IRON DM 2021 Tournament


Small God of the Dozens
Ugh, I didn't think the parentheticals counted. My word count was pretty tight and that may throw it over by a word or two. That's disappointing.

Congrats Grandine. A great entry and a deserving win.

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Moderator Emeritus

I have not updated it with the results of the first match - but will wait and see how the whole first round goes first. . .



The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
Ugh, I didn't think the parentheticals counted. My word count was pretty tight and that may throw it over by a word or two. That's disappointing.

Congrats Grandine. A great entry and a deserving win.
Congrats to you as well, for one of hell of a first entry. The first round can be incredibly tough, what with the extremely prohibitive word count, but you still managed to put together a tight, fun adventure that I think, on balance, is better than the one I presented. With as straightforward as these entries can sometimes be, it's always great fun to see an adventure with so many different complications presented throughout.

I'm looking forward to competing with you again, somewhere down the line!

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Hail, Caesar!

An Adventure for Time Traveling RPGs (TimeZero, Continuum, GURPS Time Travel etc.)


Simple Plan

Credit Due

Dogs of War

Poor Reception

Last Knight

Reality Breach



Timequakes are emanating from 1983 from a change in the timeline in Austin, Texas. If the timeline isn’t corrected, this breach will swallow up all of time and reality itself.

Everyone in Austin knows about the talk of the town- a spectacular movie that just started filming. Arrival on the set occurs in media res, with Nicolas Cage cradling Arnold Schwarzenegger, shouting, “It’s all havoc, man! What’s with these dogs!!!!” As Cage screams this, four giant mechanical dogs prowl the set around him as an anachronistic Pink Floyd song plays and a humongous explosion occurs behind him. A person yells, “Cut! Great job as Antony!” and the film slate says, “Shakespeare’s Blood Simple Caesar.”

Michael Bay was devastated by the critics’ poor reception of his magnum opus, Transformers: The Last Knight. So he hatched a simple plan. Bay would use his considerable fortune to build a time machine and Transformers and travel to 1983. He would enlist the Coens, his muse (Cage) and the biggest action star of the 80s to film the greatest-ever adaptation of Shakespeare and show the critics his brilliance.

What could go wrong?

Top Cast
Michael Bay
Bay craves respect and does not realize he is causing Armageddon. He is susceptible to flattery. Bay has control over the Knight and the Dogs, and can order them to stand down. If Bay can be convinced that his oeuvre is worthwhile, appreciated, and good, he and the Transformers will return to his time.

Coen Brothers
Joel and Ethan struggled to get financing for their film and happily accepted the money and props of Bay. But the Coens are concerned about getting the artistic credit that they believe they are due; they are worried that Bay’s version isn’t good, and that they will be saddled with this film.

Nicolas Cage
Cage is under contract and will need to be convinced to give up the contract for his first big action role as Antony. Cage is unsure whether he wants to be a serious actor or an action star. Both Bay and the Coens are happy with Cage.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold has been cast as Caesar. The script was changed so that Arnold would get revenge on Brutus in the final act (“You are Brutus, but Caesar is brutal”). Bay and the Coens are feuding over this change. Arnold is still negotiating his contract and can leave at any time.

Frances McDormand
Frances McDormand plays Brutus, and doesn’t understand why the Coens aren’t just shooting Blood Simple. Bay wants McDormand replaced with “someone hotter,” which is a major dispute with Joel Coen.

Bay created five Transformers to bring with him; four are war dogs that can transform into Chevy Suburbans and report what they see back to Bay. The fifth is the Last Knight- a small metal chess piece that turns into a metal Mark Wahlberg. The Knight was created to be Bay’s friend but can only say, “Word to you mother.”

Cannot tell anyone the future or the mission.
Direct combat with Dogs or Knight will be fatal.
Cast and crew believe Transformers to be advanced props.
Flattery to Bay will negatively affect the Coen Brothers; stating film is bad to the Coen Brothers will negatively affect Bay.
There is a 48 hour period in 1984 before reality ends.

Major Set Locations
The main shooting locations are recreations of Rome. Most buildings, vehicles, and objects are rigged to explode.

All major cast members, Bay, and the Coens have trailers.

Bay’s trailer will have the Knight as chess piece, but will turn into Wahlberg upon any unauthorized entry. Bay’s trailer also has his diary, explaining that Knight is also Bay’s time machine, and that Bay’s plan is because the critics don’t like his movies.

Coens’ trailer has the original shooting script for Blood Simple, along with a draft of Raising Arizona with a sticky that says, “Who Hi?”

Cage’s trailer has a phone number for “Uncle Frank.”

Arnold’s trailer has a number of futuristic weapons and equipment; they are all props for Terminator.

McDormand’s trailer has an extra-dimensional spaceship as the closet; McDormand is an alien and will assist if her identity is discovered, but McDormand has no technology to negate the Transformers.


