• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

IRON DM 2014 Tournament

phoamslinger

Villager
this should be interesting.

OK, we have Gradine's The Diamond Toad (DT) and MortalPlague's The Queen Under the Stars (QUS). and the ingredients were...


...let me start out by saying there were things I liked and things I didn't like about both entries. the ingredient list was intended to be a pain to work around and it seemed that this turned out to be the case. both entries took some liberties and stretched for possible meanings to make things work. sometimes this can be a matter of interpretation, but if the stretch is too much, it can make for a weaker entry.

the Infinite Loop
In DT, this was the race that didn't end right away and in QUS it was the wedding ring. the problem in DT is that eventually the race does end, even if it gets called because the trophy flag has disappeared. so while the loops may be longer than anticipated, they are not really infinite.

using a wedding ring as an infinite loop is interesting, because I've actually been to a few ceremonies where the priest goes into the symbology of rings and how they are supposed to form an ongoing, permanent bond. that would make this usage of the infinite loop a really good interpretation EXCEPT that the queen divorces her "husband" after a year or so; kind of killing the whole infinite symbology.

neither entry really achieved an "infinite" loop in their scenario. so no advantage to either.

the Ice Frog
Gradine made the assumption that because diamonds are referred to as ice by criminals, and his adventure is about a robbery, that this would work. this is a bit of a stretch, but one that I think, within that context, is workable. MortalPlague actually had giant frogs that released a poisonous toxin through their skin that caused a chilling effect. the problem here is really with the diamond frog. not in its "ice" aspect, but as a frog. Quentin's discovery of the Anura Major could have been envisioned as an elephant in the sky and suddenly we would have an ice elephant in place of an ice frog. the Iron DM ingredient in DT becomes a macguffin (which I've commented on previously) and is not a strong usage of the ingredient. point to QUS.

the Chapel of Wings (I wondered how this was going to get used...)
DT had a temple dedicated to the goddess who gave wings to ships that led to the building of the city, the race, and was where the protagonist/antagonist hides the victory flag. QUS made mention of the chapel in the ingredient list, but I had to go back and look for where the Chapel actually comes into the adventure or is actually significant. ...and didn't find it. point to DT

Astronomer's Husband
DT had the naval captain who sets up the plan. QUS had the previous husband who is the villain of the piece, but ALSO potentially (actually very likely) one of the PC's. I don't think I've ever seen a submission where one of the adventurer's became one of the key ingredients in an Iron DM. quite clever. point to QUS.

the Athletic Airship
in DT we have a back to basics airship with rowers and peddlers (and bellowers and flappers and I can think of a whole slew of really silly naval positions with silly names trying to get a boat into the sky). in QUS we have a really big owl (in other words, a ROC). while the imagery goes well with the elvish palace of the owls motif, owls aren't really airships or athletes; too much of a stretch on this one. point to DT.

the Banal Competition
in DT we had the race that has been the same race for a long time.
in QUS we have the contest to count stars.

the problem I have with both of these I draw from real life. NASCAR bores me to tears, watching cars go round and round, yet it still draws millions of fans. and in DT the same thing happens. everyone knows how the race ends, yet it pulls the attention of the populace, young and old, rich and poor. not quite banal yet.

on the other hand we have counting stars, an occupation that has occupied people for thousands of years and still people go to universities and build Hubble telescopes so that they can keep counting, identifying, logging, naming, etc. not too banal yet.

so another wash (at least to me).

not that I judge based on point system really, anyway. but both entries had 2 strong elements and four weak ones.

[sblock]

one thing that I really didn't like happened several times in QUS. counting all the stars is a DC 20 skill roll (tough, but not that hard at all if the PCs approach the problem aggressively), and failing they can work around. if the players don't intercept the toad, the elf lady jumps in the way. if the players don't figure out the ring as a cure all, a helpful NPC hands it to them the solution on a platter. several times throughout the adventure, an easy route is given away if the players get stumped. if you were playing with a time limit at a convention, maybe. but not in a regular gaming session. looking back at DT, Gradine throws several possible monkey wrenches into the mix, and then throws in a few more and the only easy out is the rival pirate band being slackers and not really exerting themselves.

part of being a Rat Bastard DM is to throw your players into a situation and sit back and watch them suffer if they can't figure it out. because 9 times out of 10, your players will come up with some OTHER solution that you never even conceived of that turns out will work just as well if not better than the one you originally thought of. if you just hand all the solutions to your players, where's the fun in that?

this particular style of "easy-peasy" adventure writing really came to the fore with 4th edition and seems to be carrying over to 5th. I don't care for it much, but there's a vocal majority of DMs out there who accept it as the norm ("We don't want to TPK our players on a crashing giant owl, we just want them to have fun! If everyone dies, where's the fun in that?" - I really can't explain it I guess...), so I will try and overcome my bias and not judge on the basis of it.

but my bias is still there and may come up in a later judgement...

looking at the ingredients that I liked, either DT's Chapel and Airship or QUS's Ice Frogs and Husband, the Chapel tied itself into the story well, but the airship competition is kind of background to the actual adventure. I didn't really care for QUS's ice frogs that much, but the Astronomer's Husband becoming one of the PCs really stood out in my mind. plus while I discounted it early on, the wedding ring as an infinite loop was also well done (one of those ceremonies I mentioned was my own way back in the day).

both entries pulled some really tough ingredients together and I had some issues with both of them, but I think I'm going to give this one to MortalPlague. [/sblock]

still need to get the other two judges to weigh in and see who actually takes it.
 
Last edited:

Radiating Gnome

Registered User
The Queen under the Stars (QUS) vs The Diamond Toad (DT) (Radiating Gnome)

The Queen under the Stars (QUS) vs The Diamond Toad (DT)

This was an interesting set of ingredients -- some really challenging ones in there, so we can expect to see two Iron DM semifinalists tested; so lets get the examination started.

And lets talk about those ingredients.

Infinite Loop. Ingredients that use terms like "infinite" are always tough because it's easy to settle for using something close to the ingredient -- take for example the race in DT. Here, the race is certainly a loop, but the whole point to it is that it does end -- and only for a few moments during the heist when the flag is hidden does it really feel like it might go on forever -- but those minutes don't make a great stand-in for infinity. And since the short, lame race is also the banal competition, this ingredient is just close, not really on target. At the same time, in QUS, the infinite loop is a ring that allows her to share her immortality. It certainly gets a little closer to infinite (since it grants immortality) -- and since it's tied to a wedding ceremony, the ring part of the ingredient is also fairly significant to the story (and ties itself nicely to the "husband" ingredient later. I'd be happier if immortality were closer to infinity, but still, QUS has a slightly better use of this ingredient than DT. +1 to QUS.

