Unofficial Round 5 Exit Poll


RPG Superstar™ 2010 General Discussion

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Dark Archive

Matt Goodall. While the title nearly cost the vote in and of itself, I still think the submission was overall of a higher quality than its competition.

That said, all of you have done incredibly well and I'm looking forward to great things from you in the future. Shine brightly!

Star Voter Season 6

I just changed my vote to Doom of the Dream Thieves. The cool factor won out for me as I thought more about what I would rather play, and not just about what was closer to a finished product. Not that I wouldn't want to play in Cult of the Ebon Destroyers - it would be a great adventure, but I do have a soft spot for higher level, interplanar stuff.

It could still maybe stand to be simplified a bit, maybe by dropping the ethereal plane altogether, and having the party go straight to the dimension of dreams?

Star Voter Season 9

Maybe we can persuade all finalists to write down their full module...


I voted for Jim (again).

I have to say it was extremely difficult to chose this time round. Mostly because while all adventures had something I liked there wasn't a clear favorite for me. In the end I went with Jim because I like the 'big idea' feel of this adventure.


Updating (counting onward from Quandary's post above): 44 voters
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Jim Groves - Doom of the Dream Thieves - 21 votes

Matt Goodall - Cult of the Ebon Destroyers - 13 votes

Matthew McGee - From Time's Depths - 6 votes

Alexander MacLeod - Wreck of the Mastrien Slash - 4 votes

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Tarren Dei

I voted for Jim Groves -- Doom of the Dream Thieves.

In the exit poll from last round, I wrote:

Trevor Gulliver wrote:


My predictions:
The Watcher is the one to watch next round.

This has been closer than I thought it would be.

Scarab Sages

Had top go with Matt Goodall on this one.

CC

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

Matt Goodall - Cult of the Ebon Destroyers

I thought this one was leaps and bounds ahead of the rest, but also really liked Jim Groves entry.


I was torn. All throughout the competition Jim Groves has been my favorite (besides Jesse Benner, who is my hubby, and so always has my vote).

But, I loved the silk mill as a setting for an awesome fight, and I personally loved the Indian flavor... so Matt Goodall and the Cult of the Ebon Destroyers got my vote.


Although I was not a personal fan of the Skintaker, on the basis of the general strength of his work throughout this year's contest and what for me was one of the best executed Round 5 proposals I have voted for Watcher (Jim Groves) and 'Doom of the Dream Thieves' in this round.

My congratulations to all 36 (including the alternates) of this year's 'finalists' for their entries through from Rounds 1 to 5, and my best wishes to all of them for the future.


Updating (since DoR's post above): 49 voters
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Jim Groves - Doom of the Dream Thieves - 23 votes

Matt Goodall - Cult of the Ebon Destroyers - 16 votes

Matthew McGee - From Time's Depths - 6 votes

Alexander MacLeod - Wreck of the Mastrien Slash - 4 votes

I'TSSSS NECK AN' NECK, FOLKS...

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

This was a really, really tough decision for me because I simply couldn't choose between Matt Goodall's "Cult of the Ebon Destroyers" and Jim Groves's "Doom of the Dream Thieves." Both have a lot of great stuff, and I wish I could play and run both. In the end, however, I think that Matt's is the better of the two proposals and the adventure I would most likely buy were I to run across it in a game store. Less of the stuff that makes the proposal sound interesting would need to be cut to fit in a 32 page module, and I would be really disappointed to vote for Jim's proposal and then find large swaths of such a cool story removed for space reasons. Additionally, Matt's adventure seems easier to run while still being incredibly flavorful and exciting. Given the amount of prep time I tend not to have, this is a major selling point. Finally, I have wanted more info on Vudra for a long time, and fleshing out Jalmeray is a great way to do so before Paizo releases their 600-page hardcover Vudra setting guide ;-)

So way to go Matt, you got my vote. To the rest of the Top 4, you all put forth your A-game here and it shows. Jim, you especially wowed me throughout the competition and it saddens me not to be able to cast the last vote for you. No matter who wins, best of luck to all of you, and I'm sure I'll be adding a biography for each of you to the PathfinderWiki in the coming months.

The Exchange

I was split between the two proposals that would best fit the limited page count of a module. One of the things that annoyed me about "Clash of the Kingslayers" was that I felt there was too much the author wasn't telling me because of word-count limitations, so I made scope an important criterion in my selection. I liked "The Wreck of the Mastrien Slash" but I felt "Cult of the Ebon Destroyers" held together better thematically, so I went with Goodall's proposal.

