Round 5 Rules -- Your input needed


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion

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

I'm for it being as open as possible. No word limit, etc. This is where superstar judgement kicks in. Or doesn't, and they're out. It's an entirely appropriate time to move to that method.

The map is a bit of a concern, since quality almost certainly will influence voters, and time is pretty short.

Having said that, I'm going to personally count off for anyone that seems to be trying to win with their pretty map. :-)

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Clouds Without Water wrote:


I'm for it being as open as possible. No word limit, etc. This is where superstar judgement kicks in. Or doesn't, and they're out. It's an entirely appropriate time to move to that method.

The map is a bit of a concern, since quality almost certainly will influence voters, and time is pretty short.

Having said that, I'm going to personally count off for anyone that seems to be trying to win with their pretty map. :-)

Well I should be perfectly safe then... :)

It'll be clean, simple, and clear, but I'm not entering the beauty contest.

Liberty's Edge

Clark Peterson wrote:
Hi again!

Hi Clark!

Clark Peterson wrote:

We are contemplating letting people use a map. Would you like to upload your own or have us post a selection of maps and then you could use the one you want? What do contestants and voters want?

No maps! I don't want this to turn into an art contest or cartography contest ... I suppose pre-gen maps would be ok, but could potentially stifle creativity. The 'design an encounter' section of the Gamemastery Open Call that was held mid last year did not have provision for a map, I don't see why this needs to.

Clark Peterson wrote:

How about stat blocks? Tired of them?

As a reader and voter of these entries I have serious stat block fatigue. AND I don't want this section of the comp to be a re-hash of "design a villian" or "design a monster". I would say that monsters in the encounter should be either a) found on the Hypertext d20 SRD site, or b) taken from a previous round of this contest. Do not include the stat blocks, just reference where they are from.

Clark Peterson wrote:

How about word count?

Somewhere between 1500 and 2500 words.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Sheyd

While it might be moot at this point, I feel the need to comment on this.

Maps: I think they are a necessity to an encounter. Be it a dungeon-born cultist temple or a wilderness ambush site for bandits the players need these to determine what to do. The DM needs them to get a better handle on the tactics of said encountered beasties.

Stat Blocks: As stated many times they're important if the creatures used are somehow different then the standard ones in the MM however if they're just 10 goblins as written there's no need to jumble up the encounter write up with redundant stat blocks.

Word Count: I think there should be no limit. This would be a test to see if the top 6 can put things down in a way to get what you need yet still have room for spice and fluff as necessary.

As a personal suggestion/aside, I think it was Vic that said it best, If you can't grab the reader in the first 100 words you can't grab them in 1000. Encounters have to engage me quickly so I think this is the best advice one can give to the round 5 contestants, Hook us quick!


Sheyd wrote:


Maps: I think they are a necessity to an encounter.

Stat Blocks: As stated many times they're important if the creatures used are somehow different

Word Count: I think there should be no limit.

As a personal suggestion/aside, I think it was Vic that said it best, If you can't grab the reader in the first 100 words you can't grab them in 1000.

I agree on all these points!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Here are the proposed rules:

RPG Superstar Round Five Assignment: Design an Encounter

For this round, contestants must create an encounter of publishable quality that is part of a larger adventure that is both usable and memorable and keyed to a specific location, as would appear in an actual published adventure. There is no word limit for the encounter submission, but it is strongly encouraged that submissions be XXX words or less excluding stat block content.

1. Mandatory Content: All encounter submissions must include the following content:

Title: A submission must have a title, which could be a room name or location name or encounter name or other evocative title for the encounter as would be found in an actual published adventure.

Encounter Level: A submission must include an Encounter Level for the submitted encounter. There is no minimum or maximum limit on the EL of the encounter for this round.