Ice Frog - In DT, the Diamond Frog is just a dingus. It could have just as easily been the maltese falcon or the Emerald Ferret, and it would have been just as significant. In QUS, Fadden has ice frogs that serve him and that the PCs will have to face in battle. That's a bit better than just being the dingus, although it could be argued that the frogs could have been almost any monstrous ally, but again this ingredient is marginally better in QUS. so +1 again.

Chapel of Wings - In QUS, the Chapel of Wings is presented as many things (and we've already talk about how that's often a bad sign in previous judgements). I liked a lot about the massive Owl that carries the chapel and Feleira's observatory on it's back -- I like the way the owl motif is carried through other trappings in the setting, I thought that was a good touch. I think that tends to help save the ingredient a bit. In DT, the Chapel of wings is the hiding place of the flag that signals the end of the race. I had a problem with the idea that the location of the victory flag was a secret -- and yet it's held in a place that seems really obvious for an aerial race. But, maybe that's a quibble. But if the location were not a secret, it would help me like the ingredient better. As it stands, the flag's location could be any suitably high place, and it just happens to be one that fits this ingredient -- but if the location were part of the tradition of the race, that would make it feel more integral to the story. So, call this one a wash.

Astronomer's Husband - In DT, the astronomer's husband is Jonas, the party's client. In QUS, the astronomer's husband is Fadden, the bad guy. Both are totally serviceable, so no advantage there.

Athletic Airship - This one was really tough. I'm not sure how I would have handled it if I were in the contestants shoes. In the case of QUS, this ingredient is also covered by the great owl that flies Feleira and her court around. And while I can accept this as a use of Chapel of Wings, I don't like it for Airship -- airship implies some pretty specific things, and the massive owl doesn't fit very well. Meanwhile, in DT the athletic airship are the actual racing craft for the big race -- totally works. +1 to DT.

Banal Competition - Another really brutal ingredient to try to use. In QUS, it's the contest to count the stars. In DT, it's the race, which has become trivial and lame over the years. I don't see much to recommend one use ahead of the other, so no advantage earned here.

So, in the end, I think that QUS has a slight advantage over DT as I look at the ingredients.

Playability & Creativity

I really like both of these entries, and could see playing them. I really like the challenges of the double-location heist adventure, and at the same time I really like the details of the fey court -- the owl and frog imagery in the descriptions, and so on. Both are really well done, and playable.

Casting My Vote
[sblock]
But, in addition to being a bit ahead in the use of ingredients, I think Queen Under the Stars feels more like a complete whole to me -- a very difficult feat with such a challenging handful of ingredients. The wedding theme tied the ring/loop, the chapel, and the husband together in a really tight, organic way.

Diamond Toad works, but feels more cobbled together -- we can see the stitching more, etc.

So, that's me, casting my vote for QUS and Mortal Plague -- don't forget that there will be two other judges casting ballots in this round. As you can see, it's no easy decision....
[/sblock]
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Round 2, Match 1: MortalPlague vs. Gradine

What better way to begin the second round than with two solid adventures that couldn't be much more different in tone and structure? To be perfectly honest, I've read both entries multiple times and I haven't got the faintest idea yet which will stand out as the superior entry. I expect that the articulation of my analysis will provide clarity by the time I've finished.

Because this is so, you can expect for my criticism to be a little harsher than it might otherwise be (although, some of the criticisms I intend to raise are pretty significant). This should not be misconstrued as disapproval of the adventures in general; I like them both.

Structurally, though, both have issues that must be addressed.

First, neither has a very compelling hook. Gradine's entry, The Diamond Toad (henceforth, Toad), glosses over a classic employment-hook. Being hired to participate in a heist for the history books ought to be compelling, but as with much of the adventure, it is either implied and assumed, or resolved offscreen, as it were. The only help the DM is given in actually playing out the interaction is the note that the PCs may be able to haggle for a better cut. That's it.

MortalPlague's entry, The Queen Under the Stars (Queen), sends an invitation to a party. Intriguing, but easy to ignore if it's the only hook. Had the palace on the giant owl's back come to pick them up, that would have been hard to pass up (and given it a purpose in the adventure, but we'll get to that).

Once we get past that, though, things pick up. Toad gives us a background and a plan, but provides PCs plenty of opportunity to adjust the plan and make preparations. It really feels like the build-up to a heist and I think would play out very well, especially for players who love to plan.

Added to this, the plan as proposed has some unspoken difficulties that the party will have to identify and deal with. For instance, in order to accomplish both non-infiltration parts of the heist (making sure the victory flag stays out of play and actually stealing the sculpture(s)), they will either have to split the party or devise some other means of being in two places at once. Given the likelihood of meeting resistance at both locations, things could get tricky.

And, on top of that, we are provided with some really good complications to make sure things stay interesting. Nice.

On the other hand, Queen is much more direct in its approach, even while it injects an element of intrigue straight into the heart of the story. We get a party, where the PCs get a chance to fit in--or not. Simultaneously, we get a dastardly scheme unfolding right under the PCs' noses and, importantly, which the PCs have a chance of foiling! And then we get what looks to be a very chaotic fight. Finally, to the victor goes what promises to be a very entertaining reward.

In general, we are provided with good assistance in running the adventure, but one gaping hole must be called out. We have absolutely no instruction on how to run Fadden in the almost certain fight that will feature him. All we have is a name and a goal. There isn't even any clue as to what abilities he might have at his disposal. That's pretty significant.

Okay. Ingredient time.

Infinite Loop. Even though Toad ties this ingredient in well with the others (as, indeed, all of the ingredients are well woven), and even though it's inclusion is necessary to the proposed plan of the adventure, it's interpretation is a bit of a stretch. The race is extended; nothing more.

Queen provides a much more clever interpretation. Not only is the loop a ring, which literally has no beginning or end, it also is the central component in a ritual that grants immortality. Unfortunately, the ring is merely a MacGuffin, but at least it is only briefly so.

I'm tempted to call this a wash, but, given how close these entries are, I'd better be more definitive. Therefore, I'll lean toward the version that actually uses the ingredient. Toad incorporates it's delayed race very well, but it's not an infinite loop.

Ice Frog. Queen uses it's frogs as a crucial aspect of Fadden's scheme (and personality), but I don't really get a feel for the necessity of their icy nature. Sure, it flavors the poison, but the adventure wouldn't suffer in the slightest if any other paralytic poison was used.

Toad suffers a similar problem. Given that the adventure is a heist, the fact that it is merely a MacGuffin could be ignored, if only the diamond had some important reason to be a frog. But the adventure doesn't care what the shape is and that turns what amounts to the central ingredient of the piece into nothing more than scenery. Which is bad.

