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Holiday Iron DM!!!! {Final Judgment Posted!}


Moderator Emeritus
Arwink, mirthcard - Friday is fine with me - I'll be around and post a reminder in the A.M. EST - for those of you in AUS - that is much much later friday evening (I think)

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Actually nem, I found out that Friday's gonna be quite the bear for me. Any way we could go on Sat, if that's okay with everybody?

BTW, did you know that you defaulted on the first round of the Ceramic DM?
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Thanks everyone for the consolations :) One of these days, just you wait.

As to my entry... this was a tough round. Normally the ingredients suggest one or two storylines to me and I work the two together. The problem with this list is it suggested at least three seperate storylines to me and I had a hideous time trying to figure out how to get them to flow into each other. First and fore-most I hit on the idea of the dwarves competing in some way against the giant. I think I thought of Paul Bunyan almost immediately and thought of using the Bulette in place of the huge blue ox. Originally I had thought of a bet between the two forces, with the dwarves hiring the PCs to investigate as to whether the giant was cheating but I could not get the other story lines in my mind to work.

The rest of the ingredients did not seem to fit in with each other. The beached whale suggested a whole different story arc and the magic-tea cup did not seem to fit in with either the whale or the loggers. Finally I decided to make an event oriented adventure instead of plot in order to more easily bring the different threads together. The whale and the loggers dictated the scenery. Had to have forest and beach both. The pixies suggested themselves as being connected to the tea-cup and soon I had connected Ralph to the tone deaf bard. A read through the Pixie description gave me a way to curse the poor guy and account for his hearing problems. The whale was originally going to be a rock formation by the town but then I thought of making it an encounter where the characters are introduced to the teams and where the character of the bulette becomes a sympathetic element.

The mind flayer was in my mind, supposed to be a cultural abberation. A loner who profited only himself, more interested in pure materialism than he is in political power. (Why are mindflayers always deemed to be political manipulators?) As for the gold being attractive to him, like I asked Nemm, why wouldn't it be? Even neferaious schemes cost money. And if a giant wants to build a fancy castle sometime he has to pay for it somehow. There has to be a source for all that treasure piled up in the villains lair, a reason they have it (except of course for dragons who just like sleeping in the stuff). Anyway, I think a mindflayer with levels of Rogue could be a good thief, he has the intelligence to pull of the crimes and the powers to defend himself if need be. I am always interested in using monsters outside of their cliched roles in order to keep things fresh. If I expounded on the adventure, I would not make the mindflayer the first thief, I would have just made him the best.

Wulf Ratbane

nemmerle said:
I think it is a great resource - and when I look them all over I think of how many great adventures we have cooked up in these threads - too bad we couldn't all flesh them out and draw some maps and make some full-fledged modules from these things.

[stares blankly]



First Post
As a nod to Wulf, I have given his amnesia, cursed back-biting spear, hangman's tree scenario to no less than 3 DMs (not including me!).

On of the best IRONDM submissions...ever.

Which gives me an idea! Once we have enough, how about a "Classic" IronDM tournament. To compete, you must have submitted at least 3 adventures for an IronDM contest.

You are paired up at random, and both of you choose 1 of the scenario's you've submitted in the past. your opponent does the same. You can only re-submit each entry once though, so do you give your best submission first? Tn the middle? Last?

anyone care to poke holes in this idea?


I had given thought at various times to writing up some of the entries I have submitted into full adventures. Likely if someone else gave me an actual incentive to do it I would, but other things constantly seem to be more important at the time.


I'm back on the Boards, so here's my Round #2 Exposition for Blood Sanctuary, albeit a bit later than intended.

To be quite truthful, I actually had more trouble getting these six ingredients to fit together nicely than I did in the Finals...and it showed :(. I spent most of Saturday night kicking around various story ideas, none of which were very good. The plot I almost went with, involved getting the PC's to help save a baby brontosaur trapped in a magical mud pit created by a dissolving waterfall, which had been magically frozen years earlier. The PC's would be provided with a large flying carpet to help transport the beast to safety after he'd been extracted from the mud. Alas, this scenario felt like a variety of bad children's movies including Free Willy, so I (thankfully) went back to drawing board :D!!

Eventually, the idea of using divine favor to freeze the waterfall (a raging flood coming down from the mountains) took seed, and I could envision the nature preserve and/or sanctuary built in homage to the responsible deity. I'd been wanting to incorporate one of the Prestige Classes I recently read about, and finally I stumbled onto the right one while paging through the Complete d20 PrC Book -- the Blood Witch. This foul villain could have an imprisoned bronto at the animal refuge; hers to bleed ad infinitum thereby empowering her metamagic spells. The rest of the plot flowed through Oseera, and the impending doom for Shanalea if things were not set right at the sanctuary.