Map: Contestants must create and submit one map for the encounter. Relevant locations should be keyed on the map and a key provided, with description of important locations in the text of the encounter. [[Instructions for submitting the map]]. Artistic merit of the map itself should not be a factor, but submitted maps must be legible and neat and contain all necessary information from which a cartographer could create a professional map illustration for a published adventure. You may not submit more than one map.

Read Aloud Text: A submission must include at least one portion of “read aloud” text meant to be read as is by the DM to the players. You can choose to include more if you like. There is no minimum or maximum word requirement for this read aloud text. The amount of read aloud text is up to the contestant, but each submission must include some read aloud text.

Descriptive Text of the encounter containing conflict and/or interaction: The encounter must include conflict or interaction between the PCs and some obstacle, be it enemies, monsters, antagonists, opposing forces or groups, the environment, a trap, a roleplaying event, etc. An encounter need not necessarily be a combat encounter (though nearly every encounter should have the possibility of combat). Further, an encounter can also be an event so long as it is keyed to a map location. The descriptive text of the encounter, as keyed to the map, will likely comprise the bulk of each submission.

Reward: The encounter submission must include a reward or benefit of some type other than XP, whether it be treasure from the looted bodies of the monsters, a hoard of magic items, or some other benefit even if intangible.

XP Award: Appropriate notes must be provided for any XP gained from the encounter.

2. Stat blocks: As with a published adventure, submissions may include stat blocks for monsters or traps, etc. However, they are not required and should not be provided for monsters or other content that is used without modification from the SRD. In such instances, simple reference to said content is sufficient, such as: “Hell hounds (4): 45 hp each, see the MM.” It is appropriate, though not mandatory, to provide stat blocks for key NPCs or monsters with class levels or that have been modified in some way, such as by one or more magic items. Contestants should at all times be guided by what they would find in an actual published adventure.

3. Format: There is no mandatory format. Contestants may use any format they desire to present their encounter, though submissions should be in a format appropriate for a published adventure. Headings for the above mandatory content are not required, nor is any particular order or manner of presentation required.

4. Context: The submitted encounter should be considered to be a part of a larger adventure. As such, references can be made in the submission to things that might exist outside of the encounter that are not fully described.

5. Limitations: The following limitations apply:

No “Boss” Encounters: The purpose of this round is to design an interesting intermediate encounter, not the “boss” encounter of the adventure. Otherwise we would have a bunch of encounters with red dragons or Orcus or Tiamat or Kyuss, etc. That is not what this round is about. An excellent example (though perhaps a bit on the small side) of the type of encounter we are searching for in this round is the hydra encounter in the Pit of the Seven Jaws from the Shackled City Adventure Path.

No new monsters, items or other new content: This is not an item or monster creation round. Do not create new feats or powers or poisons either.

Use content from the SRD: as found at d20srd.com. You may not use content from earlier rounds of this content.

Entries must be submitted through the submission tool at paizo.com/rpgsuperstar and must be received by noon Pacific time on January XXX, 2008. Fan voting for Round Five begins January XXX, and ends January XXX. The four (4) contestants advancing to Round Six will be announced January XX. Maps for this round must be [[submission instructions for the maps]].

All prior contest rules apply, except as modified above. Full contest rules can be found here. The RPG Superstar FAQ can be found here. There is no specific FAQ for Round Five. The final six should know what they are doing by now.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Looks good as gold, Clark.

The contestants, whoever they may be . . .

*wishes on a star, crosses fingers, waits with baited breath for noon Pacific time*

. . . are going to find this round challenging, memorable and fun.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

Hi Clark,

Looking at the proposed rules, I noticed a couple of thing that might use a little more clarification.

Clark Peterson wrote:
Map: Contestants must create and submit one map for the encounter. Relevant locations should be keyed on the map and a key provided, with description of important locations in the text of the encounter. [[Instructions for submitting the map]]. Artistic merit of the map itself should not be a factor, but submitted maps must be legible and neat and contain all necessary information from which a cartographer could create a professional map illustration for a published adventure. You may not submit more than one map.