Chapel of Wings. Neither entry provides a compelling reason why this ingredient should be featured prominently in it. In Toad, the victory flag could just as easily be at any other location in the city.

Queen has more reason for being there--presumably an important piece of the ritual, but wings? I like the flavor that the owls give the setting and I get that the palace, chapel included, is on the back of a giant owl (for some reason), but I still don't understand how or why a Fey Lady astronomer dedicates a chapel to the birds (or their wings. Or whatever). The focus seems split between the stars and the owls. They make for good flavor, but the ingredient suffers for it.

Astronomer's Husband. As good as the characters in Toad are (and they are--they provide lots of fodder for complicating things and for building future adventures on), we don't ever really get a sense of how important astronomy is to the adventure. Really, any royal title for the astronomer would suffice.

Queen gives us something much more substantial; astronomy is so important to Feleira that her very marriages (and dissolutions thereof) are dictated by it, which leads to...well, everything. The (ex-)husband so generated is a constant factor throughout the adventure, even before the PCs become aware of him. And then, one of the PCs becomes the new husband as reward when all is said and done.

I have previously mentioned that including multiple versions of ingredients is a dangerous game to play. This is an example of how it can be done without splitting the focus and diluting both. It is not a case of throwing both out there and seeing which works; they both work well (and reinforce each other).

Athletic Airship. The setting provided by a palace on the back of a giant owl is evocative and really cool. I just wish I could find some reason for it to be relevant to the adventure. But, alas, I can't. The only thing we get is the added hazard of having the paralyzed owl plummet from the sky during the frog-fight.

It's cool. I want to love it. But I want it to matter, too.

In contrast, Toad provides some very quirky athletic airships (in multiple ways--the design, the crews, and the function are all athletic) that serve as a tremendous backdrop for the adventure. Regrettably, potential player interaction with these airships is likely to be minimal. How cool would it have been to include one in the getaway plan? Missed opportunity notwithstanding, this entry does it better.

Banal Competition. There is really nothing banal about either of these competitions. There is no part of a race amongst airships with flapping wings that is unoriginal. Nor is a contest to count the stars while atop a giant owl in flight. Trite, maybe. Pointless, maybe. Unoriginal? Nope.

Sure, in the context of the adventure, one is presented as such. And yet, it is the weakest presentation of the two. Why? In Toad, the ingredient serves merely as a setup for the background--it isn't even true of the diversionary event, since the heist changes it. Queen at least gives it to the players to do something with.

[sblock]Even as I wrote all of that, I kept reversing my decision at different points.

I really like the potential that Toad has for fun. It's a strong adventure. Stronger, I think, than Queen, even though the latter is pretty tight and no less evocative (giant oversight in providing Fadden's abilities notwithstanding). Toad has more going on and it's all very good.

Added to this, the ingredients all mesh well; they form a solid frame to rest the story on. All of which is why it breaks my heart a little to look back at my critique of the ingredients and note that Queen generally uses those ingredients in ways that fit better and are more relevant to the adventure.

I am forced to weigh the quality of the adventures against the ingredients they use. The thing is, Queen is also a good adventure and I think that the difference in quality between the adventures is not as great as the difference in how well the ingredients were used.

Consequently, my judgement falls toward MortalPlague.

...Which makes this a unanimous decision. MortalPlague will advance to the championship round to face either Waylander or Wicht.

At this point, I usually try to give the contestant who isn't advancing something to walk away with that is constructive, perhaps educational, and hopefully inspirational, but I don't think I have much in the way of advice for Gradine.

I was pretty impressed with both of Gradine's entries, particularly the subtle cleverness of the scenarios presented. You've already demonstrated an ability to weave your ingredients together well. I think if you can manage to do so just a bit more centrally (by which I mean "directly into the PCs' paths but not in a MacGuffiny way") into those aforementioned clever scenarios, you'll have a solid shot at winning one of these Tournaments.[/sblock]
 
Last edited:

Rune

Once A Fool
[MENTION=62721]MortalPlague[/MENTION] and [MENTION=57112]Gradine[/MENTION], now that all three judgements are posted, can you walk us through your development process. I, personally, would very much like to know how the two richly evocative adventures became so.
 

Gradine

Archivist
First off, congratulations to MortalPlague for advancing. QUS is a hell of an adventure; just remarkably well-written with such great, evocative imagery and flavor. To read the judges struggling with the decision between it and DT (and especially Rune calling DT the greater adventure; I think my jaw literally dropped when I read that) honors and flatters me more than you could all know. I was sure I was a goner the moment I finished reading QUS. I’m a huge fan and I’m definitely going to be rooting for you in the championship! :)

To speak a little of my process. While this is my first time competing I’ve lurked through a few these (back in the early days of 4th edition, so ‘06 & ‘07?) and did a little research, so I knew coming into this competition that one of the most important things was to weave the ingredients together, rather than leave them as distinct, disjointed elements within the adventure. So both times I looked to see where I could combine ingredients in interesting ways. In Hatred of Ares this started with combining Distant Terminus and Heavy Water to create the River Styx & the Realm of the Dead, while (Diseased Alder)Man and (Celebrated) Orc called to mind classic Humans vs Orcs settings. It was just a matter of tying those two together and the remaining ingredients into the puzzle the heroes needed to solve. With this match, what first struck me was Banal Competition and Athletic Airship. I couldn’t shake comparisons to the Race of Eight Winds from the Sharn supplement for Eberron, and so I ran with that. Infinite Loop seemed easy enough to tie into that competition, so I began to think of who would benefit from making a big, city-wide contest last indefinitely. This is where the heist scenario began to develop, though the first inspiration for that actually came from my wife. Ice as slang for diamonds was a particularly clever turn, I thought, and while “diamond frog” is the epitome of a dingus, I thought that cleverness (combined with how difficult I expected it to be for anyone to justify the use of “ice frog” and not “lightning elephant” or “magma lizard” or any other type of creature) might have been enough to save me on that particular ingredient. The animal motif seemed to fit well with astronomy, so I set up the Astronomer’s Husband as the client, and chaplain of the Chapel of Wings which I could tie as an important location for the race and the heist. Quentin is actually a former PC of mine (a professor of religious studies) and his husband Jonas was an NPC priest of a weather deity, so it was pretty easy to repurpose them for the adventure (Pearl was another PC in that campaign, a dwarven sky pirate played by my wife).