But I'd still like to see "The Wreck of the Mastrien Slash" someday, maybe if it's a bit more refined so the main bad-guy is the undead plantation owner instead of the ogre mage.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Gotta go with Cult of the Ebon Destroyers on this one.

I'd love to see any of these guys working for Paizo in the future, but Mr Goodall's proposal rocked my socks.

Star Voter Season 9

I'm going for Doom of the Drean Thieves. I think this story has some great elements, but it would be even better if there were a Splorudra in it!

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

For me "Ebon Destroyers" was the "best" proposal that met all the criteria, but the adventure itself was not so very much exciting.

"Dream Thieves" for me was the most interesting adventure. When I asked myself, what adventure I would like to buy the most, regardless of any formatting/word count/editing issues, it was this.

A bit of a conundrum. Sooo, while I think Mr. Goddall actually solved the task at hand best, I gave my vote to Mr. Grove because I want to see his adventure published the most.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

yoda8myhead wrote:
This was a really, really tough decision for me because I simply couldn't choose between Matt Goodall's "Cult of the Ebon Destroyers" and Jim Groves's "Doom of the Dream Thieves." Both have a lot of great stuff...

I'm in the exact same boat in terms of being torn between these two. I've also gone back and forth and changed my vote a couple of times now as I weigh who gave us the best proposal...whose adventure contained the best ideas...whose body of work (and hence, designer) I trust the most...and which adventure might appeal the most to the buying public once Paizo fully develops it.

In the end, however, I'm going to go with Matt Goodall's Cult of the Ebon Destroyers. And, for anyone interested in my reasons why, I'll elaborate here, and also provide some commentary on the other proposals and contestants, too:

Matt Goodall - Cult of the Ebon Destroyers

Spoiler:

I think Matt gave us the best execution and presentation of his ideas in the adventure proposal format. I also think he's got some memorable encounters, good flavor--and more than any other proposal--I think his has the chance to push and further develop the edges of Golarion with the location and story he's chosen to explore.

Now admittedly, I'm not entirely sure how much anyone wants an India-themed adventure for Jalmeray and its Vudran influences. But, I do believe Paizo will eventually get around to doing one. And, with his attention to detail and flavor, Matt has convinced me he's the guy to do it.

Also, crafting such an adventure probably isn't something we're going to see done in an entire adventure path anytime soon. So, a 32-page Pathfinder module seems about the right amount of treatment to give it. Then, Paizo can see how the fans react to it and determine how much more Vudra/Jalmeray stuff to pursue in the future.

In addition, when I look back across the contest at Matt's body of work, I think he's been pretty steady. He also peaked at the right moment (i.e., in the adventure proposal round). I think he's got a good sense for what makes an interesting encounter. I think he's got strong map-making skills. And, perhaps more importantly, I think the plot of his adventure shows good storytelling and an organization factor that will lend itself well when (and if) he's actually asked to write it. So, with all that on the table, I think Matt deserves the chance to spin this thing into a published module.

Evaluation Criteria:
Adventure Proposal Execution - Strongest
Adventure's Proposed Content - Villain (Strong), Location (Strong), Plot (Strongest), Minions (Average), Reward (Average)
Adventure Concept's Scope/Size - Strong
Adventure Concept's Marketability - Strong
Body of Work - Strong

Jim Groves - Doom of the Dream Thieves

Spoiler:

Jim's got great stuff here, too. The powerful ideas he's linked together for his adventure almost sold me. The choice of villains and minions all felt very appropriate. The locations of Absalom's prison, Shadow Absalom, the Etheral Plane, and the domain of dreams all have a lot going for them. But, in many ways, all of those things had a little too much going for them. Thus, the dreaded invocation of those words no RPG Superstar finalist wants to hear -- "Too big to fit into 32 pages." It's kind of a death knell, really. No matter how good the quality that's presented, you're immediately questioned on how much of that quality will make it into the final product.

So, what I agonized over was how much of the adventure could plausibly make it into 32 pages. And, also how much I trusted Jim to breathe life into the reduced story as a result. He's got a great portfolio of work so far in the contest. I have no doubt he could do something interesting with it, particularly under the guidance of Paizo's developers. He too deserves a shot at it...and I certainly won't be disappointed if the fans vote him through.

In the end, however, it just came down to who demonstrated the tightest, best organized proposal paired with good ideas. If this were a horserace, however, I'd say it was a photo-finish in my mind's eye. I think some of the other competitors (such as Jim) may have a stronger skillset in some areas when compared to Matt. But, on this opportunity, Matt's proposed adventure just edged out everyone else. Regardless, I expect Jim may have some really strong material to contribute to Paizo on other projects. Even if he doesn't win the title of RPG Superstar 2010, he can still work at being one of the best, most reliable, and consistent freelancers for other Paizo assignments.

