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IRON DM 2013--Entries, Judgements, Commentary, & Trash-Talk


Once A Fool
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the 2013 EN World IRON DM Tournament!

[sblock=The Rules:]The Basics:

The tournament is set up in a single-elimination bracket style, with each match determined based on scheduling availability among the eligible contestants.

Each match will consist of two contestants given a single set of six ingredients with which to construct a brief adventure in any game system or genre. You should waste neither time, nor words, on overly detailed stats, but you should also not assume familiarity with any given system or genre. Explain what you need to explain, and stop there!

These entries will be evaluated on their own merits and those evaluations will then be compared to determine the winner of a match, who will then proceed to the next round.

All matches will be given a time-frame to submit your entries within. Entries that are late will still be accepted, but, seriously, don't do this! The later the entry, the more severely it will be penalized in the judgement process. If given a match with an incomplete entry and an entry that was late, I will go into judgement assuming that the latter (later) entry has something to prove. Every fault found in such an entry will be magnified.

Seriously, if you haven't finished with an entry in time, post what you've got! Even if you don't win (and, who knows, you might!), you may find the judgement enlightening for future IRON DM tournaments, anyway!

All entries are expected to make good use of all of the ingredients submitted--that is, they should be creatively applied, well-integrated, and fundamentally necessary to the adventure that they are used in. This is the crux of the tournament, so don't think that maybe (for example) doing a good job with three ingredients will be enough, as long as you can craft a better adventure! I wouldn't count on it, if I were you.

Finally, most of the previous tournaments in the last 11 years have used some optional bonus ingredients in Round 3. This tournament will not make use of such bonus ingredients. Each match will have exactly six ingredients.


All entries are to be submitted with the list of ingredients at the top and are not to be edited, once submitted. Let me repeat that last part: DO NOT EDIT YOUR POST, ONCE YOU HAVE SUBMITTED IT! Check your work before you send it in. Then check it again. I will not look favorably upon any entry that has been edited.

Please do not expect me to follow links within your entry; I will not do so. You may include links for others to follow if you choose to do so, but understand that, during judgement, I will only be reading (and re-reading, and re-re-reading) what is in the actual posted entry.

Along those lines--I will be reading each entry several times. Please don't make that difficult for me. Don't bore me and don't make my eyes bleed. Please.


As I said before, each entry will be judged on its own merits and then the two competing entries' critiques will be compared for the final judgement.

I will endeavor to be Nemmerelesque in my judgements--that is, critical, but also fair and constructive in that criticism. That said, understand that not everybody will agree with every decision I make--that's the nature of the game. Traditionally, second-guessing the judge is all part of the game--and that can lead to some undesired outcomes. It can sting sometimes (believe me, I know!), but it is a game. Let's have some fun with it!

That said, those wishing to gain a little insight into my thinking will need to do a little research to do so, but the information is out there. Be warned, though! I may have changed my thinking on some of these things within the last 11 years!

Tournament Structure:

Round 1:

All matches in the first round will have a 24 hour time-limit! That's right--we're going old-school! These matches will not be restricted in length, but, please, don't bore me! Contestants who win their Round 1 matches will proceed to Round 2.

Round 2:

All matches in the second round will have a 48 hour time-limit. These matches will have a 3000 word limit (not including the title and ingredients list--any descriptions or definitions of ingredients will count against the limit!). Contestants who win their Round 2 matches will proceed to Round 3.

Round 3:

The third round match will also have a 48 hour time-limit. This match will have a 2000 word limit (not including the title and ingredients list--any descriptions or definitions of ingredients will count against the limit!). The contestant who wins this match will be the IRON DM 2013.[/sblock]

This thread will list the ingredients and the judgements for each match. Please use this thread to post the entries as well. Commentary is also welcome in this thread, but, please, if you are commenting on an entry that has not yet been judged, hide that commentary with spoiler or sblock tags!

If spectators would like to play the home game, please do that in another thread.

Finally, scheduling for these matches will take place here so as not to clutter this thread.

IRON DM 2013

[sblock=Round 1]Round 1, Match 1: Deuce Traveler vs. Imhotepthewise
Deuce Traveler

Round 1, Match 2: Wicht vs. MortalPlague

Round 1, Match 3: Radiating Gnome vs. EP
Radiating Gnome

Round 1, Match 4: Mike Myler vs. Dragonwriter

[sblock=Round 2]Round 2, Match 1: Wicht vs. Dragonwriter

Round 2, Match 2: Deuce Traveler vs. Radiating Gnome
---Radiating Gnome---

[sblock=Round 3]Championship Match: Wicht vs. Radiating Gnome
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Once A Fool
What is that? That Spongebob Squarepants version of smack-talk?

I'm ready! I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready!

