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RPG Superstar™ 2010 General Discussion

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Contributor

We are. You should be. :)


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
We are. You should be. :)

I was waiting for this. :)

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9 aka Dementrius

*Does stretches*

Ow.


Bring it :)

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

so are there any must have books for 2011 superstar other than the Core and beast book? monney kinda short and didn't want to get one not needed...


roger Gilbert wrote:
so are there any must have books for 2011 superstar other than the Core and beast book? monney kinda short and didn't want to get one not needed...

Everything you need is on their rules website. I used that for my formatting last year. Get the formatting right because that is one of the quickest ways to exit yourself from the competition. They will give you instructions though when the time comes.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7 aka Draconas

Time to break out the 80s Training Montages!


Joshua Kitchens wrote:
Time to break out the 80s Training Montages!

Last year I set my RPG Superstar montage to "Flashdance". I think that was the problem, honestly.

Maybe I'll use a Loverboy song this year.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9 aka Dementrius

Power Word Unzip wrote:
Joshua Kitchens wrote:
Time to break out the 80s Training Montages!

Last year I set my RPG Superstar montage to "Flashdance". I think that was the problem, honestly.

Maybe I'll use a Loverboy song this year.

Mine's Weird Al's "Dare to be Stupid".


And this year, I do have an idea or two... :)

Dark Archive Star Voter Season 6

thinking....

Liberty's Edge

I was never that much into Stephen King, though I will never forget Tim Curry as an evil clown.

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

I've been ready since January. I missed out on submitting last year because I didn't even know about Pathfinder until after the competition started.

Sczarni

I have a few weapon ideas I want to try out...does that still count on Wondrous items or not?

Dark Archive Star Voter Season 6

'm guessing no...?

Sczarni

Well I just wanted clarity since I keep seeing this weapon in my dreams. :P

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

There are many different categories of magic items in the rulebook:

.
.
.

Armor
Weapons
Potions
Rings
Rods
Scrolls
Staves
Wands
Wondrous Items <=== This is the category for the RPG Superstar design contest
and Artifacts


Nightfall wrote:
Well I just wanted clarity since I keep seeing this weapon in my dreams. :P

If seeing it in your dreams makes it ok, then I'd like to submit Angelina Jolie and my endless dencanter of whipped cream.


So when are we anticipating kick-off?

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

If I can make it to round 2, I will be happy.. and probably freaking out.

Time to think up a new wondrous item..

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

For the last two years the open call began in December, then the judges sorted things out and we saw things begin for real in January.

Sczarni

Neil Spicer wrote:

There are many different categories of magic items in the rulebook:

.
.
.

Armor
Weapons
Potions
Rings
Rods
Scrolls
Staves
Wands
Wondrous Items <=== This is the category for the RPG Superstar design contest
and Artifacts

I'm familiar with all this. I just got confused.

And slinky I was thinking more along the lines of Saw and the Exorcist type of dreams rather than Angeline. If anything I'd probably dream about Eliza Duskhu. :P

Liberty's Edge

Nightfall wrote:
I have a few weapon ideas I want to try out...does that still count on Wondrous items or not?

I asked about that and even if it's a weapon with a use other than being a weapon it won't count. But if you really wanted you could make a wondrous item that produces a weapon, like the apparatus of the crab makes claws.

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Shifty wrote:
Nightfall wrote:
Well I just wanted clarity since I keep seeing this weapon in my dreams. :P
If seeing it in your dreams makes it ok, then I'd like to submit Angelina Jolie and my endless dencanter of whipped cream.

Does your dream go kinda like this:

[Angelina] “Oh dear knight, your weapon is so wondrous”

[you] {faint}

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

If I remember correctly, each person is only allowed one entrant?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Andrew Christian wrote:
If I remember correctly, each person is only allowed one entrant?

Correct. Make it your best.

Dark Archive Star Voter Season 6

its hard to know whats good and what isnt...

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

ulgulanoth wrote:
its hard to know whats good and what isnt...

Once you guestimate the cost of the item, ask yourself and your fellow gamers (IRL, not online of course) two questions.

"Would your character spend GP on this or on <popular similarly priced item>?"

If yes

"Is there a circumstance where he'd take <popular similarly priced item> instead of this?"

