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(+) Help Develop an IRON DM Spin-Off!

Rune

Once A Fool
Where were we?

Ah, yes. In developing a new format for an IRON DM contest following the 2020 tournament, we had established a basic structure for the project modeled loosely on various long-form reality TV cooking competitions.

So far, it looks something like this:

  • A panel of judges, probably 3.
  • A four-week competition, with each week themed to test various different elements of in adventure-creation.
  • Contestants are not eliminated during the course of the competition. Instead, they are given a cumulative hidden score across the weeks. Possibly with a less-specific public general ranking.
  • Each week will have one or multiple topics that the contestants are expected to write entries for. Each week will have a set number of words allowed to write all entries with, allocated however the contestant chooses.
  • Each challenge will require the contestants to incorporate ingredients into their entries. These ingredients will not be known by the contestants before the challenge begins. Possibly, these ingredients will be specific to each individual challenge and uniform for all contestants. Possibly they will be a pool for the entire week that the contestants may allocate to their challenges as they choose. This is decision that still needs discussion.
  • Possibly the challenges will use specific game-systems or genres. Possibly they will have no such stipulation. This, too, needs discussion.
  • Weekly themes to be considered for challenges: World-Building Elements, Challenges, People and Motives, & Wonders.
  • Elements to be considered for challenges: Plot Hooks, NPCs, Schemes, Dangers, Settlements, Adventure Locations, Cultural Elements, & Artifacts.

Hopefully, we can sort this out and have it running by this Spring!
 

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Rune

Once A Fool
My personal preference would be that the final week consists of a single challenge: incorporating the elements of previous weeks into a full (if brief) written adventure. While also incorporating the new ingredients for the week.

A proposed structure:

Week 1: World-Building. Contestants have one week and a maximum of [X] total words to write up entries for all of the following challenges, incorporating [Y] specific ingredients.

The individual challenges: A Unique Cultural Element (an institution, deity, tradition, legend, etc.), A Unique Settlement, AND A Unique Wonder (artifact, location, mystery, etc.)

Week 2: People & Motivations. Contestants have one week and a maximum of [X] total words to write up entries for all of the following challenges, incorporating [Y] specific ingredients.

The individual challenges: A Unique NPC, A Unique Scheme, AND A Unique Faction.

Week 3: Conflicts: Contestants have one week and a maximum of [X] total words to write up entries for all of the following challenges, incorporating [Y] specific ingredients.

The individual challenges: A Plot Hook, A Unique Danger (a monster, trap, hazard, etc.), A Unique Puzzle or Riddle, AND A Unique Adventure Location.

Week 4: Adventure. Contestants have one week and a maximum of [X] total words to write up a cohesive adventure, incorporating the elements created in previous weeks and [Y] specific ingredients.
 
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Rune

Once A Fool
One more consideration: Each week, the judges could incorporate a fan-favorite category into their scoring.

This could be achieved (while remaining hidden) by soliciting private messages from spectators. Each vote would then translate to an additional point added to the score.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I remember discussing this - but it does seem complicated and requiring consistent buy-in from contestants and judges. That said, it does seem like it could be hecka lot of fun to either judge or participate in.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
I remember discussing this - but it does seem complicated and requiring consistent buy-in from contestants and judges. That said, it does seem like it could be hecka lot of fun to either judge or participate in.
My thinking is that it can work with a field of contestants that can be of any size. Except that the judges still have to read all of the entries, so not too large. Theoretically, though, even just 2 contestants is enough. 4-8 would be much better, of course.

I would bet we could round up 3 judges and at least 4 contestants.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
I remember discussing this - but it does seem complicated and requiring consistent buy-in from contestants and judges. That said, it does seem like it could be hecka lot of fun to either judge or participate in.
Of course, the issue of maintaining a contestant’s interest is one we need to tackle. Maybe a non-judging host who interacts with contestants? Asks questions about choices made? That sort of thing?
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
If course, the issue of maintaining a contestant’s interest is one we need to tackle. Maybe a non-judging host who interacts with contestants? Asks questions about choices made? That sort of thing?
We need a scoring system that both makes it so that a consistent winner each week is likely to win the whole thing, but that also gives someone who falls behind a chance to catch up so they are not discouraged. I do think there needs to be some kind of public scoring round up each week.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
I am holding on to my feedback until I have more time and energy to appropriately process and type it up, but I'm definitely still interested in helping hash this out. I will say I'm a fan of the structure you've listed.

I definitely agree also that either direct scoring (or even just ranking, or like a Top 3) every week gives contestants an idea of where they are and how far they have to go to catch up.

As Spring rolls around I will definitely have more time and energy and would be glad to step in either as either a judge or an Alton Brown, as needed.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Yes, this sounds fun. Quick thoughts: I think we should stick to system agnostic. For someone who entirely prefers D&D to other RPGs, for some reason I found writing a sci-fi just because in last year's competition made the whole thing more fun and versatile. I think the same basic "no mechanical elements needed" IronDM approach seems best.

