Round 5 Rules - I Like 'em!


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion

Scarab Sages

I like the rules for Round 5. I like no word limit, I like that this is a "mid-adventure" encounter rather than a boss fight. I like that format is up to the writer, but the contents are SRD only.

I've done some RPGA LG mod writing and have used a variety of layouts for encounter descriptive text, up to and including multiple branch duplications depending upon in-game variables (is the NPC with the party alive or dead, did they anger the wrong person, do they have the McGuffin, et cetera). Without this freedom, I would fear a straight jacket effect.

Thoughts?

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

Yeah, after reading the discussions I've come to the same conclusion - where these vary from my suggestions, they're all improvements.

Looking VERY much forward to the next round.

And for those looking for something to tide them over, check out these advanced versions of Atropus and Zargon.

:-)


I'm not a huge fan of the map requirement. I know that it'd put me at a serious disadvantage because I have no drawing/mapmaking talent, and regardless what the rules say, and entry with a pretty map will have an advantage over one that doesn't.

Shadow Lodge

I am someone that really looks for accuracy in a map and its associated text but my vote will not be influenced by a map's artistic rendering (even on the back of a napkin is fine with me Boomer, if it is legible and accurate - I have actually used a napkin at my table to handle an encounter). The key point for me is that the encounter designer has thoroughly thought out the implications for the map he or she provides and meshes it well with the CR and encounter text.


Pregenerated maps would have been nice, since for me too that would be a problem...

And even without word limits, I still point out that I like clearly written, compact text, so better be reasonable with that amount of text you are doing (I have almost given up hope on Clinton on this issue...)


pallen wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the map requirement. I know that it'd put me at a serious disadvantage because I have no drawing/mapmaking talent, and regardless what the rules say, and entry with a pretty map will have an advantage over one that doesn't.

A clean, simple map for a great encounter will certainly not detract from one's encounter. Rulers are your friend. If it were me I would consider buying the graph paper that's one quarter inch per square or even half inch and drawing large so that it scans well.

Heck, right now I can think of a cool, easy map for an encounter that very few people have done in an adventure. (I'm not going to post it. Just saying.)

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

Yeah, as the judges have posted elsewhere, and I've concluded is correct, a map is important.

I don't want to offer out examples, as that might impinge on something the contestants are working on, but try to imagine any published encounter without a map. It can be done, but a certain element of what the designed intended will always be missing.

And it can't be so hard to run over to Kinko's (or the equivalent) and have them scan something onto floppy for you.

On second thought, does anyone use floppies any more?

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

My computer doesn't even have a floppy drive, so I don't use floppies any more.

And remember, not everyone in the contest is in the US - there may not be a Kinko's just around the corner. We don't have them in the Czech Republic, for instance.

We do have Copy General, however. I guess I should probably check if they have a scanner available....

:)

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

I, for one, am excited about the challenge of Round 5 - I've already gotten out my Olde-Skool graph-paper, a ruler and a mechanical pencil & started doodling like the mad monkey king that I am.

It's, well . . . kinda like being back in Jr. High, actually, before I lived in a house with gamers who owned miniatures and several hundred dollars worth of War-Hammer terrain.

Heck, if I didn't have such horrible motion sickness from watching a midnight showing of Cloverfield while drunk, I would be working on it right now!

*gurgle*

As it is, I'm going to go lay down in the bathtub.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I have a PDF of a half-inch grid that I believe Fray made me one day in the chatroom. My email is in my profile for anyone that wants it. Gimp is also free photoshopish software which can be helpful for making simple maps. I hope this helps.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

thatboomerkid wrote:
I, for one, am excited about the challenge of Round 5 - I've already gotten out my Olde-Skool graph-paper, a ruler and a mechanical pencil & started doodling like the mad monkey king that I am.

My laughably amateurish, monkey-scratch pencil-and-graph-paper map is scanned & sent - and I fully expect voters to deride me for my 8th-grade style/penmanship.

"Well, I really like Boomer's writing style, but I didn't realize until just now that he was actually incapable of drawing a simple square, on graph paper, at level of skill even approaching that which is usually attained by the lower primates."

. . . but I did it all by myself!

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

I love drawing dungeon maps on graph paper, with pencil and ruler and d6-shaped rubber erasers.

