*bump* for children, because the children are our future.
The Point of Origin in “Quad” is nothing but a mine in which the Asmov Ore is found. It's relevance to the PCs is completely nonexistent.
Transcendence is one of those thematic ingredients I like so much. I like them because they have a lot of potential for weaving into and throughout an entry. They're the kind of thing you can hang an adventure on. I almost got that with “Quad.” Almost. It felt like that was what was supposed to be there, but it was, unfortunately, mishandled. In order for the PCs to get a sense of the golem's transcendence, they need to actually see it happening—and not just the physical enlargement. If an alignment shift from Chaotic Evil to Lawful Good is in the works, let the PCs in on it! And if it's coming about because of the PCs' actions, they need to see that, too! Otherwise, it's just wasted potential!
Sticking creatures with the aberration sub-type in a dungeon and having them hunt the PCs (as “Quad” does) isn't that creative a use of the ingredient. Now, if the golem were an aberration (as implied in the entry), that might have worked, but I saw no way to actually take the golem as such. The metal, for instance, was specifically described as being/causing any golems made from it to be Chaotic Evil. That could so easily have not been the case and the ingredient would have worked.
And that leads to some disappointment with the Death Spiral, as well. First of all, for those of you who don't know, this is another ingredient with multiple definitions. Not only is it a figure-skating technique, but it is used in to describe a situation in which insurance costs rapidly increase because low-risk policy holders change policies or drop them altogether. It has, of course, a similar meaning in gaming: a character acquires penalties through failure (often in the form of wounds), that make success (and, frequently, survival) increasingly less likely. Both entries chose to go with a more literal interpretation. I'm fine with that.
What doesn't work for me, however, is what “Quad” does: having a golem die of natural causes in a spiral dungeon and calling it a death spiral.
I found the entirety of my joke tasteless, but humor is a harsh and fickle mistress!But where's the Tasteless Joke? I've read “Quad” thrice, now. Still—nothing. The best I can figure is that the name of the killer-golem is supposed to be the joke. But it's only tasteless in that it seems to reject themes that Asimov pretty consistently explored.
Mike Myler, you have some strengths that you can build upon for future tournaments. First of all, your vision was a good one. Having the PCs chase a foe while being chased makes for a potentially fun scenario and following the golem as it grows up has great potential, as well. Not to mention a good way with words! If only some more time had been spent in exploring and polishing these elements—and if only the relationships between the ingredients and their relevance in the adventure had gotten a bit more attention...I feel like a second attempt would capitalize on some of the good things you've got buried beneath the surface. That said, I'm afraid that second attempt can't happen in this tournament. Dragonwriter's entry utilizes the ingredients better, and is a tighter, more usable entry. Even if it is a little too small.
I thought having a golem that can grow was already different enough from any other golem I've read about, but I guess some tentacles wouldn't have hurt.
By the end of the tunnel any PCs in Quad are going to be subjected to (on average) 8 saves on that table, and I kinda thought the latter effects were already pretty brutal. Next time I'll make sure not to overlook the integration of themes so haphazardly and make sure to really drive things home.
I found the entirety of my joke tasteless, but humor is a harsh and fickle mistress!
Thanks! My way with words, almost assuredly, is why I land any gigs at all.
I will do my best to put your advice to use in my next round. And I’ll make it bigger (the 48 hours will help).
...Yeah...about that...I think you'll find that the word-limit will make that difficult. Actually, your entry was a pretty good size (although I didn't do a word-count this time around). It just didn't have enough adventure in it. You're an efficient writer, so I'm sure you can pull that off.