very good discussion and insight.


Selfishly, it has given me a chance to steal a lot of cool ideas for my game.

Many of these ideas are great on their own or fit into my game with a little modification.

There was a director of the patent office about 100 years ago that was quoted as saying, "That's it, their is nothing left to invent." (not an exact quote I guess) This contest has reminded me again that there are plenty of cool ways to tweak my game.

Goo

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

rjjr wrote:
2. Stylistic decisions: ... It seems that the core, traditional swords and sorcery ideas are losing out to more alien, far-out, let’s-stretch-the-imagination ideas.

Part of that may be the inclunation of the three judges, who selected the 32 winners of Round One on cool concepts, rather than pedestrian but solid mechanics; and who have urged "superstars" to push the limits. I keep seeing comments like, "This is a good, balanced entry, which might be enough to move you along, but for next round, I want to see what you can really do."

I think the judges are looking for entries that capture the imagination, that make people say "Wow. Of course. I never would have thought of that, but in retrospect it makes perfect sense!" Like The Empire Strikes Back.

And so sometimes we see things that make people say, "Wow. I never would have thought of that." Like Highlander II.


1. I vote mostly based on this round, but of course I notice what the people have been doing before...though on the next round portfolios have grown to the size that I can really start judging them, so I'd say they become more and more important.

2. Personally my style is to go for rather mundane, non-epic style, keeping it simple, so some of the more outlandish entries do alienate me. And as I don't care for epic gaming, making entry suitable for 1-14 level gaming is a huge plus.
But I still demand that "wow, this is great!" feeling so skillfully done less imaginative entry still loses to fun idea (I think this cost the ogre mage my vote). But mileages do vary, obviously.

4. Well, this is a community. I and others have been throwing around content, house rules etc here before, and this gives quite concentrated area for such thing (maybe too concentrated, I haven't had energy to comment on several country entries etc...)

The Exchange Kobold Press

Chris Mortika wrote:

I think the judges are looking for entries that capture the imagination, that make people say "Wow. Of course. I never would have thought of that, but in retrospect it makes perfect sense!" Like The Empire Strikes Back.

And so sometimes we see things that make people say, "Wow. I never would have thought of that." Like Highlander II.

A point to Chris Mortika for totally hitting the nail on the head. This contest is a high-wire act and a circus sideshow. Splashy and weird are decent ways to get noticed at first. They are also terrific ways to wipe out completely.

I'm fascinated by the way contestants chose to use psionics in the Villains round, a move I would never have predicted as a winning strategy. And I'm even more fascinated that the voters, by and large, seemed happy to reward quality in a rules subsystem that's clearly a minority interest.

I'm loving this contest!

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Forged Goo wrote:


There was a director of the patent office about 100 years ago that was quoted as saying, "That's it, their is nothing left to invent." (not an exact quote I guess) This contest has reminded me again that there are plenty of cool ways to tweak my game.

While that story isn't actually true, it IS a fantastic yarn - and at the end of the day, I play Dungeons & Dragons. I don't NEED something to be "REAL" to be COOL.

The funniest part, of course, is that the quote-unquote "quote" comes from seven years BEFORE the patent of the "flying machine" by the Wright Brothers, which led to possibly the most important legal battle over patents in our country's history.

As it stands, it's a great metaphor, and a tonic to the obnoxious claim that there's nothing new under the sun. Certainly, that may be correct - but new ideas are derived from putting old things together in unexpected ways.

Without brilliant organization, a microchip is merely sand.

From Ask Yahoo:

The story that's most often told is that in 1899 the head of the U.S. Patent Office sent his resignation to President McKinley urging the closing of the office because "everything that could be invented has been invented." It's been told and retold so often that even President Reagan used it in a speech.

The "quote" is often attributed to Charles H. Duell, who was Commissioner of Patents in 1899. However, according to The Great Idea Finder, Duell was far from pessimistic about the future of new inventions and patents. He even encouraged Congress to improve the patent system.


magdalena thiriet wrote:


2. Personally my style is to go for rather mundane, non-epic style, keeping it simple, so some of the more outlandish entries do alienate me. And as I don't care for epic gaming, making entry suitable for 1-14 level gaming is a huge plus.
But I still demand that "wow, this is great!" feeling so skillfully done less imaginative entry still loses to fun idea (I think this cost the ogre mage my vote). But mileages do vary, obviously.