I just hope people don't go crazy with weird angles and shapes that are hard to draw. I mostly stick to 45 degree angles cented on the middle of a graph square, or use quasi-22 degree angles between the opposite corners of two adjacent squares. Those are easy to draw and easy to place miniatures on.

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

I think a map is important. Chris West's have certainly inspired enough adventures on their own. But you are talking about a single location based encounter.

A simple rectangular room with two doors and a firepit can rock with the right encounter: ring of fire resistance, readied actions and throwing axes, a pet boar chained near the door or an anklysaur that is really an illusion-covered rust monster (slave lords reference if you remember those....)

That would be more intersting to me than a six spiral-armed star shaped room with a six different gems the size of an altar, pools of acid and three giant ants.

And the refences to other parts in the adventure I think is cool too just for the sense of a greater scope the contestants can conjure when done right.

I just keep getting more and more anxious for the entries as this goes on. And I have not been disappointed 0:)


I can well understand why it needs a map. If a scenario were being published professionally (and trying to become a professional scenario writer is what this contest is all about), then the writer would have to submit one for the mapmaker dude to pretty up for publication. It's part of the job, unfortunately.

It would be nice if the Paizo people could hand the submitted maps to a mapmaker dude who could do them all up in the same style (again, as would actually happen in a published scenario) so that the mapmaking skills of the contestants couldn't possibly be a factor in anyone's deliberations - but that probably isn't practical within the time constraints of the contest. Even assuming the mapmaker wouldn't want paying! (Although the plus side would be that the maps wouldn't have to be pretty, or anything, so long as they were all the same).

The bit that makes me groan is the 'read-aloud' section. I know these are popular in scenarios, but, boy, I hate them. They always grate and sound awkward, no matter how professional the scenario may be in other respects. You always want to paraphrase them, anyway, rather than actually read them aloud, so why bother putting them in? I wish scenario writers just wouldn't bother with the dratted things, but, for some inexplicable reason, they've always been popular. I can understand why the requirement is there, since the things seem to be de rigeur, but... uggh...

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

Maybe the "read out loud" part can be as simple as reading the graffiti scrawled on the wall by the iron maiden, or the poem written down on the magically locked treasure chest.


Well, true, that seems to fit within the rules, and were I a contestant I'd probably do something along those lines. (But there are oh, so many reasons why I'm not! :)) But I suspect most of the Six won't do that. By the way, I'm not really criticising Paizo for including that requirement in the rules - just saying I'd have done it differently.


Jorrik the Fat wrote:
The bit that makes me groan is the 'read-aloud' section. I know these are popular in scenarios, but, boy, I hate them. They always grate and sound awkward, no matter how professional the scenario may be in other respects. You always want to paraphrase them, anyway, rather than actually read them aloud, so why bother putting them in?

The primary reason? To give the DM a phrase to key in on and not have to spend long minutes reading the text and composing a description. I almost always paraphrase. (Many are too long.) It answers many questions for players, questions that would otherwise bog the game down.

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

varianor wrote:
Jorrik the Fat wrote:
The bit that makes me groan is the 'read-aloud' section. I know these are popular in scenarios, but, boy, I hate them. They always grate and sound awkward, no matter how professional the scenario may be in other respects. You always want to paraphrase them, anyway, rather than actually read them aloud, so why bother putting them in?
The primary reason? To give the DM a phrase to key in on and not have to spend long minutes reading the text and composing a description. I almost always paraphrase. (Many are too long.) It answers many questions for players, questions that would otherwise bog the game down.

I like the read-aloud boxes. I use them to remind the players that "hey, I didn't write this, this is a published adventure, so quit yer whinin' because thousands of other gamers have conquered this exact same adventure". One of the values of running a published adventure, IMHO, is that it creates a sense of objectivity, even if a false sense of objectivity, i.e., because I paid money for it and a company produced it, this adventure presumptively is appropriate for so many characters of such-and-such a level and well-balanced in terms of threats and treasures. When the players think I'm just making it up as a I go along (which I nearly always am anyway) I think they're constantly suspicious that I'm making it too hard or too easy.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

James Hunnicutt wrote:


I like the read-aloud boxes. I use them to remind the players that "hey, I didn't write this, this is a published adventure, so quit yer whinin' because thousands of other gamers have conquered this exact same adventure".

Well aware of how awful read-aloud text CAN be, as well as how neat it is if pulled off expertly, I probably spent more time on writing, editing, polishing and re-writing my read-aloud section than any other.

