Barca's Haven


Round 4: Design an encounter

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Barca’s Haven
==========
Barca Lubell makes a decent living carting exotic big game down to the duergar markets of Hagegraf, and then hunting deadly Darkland specimens to sell to Tymon's arenas or Daggermark's poisoners. Two years ago, while hunting in Nar-Voth, she stumbled upon a small grove of violet fungi in an easily-missed cavern that branched off a main tunnel route. With the fungi captured, she realized the cavern itself was just as valuable a discovery. It offered a perfect waypoint for her caravans and hunts below, and gave her hunting parties a safe shelter in otherwise inhospitable territory. She even occasionally auctions off her stock here to trusted Darklands merchants.

Barca’s recent foray in the region was successful; she and her crew subdued a rare tentamort, and she fortuitously caught a sneaky wimblewyrm trying to loot her jewel stash. They presently rest in their haven before carting these new acquisitions above.

The Ruined Hide-Out (CR 8)
==========
Hazard: As the party unknowingly passes near the entrance to Barca's haven, a tremor (Into the Darklands 12) strikes, merely rattling the adventurers but triggering a deadly series of events inside the cavern.

Inside Barca’s haven, the tremor causes a partial cave-in, pinning Barca and some of her crew under the rubble. The tremor also diverted a nearby stream, which now gushes through the cave walls and begins filling it with cold water. Worse, a massive rock seriously damaged the iron box that holds the tentamort, setting it free.

After the tremor, read the following:
As the shaking subsides, a loud crunch of falling rock sounds from nearby, coupled with the unexpected clang of stone crashing into metal. A dim purple glow now shines where there was only darkness a few moments before. Suddenly, screams and shouts of alarm, surprisingly in Common, ring from that direction.

If the party investigates, it discovers a side tunnel, now only partially covered by a thick curtain cunningly crafted to resemble the surrounding stone walls. Phosphorescent fungi coating the tunnel ceiling cause the purple glow. The shouts from within the tunnel increase, joined by a high-pitched, raspy screeching and the sound of gushing water. A female voice yells out, “Be careful, that thing is worth a fortune!” The tunnel slopes gently downward around a bend.

Trap: Barca rigged a tripwire to collapse a part of the cavern wall on anything that intrudes. The resulting collapse creates a 10-ft. square of difficult terrain and doubles the flow of water into the room.
Collapsing Wall Trap CR 5
Type mechanical; Perception DC 25; Disable Device DC 20
----- Effects -----
Trigger touch; Reset none
Effect Atk +15 melee (6d6); multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft. square)

When the party enters the main chamber, read the following:
The tunnel opens into a larger cavern with a shallowly concave floor, its ceiling covered with the same glowing fungus; torches in sconces give additional light. Another wide exit gently climbs to the north. Water gushes from cracks in the eastern wall, filling a growing pool in the bottom of the cavern. Dust hangs in the air where the southern cave wall collapsed, and rubble is scattered across that region of the floor. Three human figures lie pinned under large piles of rocks; two seem unconscious, but one, a bloodied but determined woman, shouts orders at four men rushing around the debris. A large wheeled iron box lies partially buried under a rockpile, one upper corner showing a massive dent, and its door swings open on damaged hinges. A small iron cage rests on the ground a few feet from the advancing water.

The roof of the cavern varies between 10 and 15 ft. high.

When the party enters the chamber, water covers the area marked on the map. Every 2 rounds, the pool rises to the next marked contour, expanding by roughly 3 ft. (If the trap was triggered, the rise rate is one contour per round.) Once the water reaches a wall, it rises up the wall six inches per round. Once the water rises two feet, the pinned hunters and wimblewyrm are underwater and (if conscious) must begin holding their breath. Any square covered with water is difficult terrain. The water is very cold, and immersion in it causes 1d6 nonlethal damage per round.

Rules for digging out buried hunters can be found at CRB 415; each hunter is trapped under 1 ton of rock.

Creatures: The tentamort was set free when the rockfall damaged its prison, and it now lashes out in fury and hunger at the nearest moving target.