I had never written a heist before, let alone anything quite so open-ended. I tend to write fairly linearly for my home game, and you read so much against linear adventures, but they seem to have an edge as far Iron DM goes, for reasons that should have been obvious (but I’ll get to that later). I actually read a few articles about writing heist adventures, and while they certainly helped me make a great heist that I’m extremely proud of, I think hewing too closely to that advice is what cost me the most.

My biggest problem is that I combined three ingredients (Banal Competition, Athletic Airship & Infinite Loop) into a single, albeit extremely important, event. I really like how it ties into the adventure as a major distraction/background event, and in following the advice I was reading (that the most important elements were the Background, the Locations and the Players) I thought it was good enough to tie those ingredients as a major background event. The problem with DT as an Iron DM is that it ties three ingredients together and doesn’t let the PCs really interact with them much. As it stands the PCs really only interact with one of the three ingredients, and it’s by far the weakest of the three (the “Infinite” Loop). As obvious as “the PCs should really interact with all of the ingredients” may seem as Iron DM advice, it’s not something that really occurred to me, especially as I was expending so much energy to craft a good heist. Of course, now that it’s been pointed out what an issue this is, I think the solution for this is obvious. But again, it’s not something I think I could have come up with without the critiques that I got.

I mean, obviously, as soon as I hit “post” I was kicking myself for not including a Silver Wing Airship as a getaway vehicle. It’s such an obvious thing and a total missed opportunity. It’s the one thing I think I would have fixed without the benefit of hindsight, but since I mostly won that ingredient anyway I don’t think it would have been enough to tip the scales. So here’s what I would change. Have somebody suggest hiring/bribing a team in the competition to serve as their getaway. It should be easy, considering the party would have the ability to determine who wins. A gang with contacts in the underworld shouldn’t have trouble finding a team short on scruples. Both the Academy and (obviously) the Chapel are on the race loop, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to drop both teams off, and then later pick up the party at the academy. Collecting the flag and the second team would require a bit of trickery as more eyes will be on that location. The second team might have to set up a distraction elsewhere in the Naval Yard or Chapel to cover their escape. This is all well and good until the day of the race, when the team shows up early to say that their Seeker (we’ve been reading a lot of Harry Potter to our daughter, sue me) is violently ill, likely poisoned by a rival team. The team doesn’t time to find a backup Seeker (dear JK Rowling, please don’t sue me) and needs somebody from the crew to take their place. This a great first wrench to throw as the team is already being split and now they’re likely losing their best lookout.

Now you’ve got a PC actually involved in the race. While the race itself is probably a dull experience for the player in question (a series of perception checks to spot flags, probably easy enough if the the party has sent a decent enough lookout along) there are plenty of wrinkles to throw in there. First, there’s that aforementioned rival team (spoiler: they totally poisoned the first Seeker) throwing all sorts of subtle sabotage their way. It’s the Seeker’s responsibility to catch and counteract such sabotage (the team can quickly brief them on what to expect). The Seeker’s also probably in the best position to notice the pirates heading the Chapel and Observatory. They’ll have to figure out a way to warn the other teams that they’ve got company coming. But now the party is involved with all of the elements, including the Race itself (and it’s important the Seeker do his job well, because the team doesn’t do well enough they could be cut from the competition, costing the other heist teams their cover and getaway).

And the main reason I didn’t even think to go in that direction was the advice I had read about giving the Player’s as much autonomy as possible to come up with their own plan. Live and learn.

Some other things random thoughts or changes as a response to the critiques:

Given a little more time and energy I probably would have fleshed out the puzzle locks in the Observatory, and actually tie the puzzles and their solutions to the unique astronomy of the setting. This ties Quentin’s astronomy into the adventure more strongly and also helps flesh out his character, who would otherwise likely never even be met by the party. He’s totally arrogant enough to lock his prized possessions with puzzles he thinks he’s the only one smart enough to figure out, and obtuse enough to place such puzzles in a location where they are literally surrounded by the answers. Maybe I’d tie an actual infinite loop into one of the puzzles/solutions? It’s a stretch but it’d be better than the not really infinite loop I’ve got now.

I really don’t know what else I’d do with the Ice Frog. Every good heist needs a good McGuffin and it’d be a shame to not tie it to an ingredient. Like I said, I thought I’d done enough with the turn on Ice = DIamond and tying the animal motif to astronomy, but as has also been mentioned the constellation itself could have been anything and in the end it’s still just a dingus. But it’s my dingus, and I still love it so (otherwise I wouldn’t have named the adventure after it). Maybe this is a place where “Kill Your Darlings” is appropriate advice but where else would I use the ingredient? I’ve been thinking about this for over a week now and I’m still coming up blank, so it’s not like I could say with the benefit of hindsight I’d have done this any differently.

My first thought with Athletic Airship was also “giant flying animal.” But then I thought, when is an airship not an airship? When it’s not an airship. So I had to sit down and really think of how to make the airships in question both airships but also athletic. I feel pretty happy with how they came out. I especially like how out-dated they are at this point in the setting, so the only real use they have left is in ridiculous athletic competition. The crew team is a pretty huge deal at the university I went to, and we all liked to joke “Who actually rows anywhere anymore?” “Crew.” This is what ultimately inspired the design of the Silver Wing Airships.

There was one comment about tying the Chapel to the history of the race and I thought I’d done that (it’s by far the most common location for the victory flag, I think I said 4 times in the past decade and the place most people were expecting it to turn up). I guess I could have been clearer about that. Or at least made it stronger.

I actually had to look up the dictionary definition of Chapel to make sure I wasn’t just using it as a generic synonym for Church. This is why I attached it to the Naval HQ (that and having to sneak through the Navy was a great additional complication for the second team). I would like to say that I kept calling it a Navy and not an Air Force because this particular civilization would have considered the crafts still primarily ships, but the truth was I just really, really nervous about the word limit. ;)

My greatest wish was that I could have tied the pirates to one of the ingredients. They’re such a great, important complication to the adventure and it really bummed me out that I couldn’t tie any of the ingredients into this element. Maybe this is where I could have Ice Frog turn up in some way but I really couldn’t think of any way to do that without it seeming so incredibly forced and out of place.

An idea that just now strikes me; a twist on the client-job offer scenario, where the party of thieves hears about Jonas’s plot the same way the pirates do (the guy just has no subtlety whatsoever) and instead of waiting for Jonas to come them, they seek Jonas out with an offer to take the job. This way they might better expect complications from other groups who might have heard similar rumors.