If yes, then you're on to something. If no, it's likely overpowered/not 'superstar'.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hypothetical question regarding submitted material:

If the contest round requires such a bit of material that I may have actually been working on up until now for a future publication - if I submit that material, does it make it unavailable for later publication in my own books (hence, the property of Paizo), and would it still be possible to get permissions to re-publish if that indeed happened?

Obviously - cue hapless marketing plug - this is in regard to my Nymian Beastlands material, which I am and have been working on diligently for well over a year since choosing PF as my compatible OGL base mechanics and translating/updating from 3.5 mechanics.

So let's say we are asked for a Feat - and I just so happened to write a bunch of them last night - and I submit one that I had planned on open playtesting and publishing in my series.... Do I lose access to do so by entering with it? Thanks and best wishes all,
-will

Contributor

The contest rules state the material becomes the property of Paizo, and it's pretty cumbersome to grant specific exceptions to that, so... best to not submit anything you'd like to publish elsewhere.

Scarab Sages

How many of these auto-reject notes can we expect?

Spoiler:
I have a question I'm hoping to see answered, but if you're not going to address it I'm not going to ask it. That statement would make sense if you knew what the question was. Anyway, if I know how many bits of advice to expect, I know when I can stop wondering and start answering the question myself.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
The contest rules state the material becomes the property of Paizo, and it's pretty cumbersome to grant specific exceptions to that, so... best to not submit anything you'd like to publish elsewhere.

Got it. ;) *keeps creative helmet firmly strapped on*

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

If you're thinking about entering, read this thread. If you don't take the time to do that—I'll be frank—you probably don't deserve to win.

In Neil's first post in that thread, he advises you to read Clark Peterson's "rejected items" threads. You can find them here:
2010
2009
2008


Vic Wertz wrote:
If you're thinking about entering...

Thanks for those references :)

Contributor

Tom Baumbach wrote:
How many of these auto-reject notes can we expect?

I think I have about 30-40. So feel free to ask, that may push the relevant bit of advice closer to the top of my queue. :)


Andrew Christian wrote:
Shifty wrote:


If seeing it in your dreams makes it ok, then I'd like to submit Angelina Jolie and my endless dencanter of whipped cream.

Does your dream go kinda like this:

[Angelina] “Oh dear knight, your weapon is so wondrous”

[you] {faint}

wraps the tinfoil hat on tighter

HOW DID THEY KNOW!?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

I'd like to also add, for those items that have descriptions of how they were formed later in the comments, they might prove insightful.

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Tom Baumbach wrote:

How many of these auto-reject notes can we expect?

** spoiler omitted **

No offense, but that's kinda a jerky attitude to have.

It makes me think you have a really good question that you think others will fail on, but you don't want to bring it up because if others fail on it, and you don't, then you'll have a better shot at top 32.

My thought is this: if you think you might fail on this question, it might just be best to avoid the issue all together and design something different or in a different way.

Contributor

No worries, Andrew, I'm going to get all of these posted before the submissions for R1 start, so everyone's on equally-informed footing.


Andrew Christian wrote:
Tom Baumbach wrote:

How many of these auto-reject notes can we expect?

** spoiler omitted **

No offense, but that's kinda a jerky attitude to have.

It makes me think you have a really good question that you think others will fail on, but you don't want to bring it up because if others fail on it, and you don't, then you'll have a better shot at top 32.

My thought is this: if you think you might fail on this question, it might just be best to avoid the issue all together and design something different or in a different way.

I don't think that that was his attitude after all. I think he found himself in the dilemma of not wanting to be disruptive or off-topic-ish by asking a question that would be answered anyway.

So tried to ask if his question would fall in this category without asking said question.
- Which of course is a rather futile attempt after all ;)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
...I'm going to get all of these posted before the submissions for R1 start, so everyone's on equally-informed footing.

I must admit, I'm kind of admiring your "Twelve Days of Christmas" approach. It's like a new "gift" everyday. ;-D

Scarab Sages

Andrew Christian wrote:
It makes me think you have a really good question that you think others will fail on, but you don't want to bring it up because if others fail on it, and you don't, then you'll have a better shot at top 32.

Well that's *kind* of the reason I don't want to ask it. But it's not from a selfish perspective, more a thinking-like-a-judge perspective. In thinking about the answer to the question, I thought, "Maybe this is one of the tools judges use to separate the wheat from the chaff and they don't want it... discussed." But the more I think about it, the less I think that might be the case. So I'll ask.

Who is the target audience for the first round entries?

