A thank you to the judges


RPG Superstar™ 2010 General Discussion

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The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

Last year, having the chance to compete in RPG Superstar was a great thrill. Being able to get honest and straightforward feedback on my ideas from professionals made it well worth the effort I put in. Your dedication to this contest was reward enough.

This year, I can't wait to watch how the contest unfolds. I hope that both those who are selected and those who aren't appreciate the time and energy you put in and remember that you do this out of a love for the industry and out of a desire to encourage new writers to sharpen their pencils and their skills.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Trevor, that is nice of you to say. You were a credit to the contest last year and really set the bar high for this year's crop. The horn, the flesh peddler, even the colossus. Your work was really great. Our greatest joy at judging is finding quality items (like your horn) and watching the contestants grow and develop during the contest. You sure did. Top 8 is impressive! It was a pleasure to judge your work.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 9 aka Zynete

I would like to second what Trevor said.

While I might see some of my stuff and wish I did better work, being able to participate in the contest was such a pleasure that I would never wish it away. I'm thankful for the hard work that the judges and Paizo put into this contest to make it possible.

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

Big ups from year 1 of Superstar as well - you guys as judges were maybe feeling your way with how to do this contest as much as we were as contestants, but you were direct, forthright, engaged, and clearly having a lot of fun with the whole thing.

I can also tell folks just from my "guest judging" last year of only 32 items, I can only imagine how much time our Triple Tribunal must have put in doing however many hundreds of items. Sure, we didn't have any easy rejects to thin the pile, but still a salute is in order for the hardest working nerds (in the best possible sense of the word) around.

Viva la Judges! Thanks to Wes, Sean, and Clark for taking the plunge this year. Thanks to Erik and Wolfgang for being the Ghosts of Judging Past. Hopefully, even though they won't be judging this year, they'll still be able to follow the contest with a merry twinkle in their eyes.


This is a great thread! Many thanks to you guys for all your hard work. (This year and prior years.)

Grand Lodge

Thank you very much for taking the time to judge so, so many entries.

Even if they are better than mine. I mean, odds are that one has to be, right? Two if I'm unlucky? Three has to be too much; no way there were three better than mine. Four is just impossible, isn't it? Isn't it?

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yeah, may the best me win and thanks a metric ton for the chance and your time! :D

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 aka tejón

M. T. Yarnell wrote:
Three has to be too much; no way there were three better than mine. Four is just impossible, isn't it?

Well, yeah. They didn't allow multiple submissions. ;)

+1 to the thread. This is a truly awesome opportunity... either to advance, or to know why I didn't! And it's basically pro-bono on the other end. A profound gift to the community.


I'm not an entrant, but I'd like to say that this whole superstar thing is great entertainment, a fantastic draw for the boards, and a awesome way to promote and learn about the game. And for that, my many thanks to both the Judges and to Paizo itself!


There has been a disquieting amount of judge-bashing (well, Clark-bashing) on one or two treads lately, which I haven't noticed in previous years. I think this is a massive shame, and I hope this thread reminds people of how awesome this contest and its judges actually are.

In my opinion, the fact that this contest is in its third year (with Clark as the most conspicuous judge for every single one of 'em) is fantastic for all concerned. New writers get the chance to earn a contract, and to learn what publishers are after in terms of quality and professional conduct. The publishers get to lay their hands on one (or more) new writers, with fresh ideas and greater proof of talent and commitment than they might otherwise get. They also get a finished product that their fan base are already interested in seeing / buying. The contest brings the community together and gives us something to salivate over for a couple of months each year. And Paizo get a whole bunch of new bodies coming to their forums, perhaps checking out the rest of the site while they're here. It really is a win-win-win-win.

Of course, the contest can only continue with the support of the judges who give up so much of their time and caffeine to making it happen. So here's to ya! (However cranky you might get over submissions which break clearly stated rules and ignore the volumes of advice on these boards...)


Judge bashing ever has been and ever shall be a part of competition. I'm sure Clark is just fine with it.

Three cheers for Clark.


Kruelaid wrote:

Judge bashing ever has been and ever shall be a part of competition. I'm sure Clark is just fine with it.

Three cheers for Clark.