It would be unfortunate if a contestant needed to bow-out mid-competition, but I think we shouldn't worry too much about that (other than to try to make it worth sticking around for).
 

Rune

Once A Fool
We need a scoring system that both makes it so that a consistent winner each week is likely to win the whole thing, but that also gives someone who falls behind a chance to catch up so they are not discouraged. I do think there needs to be some kind of public scoring round up each week.
So, each challenge would look something like:

0 = No significant presence.​
1 = Present, but minimally significant.​
2 = Present and significant.​
3 = Present and exceptionally implemented.​

Ingredients used.
For each ingredient:​
Creativity (0-3)​
Internal Relevance (0-3)​
Potential Relevance to PCs (0-3)​
Interconnectivity (0-3)​
Structural Analysis.
Creativity (0-3)​
Function (0-3)​
Style (0-3)​
For the adventure challenge, I would add the following to the Structural Analysis:
Cohesion (0-3)​
Playability (0-3)​


These numbers are tight enough that a few low numbers shouldn’t knock anyone out, but consistently higher numbers should always matter.

Factor in the potential 1 point per 1 unique spectator vote that an entry could get, and things could get a little swingier (depending on the number of votes).

Perhaps a vote-ratio converted to a certain number of additional points would be better. Maybe a total of 5ish points per contestant, divided up according to the ratio.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
So, each challenge would look something like:

0 = No significant presence.​
1 = Present, but minimally significant.​
2 = Present and significant.​
3 = Present and exceptionally implemented.​

Ingredients used.
For each ingredient:​
Creativity (0-3)​
Internal Relevance (0-3)​
Potential Relevance to PCs (0-3)​
Interconnectivity (0-3)​
Structural Analysis.
Creativity (0-3)​
Function (0-3)​
Style (0-3)​
For the adventure challenge, I would add the following to the Structural Analysis:
Cohesion (0-3)​
Playability (0-3)​


These numbers are tight enough that a few low numbers shouldn’t knock anyone out, but consistently higher numbers should always matter.

Factor in the potential 1 point per 1 unique spectator vote that an entry could get, and things could get a little swingier (depending on the number of votes).

Perhaps a vote-ratio converted to a certain number of additional points would be better. Maybe a total of 5ish points per contestant, divided up according to the ratio.

Would your score be the total of 3 judgements or the average of 3 judgements?
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Another important consideration:

The judges will almost certainly be scoring the previous week’s entries while the next is ongoing, so a public ranking will not be available at the start of each week. Mid-week might be a reasonable target, though. If the field isn’t too large.
 
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Rune

Once A Fool
My preference would be average. Rounded up. The rounding would favor high outliers over low outliers, but I’m okay with that.
The averaging, by the way, would keep the swinginess down in two ways:

First, by reducing the impact of outlier scores, but also by keeping the overall total lower (to about a third), which means low scorers can remain competitively within reach of the higher scorers over the long run.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
The averaging, by the way, would keep the swinginess down in two ways:

First, by reducing the impact of outlier scores, but also by keeping the overall total lower (to about a third), which means low scorers can remain competitively within reach of the higher scorers over the long run.
Agreed.
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Just skimmed the linked thread I didn't see before plus this one.

So far it sounds good. Having just judged, I'd be much more inclined to be a contestant than judge.

A random idea I had: what if you had a contest where you had one entry then kept on adding ingredients each round?

As an arbitrary example:
Round 1 is 3 ingredients and 4 hours.
Round 2 adds 3 more ingredients and 12 hours.
Round 3 adds 2 more ingredients and 24 hours.

The entry would keep the core adventure structure/theme/plot but would incorporate the new ingredients. Each round could have a theme too if that was desired: "Round 2: Monster!"

Not attached, just a thought.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
I think the proposed format sounds like a lot of fun. I don't think specifying specific games is a good idea, but indexing a specific genre might be ok. Perhaps there could be a list of genres and each contestant gets to use each one once. If there one or two more choices than rounds no one's getting pigeon holed but the contest would still challenge contestants to write in more than just their favourite genre. IDK...
 
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Rune

Once A Fool
Seing as how this discussion has tapered off and seeing as how we probably have enough for a panel of judges to work with, I’m going to go ahead and push this developement into the next phase.

Obviously, if anyone has anything further to add, you are welcome to continue doing so in this thread.

But, if we really want to see this thing happen in the spring, we’re going to need to start manifesting that reality.

To that end, if anyone thinks they might be available and interested in being a judge, send me a private message and I’ll be sure to contact you in, say, February or so, which will hopefully give the judges time to work out the final details.

Alternatively, if someone else wants to pick up the organizational torch, they can contact me and I can provide them with a list of those interested in judging.

No commitments are necessary at this time! If you think you might be interested, just send me a message!

 
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