The 'simple' is where my sensibilities are too. Your point is well stated- I debate between the 'wow' factor and the 'I'd use this tomorrow' factor.

magdalena thiriet wrote:


4. Well, this is a community. I and others have been throwing around content, house rules etc here before, and this gives quite concentrated area for such thing (maybe too concentrated, I haven't had energy to comment on several country entries etc...)

...and with this contest, ideas are bound by structure and requirements, as opposed to someone who posts in any ol' thread an idea for a country to get some feedback. It's being judged in this thread- pretty cool.

I see the 'wannabe' posts as the undercard, with the remaining contestants as the premier bouts.


I most love this contest for two reasons.

1. I get things that spark my imagination. Honestly, the thigns I dont like often spark more than the things I do, ebcause they cause me to knee-jerk to a new idea I like better. And i doubt losers would normally get so much air time, so this is great fior me.

2. The judges. Not only do I love me some Necromancer and Paizo (and now I want Kobold Quarterly, which I hadnt heard of before this), but their commentary is often very insightful. In some cases, it casues me to rexamine my own game or campaign ideas in a new light, which has improved my games. (Which are off the norm as anyone reading my campaign journal can see). I wouldn't get that kind of color commentary analysis of game design anywhere else.

If anyone wants to see what I mean about my games, check out my campaign journal elsehwere on the messageboards.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Sheyd

It's taken me a day or so of thinking before I posted here. I wanted to have my thoughts in order and the hectic days between holidays are when most of my original players come in (visiting their families) and we get together to bash out the new year with a blast of D&D.

Firstly I love this contest because it, from the 'Oh why not' thought I had when I entered it, has drawn me to actually POST more than once or twice a season. I'm not one to state my views or share my thoughts often, or easily at least not on a messageboard. I lurk and will occasionally pipe in when something singular has caught my attention so for drawing me out of my shell I tip my hat to this contest, to Paizo and IMHO to the best forum community on the net.

Secondly while I have come to expect great things from Paizo and those that linger on this forum, This contest has given me the privilege of seeing some great creations (And to -yoink- those that fit into my current campaigns ;) ).

Thirdly for actually getting me to FINALLY pick a forum Avatar. Yay!! :)


thatboomerkid wrote:

While that story isn't actually true, it IS a fantastic yarn - and at the end of the day, I play Dungeons & Dragons. I don't NEED something to be "REAL" to be COOL.

Though in field of physics at the late 19th century there was lots of talk that physics was "ready", everything was known and what was left was just some finetuning...and new students were even discouraged from starting to study physics as there was nothing new to be found.

And in couple of years after that Becquerel and Curies find radioactivity, Röntgen finds X-rays, Rutherford, Bohr et al start studying structure of atoms, Einstein comes up with theory of relativity...guess Newton was just a scratch on the surface after all.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Spar

It just goes to show that the best way to get new material is to say to someone, 'its all been done before, you can't find something new."

BTW did any of the top 16 use or have they ever heard of the Villains Handbook for Kingdoms of Kalamar?

I love this contest. It has made me look at my normal gaming style and push it that much further. And I gave become a Bommer fan :)

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 8

Spar wrote:

It just goes to show that the best way to get new material is to say to someone, 'its all been done before, you can't find something new."

BTW did any of the top 16 use or have they ever heard of the Villains Handbook for Kingdoms of Kalamar?

I love this contest. It has made me look at my normal gaming style and push it that much further. And I gave become a Bommer fan :)

I have heard of it, seen it even, but found it lacking. I felt that between my imagination, the BoVD, and a background of enjoyment of gothic horror and Ravenloft. Actually, I found the BoVD lacking as well, bought it for completeness sake, and found it best for creating "monsters" not villains as it was more a shock and gore-fest than anything else.

Also, I too have become a Boomer fan. Those PSAs are great.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

All of the above.

I have to add, this contest has gotten me much more involved in these message boards then ever before. I dig the dialogue, and am especially appreciative of the judges and Lisa Stevens participating.


From an artistic (technical) aspect this IS form as function. The rise of community driven collaboration for commercial purpose has been growing since the late 90s, and in many ways the RPG industry has led the way.

This just keeps that avenue flowing, offering a beautiful example of how art can be derived through a society effort. Really, for those interested in some of the philosophy behinds what's happening Wikinomics and the Kairos Journal are great places to start.

And, yeah, there's some great design occuring - and maybe some better criticism.

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