Yeah, I suppose a demon-lord has worse things to worry about! But three cheers and a hearty huzzah anyway!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

It turns out that not all non-professionals can be professional. Who knew?


I will submit the Quill of Diplomatic Correspondence for 2011.

Liberty's Edge

I'd like to add my thanks, and my $0.02, for what it's worth. ;)

I've written tons of stuff over the years, and had so many people tell me that I simply needed to submit, that I was good, and should just give it a go. Thank you for this open opportunity, and for your hard work. Should I not make the cut, I feel that it will have been because the competition was very, very tough.

I'd be willing to bet that there are dozens entered in this contest that are perfectly capable of putting out the basic equivalent of an updated Against the Giants, one of the best early module series there was. I know that makes it hard on the judges, too.

I'd like to throw a special word out for Clark, as I've been a fan of his work for some time. I know it must have been rough starting up an imprint of your own - and to have put out some great material, too. I appreciate a discerning eye, and if you rip into any entries of mine, I'll take it as the constructive criticism it's meant to be.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Being in the top 32 must be kinda rough in that respect. Not because the judges are ripping you a new one- that's awesome. But just because you can't argue with them about it. :)

I think that most of us have sent material to publishers and received very polite emails either accepting or rejecting it. Personally, I think seeing what a team of publishing vets REALLY think of your work would kick ass, but it must be hard to have those guys paying that much attention to you work and not being able to engage in any sort of dialogue with them.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Hydro wrote:
...it must be hard to have those guys paying that much attention to your work and not being able to engage in any sort of dialogue with them.

It is. But that's really a blessing in disguise. That's because "engaging with the judges" during the voting can get you disqualified. And even if it didn't, that kind of "discussion" often leads to arguing with the judges. And, putting that kind of discourse on public display never curries favor with the voting public.

However, despite that, I always tried to come back after each round of voting had finished to revisit the judges' commentary and try my hand at explaining (or in some cases, justifying) the choices I made and why. Not necessarily to convince the judges to alter their opinion...but, moreso to explain my design to the voters (and Paizo, in the event they might still consider using me as a freelancer even if I didn't win).

If you go back and examine each of my entries from round-to-round last year, I pretty much laid all that out for everyone. Did that strategy help? I don't know. But I kept advancing. So maybe it did?

--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka Lord Fyre

NSpicer wrote:
Hydro wrote:
...it must be hard to have those guys paying that much attention to your work and not being able to engage in any sort of dialogue with them.

It is. But that's really a blessing in disguise. That's because "engaging with the judges" during the voting can get you disqualified. And even if it didn't, that kind of "discussion" often leads to arguing with the judges. And, putting that kind of discourse on public display never curries favor with the voting public.

However, despite that, I always tried to come back after each round of voting had finished to revisit the judges' commentary and try my hand at explaining (or in some cases, justifying) the choices I made and why. Not necessarily to convince the judges to alter their opinion...but, moreso to explain my design to the voters (and Paizo, in the event they might still consider using me as a freelancer even if I didn't win).

If you go back and examine each of my entries from round-to-round last year, I pretty much laid all that out for everyone. Did that strategy help? I don't know. But I kept advancing. So maybe it did?

--Neil

And, from what I have seen, not only the winner gets the "prize." But, often Paizo will tap other "top" finishers for freelance work.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Lord Fyre wrote:
And, from what I have seen, not only the winner gets the "prize." But, often Paizo will tap other "top" finishers for freelance work.

Exactly. That was my goal last year. Not so much to win. But to make the Top 4 and have a shot...and get to compete in every round. Once I got to the final round, though, I have to admit I set a new goal for myself (i.e., to win it all). But up until that point, I just wanted to make Top 4 for the opportunity to be tapped as a freelancer by Paizo on some future product.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6

What everyone else said, plus kudos to Vic, Gary and everyone keeping the machinery running in the background.

Also, thanks to Lisa, Erik and all the Paizoians for hosting the whole shindig in the first place.

I had a lot of fun coming up with (and throwing away) items. The contest is what I needed to get the creative juices going again.