Let me respond briefly to Nemmerle's comments:
1) The foppish foreigner and flying carpet were definitely shoe-horned into my adventure, and I freely admit that Arwink made better use of both ingredients than I did. Still, I liked Herdwick Cupp, and could see his mission to hire the party as a lot of fun to roleplay. I enjoy a bit of humor in all of my stories, and he seemed like the perfect vehicle for humor in this mini-adventure. The carpet is another story. All of my use concepts with respect to this item were poor IMO, and I finally went with one that seemed interesting if nothing else.
2) I respectfully disagree with our noble judge when it comes to the magical mud, though. Mudmen -- or at least physically animated mud -- did seem to be the obvious use here, and that's precisely why I went in another direction. Furthermore, you have a plausible use for the item given the NPC employing this ingredient and how it ties in to the nature theme. Just my two cents, but I liked the invisible fence for the bronto which served the dual purpose of keeping his food supply plentiful.
3) I'm please that Nem saw a cohesive storyline with some elements of subterfuge and mystery, despite its weaknesses in other areas. I don't know who deserved to win our round, or whose story was better suited to the Iron DM format. I'm very happy to have prevailed, but I certainly would have understood this battle going to Arwink.


First Post
nemmerle said:
I was thinking of perhaps collecting all these Iron DM examples and staring up a web page with just the list of ingredients and the entries - perhaps an update on who the "current champion" is - and perhaps some examples from the home game and the like.
I've got a pretty thorough list of ingredients (minus this one) in the first post of the Home Game. If you have a particular format in mind, I could probably go through and pull out these ingredients and all of the entries for the various games as well.


Exposition for A Home by the Sea
Iron DM Finals

After reading the ingredients list for the Final Round, cursing quietly under my breath for a few moments, and then re-reading the list several more times, I decided that the mind flayer was going to be my adventure's primary villain...even though he represented a secondary contest element. I wanted this adventure to possess two things evident in my Round #1 entry, which were somewhat missing in the Round #2 submission. Namely, a story which integrated the required elements well AND which also offered a realistic setting where extensive roleplaying and exploration might occur. If I was going to lose (likely -- considering the opposition), then I wanted to go down having created a solid story in the process.

To that end, I began working on the Bukkar Peninsula. A place which could reasonably provide homes to storm giants and dwarven loggers; humans and beached whales; bulettes and perhaps even room for a small contingent of hidden ju-ju zombies. First I developed MacLeod's castle along the southern shoreline of the peninsula, beside the sea so that he felt close to his kin beneath its waters. Next came Nomak-Tar, the Bukkar trees and the logging camp several miles upstream. Finally Kendall and Trapper Ralph with his cabin out in the woods.

Then I began fleshing out Ylarrg and his desire to have an undead army, instead of just lots of eaten brains and a few feebleminded slaves. In my mind, flayers (like drow) have little tolerance for those who do not conform to expectations in their subterranean cities. It made sense that a necromantic flayer like Ylarrg would be banished to the surface world (if he wasn't just killed), and that also provided his motivation to stay put and succeed in his nefarious plans.

Here's where eveything turned beautiful for me. I called a buddy that owned the MM2, and got my hands on the ju-ju zombie information that began connecting all the puzzle pieces. You see, ju-ju zombies are effective underwater AND are immune to electrical attacks. That makes them perfect soldiers for laying siege to a storm giant castle surrounded by water on three sides!! If I could tie those ingredients together seamlessly, then surely there were ways to interconnect them all. So, Ylarrg attempts to possess MacLeod, who he's lured out of the castle with nuisance zombie attacks, but gets a whale instead. The aformentioned assaults are blamed on the humans and dwarves (cuz that's what the zombie bodies are) creating tension and distrust amongst the peninsula residents. Meanwhile, a hungry bulette is unknowingly terrorizing the dwarven logging camp (and stealing potential zombies from Ylarrg), but this is blamed on a mythical creature of legend. It all just sorta fit...except the magical tea cup. I only saw this item as a vessel for the magic jar spell, and that didn't seem good enough. So I stretched things a bit and expanded its uses in my final edit. In retrospect, I agree that this went too far. C'est la vie and all that jazz.

In reviewing the Finals, I really liked the elegant simplicity of Wicht's story. His use of the ingredients seemed almost effortless IMO, and his entry was a perfect side adventure for any campaign. My own entry was much more involved, and took a lot more backstory to set up. I wasn't sure of how this would play with Nemmerle, but I felt pretty iffy about my chances even though I really liked my story.

Obviously, I'm glad that the victory was to me. But just about anyone who's ever stopped into one of the Iron DM threads will acknowledge that Wicht's body of work in these competitions is unmatched when viewed as a whole. I was honored to battle him (and Zappo & Arwink as well), and to have been a part of this contest. Thanks Nemmerle :cool:!!

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