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IRON DM 2021 Tournament

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Cool. Using an obscure system that the judge(s) might not be familiar with is always a risk in IRON DM (since the judges won’t follow links in an entry). That doesn’t mean it can’t be done and done well, of course. The trick is to make the shape of the adventure clear in stead of focusing overmuch on the mechanics. Which should be the case, anyway.
One of the beauties of Trophy is how integral the shape and teleos of the adventure is to the format. It's an elegant little system that way. Incursion design focuses specifically on a central theme and evocative description, all hung on a super-simple framework. Anyway, I thought it would have worked very well. Next time perhaps.
 

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Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
Trophy Dark is a very rules-light fantasy horror game, usually played as a one-shot. It's like horror tinged deconstruction of wilderness adventure in more traditional games. Here's the SRD. It was my first choice because it's super-evocative when done well and there aren't many rules to actually deal with on the adventure writing side so it works well for low word-count projects. There's another version called Trophy Gold that's got some campaign elements built in and is to the Dungeon Crawl what Dark is to wilderness exploration. Trophy (both versions) has been where I've been spending my design time lately.

[Edit: sorry, the word Incursion is their word for adventure or module, or whatever.]
Cool. Using an obscure system that the judge(s) might not be familiar with is always a risk in IRON DM (since the judges won’t follow links in an entry). That doesn’t mean it can’t be done and done well, of course. The trick is to make the shape of the adventure clear in stead of focusing overmuch on the mechanics. Which should be the case, anyway.
It can also be a mistake to worry overmuch about system and rules; the judges typically are looking more for an adventure synopsis than everything. It can be a fine line to walk, though; I've had a generic fantasy (ostensibly D&D) adventure that was docked for overlooking how easy it is to deal with poison in even low-level D&D. I've also seen mechanics invented wholecloth; some of them add quite a bit to the adventure, but can just as easily detract from it if the rules don't quite make sense.
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
Darn it!

I thought the trick was to make obscure references to 1980s movies. @Gradine !!!!!!! You Kevin Bacon'd me! ;)
I have zero regrets, and apologize for nothing

Kevin Bacon Reaction GIF by Tremors
 

Rune

Once A Fool
It can also be a mistake to worry overmuch about system and rules; the judges typically are looking more for an adventure synopsis than everything. It can be a fine line to walk, though; I've had a generic fantasy (ostensibly D&D) adventure that was docked for overlooking how easy it is to deal with poison in even low-level D&D. I've also seen mechanics invented wholecloth; some of them add quite a bit to the adventure, but can just as easily detract from it if the rules don't quite make sense.
In other words, mechanics don’t matter unless they do.

For example, it probably won’t matter that a hypothetical system considers healing potions mundane. But, if an adventure expects a dying NPC to be encountered inside a dead-magic area, the adventure needs to account for it. If the NPC is supposed to be beyond saving, that’s a potential problem. If, on the other hand, the NPC is meant to be saveable, the entry should point that out, so the GM can recognize and understand it.

Here’s another example, from one of my own entries: The PCs in a 5e D&D adventure might be traveling around with a rogue modron quadrodrone and need to enter an inverted tower that is the reflection of another tower across the surface of a lake. The modron can’t go with them because it’s innate truesight prevents it from seeing metaphor. To the modron, it is only a reflection.
 


Wicht

Hero
Iron DM 2021
Round 1, Match 3:
Wicht vs humble minion​

Ingredients:
Ghost Mushrooms
Rotting Utopia
Bear Necessities
Armored Lizard
Rootless Tree
Broken Angel




Incident With A Lucky Angel

A down-under post-apocalyptic adventure

Background
Mago Island has long been a safe haven for peace-loving Koals, The small mountainous island, 8 km east from the coastal city of Townsville, off the Queen’s Coast, is covered with the Koal’s beloved ‘Lyptus trees, a dietary necessity for the bear-folk. Its plentiful food, distance from the coast, and proximity to the fortified Townsville, have allowed the Koals, for generations, to be left to themselves, living in lazy, idyllic bliss.