Three wimblewyrms are present. One, Carrax, is captive in the small iron cage. Two others, Sylobur and Thrint, have been following the hunters and awaiting an opportunity to free their companion. Wimblewyrm acid is useless against Carrax’s iron prison, and he now watches the water rising toward him with trepidation. He thrashes around his cage, begging in every language he knows for someone to unlock the door. Sylobur and Thrint watch from hidden perches in the cavern roof, hoping to take advantage of the chaos to engineer Carrax’s freedom, though they realize they probably can’t get Carrax out of his cage on their own.

Barca herself is torn between the urge to ensure her and her crew's survival and the powerful desire not to see her investment escape or be destroyed. She is desperate to free herself so she can set about recovering the situation. When she sees the adventurers enter the chamber, she immediately offers them a rich reward if they can help subdue the tentamort and rescue her team. If the PC's attack the tentamort with lethal force, she yells angrily and pleads with them to find a way to deal with the creature without killing it.

Four of Barca's hunters rush about frantically, some trying to free their pinned friends, some trying to fight off the tentamort. To Barca’s chagrin, they are less concerned with subduing the tentamort than with surviving the encounter.

Tentamort CR 4
XP 1,200
hp 39 (Bestiary 2 261)
Tactics The tentamort climbs to the ceiling and makes use of its reach to attack from above. It focuses its attacks first on the hunters who are moving around, and then on the pinned hunters. Anyone who injures it becomes a new primary target. If it falls below 15 hp, it seeks escape.

Wimblewyrm (3: Carrax, Sylobur, and Thrint) CR 5
XP 1,600 each
hp 45 (R3)
Tactics Carrax seeks survival above all, and focuses all his energy on obtaining rescue. Sylobur and Thrint begin the combat by using jumble stone to drop rocks from the ceiling on humanoid targets. (This also alerts Carrax to his comrades’ presence.) Afterward, Sylobur tries to dig up next to Carrax to help him if possible, while Thrint digs behind the east wall and increases the flow of water into the room; the water then rises one additional contour per round.
Carrax then shouts a shrill promise in Undercommon that if released, he will relieve the flooding in the room and save them all. The key is on Barca's belt, presently inaccessible, but the lock can be picked with a DC 30 Disable Device check. If freed, Carrax is sorely tempted simply to bolt for the exit. A DC 20 Diplomacy check is required to convince the wimblewyrm to keep its promise. If he decides to help, all three swiftly dig a tunnel to drain off the water from Barca's haven; after 2 rounds of burrowing, the water begins subsiding at the rate of one contour per 2 rounds. Otherwise, he simply burrows his way to freedom.

Barca Lubell CR 5
XP 1,600
hp 45, presently 34 (use Monster Hunter stats from GameMastery Guide 257)
Tactics Barca attempts each round to free herself (DC 25 Strength check). If she succeeds, she tries to subdue the tentamort. She abandons her prizes (and the cavern) only when all hope is lost.

Barca's Crew (4) CR 1
XP 400 each
hp 16 each (use Caravan Guard stats from GameMastery Guide 282)
Tactics One hunter tries to aid Barca in escaping the rockfall, while another begins digging out the easternmost pinned comrade. The other two hunters fight defensively against the tentamort, using nonlethal damage if possible unless one of them falls, at which point they switch to lethal.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Welcome to Round Four of RPG Superstar 2015! You've worked hard and pleased the voters to get here, and your chance to get into the finals depends on whether you took risks and pulled off a big idea. Let's see how it goes!

I'm looking at each entry as a developer, as a GM, and as a player. If you can please all three of those crowds, you are a Superstar!

Encounter, Location, Prose When I think "Create a location", I am hoping for something unusual and exciting. I don't think an underground camp for surface dwellers does it for me, and certainly the name isn't exciting. In that sense, your entry is all about the encounter to me, because I could take or leave the location (as will the PCs).

I mentioned in the crystalized caverns entry that some readers won't buy the "things get real juuust as the PCs happen nearby" approach. To be fair, some folk aren't troubled by that, and no small number of memorable scenes in movies rely on that trope. Good gaming is about fun and cinema (and killing PCs monsters), and an earthquake just as the party gets close is certainly cinematic. Of course the voters will decide, but be careful about relying on coincidence in too many encounters.

Time sensitive events in encounters drive urgency. Using the old "water rises every round" trope is fine (see originality below), but has to be executed in a way that hasn't been done over and over again. I think you nailed that.