Thanks!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

My thanks as well! :D

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

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Due to some spirited criticism on the other threads I refrained from voicing my opinion. After all, I'm here to get to develop a good relationship with Paizo, the judges, and this awesome community of fellow fans and not to get caught up in negativity.

However, since Trevor was thoughtful enough to start this positive thread, I would also like to thank the Paizo staff, the guest judges (especially Clark), and Neil for the time they put into this. Very commendable.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
It turns out that not all non-professionals can be professional. Who knew?

I bet Mr. Owl knew. He totally figured out that whole Tootsie Pop thing.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Phoebus the JustFortunateEnough wrote:
What everyone else said, plus kudos to Vic, Gary and everyone keeping the machinery running in the background.

I'll second that. Vic, Gary and crew do an amazing job. This thing runs as flawlessly as can be. They do an amazing job behind the scenes too, cleaning up submissions by fixing the headings when an entrant leaves out the title of his or her item, salvaging mis-submitted items, keeping the judges forums up and running, accounting for everything. They are so on top of it, it is scary! If it weren't for them, this wouldnt work at all. And they leave me milk and cookies in the judges' chambers.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

A huge thank you to all the judges and Paizo for all their hard work and giving us this opportunity. Last year was my first time to follow the wild ride, and I look forward to the insanity that I'm sure will appear again this year.

And for everyone out there, especially the 32 who make it this year, I recommend re-reading Neil and Trevor's threads from last year as an excellent example of true professionalism. No matter what someone said, they took the high road, kept their cool and humor and made the contest a lot of fun to follow and vote for them :)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Clandestine

Clark Peterson wrote:
And they leave me milk and cookies in the judges' chambers.

Every year I learn at least a dozen new things from the Superstar contest. This year kicks off with the realization that we're (somewhat) colleagues! I'm a law student - knee-deep in my studies, hah.

Dark Archive

I'll add my voice now. Superstar judges ROCK! You guys work hard and it's greatly appreciated. May your judgements be true, your beverages of choice cold or hot as appropriate and your life long.

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

NSpicer wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
And, from what I have seen, not only the winner gets the "prize." But, often Paizo will tap other "top" finishers for freelance work.
Exactly. That was my goal last year. Not so much to win. But to make the Top 4 and have a shot...and get to compete in every round. Once I got to the final round, though, I have to admit I set a new goal for myself (i.e., to win it all). But up until that point, I just wanted to make Top 4 for the opportunity to be tapped as a freelancer by Paizo on some future product.

True indeed. I entered the first year kind of as a lark - "Sure, why not give it a go." I was tickled to find I had made the top 32, but once there I realized, "Hey, why NOT me? I could win this thing." My goal was, of course, to win, but it's voting so you never know for sure. I wanted at least to get a shot in every round, survive and advance, survive and advance, and once you get to the final, you've got your chance.

And even if you don't win the title, you can still get your shot. Check the Pathfinder Wiki. Rob, Boomer, and I didn't win, but we've had plenty of opportunities to contribute to the Paizo-verse. Heck, Russ Taylor (Top 6, and proud fellow BRAZEN STRUMPET) is one of the authors of Dwarves of Golarion, and I've seen other contestants' names on PFS Scenarios and elsewhere.

To everyone who who advances, get ready to rock our gaming world, and listen well to advice from judges and contestants in past years and this year, whether it's a comment on your own entry or someone else's. Whether you advance or not, you can learn a lot.

Contributor

Jason Nelson wrote:
And even if you don't win the title, you can still get your shot. Check the Pathfinder Wiki. Rob, Boomer, and I didn't win, but we've had plenty of opportunities to contribute to the Paizo-verse. Heck, Russ Taylor (Top 6, and proud fellow BRAZEN STRUMPET)...

Ha! You mean "Brazen Bumpit!"

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

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
And even if you don't win the title, you can still get your shot. Check the Pathfinder Wiki. Rob, Boomer, and I didn't win, but we've had plenty of opportunities to contribute to the Paizo-verse. Heck, Russ Taylor (Top 6, and proud fellow BRAZEN STRUMPET)...

Ha! You mean "Brazen Bumpit!"