I think it's clear that you don't want maps of twenty different rooms, but does one map mean someone can't include a second map of the same area from a different perspective (like a side view)?

Spoiler:
For example, J1 Entombed with the Pharaohs has a normal map of the dungeon, but also a side view of Room 10, The Tomb of Ankana, to show the workings of the trap in that room.

Clark Peterson wrote:

Context: The submitted encounter should be considered to be a part of a larger adventure. As such, references can be made in the submission to things that might exist outside of the encounter that are not fully described.

Use content from the SRD: as found at d20srd.com. You may not use content from earlier rounds of this content.

Again, it's clear that you don't want new creations, but is it possible to use non-mechanical content mentioned in another round's entry, such as locating the encounter in one of the countries (such as Yithnai), or referring to a group or person mentioned, but not described, in a previously round (such as the Utograf of the Stained Peaks)? Any sort of location or other things "outside of the encounter" would not involve game mechanics and therefore be non-SRD anyway, but it might be good to clarify.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Do what you want with your one map. But lets not turn it into 5 maps in one.

Dont refer to other content such as items or monsters from prior rounds. But if you want to refer to general content, that is fine (names, themes, locations, etc).

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

Good show, Clark. Thanks!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka SmiloDan

I'm looking forward to some interesting terrain features on these maps!

I run a swashbuckling campaign, and the combats are really fun when there are chandeliers to swing from, bannisters to slide down, ropes to climb, tables to jump on, pits to leap over, and chasms and blazing fires to bull-rush folk into.

Maybe look to American Gladiator for inspiration.

Another fun encounter I played in involved a stone golem and a big cliff. We didn't have any adamantite weapons, so we came up with an elaborate scheme to lead the golem to the edge of the cliff, cast grease under its feet, stoneshape the floor into a ramp, and a combination of my scout lassoing it, jumping off the cliff while Enlarged (w/ weight x8), and having the paladin bullrush the golem down. I also had a 1-use ring of flight I had been wearing for 6 levels for just such an occasion.

So I guess I'm also looking forward to combat situations that require lots of planning and plotting, and possibly scheming. Not just a toe-to-toe fight where blows are traded.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Clark Peterson wrote:
Map: Contestants must create and submit one map for the encounter. Relevant locations should be keyed on the map and a key provided, with description of important locations in the text of the encounter. [[Instructions for submitting the map]]. Artistic merit of the map itself should not be a factor, but submitted maps must be legible and neat and contain all necessary information from which a cartographer could create a professional map illustration for a published adventure. You may not submit more than one map.

A suggestion for all the contestants: take a look at the encounter maps in Expedition to the Demonweb Pits. Those are ideal, in my opinion, and could easily be duplicated in terms of style without having any ranks in Profession (artist).

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

REVISED rules:

(changes are: word count was increased, but you still wont get to see it until released; clarified that maps can be hand drawn or made by computer; removed the example; changed to allow contestants to use content from prior rounds of the contest)

RPG Superstar Round Five Assignment: Design an Encounter

For this round, contestants must create an encounter of publishable quality that is part of a larger adventure that is both usable and memorable and keyed to a specific location, as would appear in an actual published adventure. There is no word limit for the encounter submission, but it is strongly encouraged that submissions be XXXX words or less excluding stat block content.

1. Mandatory Content: All encounter submissions must include the following content:

Title: A submission must have a title, which could be a room name or location name or encounter name or other evocative title for the encounter as would be found in an actual published adventure.

Encounter Level: A submission must include an Encounter Level for the submitted encounter. There is no minimum or maximum limit on the EL of the encounter for this round.

Map: Contestants must create and submit one map for the encounter. Relevant locations should be keyed on the map and a key provided, with description of important locations in the text of the encounter. [[Instructions for submitting the map]]. Artistic merit of the map itself should not be a factor, but submitted maps must be legible and neat and contain all necessary information from which a cartographer could create a professional map illustration for a published adventure. You may not submit more than one map. The submitted map may be hand drawn or prepared using a computer program.