Three goals must be accomplished to restore the timeline:

Bay and the Transformers return to their time.
The Coens get financing and shoot Blood Simple.
Cage agrees to nullify his contract.

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
To elaborate: a well-crafted subtitle can take a lot of the expository load off of an entry in a very efficient few words. I personally encourage their use as such, but they really do need to count against the word-limit.

Of course, @Iron Sky will be the arbiter for the match in question. It may come down to an interpretation. For example, if given the title: Steam Tunnels: An Adventure, I see no meaningful information being conveyed in the subtitle. On the other hand, Steam Tunnels: A Mazes and Monsters Adventure says quite a lot.
Oh, snap. I just saw this.

FYI, I am under the total, but I considered anything in the spoiler block the "text" of the piece. The ingredient, title, and system I didn't consider, and I put in that it was for a time traveling RPG with a few examples! Ugh.


Moderator Emeritus
Let Slip(A Villains & Vigilantes Adventure)
  • Simple Plan
  • Credit Due
  • Dogs of War
  • Poor Reception
  • Last Knight
  • Reality Breach
The PCs (in their civilian identities) are at an annual charity event at a museum that brings low-income families in to mingle with the rich donors. They may be a wealthy donor, a journalist, a museum employee, a cater waiter, a social worker, etc. . Some PCs might be back at HQ and will be called to the scene by their companions.

Recently assistant curator Myron Cocks went viral for referring to the event as the “Poor Reception” in a backfired Twitter pun about the notoriously bad cell reception in the building. His subsequent “cancellation” got him fired and his boss took credit Cocks was due for the work compiling the show which the event will inaugurate. Cocks also sees his boss Taylor Makepeace as due credit for giving him the museum’s social media to handle without more pay and demanding “Quipy irreverent tweets for the youth market!”

The show is a collection of artifacts related to King Phillip of France and his persecution of the Knights Templar for devil-worship and treason (though historians agree it was to confiscate their wealth and property). Among the artifacts is the Sarcophagus of the Last Knight, supposedly the only templar to escape and later died under mysterious circumstances.

During the event, the PCs should witness head curator Makepeace arguing with Cocks and calling for security to kick him out—security does not come, a sign something is wrong. Almost immediately, the event is attacked by the supervillain group the Dogs of War.

These 13 rogue anthropomorphic super-soldier dogs are genetically enhanced and partially bionic. They refuse to submit to the government that experimented on them and have mixed feelings about humans. Cocks gave them information to bypass security and make sure the silent alarm is disconnected, so they might rob the event. The Dogs have promised not to reveal Cocks’s role, but if the robbery goes sideways one of the angrier dogs might let it slip. Cocks wants revenge but also gets a cut of the take.

The Dogs feel a kinship with the Knights Templar due to their betrayal and are named for their founders and early members.

The plan is to keep the four entrances to the gallery guarded, while two of the Dog soldiers gather valuables from guests, three gather the delicate artifacts, and the remaining four keep watch—surveillance from the roof, security office, walking the halls. They will then escape via the subway station at the basement level of the museum. The poor reception in the museum will keep victims from calling the police.

This simple plan is complicated by two things, the presence of the PCs and the accidental awakening of the last of the Knights Templar.

The robbery plays out like a hostage situation, with PCs having to figure out how to escape the gallery to clandestinely change into supersuits and (even if they don’t have secret identities) keep innocents from being hurt. The Dogs of War are a contentious lot, displaying the range of behaviors of a whipped dog—some seeking approval from their hostages, others ready to bite out a throat for some imagined slight or unpleasant scent.

During the robbery, Cocks will purposefully cause his former boss to stumble into Sir Archamband, the fiercest and most short-tempered of the Dogs, and the mercenary will savage him, causing his blood to splatter onto the inverted cross on the sarcophagus, awakening the spirit of Jacques de Molay, who possesses the curator. (If there is an occult power superhero in the group, include Makepeace as a ghost while his body is hijacked).

Molay is a mastermind and meant to fill the role of nemesis for the PCs. He has lived 11 lifetimes since his apparent death in 1314, and this, his 13th, will allow him to complete his goal of breaking open a reality breach and allowing Hell to reign on Earth. You see, bitterness at what happened to his order had him turn to evil.

Concealing his new identity, Molay/Makepeace observes both the PCs and the Dogs. In attempt to manipulate and gain allies, he uses his tactical acumen to help the PCs defeat/capture the Dogs, but later he will break them out of prison and recruit them (using the connection they feel to his knightly order) as his new knights to punish the fallen world and trigger the apocalypse - using them to complete the steps to accomplish that goal.

The PCs will have to try to stop them.


Once A Fool
Commentary on el-remmen’s entry:
That’s quite the chaotic set-up! I like that the PCs could choose a direct approach or go Die Hard.

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