Hey, it lets you go from Flat to Fabulous! Who wouldn't love that? :)


Thanking the judges? Well of course they should be thanked. Just so long as they direct the court proceedings to get the verdicts I want. And if they don't then well, they're letting a dangerous criminal out into the community, or locking an innocent man or woman up in the dzar'klun mi-woldrustgar but they should be thanked, anyway because that is the respectful thing to do. But they go on the 'tangerine' list for winter festival gifts, instead of the 'coal' list. Just a subtle hint. Harrumph.

Liberty's Edge

I would also like to thank the judges. They have (and are doing) an excellent job at managing to go through 900+ wondrous item entries.

Nerrat Dei


I want to thank everyone at Paizo for hosting this contest and giving me a second shot at living my dreams.

I have dreamed of writing for RPGs since my earliest dice-chucking teenage years, and I studied literature and writing in college to pursue that goal. I eventually failed out of university and grew completely disillusioned, giving up all hope of writing anything but spreadsheets and meeting minutes.

I wear a tie and drool in a cubicle all day, just like I always swore I would never do. I haven't written anything in years, and my huge collection of roleplaying books has been gathering dust since my last move.

This contest suddenly inspired me, I'm not sure why or how. I guess it was just the right external motivation to make me work on creating again. I dug out books, started researching fervently and writing, editing, scrapping, and working the whole creative process for the first time in years.

I re-enrolled in college starting next week. I have started running an online Pathfinder campaign, a tabletop Dark Heresy game, and begun work helping to write a 40 player LARP for next year.

For the first time in six years I have stopped ignoring my dreams and started pursuing them again, and as corny as it is, it's all thanks to RPG Superstar.

Thanks, Paizo.

Dedicated Voter Season 6

Swordless wrote:

I want to thank everyone at Paizo for hosting this contest and giving me a second shot at living my dreams.

I have dreamed of writing for RPGs since my earliest dice-chucking teenage years, and I studied literature and writing in college to pursue that goal. I eventually failed out of university and grew completely disillusioned, giving up all hope of writing anything but spreadsheets and meeting minutes.

I wear a tie and drool in a cubicle all day, just like I always swore I would never do. I haven't written anything in years, and my huge collection of roleplaying books has been gathering dust since my last move.

This contest suddenly inspired me, I'm not sure why or how. I guess it was just the right external motivation to make me work on creating again. I dug out books, started researching fervently and writing, editing, scrapping, and working the whole creative process for the first time in years.

I re-enrolled in college starting next week. I have started running an online Pathfinder campaign, a tabletop Dark Heresy game, and begun work helping to write a 40 player LARP for next year.

For the first time in six years I have stopped ignoring my dreams and started pursuing them again, and as corny as it is, it's all thanks to RPG Superstar.

Thanks, Paizo.

Swordless, that is just too awesome for words. All too often, too many give up on or ignore those dreams. Don't let go of them!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

Swordless wrote:
I re-enrolled in college starting next week. I have started running an online Pathfinder campaign, a tabletop Dark Heresy game, and begun work helping to write a 40 player LARP for next year.

Writing for university is easier than writing for RPG Superstar but a lot less fun. ;-)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

Swordless wrote:
For the first time in six years I have stopped ignoring my dreams and started pursuing them again, and as corny as it is, it's all thanks to RPG Superstar.

Even if you don't make it to Round 2, I think you've already won the contest.

(How's that for corny.)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

Epic Meepo wrote:
Swordless wrote:
For the first time in six years I have stopped ignoring my dreams and started pursuing them again, and as corny as it is, it's all thanks to RPG Superstar.

Even if you don't make it to Round 2, I think you've already won the contest.

(How's that for corny.)

Personally, I think everyone who benefits from the writing exercise is a winner. Is that cornier?

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Swordless wrote:

For the first time in six years I have stopped ignoring my dreams and started pursuing them again, and as corny as it is, it's all thanks to RPG Superstar.

Thanks, Paizo.

Nice!!!


As a first time submitter and new member to the boards, I have read enough of the past communications from some of the judges to know that whether my entry makes it to the top 32 or is rejected, it was given a fair shake. That is all I can ask for. I add my thanks to this thread as well...