In any case I want to thank the judges for the excellent feedback. As my first time I feel really good about how far I managed to get and I really look forward to competing in future competitions with what I’ve learned from these two rounds. And again, congratulations to MortalPlague. Like I said, I’m a huge fan and I’ll be rooting for you in the next round.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
To speak a little of my process. While this is my first time competing I’ve lurked through a few these (back in the early days of 4th edition, so ‘06 & ‘07?)
I was taking a break from the Internet for a few years, so I'm not sure, but I think EN World had a gap in IRON DM Tournaments from 2005 or so to 2009. If you have or can find tournaments that I have missed, I'd love to have links to those.

I knew coming into this competition that one of the most important things was to weave the ingredients together, rather than leave them as distinct, disjointed elements within the adventure. So both times I looked to see where I could combine ingredients in interesting ways.
It is important, yes. It gives the adventure a depth of consistency and strengthens the structure.

I had never written a heist before, let alone anything quite so open-ended. I tend to write fairly linearly for my home game, and you read so much against linear adventures, but they seem to have an edge as far Iron DM goes, for reasons that should have been obvious (but I’ll get to that later).
I can't agree with you here. As a judge, I've bounced more than a few entries at least partly because they were too linear. If I advanced such an entry, it was usually in spite of the linearity. As a contestant, most of my bounced entries were my more linear ones.

The thing is, linearity is not inherently bad (Radiating Gnome's time-travel adventure from last year's tournament is an example of a good linear adventure), but it is inherently limiting, and not just for the players. Given two otherwise equal entries, the winner will probably be the one that trusts the players to set and pursue their own goals and trusts the DM to let that happen, as long as enough tools are provided to make it easy.

I actually read a few articles about writing heist adventures, and while they certainly helped me make a great heist that I’m extremely proud of, I think hewing too closely to that advice is what cost me the most.
I'd be interested in seeing that advice.

And the main reason I didn’t even think to go in that direction was the advice I had read about giving the Player’s as much autonomy as possible to come up with their own plan. Live and learn.
When I said that your adventure was stronger, this is a large part of why. Really, I think that a lot of the things you are kicking yourself over are actually your strengths as a contestant. Don't worry so much about what you think the judges want to see. Build on your strengths and hone your craft until the pieces you produce win, not because of a judge's preference, but because they are flat-out superior.

In any case I want to thank the judges for the excellent feedback.
And thank you for putting in the time and energy to compete.

As my first time I feel really good about how far I managed to get and I really look forward to competing in future competitions with what I’ve learned from these two rounds.
As well you should. Both of your entries were pretty impressive.
 
Last edited:

Gradine

Archivist
Thanks for the response to my response. I think it can be easy in defeat to overanalyze and draw the wrong lessons. Perhaps it would have been enough to just introduce those ideas rather than force them on the adventure. Giving the DM more tools is I think salient point.

I'm not usually blessed with an overabundance of confidence, but I love writing and this competition has certainly given enough confidence to consider writing more for an audience. And I'm definitely excited at the prospect of competing again next time.
 

MortalPlague

Adventurer
And I'm definitely excited at the prospect of competing again next time.
Gradine, it was an honor to compete with you. Yours was an excellent adventure, and I could definitely see it being great fun to play at the table. As always, the caliber of the competition in these events is very high; I don't think I've seen a poor entry yet. These have all been top notch.

I'll post something a little later about how my adventure evolved. There certainly was an evolution from my initial concept to the finished entry, and I'd love to share some of the more far-fetched concepts I considered, then discarded.

On another note, since counting the stars and an old, tired race didn't quite fit as a 'banal competition', I'm curious what would have served to fit the bill? Purely from an academic standpoint here... I found that to be one of the hardest elements to work with, and it seems both myself and my competitor missed the mark on that one.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
On another note, since counting the stars and an old, tired race didn't quite fit as a 'banal competition', I'm curious what would have served to fit the bill? Purely from an academic standpoint here... I found that to be one of the hardest elements to work with, and it seems both myself and my competitor missed the mark on that one.
I dunno; that was your job!

To be fair (to us), I think the original ingredient, "banal airship," would have been tougher (even if "athletic competition" would have been easier).
 
Last edited:

Rune

Once A Fool
Round 2, Match 2: Wicht vs. Waylander the Slayer

[MENTION=221]Wicht[/MENTION] and [MENTION=1830]Waylander the Slayer[/MENTION], you have 48 hours to post your entries to this thread. Please limit your entry to 3000 words. Please include a list of ingredients at the beginning of the entry and please do not edit your post once it is submitted. Neither the list of ingredients at the beginning of your entry, nor the title, will count against this limit, but everything else (including any definitions or descriptions of your ingredients that you may wish to include) will! 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:

War Game

Demonic Kangaroo

Treasured Junk

Repurposed Temple

Boastful Promise

Absent-minded Golem
 

MortalPlague

Adventurer
To be fair (to us), I think the original ingredient, "banal airship," would have been tougher (even if "athletic competition" would have been easier).
I think it would have, yes. Hah.

So, how did I come up with Queen Under The Stars?

I saw several versions of the adventure evolve and be tweaked or discarded. Early on, I decided the astronomer would be a demigoddess, who would use her ring to grant immortality to whoever became her husband. That element changed very little through the adventure. Bouncing ideas off one of my players, we spun yarn about a Discworld-style nation who determined who would wed the Astronomer Queen through a series of banal competitions aboard an airship (athletic airship, in this case, meaning an airship devoted to athletics). There would be frogs, because the prophecies had been written down by a prophet who was hard of hearing and had badly mistranslated things as he wrote. The chapel of wings would have housed the prophecy.

In the end, I decided it would end up too silly, and the tacked-on nature of the elements wouldn't earn me many points. I kept the Astronomer Queen, and shifted things to a more serious competition of courtship. I had the PCs as the 'support team' for one of the candidates; basically, they'd flit about beneath the notice of really powerful NPCs and sabotage things or tweak things in their favor. Still aboard the airship, still doing banal competitions. I could never quite reconcile how the PCs would become involved in such an affair, though. Why would they be the first choice for an epic level NPC?

I don't remember exactly when it occurred to me to shift the PC into the role of 'husband-candidate', but that's when things started to fall together. The PCs get a hold of a letter (which they really aren't the intended recipients of), and so they slip on board the airship and participate in a fey revel. The other big shift was a switch from 'demigods' to 'fey', which brought things down to the point where PCs could easily be involved without being epic level. It also made the elements fit together better, and made it easier to use the frogs.