Read Aloud Text: A submission must include at least one portion of “read aloud” text meant to be read as is by the DM to the players. You can choose to include more if you like. There is no minimum or maximum word requirement for this read aloud text. The amount of read aloud text is up to the contestant, but each submission must include some read aloud text.

Descriptive Text of the encounter containing conflict and/or interaction: The encounter must include conflict or interaction between the PCs and some obstacle, be it enemies, monsters, antagonists, opposing forces or groups, the environment, a trap, a roleplaying event, etc. An encounter need not necessarily be a combat encounter (though nearly every encounter should have the possibility of combat). Further, an encounter can also be an event so long as it is keyed to a map location. The descriptive text of the encounter, as keyed to the map, will likely comprise the bulk of each submission.

Reward: The encounter submission must include a reward or benefit of some type other than XP, whether it be treasure from the looted bodies of the monsters, a hoard of magic items, or some other benefit even if intangible.

XP Award: Appropriate notes must be provided for any XP gained from the encounter.

2. Stat blocks: As with a published adventure, submissions may include stat blocks for monsters or traps, etc. However, they are not required and should not be provided for monsters or other content that is used without modification from the SRD. In such instances, simple reference to said content is sufficient, such as: “Hell hounds (4): 45 hp each, see the MM.” It is appropriate, though not mandatory, to provide stat blocks for key NPCs or monsters with class levels or that have been modified in some way, such as by one or more magic items. Contestants should at all times be guided by what they would find in an actual published adventure.

3. Format: There is no mandatory format. Contestants may use any format they desire to present their encounter, though submissions should be in a format appropriate for a published adventure. Headings for the above mandatory content are not required, nor is any particular order or manner of presentation required.

4. Context: The submitted encounter should be considered to be a part of a larger adventure. As such, references can be made in the submission to things that might exist outside of the encounter that are not fully described.

5. Limitations: The following limitations apply:

No “Boss” Encounters: The purpose of this round is to design an interesting intermediate encounter, not the “boss” encounter of the adventure. Otherwise we would have a bunch of encounters with red dragons or Orcus or Tiamat or Kyuss, etc. That is not what this round is about.

No new monsters, items or other new content: This is not an item or monster creation round. Do not create new feats or powers or poisons either.

Use content from the SRD: as found at d20srd.com. You may also refer to content from earlier rounds of this content if you wish.

Entries must be submitted through the submission tool at paizo.com/rpgsuperstar and must be received by noon Pacific time on January XXX, 2008. Fan voting for Round Five begins January XXX, and ends January XXX. The four (4) contestants advancing to Round Six will be announced January XX. Maps for this round must be [[submission instructions for the maps]].

All prior contest rules apply, except as modified above. Full contest rules can be found here. The RPG Superstar FAQ can be found here. There is no specific FAQ for Round Five. The final six should know what they are doing by now.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Wait, not to be a stickler or anything, but you say we can "refer to" content from earlier rounds of the contest.

Does that mean we can USE the content (as in saying, such and such bad guy has a crown of the breaching legion that he will use to boost his summoning powers) or "encounter, 4 hernes (hp 39, see In the bleak midwinter entry) and 4 winter wolves (hp 36, see MM)"

Or, does it mean we can REFER TO that content "These 3 mummy lords are in service to the menacing Abzirael the Cackling Whirling and are trying to bring back the infamous Migrus Locker to his secret lair in room #42 to complete his plan for world domination?"

In the first case, the content is integral to the encounter.

In the second, it is incidental, just a particular brand of flavor text.

Which is the correct interpretation of the "prior RPGSS content" rule for this round?

Thanks.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

It means "use" as you describe it.