Evaluation Criteria:
Adventure Proposal Execution - Strong
Adventure's Proposed Content - Villain (Strongest), Location (Strongest), Plot (Strong), Minions (Average), Reward (Average)
Adventure Concept's Scope/Size - Weak
Adventure Concept's Marketability - Strong
Body of Work - Strong

Alexander MacLeod - Wreck of the Mastrien Slash

Spoiler:

There was a lot to like in this proposal, too. The location was great with the plantation and mangrove swamp along the coast of Geb. There was an interesting villain in there with the undead plantation owner, but the primary villain of the ogre mage just never quite came off as a compelling threat that would capture the interest of the players and their PCs. And the beginning and ending scenes in the adventure's plot just didn't have enough "oomph" to make it worthy of taking the prize.

Nevertheless, I've really been a fan of Alexander's work from round-to-round. He's got steady, solid stuff and I think he'll make a fine freelancer on future assignments. He nearly crafted a winning entry, as I quite liked where the Wreck of the Mastrien Slash was headed. And, if Paizo's developers got hold of this adventure, I'm certain they could spin it into something really awesome. As it stands, however, I just can't bring myself to reward Alexander with my final vote when faced with what the other contestants proposed...and how well they crafted their proposals...since that will undoubtedly signal how they'd go about delivering on the actual adventure itself.

Evaluation Criteria:
Adventure Proposal Execution - Average
Adventure's Proposed Content - Villain (Weak), Location (Strong), Plot (Average), Minions (Strongest), Reward (Average)
Adventure Concept's Scope/Size - Strong
Adventure Concept's Marketability - Strong
Body of Work - Strong

Matthew McGee - From Time's Depths

Spoiler:

As much as Matt Goodall's star was rising towards the end of the competition, I thought Matthew's took a sharp turn downward in the final round. And I don't mean that as a knock on Matthew's abilities. He was so far ahead in my mind after the first few rounds that I started to think this might be a runaway landslide coronation for him. But Matthew's adventure proposal in the final round was a poor choice, in my opinion. It stepped on the maximized landmine of duplicating an adventure Paizo is about to release. So, immediately, it faced an uphill battle in capturing the minds of voters as something unique enough to be vote-worthy.

In addition, although there were bits and pieces...encounters and NPCs...in Matthew's adventure that I enjoyed, most of it just didn't hang together very well for me. He did such an awesome job on the bits and pieces of the earlier rounds...i.e., creative magic item, creative monster idea, successful monster stat-block execution, creative encounter...that I was really surprised that the adventure proposal didn't string together a super-creative story idea filled with the same kind of creative nuggets.

If I were assessing who gave us the best overall body of work prior to this round, I'd say it was Matthew McGee. And if I had to guess who could contribute the most to Paizo products with new monsters, new magic items, a new compelling NPC idea for a Golarion regional sourcebook, and so on...it would be Matthew McGee. But sadly, if I'm assessing who successfully demonstrated the ability to package such things into a really intriguing plot for an adventure, filled with entertaining encounters and a great story, it wouldn't be Matthew based on this single proposal. So, in light of that, I just couldn't vote for him in this final round. But, I'll most certainly be keeping an eye out for his work in the future. As I'm certain it will be filled with all kinds of awesome, regardless.

Evaluation Criteria:
Adventure Proposal Execution - Average
Adventure's Proposed Content - Villain (Strong), Location (Weak), Plot (Average), Minions (Weak), Reward (Strong)
Adventure Concept's Scope/Size - Average
Adventure Concept's Marketability - Weak
Body of Work - Strongest

My final two-cents,
--Neil


My vote went to:
Matt Goodall - Cult of the Ebon Destroyers

I really wanted to vote for Jim Groves but when I think of the encounter of the crumbling dream fortress, I think that as the denizens disappear so does a part of the fortress. The more important the critter that gets defeated by the players the more details disappear in the fortress until only the shell of the fortress remains with the players hovering in the center, trapped. Then it’s up to the players to “remake” the fortress so they can escape. But I know that is not how the fortress will be designed, and it will be another mundane “rocks fall, run now or everyone dies” kind of encounter.
And that kinda disappointed me.

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

Quote:
It stepped on the maximized landmine of duplicating an adventure Paizo is about to release.

