Iron DM 2016 (The Complete Game Thread!)


Welcome to Iron DM 2016!

This thread is the actual game thread. We will use it for posting the contest ingredients, the actual entries, the judging of those entries, and all commentary on the entries. Be mindful that this thread is the place where it's all recorded for posterity. We encourage onlookers to comment on entries, and we also encourage participants, following judgments to comment on their processes in writing the entries.

Before we get started, let us once more mention the rules by which this years contest will be judged. They are more or less the same from year to year, but we encourage participants to make sure they are familiar with the rules. The main change this year is that we are going to try allowing 36 hours for the second round. Last year it was 48. We'll see how that works out and those that participate in round 2 can mention after how it affected their work.

[sblock=This Year's Rules:]
Iron DM 2016 Contest Rules

The Basics:

An Iron DM tournament is set up in a single-elimination bracket style, with each match determined based on scheduling availability among the eligible contestants. Matches will begin at a time designated by the judge and conclude according to the time allotted for the round.

Each match will consist of two contestants given a single set of ingredients with which to construct a brief adventure outline or synopsis. This adventure can be for any game system or genre of the contestant’s choosing. It is not expected that the synopsis will, or should, contain stat blocks, or other mechanical details. The contestant is responsible for making sure that the entry is written in such a way as to be as clear, concise, detailed, or simple as necessary.

[Judges Note: New contestants are well advised to read entries from previous years to see what sort of presentation style makes for a good entry. ]

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 within which to submit entries. Entries that are late may still be accepted at the discretion of the judge.

[Judges Note: Each judge has historically had their own methods of judging. If a late entry is accepted, a contestant may expect to be penalized for the late entry, and the later it is, the less likely it is to be accepted. It is preferred for an entry to be turned in on time, but incomplete than late and completed.]

All entries are expected to make good use of all of the ingredients submitted. They should be creatively applied, well-integrated, and fundamentally necessary to the adventure that they are used in. Ingredient use is the crux of the tournament.

[Judges Note: Do not assume that doing a good job with three ingredients will be enough, as long as you can craft a better adventure!

First round contestants will be given six ingredients for their matches. Second round matches will have seven ingredients each and the final round will have eight ingredients.


All entries are to be submitted with the list of ingredients at the top. DO NOT EDIT YOUR POST, ONCE YOU HAVE SUBMITTED IT! Contestants are responsible for proofing their work before submission and editing a submission is grounds for disqualification from the match.

While contestants may provide web links within an entry, such links will not be considered in judging. All relevant information for the entry must be within the entry itself.
Beyond those things mentioned here, there is no set formatting style for entries, but contestants are advised that the easier an entry is to read, the easier it is to judge.


Each entry will be judged on its own merits. Each entry will receive a written critique from the judge according to the standard of the judge. Each judge is free to subjectively use their own judgment as to the merits of entries, and a judgment once made is final. Contestants understand that this is a subjective contest and playing to the style of a judge may be a valid part of the contest for an entrant. Each judgment will conclude by announcing the winner, in that judge’s estimation. If a contest is judged by multiple judges, such as a panel of three, then the entry that receives a majority of judgments in its favor is the winner. Winners of the first two rounds advance to the following round to compete further. The winner of the third round is deemed the Iron DM for the year.
Judges are expected to be fair and constructive in the critiques according to the tradition of Iron DM. The goal is for the contest to be fun and each judge is expected to understand that goal and their duties.

2016 Tournament Structure:

Round 1:

All matches in the first round will have a 24 hour time-limit! All matches in the first round will have six ingredients, all of which are to be used in each entry. Entries in these matches will have a 750 word limit (not including the title and ingredients list; however any descriptions or definitions of ingredients will count against the limit!). Contestants who win their Round 1 matches will proceed to Round 2.

Round 2:

All matches in the second round will have a 36 hour time-limit. These matches will each have seven ingredients, all of which are to be used in each entry. Entries in these matches will have a 1500 word limit (not including the title and ingredients list; however any descriptions or definitions of ingredients included in the ingredient list will count against the limit!). Contestants who win their Round 1 matches will proceed to Round 2.

Round 3:

The third round match will also have a 48 hour time-limit. This match will use eight ingredients, all of which are to be used in each entry. Entries in 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 become the IRON DM 2016!

Addendum: By entering Iron DM, you acknoweldge that your ideas are subject to being used by others, as this is a public contest and the entries will be posted publically. This does not preclude you from making whatever use you want of the material you produce on your own website, for your own campaign, or even professionally. We do ask that following the contest, you leave your entry as is, for posterity and that your entry may be added to our growing anthology of entries.