Spoiler:
I've seen dozens of times, "Good item, good enough for a magic item book, not Superstar." Now I'm not privy to the judge's comments or process, but from my perspective it seems that the line between "good" and "Superstar" is drawn by each judge; it's subjective. And yes it should be that way.

But when I'm writing, whether for myself, a game, or a company, I have the advantage of knowing who I'm writing for. I can shape my subjective cool to meet the subjective cool of whoever will be reading what I write. But the judges aren't wearing their designer/publisher/developer hats when they're judging Superstar. Or rather, they're wearing those hats beneath the judge's turban.

Yet, it doesn't help me to know that the target audience is three RPG Superstar Judges, because that doesn't mean anything when the roles those judges were chosen for doesn't (exclusively) apply to the role of RPG Superstar Judge. If the item is good enough to grab up for a book, but the designer/publisher/developer still says no... something doesn't add up.

So let me ask this another way. Assume the item I submit meets all the criteria for a legal entry and takes all the advice to avoid an auto-reject. It does something unique or in a new way without being overly complicated. Is it just luck of the draw if to get one of the judges to think it's cool, or is there a cool measuring stick?

Yep, that's a completely asinine question. But still valid.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

Tom,

If I may give my 2 C-bills...

Spoiler:
Trying to write to catch teh judge's eye can backfire just as easily as writing a bad item. "Galatea's dressmaker, a statue of a (hot) woman who animates to make costumes and paint miniatures" might get Sean's eye. But is more likely to irritate him and get Jodi to hunt you down.

Same thing with Demom items for clark, kobold items for Wolfgang, Dinosaurs for James, etc.

Think of Round one as your cover art. The purpose of cover art is both to give some hints of the content inside, and to catch your eye to make you pick it up. If you're worried about writing to a 'target audience' I think your target is a group that has seen lots of things, are skilled enough to take your item in directions you didn't think of, and wants your item clear enough that they can improvise on the fly. They don't need a one shot item that does divination, they need tea leaves. They don't need an item that gives scrying, they want leaves of the autumn druid. They don't need "This slotless item gives a luck bonus to AC" they want a tankard of the cheerful duelist."

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Tom Baumbach wrote:
Who is the target audience for the first round entries?

Hey, Tom. Let me take a stab at helping you with this question, because I think it's a valid one. Anyone who's serious about RPG Superstar and confident in their skills, but frustrated by the idea that they just can't quite seem to catch the judges' eyes will pretty much have this exact same question. But you're not just asking, "Who is the target audience...?" You're also asking, "How do I make sure my item is one of the great ones that stands out, rather than one of the items that would be 'good enough for a book of magic items, but not quite good enough for RPG Superstar'...?"

Here are my thoughts:

Spoiler:

First, I'd recommend that you go back all the way to the original RPG Superstar in 2008 where Clark Peterson went to great lengths to explain and expound upon items that they classified as Bad Item Stereotypes. Now, aside from reviewing the things that easily sorted themselves into the reject pile, Clark also touched on the idea that those who didn't see their item falling into one of those stereotypes, and who still didn't make it into the Top 32, were most likely one of the C+ to B+ items that just couldn't quite make it to an A or A+ for inclusion in the Top 32.

So, what you're really talking about here is: "How do I stand out?" I've seen some people discuss that "gonzo" is the way to go! Or, uber-creepiness and gross stuff will win over the judges. I really don't believe that to be true. There are plenty of examples where an item didn't go gonzo or gross and it made the Top 32 just as easily. Instead, I think it all distills down to "a really good idea" that's "well-executed" and "tight."

What do I mean by that?

Let's take "a really good idea" as an example. Clark cited the fact that some competitors submitted a new figurine of wondrous power (many of which were actually pretty cool, according to him), and yet those items didn't make it in. Why? They fell into the bad item stereotype of just one-upping or repeating something that already existed. So, it wasn't a "new idea." RPG Superstar is about submitting an item that's wholly your own, cooked up by your creativity, with a really solid, unique, interesting idea that makes people go, "Wow!" Now that kind of reaction can be a result of, "Wow, I can't believe there's not already an item like this in the game..." or "Wow, that's an incredibly cool new way of handling a particular kind of effect produced by a wondrous item..." or "Wow, that's just amazingingly COOL! I want one of those for my PC!"