Little known side-note... Brandon Hodge's first suggested pitch to Open Design was practically _Blood of the Gorgon_ all over again...down to the winery. It happens. It sucks, but it happens.

-Ben.

Dark Archive

I voted for Wreck of the Mastrien Slash, because while it had its warts, it was the one that seemed the best suited to turn into a 32 page adventure, and the one that had both combat elements and social RP elements.

Ebon Destroyers was second on the list, but a lot of stuff would have needed to be chopped out, starting with the peacock hunt and ending with the four separate 'boss mob' fights). I really, really wanted to vote for it, but when almost every encounter was 'well, this might not fit in the end product' I realized that I was pretty much left with the festival of lights and the fight in the silk mill as 'sure things.'

I didn't bother looking at what the writers had submitted earlier. I try not to judge a current entry by one's previous work. I try to be one of those annoying 'that was yesterday, what are you doing for me *now*' kinda guys.

None of these four entries, IMO, had Superstar written all over them. Then again, all four of them (and everyone who made it to round two, for that matter) kicked my butt soundly, so even I think that my lack of enthusiasm sounds 'sour-grapes-y' and should be taken with a 5 lb. bag of salt. :)


I have to say that I want both the Jalmeray/Vudran module from Goodall AND the Dream Dimension module from Groves but since I can vote only for one I ultimately chose.....

Cult of the Ebon Destroyers by Matt Goodall

I DM so that my friends and I can pretend to be other people in other worlds. Yes my players wont pronounce the names right, yes I will have to learn more about Indian/Sri Lankan mythology to make myself comfortable running the module but Jalmeray is so soaked in context and setting history that it cant help but make for a memorable place to adventure within. I have consistently voted for Watcher throughout the competition as his work has really spoken to me. Unfortunately, my own group has done enough planar hopping lately that it didn't have the same freshness Matt's proposal did.

Congrats to all of the finalists and I really hope to see everyone's freelance work from Paizo in the near future.


Just voted. Mine went to Mr. Groves.

Good luck, everyone!


Good luck, Jim. This adventure sounds awesome and I'd love to play it. My vote went to you.


Dream Theives.

How is this too big for a 32 page adventure? It's 4 major encounters with maybe a couple or so smaller encounters. The bulk of the adventure is information gathering through roleplaying. As such much of the book will be fluff, which takes
up less space than crunch.

The other adventures may have to be padded in order to fill themselves, Grove's work not so much.

Scarab Sages

My vote went to Jim Groves

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Well I for one think we got what we asked for (those of us that asked anyway) and all four contestants made it really hard to vote/decide upon a favorite. I'll liked Wreck of the Mastrien Slash because it brought forth memories of the great adventures in the 2e Al~Qadim "Golden Voyages" adventure box. I liked Doom of the Dream Thieves because Jim was willing to attempt something higher level (instead of aiming for the "sweet-spot" of adventure levels). I think his adventure would be AWESOME... and I really thought that's who would earn my vote...

As it happens, my vote went to Matt Goodall's proposal Cult of the Ebon Destroyers, as I've been eager to see something done in the Vudra/Jalmeray region for some time. It could really define the region for the campaign setting.

Dean

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

I mused and I waffled, and at last settled my vote on Mr. Groves' Doom of the Dream Thieves. Lots of luck to all the worthy finalists!

Liberty's Edge

Alexander MacLeod was my favorite coming in, but unfortunately his entry just didn't catch my eye. Now I might surprise most of you on this one, but my vote goes to...

Spoiler:
EXPLOSIVE RUNES!!!

Spoiler:
EXPLOSIVE RUNES!!!

Spoiler:
EXPLOSIVE RUNES!!!

Spoiler:
EXPLOSIVE RUNES!!!

Spoiler:
EXPLOSIVE RUNES!!!

Spoiler:
I don't know why I felt like doing that...

Spoiler:
Matthew McGee - From Time's Depths - 6 votes

EDIT: OMG. I just got my vote in. I had ten seconds and thankfully my computer was fast! Phew!

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Nerrat Dei wrote:
EDIT: OMG. I just got my vote in. I had ten seconds and thankfully my computer was fast! Phew!

That's what happens when you spend extra time casting spoilered explosive runes when there are important things going on! Glad you got your vote in, Nerrat.

Liberty's Edge

I've learned my lesson.


My vote went to Jim and the Dream Thieves.


I went with 'Cult of the Ebon Destroyers..but I can see the curry jokes coming from my playing group already

Nerrat

Spoiler:
Maximised empowered widened explosive runes

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

I voted for Goodall...