*crosses fingers*

Here's hoping that I did it right!

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

thatboomerkid wrote:
James Hunnicutt wrote:


I like the read-aloud boxes. I use them to remind the players that "hey, I didn't write this, this is a published adventure, so quit yer whinin' because thousands of other gamers have conquered this exact same adventure".

Well aware of how awful read-aloud text CAN be, as well as how neat it is if pulled off expertly, I probably spent more time on writing, editing, polishing and re-writing my read-aloud section than any other.

*crosses fingers*

Here's hoping that I did it right!

To my gonzo soul-brother, I suspect that you probably shared my initial impulse to go into great (and terrible) detail and to use lavish amounts of so-called frosting, elaborate setup, and so on and so forth.

But it's a good thing to be short and sweet, to keep it simple and in bite-sized pieces, and it can still be cool and for that matter better than whole essays.

I ended up pretty happy with my entry. I actually broke precedent turned my entry in a whole hour and a half EARLY! Didn't wait til the last 10 minutes. Hope I don't break my string of good luck... :)

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

Mine's in, a bit earlier than usual for me too. I'm happy with it, but I wouldn't have minded writing the framing adventure too.

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

Russ Taylor wrote:
Mine's in, a bit earlier than usual for me too. I'm happy with it, but I wouldn't have minded writing the framing adventure too.

Yeah, I showed the first part to a friend and his response was "who are these people, this makes no sense" but I pointed out that it was supposed to be an encounter from the middle of adventure. Still felt a little funny making unexplained references, though, without the adventure around it.

By the way, double-congrats to you for getting all the way to the doorstep of the final 4 from the alternates. It's like the wild-card Giants getting to the Super Bowl. Everybody who got in has a shot, and your stuff has been getting better and better every round. Best of luck, man.


Jason Nelson 20 wrote:
Russ Taylor wrote:
Mine's in, a bit earlier than usual for me too. I'm happy with it, but I wouldn't have minded writing the framing adventure too.

Yeah, I showed the first part to a friend and his response was "who are these people, this makes no sense" but I pointed out that it was supposed to be an encounter from the middle of adventure. Still felt a little funny making unexplained references, though, without the adventure around it.

By the way, double-congrats to you for getting all the way to the doorstep of the final 4 from the alternates. It's like the wild-card Giants getting to the Super Bowl. Everybody who got in has a shot, and your stuff has been getting better and better every round. Best of luck, man.

I concur, without the Giants love. ;)

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

propeliea wrote:
Jason Nelson 20 wrote:
Russ Taylor wrote:
Mine's in, a bit earlier than usual for me too. I'm happy with it, but I wouldn't have minded writing the framing adventure too.

Yeah, I showed the first part to a friend and his response was "who are these people, this makes no sense" but I pointed out that it was supposed to be an encounter from the middle of adventure. Still felt a little funny making unexplained references, though, without the adventure around it.

By the way, double-congrats to you for getting all the way to the doorstep of the final 4 from the alternates. It's like the wild-card Giants getting to the Super Bowl. Everybody who got in has a shot, and your stuff has been getting better and better every round. Best of luck, man.

I concur, without the Giants love. ;)

Hey, I just said it was LIKE the wild-card Giants getting to the final game. I don't mind the Giants but was slightly rooting for the Packers in that game, but my main rooting interest went out the window anyway when the Seahawks lost.


SmiloDan wrote:
Maybe the "read out loud" part can be as simple as reading the graffiti scrawled on the wall by the iron maiden...

Iron Maiden can't be fought, Iron Maiden can't be sought.

Oh well, wherever, wherever you are,
Iron Maiden's gonna get you, no matter how far.
See the blood flow watching it shed up above my head.
Iron Maiden wants you for dead.

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

drunken_nomad wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
Maybe the "read out loud" part can be as simple as reading the graffiti scrawled on the wall by the iron maiden...

Iron Maiden can't be fought, Iron Maiden can't be sought.

Oh well, wherever, wherever you are,
Iron Maiden's gonna get you, no matter how far.
See the blood flow watching it shed up above my head.
Iron Maiden wants you for dead.

My favorite song intro from IM's Live After Death album:

"And the moral of the story is: This is what not to do if a bird [bleeps] on you! The Rime of the Ancient Mariner!!!"