Just to get the trash-talkin' kickstarted, here...
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Once A Fool
Round 1, Match 1: Deuce Traveler vs. Imhotepthewise

[MENTION=34958]Deuce Traveler[/MENTION] and [MENTION=976]Imhotepthewise[/MENTION], you have 24 hours to post your entries to this thread. Please include a list of ingredients at the beginning of the entry and please do not edit your post once it is submitted. Please refrain from reading your opponent's entry until after you have posted your own. You are on your honor to do so.

Your ingredients are:


High Holy Days

Out of Time

Mundane Wonder


Unusual Currency

Deuce Traveler

Deuce Traveler's Entry for Round 1 of Iron DM 2013, vs Imhotepthewise

Secret => The unusual currency to enter K’Rikkt.

High Holy Days=> Three days of worship to Rotcod Eht, Lord of Time. These days correspond to the moments where the Plane of Time comes closest to the campaign world.

Out of Time=> An effect that can be caused by stopping the giant clock inside Obbins' home. Time can only be stopped for ten minutes every hour, and doing so creates great pain to K’Rikkt. K’Rikkt can also be used to travel out of time by going into the future.

Mundane Wonder=> Giant clock in the center of K’Rikkt. It can be stopped for ten minutes every hour.

Home=> K’Rikkt, home of Obbins the Mage. Actually a befriended from the Plane of Time.

Unusual Currency=> A day-coin created from a happy moment of a character’s life, sacrificed in order to gain entry to K’Rikkt.

Ruleset: This adventure is meant for any fantasy game where high magic and planar travel is part of the campaign world, and for any character level as the encounters can easily be adjusted to match party strength.

Background: Obbins the Mage was always an odd duck. He was a talented magic-user, but never truly exceptional at his craft. Though he preferred living his days in the county of his birth, he was a voracious reader in regards to various lands and planes. And he was so very old, though he was young. The last bit was what was truly strange about him. One day the elderly spellcaster announced he was going on a trip and wasn’t sure when he would be back, so he sold off his home and his possessions and used the coin to fund his journey. He was gone for many a year, but when he returned to his county he was a young man again, claimed to now worship Rotcod Eht, the Lord of Time, and traveled upon a strange house that walked on skittering insect legs. He called the house K’Rikkt, though what the word meant was anyone’s guess. Other wizards and priests were quite interested in these events, but whenever their intrusions into these matters became too heated Obbins and his amazing home would disappear for days, weeks, or even months at a time. However, Obbins couldn’t escape the greed of his fellow men forever. Eventually a roguish band noticed that Obbins always returned during the three High Holy Days of Rotcod Eht and sometimes left his home to worship at a local temple. Through guile this band learned the secret of Obbins' home, taking K’Rikkt and leaving Obbins stranded. For the last year this band has been stealing from the local estates, disappearing for awhile, only to reappear with K’Rikkt on some new lawn in the dead of the night to rob again. But what the band didn’t get from Obbins was that the house cannot use its amazing powers during the three High Holy Days of Rotcod Eht, when the arc of the Plane of Time reaches its highest point in conjunction with our world. For those three days the band would not be able to escape justice, and it would be possible for some intrepid heroes to enter K’Rikkt and put an end to the crime spree.

Adventure Hooks: The party can be brought in a number of ways. Obbins the Mage might be alive and in good health (though reduced in power due to the loss of his magical equipment) and contact the party directly. Also, the local lords who are being victimized by the thefts may charge the adventurers with helping to stop the thieves. In this case, Obbins may be anything from a respected adviser to the local powers or their distrusted and poorly treated prisoner. Finally, the characters may be acting as free agents and see the band of thieves as competitors who have taken K’Rikkt, which the players themselves covet.

Adventure: Obbins got lucky during his foray into the Plane of Time, both by having his age reversed instead of advanced, and by befriending a telepathic creature of Time called K’Rikkt. Obbins convinced K’Rikkt of returning to the mage’s land of birth in the game world, and the two found kindred spirits with one another as they both enjoyed leisure and philosophical discussions on alien lands and culture. K’Rikkt feeds on time, so Obbins would often live a single pleasant day fishing in a nearby brook or taking a stroll in a local town, then feeding those 24 hours to K’Rikkt, sacrificing the pleasant moments to the alien creature. The next day Obbins would not be able to recall this devoured day. For those not of the Plane of Time, those moments around Obbins never existed. So they recalled his home sitting nearby, but never the mage himself. For Obbins, it was if he missed an entire calendar day, which was the case. K’Rikkt finds days of time with overly bad experiences unpalatable. The majority of what K’Rikkt devours fuels the creature, but a small portion feeds into the Plane of Time. K’Rikkt has a giant clock in the center of its body, the arms of which can be turned in order to make the creature travel into the future, but usually only in the same spot that he left. The clock can also be stopped for ten minutes at a time, though K’Rikkt can keep walking during this instance. When the clock would resume its movement, it would appear to outside observers that K’Rikkt disappeared and teleported a great distance away. This stopping of the clock would cause great pain to K’Rikkt, so Obbins refrained from using this trick unless both agreed that danger necessitated doing so. The scoundrels that now operate Obbins' home care little over the poor creature’s pain.

