What's your process?

RPG Superstar™ 2010 General Discussion

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Having entered twice now, and with all the marvellous posts and critiques, I thought it might be nice to share a list of things we have learnt, points of view on what we have understood by the competition, what we do now and how we will change it for 2011, that sort of thing.

So here's my current processes for Round 1 wondrous items to kick things off. Some people may think this is too much, others may do more than this, so please let me know if I'm on the right track.

1) Read the rules, read them again, and once more. Do I understand them? And Read them again.

2) Copy the template. Into a text editor. Don't let Word mess it up. Now copy rules into the same page. Now I look at rules and my work at the same time and can always doouble check.

3) Draft 1. Read it, Edit it, Read it, Edit it, Read it, Leave it for 24 hours.

4) Have I broken any rules? Fix it.

5) Read the forum posts, the previous years entries, the common mistakes, the Sean and Clark checklists. Google and pdf book searches, is there same or similar item already in existence? If it's broke or duplicated beyond recovery, back to step 1.

6) Read it afresh, apply checklists, now its worth spell-checking and grammar reading. Back to step 1 if necessary and start again.

7) Have I broken any rules? Fix it.

8) Does it make sense? Do I think "Cool" at this point? Does it inspire a sense of wonder?

9) Is it a swiss army knife with added german forkness? Thats bad. Back to Step 1. Start again.

10) Is it a swiss army knife or a german forky thang? Not so bad but still bad. (yeah, my first year was this) Back to Step 1. Start again.

11) Have I over compensated and over simplified? (this years entry on reflection was too simple) Dammit, will adding stuff back make it a kludge or selection of spells in a can can?

12) Have I broken any rules? Fix it.

13) Review circle - start with friends and family, treat as "friends" review, know which ones will give good honest feedback and which are being nice!

14) New for 2011: Friends and family can help but for real feedback, the games club membership should be used.

15) Ask friends who like fantasy books/films but don't game to read it. Do they get it?

16) Collate feedback, review feedback, do I agree, disagree? Ask myself why?

17) Read my item again before editing from feedback? Edit it.

18) Have I broken any rules? Fix it.

19) If item is not perceived by me as potential Superstar Item and feedback bears it out, go back to Step 1), Start again.

20) Okay, I now have a potential item. Edit. Polish. Make it shine.

21) Have I broken any rules? Fix it.

22) Test drive the item in my campaigns - does it work? Do my players abuse it? If abused, can it be fixed easily and elegantly? If not, back to Step 1 we go.

23) New for 2011: Show to people who havent seen it, dont say what it is for? Do they say "Cool" or similar? Can I add coolness if needed or is it back to Step 1?

24) Read it again myself. Is it creative? Is it different? Is it fresh? Go back to step 1, repeat to here until I have 2-3 good items.

25) Poll my audience, which item(s) do they like the most? Why?

26) Now the big decision, which one do I like the most and why? Would I as a player desire it? If no, back to Step 1 we go.

27) If yes, is it desire because of coolness or munchkiness? If the latter, yeah, can it be fixed elegantly? If not, review my other items, repeat until either I have my item to finish polishing and post or I have run out of candidate items. Repeat from step 1, if no more candidates.

28) Have I broken any rules? Fix it.

29) Put aside for 24 hours again, pick up the next day... Is it still cool? Is it still desireable? Be objective as possible.

30) Check formating, template, etc are still intact. Have I broken any rules. Double check. Triple check. Be paranoid NOW not after posting.

31) Post it.

32) Enjoy a job well done. Know that I tried my best and that I have improved over last year.

33) New for 2011: As per forum suggestion, create one item per month so I have 12 to choose from for next time.

34) New for 2010: Have a go at later rounds for fun in the forums, particpate more in the current competition, Write, Write, Write.

35) New for 2011: Top 32 will be mine :)

Too long for me. Next year it's going to be:

1. Review notes from this year's contest, especially about the "hidden criteria". Avoid spells in a can, camping items, and utility stuff that "players would really want to have" for example.

2. Draft one item per month over the next 11 months.

3. Review all in December.

4. Pick the best one, rewrite if need be, possibly show to a friend or two.

5. Check mechanics and pricing and everything against 2011 criteria (remember that extremely minor technical stuff that's missing still gets you disqualified)

6. Submit, and buy a nice bottle of wine to celebrate.

7. Wait for results. Enjoy next year's contest either way.

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