Your encounter doesn't make use of the normal Paizo formatting for encounters. The creatures should be listed before the traps, and the bit about convincing Carrax to keep his promise should be in a section called Development near the end. Having a consistent format means GMs can understand the details of a given Pathfinder product more easily. Your encounters for any work done for Paizo will definitely have to conform to their formatting and style.

It looks like your entry makes the best use of active language I've seen so far. Writing in active language is something every writer has to overcome. You seem a step ahead in that department.

Is it original? The PCs arriving just as disaster strikes isn't really original, nor is the idea of a camp for strangers, nor is the idea of travelling to a dangerous location for big game. The rising water idea is particularly not original. But combining those tropes to entice the PCs to save vulnerable surface-folk from an untenable predicament does tell a decent story, and has a place as a little sidequest in any Darklands campaign. This encounter might be a good example of how adventure tropes can feel new and exciting when run well.

Do I want to run it? I can make the encounter work pretty well as written. The urgency, rising water, and mixed feelings of the NPCs all play together. The encounter even has some mandatory roleplay built into it, if the PCs want the burrowers to help relieve the flooding.

Do I want to play it? The location just isn't special to me, but players play encounters, not locations. This one would probably be fun to play. The clock is ticking, there's room to barter with Barca for my services, and I'd probably have to convince a very strange monster to keep its promise after I worked to set it free. It has pretty good cinema and gives something for the whole party to do.

Overall: While the location is kind of boring, the urgent encounter and other combat dynamics are appealing. The opportunities for roleplaying in character (both with Barca and with the wimblewyrm) are nice. The prose is stronger and the formatting mistakes can be taught. However, if you advance, offer more unique ideas and convince the voters that your product will look and play like a Pathfinder product.

Recommendation: With my last position, I recommend this encounter to advance to the final round of RPG Superstar.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Map: This map is more traditional than your round 2 entry, but sadly it is also much less interesting. It's clear enough and shows what it needs to, but it doesn’t do anything interesting. It does nothing to elevate the encounter, and truthfully most experienced GMs can run this encounter in any cave map, anywhere.

Trap: Linking the tripwire to the rate water fills the area is good encounter design, but it's also really hard to believe. The tripwire was in place when the tremor hit, and although whole sections of the cave have collapsed, the tripwire remains taut and firmly anchored. However, tripping over it is just enough extra force to double the rate of water spraying into the cavern? That's a pretty big coincidence. Also, Barca rigged it to create a collapse at the entrance of the cave she's staying in, with no other exit?

Monster: The wimblewyrms are a fairly good match for this chaotic sprawl of events and conflicting interests, but they aren’t really the start of the encounter. Since the PCs are very likely to end up fighting the tentamort, and worrying about the flooding waters, the fact that there's a debate about whether or not to keep a creature in a cage is likely to be much further down their list of concerns (and unless they’re evil, they'll likely just release it and not spend much time worrying about it). If you want a wimblewyrm to be the focus of this encounter, it needs a near complete rewrite.

Encounter: The coincidence that starts this encounter is pretty big, and it creates problems with internal logic. The encounter itself isn’t really much of a challenge unless the wimblewyrms attack the PCs, and there's no real reason for them to do that. A group of four 8th level characters will kill of subdue the tentamort (having someone they are helping rescue worry about its value isn’t going to be much of a factor for most groups), free Carrax, and help everyone out without much difficulty.

Tips: When you determine the CR of an encounter, take time to ask yourself how difficult the simplest solution for PCs is for four characters of the CR's level.
Also, think about where PCs are forced to make tough decisions, and when they can just take the easy path. There aren’t really consequences here for doing the simplest thing other than the annoyance of an NPC who may owe the PCs her life, and is in no position to back up any threats.

A lot of this encounter is okay, but some of it is bad, and none of it is great. I do not recommend this encounter for advancement to round 5.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Hey Scott, congratulations on making it to the top 8.

I am the developer of Pathfinder Society Organized Play and the Pathfinder Society Open Call, which means I see lots of short adventures and self-contained encounters over the course of a year. It’s a developer’s job to read through, revise, and fact-check pretty much everything, but I have attempted to distill my feedback into several major headers. Essentially, I’m approaching this round like I would a scenario turnover, which involves marking up a copy of your encounter and providing feedback on what you did and how you might improve.