The other thing that went through several iterations was the finale. In my earliest drafts, I didn't have a villain. It was the PCs versus other NPCs competing for the same prize. But when I shifted things to the fey court, the idea of a 'Lord of the Frogs' came up, and I realized he could be using the icy toxin to put Feleira into a sleep from which she would never awake. And it would only happen at the climax of the dance when she took off the ring to give it to her chosen suitor! Perfect! I had him touch a frog to her cheek, and the toxic skin would induce the torpor. But the idea played out as too visible; he wouldn't get away with it. So instead he used a blowgun with the frog toxin, and unleashed several frogs on the populace. I was gleeful when I realized that the frogs could also paralyze the airship; I thought I was being quite clever. That would make it very important that the airship was 'athletic', and not merely a regular airship. Also, it tied the ice frogs to the airship element.

Overall, these elements were tough. I was looking up frogs on wikipedia for inspiration, trying to find something unique to frogs where they couldn't be swapped for another monster (hence the toxic skin). The athletic airship was a fit to come up with; I had visions of some titan swimming through the astral sea with a court on his back, I considered some sort of flying machine like what Gradine came up with, but I went with the owl as a symbol of the night. And the banal competition... how do you put a dull competition into an adventure in a central way without making it a dull adventure? These were very challenging elements, and I enjoyed working with them at every turn. They kept me thinking, kept me working right up until the final moment.

Gradine's entry was very impressive; I really enjoyed the ideas surrounding the heist, and I could definitely see this being a blast to run at the table. My group of players tends to enjoy roguish stuff like that, so I'm taking notes for a future campaign. A heist with airships is simply too much fun to pass up. I really hope you continue to compete in these, because I'd love to see what comes next.

As always, thanks to the judges. A lot of hard work has gone into this competition, and your efforts are appreciated. I hadn't ever been to round two before, so I didn't even realize that all three judges would weigh in on the entry, but the feedback and criticism has been very valuable.

I can't wait for round three. Best of luck to Wicht and Waylander.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
As always, thanks to the judges. A lot of hard work has gone into this competition, and your efforts are appreciated.
Thank you for the appreciation.

I hadn't ever been to round two before, so I didn't even realize that all three judges would weigh in on the entry, but the feedback and criticism has been very valuable.
When we have three judges for the panel, anyway!

I can't wait for round three.
Best get ready to tighten up, then. Round Three has a 2000 word limit!
 

Wicht

Villager
War Game: The “contest” between Lord Kyngamoto and Lord Ingyatomi
Demonic Kangaroo: Jurhaoni, an oni demon capable of possessing and animating an inanimate object, currently housed in a bronze statue of a kangaroo
Treasured Junk: General Hoshi's command boat, the apple of his eye
Repurposed Temple: The long abandoned Temple of Seven Gates; used as a staging ground for the contest between Lord Kyngamoto and Lord Ingyatomi's samurai
Boastful Promise: Lord Kyngamoto's boast that his samurais can defeat ten times their number in battle
Absent-minded Golem: Sutondor, an ancient stone golem tasked with caring for the Temple of Seven Gates, his programming was long ago corrupted with age

The Battle of the Temple of Seven Gates
A Pathfinder adventure for oriental characters of 7th level, featuring mass combat.

Adventure Background
The Temple of Seven Gates, built deep within the jungles of Harami province, upon the shores of the Tya river, has long been bereft of human life. The monks of the temple were a strange bunch, devoted to the worship of beasts, foreign and domestic, and strange demons. They filled their temple with hundreds of statues of animals from all over the world. Their veneration drew the attention of a clan of Choz-Oni, evil demons capable of possessing and animating statuary. The vile creatures tormented and eventually killed the monks and took control of the temple complex. The only remnant of the ancient order is an immense stone golem named Sutondor, which performs random acts of upkeep, his programming long ago corrupted so that he can no longer keep track of the order in which he does his tasks, nor even what his tasks are actually meant to be.

The Temple is about to become the scene of a major “war game” between a hundred samurai belonging to Lord Kyngamoto and a thousand samurai belonging to Lord Ingyatomi. The impetus for this battle was a boast made by Lord Kyngamoto, rather carelessly, that his samurai could easily defeat ten times their number in battle. The PCs, in the employ of Lord Kyngamoto have been tasked with delivering on their Lord's boastful promise.

Due to the fact that the Shogun has officially outlawed open warfare between samurai clans, Lord Kyngamoto and Lord Ingyatomi have chosen a rather remote region for their samurai to battle in, and they have officially commanded their forces not to fight to the death. Nevertheless, such war-games have the potential for becoming quite bloody.

Synopsis
The PCs, tasked with commanding the hundred samurai of Lord Kyngamoto, arrive at the ancient Temple of the Seven Gates upon the shores of the Tya River two days before the forces of Lord Ingyatomi are to arrive. As they and their troops prepare to engage their enemies, who are, it is rightly thought, going to attack via the river, they encounter the great stone golem, Sutondor, who, so long as he is not attacked, mostly ignores the presence of the troops as he goes about his bizarre tasks. At the same time, the clan of Choz-oni, led by Jurhaoni, begin tormenting the samurai, even going so far as to kill a few of the soldiers in the night, leaving their bodies in gruesome displays.

The samurai under the PCs soon begin to speak of the temple as haunted, and there are threats of desertion. Some few even attack Sutondor and get themselves killed. The PCs must balance the activities of the second day carefully, assuaging the fears of their men, investigating the deaths from the evening before, working around the activities of Sutondor, and continuing to prepare for the coming battle. That night, there are more deaths among the men, and some strange occurrences featuring the temple statuary.

On the dawn of the third day, the forces of Lord Ingyatomi attack, coming down the river in flat bottomed boats. They are led by one General Hoshi, who commands his many troops from a gold bedecked junk.The boat is the General's pride and joy. The general is quite willing to command his troops to not fight to the death, surrendering or playing dead upon the first strike upon their persons, so long as two conditions are met: one, that the samurai fighting under the PCs do the same, and two, that no damage comes to his boat. If his boat is ever damaged, he flies into a rage and commands his men to fight to the death.

As the battle rages, Sutondor takes it upon himself to begin tending to the grounds in the middle of the battle. At the same time, the activities of the Choz-oni, who delight in mayhem, are stepped up, as they attempt to act in such a way as to cause the battle to become ever bloodier and more confusing.

The PCs must use all of their skills and abilities to thwart the canny oni, keep their troops from being massacred and, if at all possible, for the honor of their Lord, win the day.

Character Hooks
The adventure, as conceived, is intended as a one-shot scenario, but it is quite possible to draw the PCs into the scenario in the context of a longer campaign. If the PCs are adventurer's in the employ of a Lord, the names can simply be changed to fit the actual circumstance of the PCs. If the PCs are unemployed adventurers then the easiest hook is for Lord Kyngamoto, realizing the foolishness of his boast, to hire the adventurers to lead his troops into battle, basing his decision on knowledge of their abilities and circumstances.