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

thatboomerkid wrote:

Heck, if I didn't have such horrible motion sickness from watching a midnight showing of Cloverfield while drunk, I would be working on it right now!

*gurgle*

As it is, I'm going to go lay down in the bathtub.

Are you insane?

Wait, strike that. We already know the answer.

Personally, I give Cloverfield a tentative thumbs up. But I'm not going to comment in a public forum, I hate surprise spoilers.

Spoiler:
Overall it was pretty cool. While I understand the artistic desire to present the [lack of an] ending that way, it still left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied - no idea where it came from, what happened to it, if there were more, etc. etc. And I was slightly disappointed with the CG. But just slightly.

The scene where they get the night vision working was great.

But overall it's worth seeing, and if you're going to see it, by all means see it in the theatre.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

gbonehead wrote:


Are you insane?

Wait, strike that. We already know the answer.

Well said - in my defense, I really wasn't quite expecting to sit in the front row of a movie that features a

Spoiler:

gibbering fat guy freaking out while sprinting up a flight of stairs, only to pan back and forth across a yawning, windy abyss.

*gurgle*

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

gbonehead wrote:

Personally, I give Cloverfield a tentative thumbs up. But I'm not going to comment in a public forum, I hate surprise spoilers.

But overall it's worth seeing, and if you're going to see it, by all means see it in the theatre.

I dug it. I thought it was fun, looking at a 'monster movie' from that perspective. I had some concerns about the motion sickness angle of it but found I didn't really mind it (though I can understand Boomer's seasickness if he was already a coupla sheets to the wind!).

I would also second the recommendation to see it in the theater. I'm not sure if the visceral effect would translate as well to the small screen.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Jason Nelson 20 wrote:


I dug it. I thought it was fun, looking at a 'monster movie' from that perspective. I had some concerns about the motion sickness angle of it but found I didn't really mind it (though I can understand Boomer's seasickness if he was already a coupla sheets to the wind!).

I would also second the recommendation to see it in the theater. I'm not sure if the visceral effect would translate as well to the small screen.

Boomer's Advice for an enjoyable Cloverfield experience:

(note: this advice is worth exactly what you paid for it)

1 - go see Cloverfield. Despite being, to a certain extent, simply the "Blair Godzilla Project", it is quite well made.
2- sit in the back.
3 - I mean the WAY BACK. Back row, brother. Framing the rapidly shifting, hustling-bustling colors of the screen with a good chunk of calm darkness on all sides will prevent your lunch from meeting the theatre floor.
4 - eat your Dramamine, especially if you're prone to sea-sickness.
5 - do not attend the film, under any circumstances, drunk.
6 - or high, if you roll that way. Boomer admittedly does not, but whatever floats your boat.
7 - also, don't sit next to anyone who reeks of booze.
8 - pee before you walk in, because you will NOT want to get up. This movie is GRIPPING, and the really amazing parts are randomly jumbled into scenes that seem like they're headed nowhere, which is awesome.
9 - just like Memento, watch it a second time. You missed stuff.

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

thatboomerkid wrote:

Boomer's Advice for an enjoyable Cloverfield experience:

(note: this advice is worth exactly what you paid for it)

8 - pee before you walk in, because you will NOT want to get up. This movie is GRIPPING, and the really amazing parts are randomly jumbled into scenes that seem like they're headed nowhere, which is awesome.
9 - just like Memento, watch it a second time. You missed stuff.

Isaw the movie after my Saturday D&D game last weekend (yes, I was playing D&D instead of working on my entry - you gotta have priorities!), with 2 of the guys and they had both seen it already and both enjoyed it again. One was even planning to go again the next day. One of them mentioned noticing more things he had missed the first time (his wife had gone with him previously and said she had to cover her eyes for most of the movie because she got sick, but commented that the sound mixing and narrative of the movie was done so well that she felt like she still was able to follow what was going on very well even when she wasn't actually watching).

And what Booms says is true: Part of what makes the movie enjoyable is the semi-random nature of the action. Sometimes you see things building and coming. Sometimes you just get a giant WTF? And that's awesome.

I think once was enough for me but it's definitely worth a look.

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

Yeah. I'll probably see it again, I know there's a whole pile of stuff I missed.

But thankfully, I don't get motion sickness, so I was able to sit at the optimal distance from the screen and take in all of the action without having to frame it for the sanity of my inner ear and/or stomach.

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