The adventure itself can be broken into three parts: finding the location of K’Rikkt, gaining entrance before others manage to do so, and battling inside K’Rikkt in order to defeat the band of thieves.

Finding the location of K’Rikkt will be tricky, even if the players discover that Obbins’ home cannot time travel during the three High Holy Days of Rotcod Eht. First, after each heist, the thieves were able to stop K’Rikkt’s internal clock to escape. They have several locations they are using away from populated areas to rest, recuperate, and plan before their next strike. Although they have been striking hither and dither for the last year, for the thieves only a few of weeks have passed. When K’Rikkt stops during the High Holy Days, the thieves are caught by surprise at one of their hideouts. The home informs them that he is now tethered to the Plane of Time by unseen means and cannot move forward in time or geographically until the High Holy Days are over, and the plane recedes from its traveled arc. The only action he can perform is to freeze time, making him temporarily disappear to outside observers, but only for the usual 10 minutes per hour.

This gives the party plenty of opportunities to find the thieves if they prepared properly. First, the thieves are only using a handful of sites as safe havens, but those sites leave evidence of their comings and goings, especially because of K’Rikkt’s unique prints when he rests and sinks into the ground. Second, the thieves are staying in the local county or counties as they are only striking targets they are familiar enough with in order to be sure of the wealth inside the estates, limiting their operating area. Third, if the party discovers the significance of the High Holy Days, they can leave scouts on patrol or scrying magic to find the location of where Obbins’ home has been stuck.

Obbins was good-natured, but had jealous rivals because of K’Rikkt, some of which he himself did not even know about. The party will not be the only agents looking for K’Rikkt, and will find themselves in a confrontation with a crooked mage and his hirelings, or agents of said mage. If the heroes have made a past enemy of a wizard, this would be a good time for them to have another confrontation, as the stakes are quite high.

Access to K’Rikkt is easy enough if you know his secret. The creature is telepathic and desperate to evict the band that has occupied his chambers, so diplomacy or a message from Obbins may persuade the creature to share the secret. Some divination spells or hiring a diviner may also be of help here, though the clues may be appropriately cryptic. K’Rikkt is a creature designed to devour time for his home plane of existence and is obligated to swallow a day of a person’s existence before allowing them access to his facilities. Each adventurer must choose a pleasant and important day of their life while in telepathic contact with K’Rikkt. As they focus on this day, K’Rikkt will extract it and create a large coin-like disc that appears in front of the character. The character can then feed K’Rikkt this disk and walk through the ethereal membrane that makes up his maw. The pleasant day no longer exists to the character. Instead there is a memory of them losing a day, and tales afterwards on how they disappeared while friends and family frantically looked for them. The loss of a day should not take on the form of a financial or experience point loss. Such a day instead could be the day after an adventure where the party was feted by the local aristocracy and danced with nobles, or a special trip with a relative, or even a kiss from a special someone. Once the day is chosen, it never happened however, and the character is left with a deep sense of loss, knowing something special was taken but not knowing what or its implications. If a character chooses his special day to be sacrificed poorly, such as when he saved a sibling when they were children, it can have other dire implications.

Once inside K’Rikkt, the hijackers will have to be dealt with and a confrontation will ensue. There are only a few chambers inside K’Rikkt, so spells and attacks will have to be specially considered. Furniture is bolted down and cannot be easily tipped for cover without cracking some of K’Rikkt’s skin. Spells such as fireball and lightning bolt could be as dangerous to the party in here as they are to the enemy. Also, such spells and other area of effect spells could harm K’Rikkt himself. The creature is mostly made of a hard, hollowed, insect-like skin, so missed melee strikes and arrows will have little effect. But he will feel extreme heat, cold, electricity and acid based damage. Further, if K’Rikkt’s clock is stopped by the bandits, the adventurers will find themselves with the added challenge of fighting without gravity. When the great clock is stopped, gravity ceases to have an effect inside the home. The bandits will know this from experimentation and take adequate precautions. Heroes will have to balance how to handle the danger without harming a sentient and harmless creature.

When all is said and done, K’Rikkt will want to go home after his abuse at the hands of the rogues. This can be accomplished by spinning his central clock backwards, tearing a fabric in reality, and ripping him from the time stream and back to the Plane of Time in a few short rounds. Characters who use those rounds to escape will find themselves in the same spot of earth and around the same time that they had entered K’Rikkt. If Obbins is alive and the characters can retrieve his spellbooks, Obbins will regret his friend’s departure, but otherwise be happy that K’Rikkt is safe. Of course the players may decide to keep K’Rikkt for themselves and continue abusing the creature for their own personal gain. This will go well for a short while, up until a certain Lord of Time takes pity on his creature and intervenes…

Deuce Traveler

I woke up this morning, jumped on my motorcycle to go to work, and this adventure just continued to develop itself. I hope the judges find it as enjoyable a read as it was to write.

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