I chose "refer to" because I dont want you reprinting it in your encounter (ie, all the details of the migrus locker, or the stat block of the haemogoblins, etc).


Clark:
Some of your superstars are concerned on whether or not they're allowed to comment on Round 4, now that voting has closed and answer questions/comments or not? They've started a thread asking if this is okay? (Some of them are concerned by an apparent change in the roun 4 rules from what may have gone previously, and I expect it would help them put their minds at rest if you could make sure that this is clear for Round 5 as well, while you're at it.)

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Erik said it was OK in another thread. So if Mona says it, it is so!

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

I'm excited about round five. This is where the rubber really meets the road and we find out who's who.

I can't wait to read these entries!

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

I suggest prohibiting artwork and text from the maps, and requiring the maps be simple and black-and-white. I'd like black lines on a grid and numbers/letters keying text to the relevant areas and that's it. I think it would be unfair if Contestant A spices up his/her map with graphics, little diagrams, things like "Thar Be Dragons" in fancy fonts, drawings of monsters and furniture, ornate dragon-stylized compasses, etc., while Contestant B focuses on having a clean, straightforward map. I'd hate to see the debate degrade into a discussion over the minutiae of the maps, instead of the merits of the encounter.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

All that stuff would be annoying. We are looking for simple maps as a real freelancer who was writing an adventure would turn in to a company from which a paid cartographer would create a map. Real, professional freelancers dont turn in maps with junk like that all over them. So I would expect that we will hold the contestants to the same standard. Its time for them to act like actual freelancers working on a project. Some already have been. Some need to improve in that area.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Darrien

Erik Anderson wrote:

Give them a word count limit, tell them to design "an encounter" and let them do whatever they want with that word count limit (including stat blocks if they want). And yes, I think they should be allowed to include maps and maybe hand-out images if they want as well -- but you could charge them out of the word count limit for each image, if you're feeling nefarious.

The RPG Superstar doesn't need to be told what kind of encounter, or be given an example encounter format to follow. He (or she) breathes encounters and eats adventure!

And my two coppers on the map debate, why all the assumptions about combat? If the superstar is just going to simply provide an enemy, tactics, and location to a battle, which was already done in round 3, sans location, provided or not, we need a map.

If all that we are seeing is a new location, yeah, give me an interesting map.

But an encounter can be so much more than a fight with a monster (or a big bad and his minions). An encounter can be a social situation the PCs have to Bluff and Diplomacy their way through. It could be a nefarious trap an entire party must overcome. It can be many things beyond the bloody 18 seconds of adrenaline that populates the majority of 3rd edition adventures.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

We'll see what we get. It should be interesting.

Shadow Lodge

Clark Peterson wrote:
We'll see what we get. It should be interesting.

I agree with you there. To me, this round is what will truly separate the Superstars. The ratio of required perspiration to inspiration has increased with each round of the competition. This next step is a significant challenge for the contestants given the level of competition they will face. This round encompasses almost all the previous rounds from both a creative and technical standpoint. My prediction is that of the four going forward, only two or at most three submissions will really stand out as worthy material and one or two others will be moved along to fill out the requisite final four. This is not to say that all contestants aren't talented as they clearly have already demonstrated that, but is more a reflection of the fierce competition and pressure to perform a difficult, demanding task against worthy competition.

I can't wait to see what these six fine writers have in store for us!


James Hunnicutt wrote:
I think it would be unfair if Contestant A spices up his/her map with graphics, little diagrams, things like "Thar Be Dragons" in fancy fonts, drawings of monsters and furniture, ornate dragon-stylized compasses, etc., while Contestant B focuses on having a clean, straightforward map.

As I reflect upon prior rounds, I think anyone who tries to win the skirmish to produce a gonzo map to wow the competition risks losing the battle to give us a great encounter. The best entries once they started getting complex have been those where the contestants presented a well-done, unified whole. We're down to six. Quality is really starting to count for the whole package, not individual bits.

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