I believe really good ideas are one of the fastest ways to catch a judge's eye. But, in and of itself, that's not a sure-fire way of getting into the competition. So, let's examine what it means to submit a "well-executed" item...

This is the part where you need to show your design chops. A good idea, poorly executed isn't Superstar material. So, you've got to put it altogether in a way that showcases not only your writing talent, but also your design talent. What do I mean by that? You need an item that's fully thought through. You need to consider every aspect of how your item is priced (i.e., where it lands on the treasure tables) so that it makes sense. You need to make sure your item isn't game-breaking because it's ripe for abuse. And you need to make sure your item isn't superceding what it means to play a particular class, or just duplicating a spell or monster ability, or making any other part of the game irrelevant. You also need to show, just from an attention-to-detail perspective that you paid attention to the formatting for your item's presentation and rules themselves. If you significantly foul up in any of these areas enough, a good idea (as important as it is) won't save you. And an item that's "well-executed" but lacking a good, core idea, is far more likely to make a book of magic items but get excluded from RPG Superstar.

But that's not all. There will be a LOT of people who are really creative (good ideas!) with a serious appreciation for the rules of the game and an attention to detail (well-executed!), but they still haven't figured out how and when to exercise restraint. That's what I mean by a "tight" item. So let me get into what that entails...

When the judges say an item is "tightly-designed," it's an indication of not only the care that went into crafting it so it dovetails nicely with the existing rules. It also means that the designer didn't glom on a bunch of unnecessary stuff that presents them as a potentially difficult designer to develop and edit down the road. You need to make sure you don't have such a high opinion of yourself that you think you're above the rules. You need to make sure you don't roll into your item all the "cool" aspects of your home campaign, thinking they'll easily translate for everyone. Because, in all honesty, a lot of homegrown stuff doesn't. You've also got to exercise the restraint of glomming on more and more stuff to an item that it loses cohesion and abandons the concept of a "tightly-designed" theme. I believe this category of potential errors is a "separator" for what makes great items stand out from good items. That's because most of the good items have a good, core idea to them...and they're well-executed in accordance with how an item respects the rules of the game and would appear in a published book of magic items. And yet, they fall down just slightly...when compared to the other items...on how "tight" they've been designed.

Once you clear those first two hurdles, your item stands a really good chance of going into the "keep" pile for further discussion. That's where the "good" items go vs. the automatic rejects. But your question about what audience you should target is really misplaced, I think. What you're really getting at is how do you make one of those intially "good" items convince a judge to elevate it to a "great" item that makes the Top 32? I can tell you right now, it's not by appealing to a certain judge's preferences. If you're writing to impress the three individuals who are reviewing the contest submissions, you're really doing yourself and the contest a disservice. Instead, you should be writing for the game...or for yourself...or for gamers, in general. Because, honestly, every judge is a gamer, presumably with a vested interest in designing stuff that enriches the game. That should be your goal as an RPG Superstar competitor.

Design something that enriches the game, exercising a great idea, well-executed, and tightly designed. You do that to the best of your ability and that's what will set you apart.

But that's just my two-cents,
--Neil

Contributor

I'll answer that now, as that's not really an "autoreject" problem (which is what my other posts are about).

The goal of R1 is not "create a magic item that would be suitable filler for a book of magic items." There are TONS of magic items in the Core Rulebook that are functional and necessary to the game, but aren't exciting at all. The +X to an ability score items. The staples of myth and stories, like flying carpets and flying brooms. An item that gives you darkvision. Items that give you bonuses to skills. And so on.

Those items are not Superstar. They're necessary and functional, but not innovative.

A Superstar item is an item that explores the boundaries of the rules, does something we haven't seen before or does it in a new way, or is otherwise impressive in its creativity or implementation. It goes beyond just what is necessary and functional and catches your attention (and by "your" I mean "anyone who reads the item's description," not just the judges).

It's the difference between black coffee and a pumpkin spice latte. Black coffee is a staple of the morning routine, but it's just coffee grounds and hot water. A pumpkin spice latte is espresso, milk, and other flavors. The person who invented the pumpkin spice latte went, "wow, I'm really on to something here!" If you're having a slow morning, you can get a pick-up with a regular black coffee. But when you add sugar, milk, and other things to it, you get something interesting.