My Criteria:

Setting: Does your encounter fit in Golarion? Is it an encounter appropriate for Nar-Voth? Is the CR appropriate for the setting and the encounter? Is it clear how a GM might use this encounter? How effective is the map?
NPCs, Creatures, and Traps: How well did you incorporate the Round 3 creature into your encounter? Does it feel like a natural fit, or was it forced? Does the creature have a chance to shine? Do your NPCs fit in the location? Do their motives make sense? Is there an opportunity for roleplaying (appreciated but not essential)? Does the trap fit the encounter? Does the trap add to the encounter?
Numbers: Are all of your statistics and calculations correct? Are your skill check DCs reasonable?
Style: Did you watch Paizo’s styles, both in terms of writing and formatting? The more closely a writer can match Paizo’s styles in the turnover, the easier it is for me to develop. The easier it is for me to develop, the more eagerly I assign that author more work.

Setting
This fits with Nar-Voth, and I like the connection to the surface economy.

The encounter is a little strange because there’s not really much of a hook beyond sudden tragedy. This might be enough to lure in most groups, but once they’re there, they have to choose between helping trappers (might not have a good connotation, especially after their booby trap strike the PCs) or freeing a scheming dragon. There’s not necessarily a right answer, which could work to the encounter’s advantage.

NPCs, Creatures, and Traps
I just want to start with the rising water hazard, which is nicely done. Providing some contours to define where the water is after a particular moment is a very clear way to track the hazard.

The wimblewyrm’s predicament makes bargaining logical, but I think his plea for help is better juxtaposed with Barca’s own negotiating and counterpoints. The rushing water certainly speeds up that process, for good or for ill. Either way, I would enjoy seeing more information about how the two parties respond to one another’s pleas.

Choosing a wimblewyrm works for the encounter, but I’m baffled by the draconic trio’s tactics. Carrax wants to get out, which makes sense. I’m reading that Sylobur and Thrint also want that, but they begin combat by both antagonizing the PCs (who are strong enough to help) and accelerating the flooding that threatens to drown Carrax. Why?

The trap is okay in that it accelerates another threat, but the initial burst of damage is probably off-putting for the PCs and makes them more trigger-happy as they stumble into this scene. Also, did the tremor somehow collapse a ceiling but not trigger a tripwire (or the ceiling-collapse trap it’s connected to)?

Numbers
I hardly know how to calculate this Challenge Rating, as the guards are fighting the only creature legitimately wishing the PCs harm, the other NPCs are trapped under rubble, and two-thirds of the wimblewyrms are doing everything they can to complicate matters in a way that would probably drive otherwise reasonable PCs to violence. CR 8 feels right enough.

Style
Overall, your writing was pretty clear and stylistically sound. Don’t abbreviate “feet” in running text, and write out single digit numbers (except where referencing things like points or damage). Aim to frame skill checks as “A PC who succeeds at a DC XX [skill] check does YY” rather than “A DC XX [skill] check does YY.” The latter does really wonky things with agency, because now the skill check is actually doing the work, not the PC.

Include a Development section to address the aftermath of the bargaining and encounter. This encounter in particular seems to beg some kind of closure.

Closing Thoughts
This is a chaotic scramble that involves choosing sides while being abused by both sides. The hook is pretty loose, supported by a single exclamation about implied monetary rewards, but there’s no development that explains whether Barca makes good on rewarding the PCs. Although the tactics support some different agendas, they also make it difficult for the players to know what to do—or avoid just throwing up their hands and helping nobody. The water hazard is well designed, but the wimblewyrm tactics are just baffling and counterproductive.

I do not recommend this encounter for advancement.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

My thanks to the judges for your time, attention, and expertise.


BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE:

The duergar, also known as gray dwarves, and Hagegraf, their capital in Nar-Voth; Tymon and Daggermark, cities of the River Kingdoms; and tentamorts, tentacled aberrations who ambush prey.

The wimblewyrm was Chris Shaeffer's Round 3 monster.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Hodge Podge

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What is this warm, fuzzy feeling I'm experiencing? :3

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

4th review:

I was a big fan of your round 2 map, didn't like your monster and I am sad to say that I am not liking this encounter.