This Year's Competitors!​
1. [MENTION=34958]Deuce Traveler[/MENTION]


3. [MENTION=57112]Gradine[/MENTION]

4. [MENTION=976]Imhotepthewise[/MENTION]

5. [MENTION=786]GuardianLurker[/MENTION]

6. [MENTION=92511]steeldragons[/MENTION]

7. [MENTION=6857996]LongGoneWrier[/MENTION]

8. [MENTION=6762606]LucasC[/MENTION]

This Year's Judges!​

Wicht, Iron Sky, Lwaxy

Round 1
Match 1:
LucasC vs. LongGone Wrier; Judgment
Match 2: Steeldragons vs. Rune; Judgment
Match 3: Guardian Lurker vs. Imhotepthewise; Judgment
Match 4: Gradine vs. Deuce Traveler; Judgment

Round 2
Match 1: LongGoneWrier vs. Deuce Traveler
Match 2: Imhotepthewise vs. Rune

Round 3
Final Match: Deuce Traveler vs. Rune
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The first match is scheduled to begin at 4 pm EST (10/02)
[MENTION=6762606]LucasC[/MENTION], and [MENTION=6857996]LongGoneWrier[/MENTION] - you may check in at you convenience, if you want, to let us know you are ready


Round 1, Match 1 [MENTION=6857996]LongGoneWrier[/MENTION] vs. [MENTION=6762606]LucasC[/MENTION]

Your Ingredients are:
Opaque Window
Dancing Jack-o-lanterns
Rude Necromancer
Dread Pestilence
Dangerous Score
Silver Idol

You have until 4:10 p.m. EST tomorrow to produce your entry. Good Luck, and please remember not to edit your entry after you post it.

I will be the judge of this first match.
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Opaque Window
Dancing Jack-O-Lanterns
Rude Necromancer
Dread Pestilence
Dangerous Score
Silver Idol

On the first evening of autumn, a strange silver statuette of a pumpkin-headed man appears in the center of town. Around the neck of the statuette hangs a sign which declares this day to be “Super Spoopy Day” and that the “Super Spoopy Contest” has begun. Characters might also notice that the town itself has been surrounded by a strange mist. Anyone entering the mists is subject to horrible visions and teleported to the center of town. Those who take the time to search the sky also notice that the moon seems warped and swirling with a vibrant orange color.
According to the sign, each person has a “Spoopy Score” and can earn “Spoopy Points” by doing “Spoopies!” Whomever has the highest Score at the end of the night wins the silver statuette, which appears to be valuable, if unnerving. The final line of the sign is more cryptic: “Scaredy Cat Get Ahold Of Jack! Don’t Be Scared No More!”
An amber number “0” floats above the heads of all townsfolk. The silver statuette cackles and belches forth a cloud of green gas, choking those nearby. Those affected begin screaming in fear and anger, lashing out at those around them. As they do, the numbers above their heads begin to increase.

Murder, destruction of property, intimidation, and plain old jump scares are all methods of earning Spoopy Points, although some things (like murder) are worth more. The town descends into chaos as people either flee in terror or take to the Spoopy Contest wholeheartedly. Demonic pumpkin and skeleton creatures wriggle from the shadows cast by the strange orange moon and begin dancing in the pale moonlight, or chasing or goading the townsfolk. The moon shines a bright beam of light down into the town, always illuminating the person with the highest score.

The silver statuette emitted a fast-acting disease that infected townsfolk with paranoia, fear, and jealousy of everyone they meet. This disease is spread through physical contact and is airborne for a very short time after it leaves its host. Unless the characters take immediate and drastic action, the whole town is likely infected.
Anyone holding the statuette is immediately cured of its disease (although they are still susceptible to re-infection should they lose the statue). In addition, the holder of the statue can name a place in town and be immediately teleported there.

MAD MAGE MALGALORE - the insane wizard who is the cause of these strange events, Malgalore is a planeshopping lunatic who decided to rustle up a bit of entertainment for himself and remind the townsfolk of the true origin of their harvest festivals. He has spirited the town away to a demiplane (hence, the mists). He watches from another dimensional bubble, and looks down from behind the portal between the two planes which he has inexpertly disguised as the moon. The jack-o-lanterns all feature a twisted version of his face, and he occasionally speaks through the pumpkins to encourage further “Spoopiness”. The moon adopts the general features of his face after a few hours.
KARL THE CADAVEROUS - a travelling necromancer, Karl is afraid the townsfolk will suspect he is behind the night’s events due to his magical nature. He is polite and graceful with his words, yet his words leave people itching to smack him in his smug face. He defends himself from the townsfolk with lethal force, and he happily raises dead townsfolk as his minions. He is willing to work alongside the characters, provided they can stand his constant verbal barbs. He only wishes to survive the night and be on his way.
“KNIFEHANDS” LEX - an assassin and thug who puts on an awkward, bumbling act when not in business, Lex sees the contest as a chance to enjoy himself and practice his skills.