The Major NPCs
There are three major NPCs in the adventure, whose actions and decisions, apart from those of the PCs, will most shape the events of the Adventure. They are as follows.
Sutondor: This ancient stone golem is generally peaceful, but also resolute in carrying out the duties given to it by its makers. Unfortunately, the programming of the golem has become corrupt so that the golem is somewhat “absentminded,” having no real memory of anything it has done more than ten minutes previously nor even what its duties truly are. Thus its activities are almost completely random. The duties of the golem originaly included sweeping out the temple, raking the grounds, trimming the plants growing around the temple, wiping down the bricks of the walls, repairing the path leading from the temple to the river, putting anything out of place in the temple back to where it should go and feeding any animals on the grounds. Now it is as likely to be found feeding the bricks and sweeping the animals in a confused sort of way. Only if the golem is attacked does it attack back, and then only for a few rounds, before it forgets what it was doing and returns to its duties.

Jurhaoni: The leader of the Choz-oni, Jurhaoni inhabits a bronze statue of a kangaroo, a beast quite foreign to the area, but one whose shape amuses the oni. The pouch of the kangaroo statue operates as a handy haversack so long as the oni inhabits the statue. Jurhaoni, and all his clan, are quite wicked, delighting in tormenting mortals, inflicting fear and death. Throughout the days and hours leading up to the battle, the oni move surreptitiously through the temple, freezing in place whenever there are multiple soldiers around. They do what they can to break the equipment of the PC's samurai, confuse the work of the soldiers, and strike fear into the samurai by killing lone soldiers during the night. Encased in their statuary bodies, the oni feel quite safe, as they cannot actually be hurt until cast out of said bodies.

General Hoshi: Leader of the thousand samurai fighting against the PC's and their troops, General Hoshi is a proud, pompous man, possessed of an adequate military mind, but more interested in fishing than in battle. He sees the battle of the Temple of Seven Gates as a diversion, the end result of which is certain. His pride and joy is an imported gold-plated junk from which he directs his samurai during the battle. If the junk is ever damaged, General Hoshi becomes quite lividly furious, vowing to kill all of the PCs and the samurai under them.

Adventure Events

Day One
  • The PCs arrive with their men at the Temple of Seven Gates.
  • Sutondor makes his first appearance, meticulously raking the stone path leading to the river. So long as he is ignored, he ignores the soldiers, and is soon seen sweeping off the sides of the temple with an ancient broom.
  • The PCs must begin arranging their defenses.
  • A brick falls from the second floor of the temple, braining one of the samurai. There are whispers that the golem might have dropped it.
  • The temple complex is invaded by a large herd of spotted deer. One of the deer is later found dead at the feet of a strange statue of a kangaroo, its heart missing.
  • One of the soldiers, moving around inside the temple sets off an ancient summoning stone, conjuring forth an immense rampaging dire.
  • During the night three samurai are killed. One is found torn apart amidst a group of gore encrusted tanuki statues. A second is found hanged inside the temple. A third has been drained of blood. When Sutondor is next seen, he is covered in said blood. All three bodies are missing their hearts.

Day Two
  • The samurai are convinced the temple is haunted. There are whispers of desertion.
  • Sutondor spends an hour undoing any defensive structures the PCs have arranged before turning its attention to caring for the temple garden.
  • One of the samurai sees a statue of a five tailed fox moving inside the temple.
  • The statue of the kangaroo is seen in multiple places by the PCs.
  • At the same time as the day before, a herd of spotted deer invade the temple complex.
  • A group of five samurai decide that Sutondor is to blame for the problems and suicidally attack the powerful golem.
  • During the night the oni in the tanuki statues kidnap a sleeping samurai, take him into hidden chambers in the temple and torture him so that his screams echo throughout the complex.
  • A samurai is killed in his sleep with a dagger, his heart removed; said blade is found hanging from the innermost gate, blood still dripping from its point.
  • As dawn approaches, one of the Choz-oni, inhabiting the statue of a wolf, makes a mistake and is discovered while attacking one of the samurai. Assuming the PCs join the fight, the destruction of the statue reveals the oni, who seeks to inhabit another statue, or, failing this, fights to the death.

Day Three
  • The thousand samurai of Lord Ingyatomi arrive and the battle of the temple commences.
  • General Hoshi plans on attacking in three waves, with a fourth group in support. He has two hundred archers stationed on the far side of the river to provide cover. The first wave of two hundred samurai are to land their boats and charge the defenses of the defenders from the front. The second wave of two hundred samurai is to land to the north of the temple and attempt to flank the complex. The last wave of four hundred samurai are to land at the height of the fighting and help mop up the remaining defenders.
  • During the fight, the tanuki statues go on a murderous rampage killing any samurai in their way indiscriminately. These twelve statues function as their own combat unit.
  • Depending on the success of the oni in mucking up the defenses, a certain number of weapons, positions, and constructed fortifications begin falling apart.
  • Sutondor moves into the middle of the battle and begins trying to sweep up samurai from the battle field with his broom.
  • The herd of deer arrives early, but the battle confuses them and they begin running throughout the temple, getting in the way of the fighting.

Complications
  • It is possible for the PCs to figure out ways to get Sutondor to work for them. The golem can be manipulated if the PCs are willing to spend the time to figure out how to do so. However, any success in this area is limited as the golem will forget what it was about after 1d6x10 minutes.
  • If the oni think the PCs are on to them too early, they will misdirect by possessing statues, move them, and then vacate the same statues to inhabit others. The PCs can thus never be sure of which statues are truly possessed at any given time, excepting the statues of the tanuki and the statue of the kangaroo.
  • The PCs might be able to convince General Hoshi to postpone the battle while they cleanse the temple of evil, but doing so will require great amounts of evidence and some powerful diplomacy.
  • If Jurhaoni is cast from his kangaroo body, he flees into the massive chimeric statue located in the middle of the inner shrine, and, in the midst of the battle, animates the huge stone shape to wreak havoc amongst the samurai.
 