Two great examples from past competitions:
My first year at Paizo, the competition allowed people to refer to the Pathfinder RPG Beta. Some guy submitted an item that fiddled with sorcerer bloodlines. Bloodlines were a brand new concept, and all three judges saw that and said, "this guy has found an unexplored niche in the game, that shows he knows the game and knows this is an area ripe for exploration." ONE person did such an item. He made the cut.
Last year, the competition allowed people to refer to the Bestiary. Matthew McGee created the batrachian helm, an item that let the wearer use the pull ability, which premiered in the Bestiary as a brand-new ability. Recognizing that shows he has a good eye for finding cool stuff in the game (in fact, Matthew made it to the Top 4 Finalists, which proves he can consistently do that).

R1's Top 32 are decided by the judges, so in a way you're writing to impress those judges. But what the judges are looking for is someone with an awareness of fertile ground in the game rules, because it's hard to train someone to do that. I can train someone to get their stat blocks right, or to stop writing in passive voice, or to spell-check their manuscripts before they send them to me, but it's really hard to train someone to recognize what would be a cool addition to the game. Write that, and the judges will notice.

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

Tom Baumbach wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
It makes me think you have a really good question that you think others will fail on, but you don't want to bring it up because if others fail on it, and you don't, then you'll have a better shot at top 32.

Well that's *kind* of the reason I don't want to ask it. But it's not from a selfish perspective, more a thinking-like-a-judge perspective. In thinking about the answer to the question, I thought, "Maybe this is one of the tools judges use to separate the wheat from the chaff and they don't want it... discussed." But the more I think about it, the less I think that might be the case. So I'll ask.

Who is the target audience for the first round entries?

** spoiler omitted **...

That’s actually a fairly good question. Sorry if I was a bit harsh on my feelings earlier.

Knowing your audience is huge no matter what you are writing.

I think the issue here though is, is one of overthinking.

You even said it yourself: It is subjective as to what’s Superstar and what isn’t, and it should be.

While writing for the correct audience is extremely important, you can try to hard to write for the correct sub-genre of audience so-as to completely miss the mark as well.

I’d suggest running your submissions past your friends and gaming associates, and if they all think its as cool as you do, then it probably will at least be in the running for the top 32, as long as you make it as tight as possible.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Tom Baumbach wrote:

... the item is good enough to grab up for a book ...

... meets all the criteria for a legal entry and takes all the advice to avoid an auto-reject. It does something unique or in a new way without being overly complicated. ...

Others have said this but it bares repeating: these are not the same thing.

Something can be a fine addition to a supplement without being unique or inventive, or while being a spell-in-a-can. Some items just aren't unique or exciting or impressive yet still have a place in the game.

"I would print your magic item" is a compliment, but not a huge one; making passable magic items is fairly easy, but making really awesome ones is not.

Liberty's Edge Dedicated Voter Season 6

I also have a good question I think. This may be covered in one of your "auto-reject" posts, but I think it bears a separate query, as I'm sure this is a reason for auto-reject in most circumstances.

One of the things I saw in the "hey look at my item Clark" threads where Clark, Sean, and others critiqued (gave judge feedback on) items that did not make the top 32, is that the item didn't fit the new location/power theme. Such as, movement abilities/powers/spells being in footwear, and ability bonuses being in belts.

But I have an item that feels way cooler based on the name and what it does if it doesn't exactly fit the power to the location of the item.

Would this be an auto-reject simply because it doesn't fit the mold, so to speak, or would it just have to be even extra cooler to get past auto-reject?

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

Andrew Christian wrote:

...

Would this be an auto-reject simply because it doesn't fit the mold, so to speak, or would it just have to be even extra cooler to get past auto-reject?

Ouch. That sounds like a fine line you have come down on, and probably has no easy response.

Spoiler:
...but I will try :) If you are making something for the slot because there is nothing cool for that slot or because you want to min/max a certain ability and that is the only slot left open, you are probably breaking the mold. (is that where the term 'broken abilities/powers' came from?) If you are doing it because wings on sandals are classic even though robes are the traditional wing slot, you will be ok.

See? a fine line :)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Matthew Morris wrote:
Trying to write to catch the judge's eye can backfire just as easily as writing a bad item.

Also, if you're serious, you should be thinking beyond just Round 1. While the general public doesn't get to vote on your item, many folks will nevertheless consider it when they're thinking about voting for you in subsequent rounds.

So not only should your item have widee appeal than just the judges, but potential voters probably won't think that highly of you if they think your item was just sucking up to the judges....

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