You are not reaching the Superstar standard here.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

There's a lot going on here so I applaud you for trying to create an interesting, dynamic encounter. Unfortunately, there are some missteps in the design that hurt it as the judges pointed out. I think the focus being on the tentamort and not the wimblewyrms is a mistake. My players would be focused on saving themselves first before worrying about trapped wimblewyrms and slavers. I'm also concerned that if the PCs do go rushing in to help and trigger the trap, they will think the whole thing is a ruse, turn around and walk away or fireball and forget the area.

The actual location isn't very exciting as compared to many of the others.

Again, I appreciate the big ideas here but this needs a second rewrite (and I say this as a former contestant that ran into similiar problems in my own R4 entry).

Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The Map is clear and easily understood. I like the water indicators which are used by the encounter to add a feeling of urgency to the situation. A really good concept easily implemented. However the actual location isn’t all that interesting; it’s just a small series of interlocked caves. The only interesting thing about the map and specific locale are the parts which indicate the conditions found in the encounter.

The location is rather uninspired. There is nothing here that cannot be found in many a Darklands or Underdark setting that has been published over the past 30 years. A simple trading post with connections to Daggermark and Hagegraf doesn’t generate excitement or much interest. This area seems to be interesting only in regards to the events of the encounter. This was an opportunity to create something unique and new that was effectively dropped.

The encounter is rather good, using a rescue, an aggressive monster, and some rather small dragons which come down on both sides of the encounter to create a situation that could be resolved in any number of ways. That is interesting and well designed.

The trap is problematic in that Barca set it up. Since she wants the party to help and not hinder her, she is sure to yell out a warning about it. Nothing is written here to indicate why she wouldn’t warn her rescuers about it. That oversight effectively takes the trap out of play or strains believability.

The wimblewyrms are supposed to be the central element of the encounter, but it can be argued that the tentamort is by far the central creature. Carrax and his friends can be allies or foes depending on how the party handles the situation. While that is a good design practice overall, the only intention of the dragons is to get out of there. It makes the encounter a battle with the tentamort with annoyances that could make it worse.

A lot of information about how the encounter would turn out is described under tactics, which is supposed to be reserved for how a monster or foe will fight the PCs. It is not the area for discussing non-combat actions. With a trap that shouldn’t logically be triggered and creatures that any group compassionate enough to rush to the rescue are most likely to free and enlist the aid of, this encounter is simply about battling an aberration with some interesting rescue elements to add urgency.

As such I will not be voting for this entry.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

I don't have time right now to give a detailed review so I'm just going to write something quick.

This is not getting one of my 2 votes for a variety of reasons and would not if I had 4 here's a highlight reel of my reasoning:

-Map is identifiable and I get it but it isn't enhancing your encounter for me, it is however more functionally useful then your R2 entry.
-Monster choice has a good deal of potential but I'm more intrigued my the NOC which is a misstep.
-Rising water trope... Maybe if there was something original in there. Look to Kingmaker's 3rd book where a lake drops in along with a pissed off giant eel... that's a rising water trope with mojo.

Stuff to work on:
-If you make it to R4 I'm going to need to be sold on you to get my vote. Thus far R3 has been your best round by a mile and I find your other work middling to low end.

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

Scott LaBarge wrote:

Barca’s Haven

==========

Congratulations Scott!

Map: + loved the crayon, shape is good and has interesting features, it wasn't clear what the blue circles were, but overall very nice.
Monster (homefield advantage): Not really, the jumble stone doesn't create difficult terrain anywhere the water doesn't. Plenty of areas to drop stone on people though , (or dislodge a clinging tentamort). The tentamort is the bigger threat here. Diplomacy requires a minute interaction, so everyone will drown before Carrax agrees to help them out.
Trap: ~ the wall rigged to collapse doesn't fall in a tremor? placement was good, and the idea is good, but not right for this encounter. It was not a part of the encounter in my opinion. The map set up an expectation of a water spray trap. I would like to see that bull rush people.
Tactics: - fight tentamort, free trapped individuals, not much going on here.
Challenge my players: - tentamort might, but I think PCs can safely ignore it depending where on the ceiling it retreats to.
Memorable: ~ as a future base the location is, but the encounter itself will come down to freeing the human and/or the wymbleworm.

inspiration to run it:
While not a part of contest, I do want to run this with the following change: the wymbleworms use the PC's arrival as the distraction they need to free their friend. They use jumblestone in an effort to break the cage Carrax is in, inadvertently triggering the aforementioned tremor or even freeing the tentamort and starting the water flooding without the tremor.