War Game: The Coliseum Games
Demonic Kangaroo: Hiawatha
Treasured Junk: The key to controlling Hiawatha
Repurposed Temple: The colesium
Boastful Promise: Made by Augustus Maximus
Absent-minded Golem: The “map” that leads to the temple
War Games of Infamy
Background
The ancient tribes of the Orakami face eradication; their ways and people slowly being wiped out by the Ordo Imperium who landed on their shores a decade ago. Now they face the most difficult of choices, and perhaps the final solution; summon and control the destructive aspect of their most powerful totem; the Great Hiawatha, the First Kangaroo; he who is said to lead the Orakami to their land. However, the path to summoning and controlling Hiawatha is not easy, and one that only the bravest may tread, and few may survive.
Hook
The player characters are tribesmen of the Orakami, an ancient people similar to the aborigine tribes, who have left with but one option, to summon the demonic aspect of Hiawatha. The armies of the tribes have amassed, now confronting the superior forces of the Imperium. The PCs will have to negotiate through the battle front, and into the main city or Palentium where the Ancient Temple has now be repurposed by the Imperium as the Coliseum for the
Part 1- Entering Palentium
Palentium is heavily fortified and guarded, however, the main attraction that occurs periodically is the War Games. In fact, Imperator Augustus Maximus believes that the results of the War Games conducted in the Coliseum are indicators of the favor of their divine gods; they try to make it as authentic as possible. The in charge of the Coliseum, Aquius Verla, has promised the most powerful and authentic natives, and the best of the best for the war games, and also guaranteed “victory” for the Imperium in the war games (the opposing side is usually bled out and made weak, though provided with authentic armor and weapons). Unknown to Aquius, his main Requestor, Ayena Mallor, has slowly come to understand and love the Orakami ways and has agreed to aid the PCs.

- The PCs are thrust into the arena as “the natives” having to defend against the imperium forces. Thankfully, Ayena makes sure that the characters have their full complement of spells and weapons. It’s up to the PCs as far as how they handle themselves during the war games; there are a few key goals here
o Before, every such event Maximus boastfully promises victory for their forces, as he has been “told” by the gods themselves. Upending and defeating the Imperium forces in the coliseum severely impacts the morale of the troops and the credibility of Maximus.

Part 2- The Temple of Hiawatha
o The PCs have been provided a “map” of the Old Temple; a small kangaroo golem that can only be awakened with a prayer known to the shamans of the Orakami. There is a small problem however, the magic of the golem is no longer as potent, and it constantly takes wrong turns, and makes other mistakes. The PCs will have to protect the golem at all costs, to get to the secret temple chambers

o The PCs also need to recover a small wooden talisman before performing the ritual, now in a junk pile in the main gladiator galley. Recovering it will be difficult, as the PCs will have to go through the gladiators.
 

Radiating Gnome

Registered User
It’s a common enough occurrence in Iron DM that a contestant has RL problems that interfere in his ability to complete an entry – it seems like that happens at least once per contest, and it’s always a shame to see. However, there’s a precedent for short, hastily completed entries that were so cool they won anyway, so we should make no assumptions, and get right down to judging this worthy contest between The Battle of the Temple of Seven Gates (7G) and War Games of Infamy (WGI).

Ingredients:

War Game. In 7G, we have the lopsided challenge the PCs are forced into; outnumbered 10-to-1 to settle an idle bet made by their Lord. It’s an effective use of the ingredient, and sets up the whole adventure. In WGI, the war games again pit the PCs as the “natives” in staged entertainment battle they’re scripted to lose. I like this one too, and I can forgive any striking similarities to movies I might have seen. A lot. It still works.

Demonic Kangaroo. In WGI, we understand in the background that the demonic aspect of the Kangaroo god Hiawatha needs to be summoned, but in the actual action of the adventure that doesn’t seem to come up – it’s apparently something the PCs will have to do, but this is a victim of the author’s time crunch. In 7G, on the other hand, the Demonic Kangaroo is a statue of a kangaroo, possessed by a demon, that teases and torments the defending samurai. An excellent application, so advantage 7G

Treasured Junk. In 7G, this is the enemy General Hoshi’s pride and joy, and his command center. It works, but the adventure does not need the presence of this offshore command center – it’s not really integral. At the same time, in WGI, the more mundane use of Junk seems to be the less obvious choice, but it’s again not important that it be there – in the scene, the junk hides the prize, but it might as well be a chest – it doesn’t matter that it’s junk. So, that one also really suffers. I don’t think either is really worth the advantage here, but might circle back if I wind up needing a tiebreaker.

Repurposed Temple. The setting for the mock battle in 7G is the temple of the Seven Gates, long abandoned and now haunted by demons. I found this setting evocative, well-illustrated, and engaging – a place I really wanted to run for players. So, really good stuff. In WGI, I think we have a clear victim of time crunch – there’s no sign of the coliseum being a repurposed temple except in the list of ingredients. Clear advantage to 7G.

Boastful Promise. In WGI, the impresario staging events in the coliseum has promised powerful, authentic natives whom he guarantees the imperial forces will defeat. It works. In 7G, Lord Kyngamoto has boasted that his samurai can defeat a force of Lord Ingyatomi’s ten times their strength – this one also works. And, I think it benefits from being the entire setup for the adventure, rather than being a potentially unnecessary detail like the one in WGI.

Absent-minded golem. I’m amused by Sutondor – he is a fun addition to the adventure in 7G – but in a very real way he’s a tacked-on complication that does not need to be there. In that way he’s not really a stronger use of the much less colorful kangaroo golem guide used by the PCs in WGI. So, even though I like Sutondor a lot, he doesn’t earn much advantage here.
Still, looking at the ingredients as a whole, 7G has a big leg up over WGI.

Overall

I really like 7G. It has flavor and texture and a hopelessly complicated situation that the PCs are caught in, beset on all sides and desperately trying to keep their contest with the enemy samurai non-lethal will be a really complicated challenge.

WGI, on the other hand, is obviously less developed; the clash of cultures implied in the adventure could be used a great deal more. I’d love to see this fleshed out – I’ve always been a sucker for adventures that involve gladiatorial contests, so I want a lot more from this that it doesn’t quite deliver

Judgement

[sblock]
So, at this point, it’s not much of a surprise that I’m going to cast a vote for The Battle of the Temple of Seven Gates.
Waylander, I’m glad you submitted your entry at the buzzer even if it wasn’t everything it could have been. Like I said, we’ve seen those dashed off entries blow the minds of the judges in the past, but this time, that didn’t quite happen.
So, Wicht, you get my vote. We’ll have to see how the other judges vote.
[/sblock]
 

Wicht

Villager
Hey, now! If you want to passive-aggressively imply that the judges should hurry up, do so in the other thread. :p
Far be it from me to hurry the judges, who, as true connoisseurs of the art of writing, choose every one of their succulent words with the utmost care, polishing and refining each as one would a fine gem destined for a frame of gold.


:angel:
 

Radiating Gnome

Registered User
Far be it from me to hurry the judges, who, as true connoisseurs of the art of writing, choose every one of their succulent words with the utmost care, polishing and refining each as one would a fine gem destined for a frame of gold.


:angel:
:):):):), now I feel bad for getting mine done already.
 

Advertisement

Top