Alexander's Mastrian Slash really hooked me with his intro and abstract. This is a module I would have probably bought at the store. But after looking under the hood, I found out it was only a 4-banger instead of that cool V-8 I shoulda had...

Matthew McGee's just never really got off the ground for me. Initial look at the title would have made me at least pick it up and look at it. But I think he tried to get too cute with it, and lost a lot of plot in the middle because of that. That being said, he was my favorite heading into this round.

Jim Grove's really was a neat, neat idea. Something I could have really sunk my teeth into as a GM. Especially now that my campaign is at 14th level. I could have easily beefed this module up. Unfortunately, it was way too big for a 32 pager, and I would hate to see the flow of this module butchered because of space constraints.

Goodall's module, for me, was executed well, very interesting flavor, good villain, and overall it could easily fit into a 32 page module. Reading the intro would have hooked me almost as much as Mastrian Slash, and it had a straight-8 under the hood.

Contributor

Well this was a serious struggle for to decide who to vote for, and I kept going back and forth between 'Cult of the Ebon Destroyers' and 'Doom of the Dream Thieves'. Despite some of my initial concerns involving available page space for the concent to be fleshed out with, I did ultimately decide on 'Doom of the Dream Thieves'.

Ultimately though, I think that Jim can make this work, as ambitious (or overly ambitious) as it might be. But I'm in no position to comment about word limits. ;)

Lisa's comments probably helped my decision here, because the developers will make certain the concept is translated into something that will do itself justice in those 32 pages. Shadow Absalom as a location for a full arc of the module might get slimmed down or skipped perhaps, but damn if it's not an adventure concept that got me excited. :D

And you have my favorite fetchling rogue as well.


Neil Spicer wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
This was a really, really tough decision for me because I simply couldn't choose between Matt Goodall's "Cult of the Ebon Destroyers" and Jim Groves's "Doom of the Dream Thieves." Both have a lot of great stuff...
I'm in the exact same boat in terms of being torn between these two. I've also gone back and forth and changed my vote a couple of times

Glad to see I wasn't alone in that.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka DankeSean

After originally struggling between Dream Thieves and Time's Depths, I started being seduced more and more by Ebon Destroyers. Ultimately it rose up and displaced Time's Depths in the running (trading in one Matt for another, I guess.) But in the end, Jim got my vote with Dream Thieves. I kept going back and forth on that till literally the last minute, but in the end, much as I love (and hope to see someday regardless) the setting for Ebon Destroyers, I loved the actual adventure presented in 'Doom of the Dream Thieves' a bit more.

In the end, I'm not displeased no matter who wins though- I know there have been a lot of comments that this round didn't have any 'clear winner' right off the bat, and that may be true, but I think it's also safe to say that unlike previous contests, there weren't any final entries that could be written off right off the bat. Choosing was tough.


Final (?) tally (includes updates/new posts since Quandary's post above): 70 voters
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Jim Groves - Doom of the Dream Thieves - 33 votes

Matt Goodall - Cult of the Ebon Destroyers - 25 votes

Matthew McGee - From Time's Depths - 7 votes

Alexander MacLeod - Wreck of the Mastrien Slash - 5 votes

Hope this adds up :-D.

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

Which means it's really anybody's game, given the percentage of people who actually reveal their votes and how close it is.


Well, I don't think anybody here thinks the Unofficial Exit Poll is laying any kind of claim to accuracy. What it does, though, is predict trends with some success (this year, we'll probably see a close head-to head finish with Groves/Goodall in the lead). It'll be interesting to see the results and compare them to the tally above.

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

Well, we won't actually see the results other than who the winner is.

Sometimes, someone at Paizo will hint about it "being close" or something along those lines, but they've never released final tallies.


While I think they all had their strengths the adventure I saw myself most interested in running was Alexander MacLeod's - Wreck of the Mastrien Slash.

While it had some things which needed to be improved upon like the villian and some of the things happening. I saw over all this adventure (IMOHO)was the closest to being an adventure that could work and one I liked the content. Now it seems others may not agree but for what it is worth good job Alexander.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

gbonehead wrote:

Well, we won't actually see the results other than who the winner is.

Sometimes, someone at Paizo will hint about it "being close" or something along those lines, but they've never released final tallies.

All I'll say is this:

Least. Accurate. Exit. Poll. Ever!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Vic Wertz wrote:

All I'll say is this:

Least. Accurate. Exit. Poll. Ever!

Ooouch. :D

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

I felt it was very close. I have to say that it felt that every round was tough. This shows the strength of the competition.

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