The Contest ends at dawn, or if a group deduces the cause of the night’s events and uses the statue to teleport to “the man in the moon”, or something similar. Malgalore is not an evil man, and reveals that any deaths that transpired were merely illusions. He returns the town to its normal place, and rewards the players with treasure for “being such good sports”. Even if his ruse is not discovered, Malgalore thanks the town for their good spirits in the morning and conjures a fistful of gold (some real, some chocolate) into the hands of all the townsfolk, and dispels the illusory deaths.


Once A Fool
[sblock=Commentary on SPOOPY SCARY SCAREAWEEN]I like the pure chaos inherent in your scenario, [MENTION=6857996]LongGoneWrier[/MENTION]. Seems like fun![/sblock]


First Post
The Treasure of Char

- Opaque Window
- Dancing Jack-o-lanterns
- Rude Necromancer
- Dread Pestilence
- Dangerous Score
- Silver Idol


Char was once a place of pastoral beauty: rolling hills, idyllic pastures, and lush forests. To celebrate the birth of their first child, the King and Queen threw a great ball and to that ball came Jack, a necromancer of some renown. Horrified by his presence, the royal couple had him thrown out and, in retaliation, Jack unleashed a plague so devastating that it killed the entire realm, to the last soul. Now, Char is a quiet, dark place, full of death.

It is said that, at the heart of Char, there is a tower, its windows black as night, hiding a massive treasure. Just what hides behind those windows is unknown, but since the fall of Char the tower has drawn treasure hunters from across the world. Certainly anyone that can steal this score will be rich beyond imagining, if they can survive the taking!

The Hook: Recover the treasure of Char

1: The Drunk Necromancer
Objective: Learn the necromancer’s secrets.

The game begins in a tavern where a crude necromancer, with a tongue like a whip, is getting drunk. He brags of the treasure of Char, swearing, around mouthfuls of food, that he knows how to past the Guardian of Char.

The necromancer knows two useful secrets: (1) the Guardian sees through all falsehood, and (2) it will stand aside for anyone that offers it exactly 30 pieces of silver.

Running the Scene
PCs will quickly learn that they cannot threaten this man. He has lived alongside death too long. They must put up with him, charming him despite his rude tongue, which he lashes out with incessantly. Play the man as arrogant, crude, abrasive, and offensive.

The challenge the PCs face is getting him to talk, despite his unending litany of abuse directed their way, and learning both secrets. He is quick to give up the first secret, but the PCs must offer him something of true value before he spills the second.

2: The Guardian
Objective: Get past the guardian.
After a long journey, the PCs arrive at massive stone gates barring entry into Char. Before the gates stands a mighty silver statue. After killing them with his plague, Jack bound the souls of Char’s dead within the statue, and charged it with jealously guarding entry to Char. The Guardian can see through all illusion and knows truth when it hears it.

Running the Scene
If the PCs know the secret of the Guardian, they can quickly bypass this behemoth. Failing that, combat is likely. The Guardian is a powerful juggernaut.

3: The Lands of Char
Objective: Get to the tower.
The lands of Char are dangerous, filled with more tormented souls of Jack’s victims. The PCs can fight their way through hordes of undead, use stealth, or some other means to reach the tower.

4: At the Tower
Objective: Get past the jack-o’-lanterns.
Before the black tower, more than two dozen jack-o’-lanterns dance eternally for the amusement of Jack. This is what befalls thieves killed by Jack, and is the fate of the PCs, if they fail. Jack beheads them, then animates their corpse, giving each a small glowing ember. The jack-o’-lanterns cannot see far, only within the light of their ember, but they can sense the presence of life, and they seek to destroy it.

Running the Scene
The jack-o’-lanterns can be fooled by PCs that disguise themselves and mimic the creatures awkward, pained dance. If they fail to dupe them, the undead attack, hurling flame from their embers and clawing with their long fingernails.

5: Beyond the Windows
Objective: Retrieve the treasure.
With the Guardian, the undead, and the jack-o’-lanterns overcome, the PCs can enter the tower where Jack waits, the only thing between them and the treasure of Char.

Jack knows the secrets of life and death and is an opponent that only fools or the mighty fight. The “treasure” is the child born to the King and Queen of Char, held asleep, and unaging, all these years. If the PCs rescue the child, and defeat or drive off Jack, Char is freed of Jack’s curse and slowly returns to its prior state.

Running the Scene
Jack fights if he must. He can call undead hordes to his side, and slay his enemies with a gaze. Diplomacy is the wiser course here. Jack was snubbed, and all this has all been about vengeance. If the PCs convince him Char has suffered enough, he will quit the lands without a fight.


Once A Fool
[sblock=Commentary on The Treasure of Char]I like the imagery and the dark fairy-tale feel in your entry, [MENTION=6762606]LucasC[/MENTION]. Also, the clearly established high stakes.[/sblock]

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