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

Overall, I felt both the location and the encounter are lackluster. Nothing inherently wrong about them, but nothing that stands out either. It's also a complete throwaway encounter. The PCs can simply ignore if if they don't care about a Darklands traveler, and in the Darklands, that's pretty much the norm. The encounter and location both are simply a stop on their journey to where ever, nothing suggests they need to interact with it at all, other than a cry for help (and who hasn't learned to ignore those in case of leucrotta's or other voice mimicking monsters?)

The encounter itself is okay I guess with the rising water, but only if the PCs really want to save Barca for some reason. They could also just wait, let everyone drown, and the monsters to leave, then swim in and loot.

Also, using the R3 monster as a caged hunting trophy severely underuses it. I wasn't a huge fan of the wimblewyrm in the first place, but once you have an encounter with it, you should feature it doing it's shtick, not as a prisoner who needs to be freed, that is if the PCs want to.

Star Voter Season 6

My Comment/Voting Process and Rationale for this Round:

Composed on Wed. 2/25:

Last round, I just barely had time to read and comment on all 16 monsters before voting closed. I make my comments right after carefully and thoroughly reading an entry, while the information is still fresh in my mind. After starting to read and comment last round, I really wanted to be fair to all 16 entries before voting, so I really pushed myself that final Monday to finish.

This round, due to an even busier family week and no Monday off work, I may not have the time to give all 8 encounters full consideration.

So, my plan is this:

At bare minimum, read, critique, and consider the three encounters earning triple judge recommendations (Brian's Gloomsworn Path using the Gloomwasp, Monica's Hanging Gardens using the Dread Glutton, and Chris's Darkblight fallow also using the Dread Glutton), and, if I don't have time to evaluate more encounters before the deadline, I will simply choose my two favorites from those three encounters for my votes.

If I have the time to read, critique, and consider two more encounters, I will add the two encounters that each earned one judge's recommendation into the mix for my vote consideration. (Steven also recommended Scott's Barca's Haven using the Wimblewyrm, and Owen also recommended Kalervo's Fellforge Chapel using the Geomaw. I don't think John recommended a fourth encounter for advancement.)

If I do end up with enough extra time, I will happily read, critique, and consider the three remaining entries, but it's possible I won't have a chance to fully read and comment on them until after voting closes.

Although not ideal, I think this system is at least fair, since I'm using the weight of expert opinion to select the pool from which I choose my votes.

That said, when I vote, I'll be looking for a mix of exciting ideas with technical proficiency, with some consideration given to entire body of work.

Cheers!

.......

I like the rising water to add urgency, the use of the Wimblewyrm, and the fact that it's not a clear-cut choice of who is ally and who is enemy. All of those things could lead to an interesting encounter. Nice job! :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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I've been trying to find time to talk a little about my encounter since the end of voting yesterday, and finally have it, so here goes:

Let's just say I knew I had some problems. I was worried about the location being too generic, I was worried about the wimblewyrm not featuring prominently enough, I was worried about player motivation to get engaged, I was worried about the artificialness of having a tremor reveal the cave, and I was worried about people thinking that the tremor should have tripped the trap. (I even had a sentence about that in an early draft which I had to cut for word-count.)
If I had had one more day with which to work, I would have started again from scratch. But I didn't (that week was just brutal at work), so I tried to do the best I could with what I had already developed. Having seen what other people came up with, I'm not surprised I didn't make the final round, and all those who did (indeed, all the contestants!) have my admiration and respect.

(And secretly, I'm delighted not to have to worry about producing a 3,000 word adventure pitch over a very busy couple weeks....)

It's been a really fun run! Thanks to everyone who gave me any kind of support along the way.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

I actually liked what you were trying to do. I liked all the interactions beyond just combat. I liked that you had several interesting characters to deal with. Your instincts to go in that direction were good. With more time for the execution, I have no doubt you'd have create a top notch encounter.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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Thanks, RD, I appreciate that. I'm not embarrassed by the encounter, and I do think there were some good ideas there. Ah well, what might have been....
The other thing I meant to add was that if I had had another 100 words I would have included a Development section where Barca would have offered to let the adventurers use her haven if they were helpful enough, which in itself can be an invaluable boon in a hostile area like the Darklands, and it would have been possible to turn the wimblewyrms into allies as well.

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