Thank you all for your time and consideration.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

I'll also chime and and say that RPG Superstar has gotten me to do a lot of work on things completely unrelated to RPG Superstar, if only because the creative beast in me is awake now and needs something to do until the 19th. :)


Kruelaid wrote:
I'm not an entrant, but I'd like to say that this whole superstar thing is great entertainment, a fantastic draw for the boards, and a awesome way to promote and learn about the game. And for that, my many thanks to both the Judges and to Paizo itself!

+1!!! Thanks for doing this!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Telhuine wrote:

As a first time submitter and new member to the boards, I have read enough of the past communications from some of the judges to know that whether my entry makes it to the top 32 or is rejected, it was given a fair shake. That is all I can ask for. I add my thanks to this thread as well...

Thank you all for your time and consideration.

Good attitude and welcome to the Boards!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

When I first found out about RPG Superstar (this year), I thought it sounded pretty cool, but the thing that really encouraged me to enter the contest was the positive, constructive attitude of the judges and other forum members. So, a big thanks to the judges for making Paizo a fun place to be and for making this contest happen.


Swordless wrote:

I want to thank everyone at Paizo for hosting this contest and giving me a second shot at living my dreams.

I have dreamed of writing for RPGs since my earliest dice-chucking teenage years, and I studied literature and writing in college to pursue that goal. I eventually failed out of university and grew completely disillusioned, giving up all hope of writing anything but spreadsheets and meeting minutes.

I wear a tie and drool in a cubicle all day, just like I always swore I would never do. I haven't written anything in years, and my huge collection of roleplaying books has been gathering dust since my last move.

This contest suddenly inspired me, I'm not sure why or how. I guess it was just the right external motivation to make me work on creating again. I dug out books, started researching fervently and writing, editing, scrapping, and working the whole creative process for the first time in years.

I re-enrolled in college starting next week. I have started running an online Pathfinder campaign, a tabletop Dark Heresy game, and begun work helping to write a 40 player LARP for next year.

For the first time in six years I have stopped ignoring my dreams and started pursuing them again, and as corny as it is, it's all thanks to RPG Superstar.

Thanks, Paizo.

Beyond awesome Swordless - dreams are what make life worth living. Don't ever give up on them!

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Every year of this contest, the judges have been great. While working on my entry for Round 1 this year, I did a ton of reading of threads from previous years.

You guys take totally misdirected abuse at every turn, no matter how hard you try.

It's almost like you're good retail employees, surrounded by a store of idiots, in the amount of sheer crap you have to put up with.

Thanks for putting up with it and thanks for sticking around.

Dark Archive

I'm behind the times it seems, but I would also like to thank the Judges for some quality feedback and judging in previous years. The fact that you can not only see who won, but why they won has been incredibly interesting. Also Clark's attempts in previous years to provide feedback for those that did not get into the top 32 goes above and beyond what I would even remotely expect from a volunteer :) Keep up the good work guys and thanks for all of your time and effort! We do appreciate it!


I would like to thank Paizo for the chance at exposure and allowing the community to be a part of their Pathfinder series, and also I would like to thank the judges that Paizo recruited to put in the long hours needed to run an efficient contest. The staff addresses problems quickly and professionally and as always the Superstar contest is a lot of fun.

Best of luck to the community on round 1.

Dredan

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Draeke Raefel wrote:
The fact that you can not only see who won, but why they won ...

I can't stress enough what an awesome thing this is.

Seeing how a gang of potential freelance employers approach new game material kicks ass, and it kicks ass that someone somehow has created an environment where they CAN be that honest in public.


Thanks for the supportive messages, guys! It's the community that makes this site so great. I love the chance to brush virtual elbows with other wanna-be's, and especially the option to see the judges' rationale and even the other community members' critiques of different items and contest entries.

I feel like I am learning a lot about the process just watching these discussions unfold, and it's helped me bring a focused critical eye back to my own work.

First session of PFRPG online is tonight, here's hoping it goes well! (And Lastwall is the coolest country in Golarion! :P)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Mark Thomas 66

I've learned a hell of alot about my own writing, flaws and strengths as well as some of the intricacies of this beautiful hobby of ours.

I owe that to the judges, my fellow competitors and even the fans, whose comments cannot be denied.

What better to guide you than the voice of your audience?

Thanks guys.

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