Atop the island’s central peak is the Shrine of the Lucky Angel. A forty-foot tall angelic statue, a key corner-point in an ancient techno-arcane defense sigil, stands facing the coast. Radiation from the statue has affected the nearby ‘Lyptus trees. Growing to massive proportions, these trees are covered with glowing, poisonous ghost-shrooms which inject psychedelic spores into their foliage. Koals consuming these infected leaves become lethargic addicts, able to see into the Dreaming, yet capable of little else. The largest of these massive trees, called The Old Man by the Koals, towers hundreds of feet over the Angel and is so massive as to be visible from Townsville. Traditionally, a cadre of dazed Koal prophets tend to the shrine and serve as oracles.

Five years ago, a huge branch, falling from the Old Man, decapitated the statue. The stone head rolled down the mountain slope, sinking into a pond. Since then, more and more of the island’s trees have begun to decay, ghost-shrooms blossoming abundantly on their trunks. Many of the Koals have grown addicted to leaves of these dying trees, and the small society is starting to fall apart. The elders fear that unless something is done, their race will be forced to leave the island or else eventually starve to death in a drug-fueled daze.

Meanwhile, Dragon Riders from the Central Waste have their eyes on the Queen’s Coast and a conquest of Townsville. A party of their scouts are making their way to Mago Island, to examine its potential as a strategic locale in the coming conflict.

Possible Hooks:
Military
: The PCs, allied with the Queen’s army, made aware of the scouts heading towards Mago Island, are sent to eliminate the scouts and make allies of the Koals.

Techo-arcane: The PCs are seeking to activate the ancient sigil. To activate the angel, the angel’s head will have to first be located and the statue repaired.

A Plea for Help: The elders of Mago Island in response to a vision from their mountain prophets have sent emissaries to Townsville, seeking allies who can cure their affliction and defend the island.

Encounters and Complications
The Dazed and Confused:
Almost a third of the Koals are addicted to infected ‘Lyptus leaves. Most of these individuals are harmless, yet also hard to motivate. Given to uttering cryptic insights, they spend their days hunting leaves, with little regard for their own preservation.

The Scouts: The Dragon Rider scouts are a motley collection of savage mutants mounted on giant water-dragons, able to swiftly cross land and sea. Their leader, a cunning barbarian named Blood-Jack, rides a fire-breathing, bearded-water-dragon, so massive as to be able to swim in heavy plate armor. Blood Jack’s two lieutenants are Arul, a telekinetic witch, and Hugs, a gigantic feral Drope (a savage cousin of the peaceful Koals). The scouts quickly establish a base in ancient fortifications on the northwest end of the Island, and make forays across the island, enslaving and killing Koals.

Giant Ghost Moths: The infected ‘Lyptus trees affect the ghost moths which inhabit their branches, causing them to mutate and grow. These giant, glowing, psychic insects soon become violent and dangerous.

Prophecy of Doom: A Koal prophet proclaims the Death of the Old Man and the End of Luck. The roots of the huge tree are completely rotted away, and if something is not done, it will fall on the Angel, shattering the statue, releasing radiations, and killing all vegetation on the island within a month. The PCs must figure out how to fell the tree away from the Angel

Finding and Repairing the Head: The statue’s head is submerged in a mountain pond. The radiation from the head has produced voracious giant dragonflies, poisonous frogs and killer pond shrimp. If the PCs can reattach the head of the angel using some manner of adhesive, the radiation leak will be contained, and life can return to normal on the island.
 


Wicht

Hero
  • I would like to thank the makers of Izzy's Koala World for my inspiration for my adventure idea. I have been watching it here recently with the kiddos. Magnetic island, and the city of Townsville are real-world places in Queensland. There really are fortifications on the island from WW2, and there is currently a population of about 800 Koalas living there. The phrase, bear necessities, brought to mind the need for koala bears to eat Eucalyptus and the idea grew from there. Ghost Mushrooms are a real glowing fungus which can be found on some Eucalyptus trees, and so it all started to tie together.
  • If I had had more words I would have liked to explore the techno-arcane angle of the angel a bit better, but 750 words is pretty tight for much exposition and exploration.
  • Also, in case it was not obvious, a Drope is an anthropomorphic drop bear, savage cousin to the koala, and the leaders of the dragon rider scouts is a callback to one of my childhood cartoons.
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
Is my walking speed and whatnot inside a metaphor the same, or do things get all ineffable as it were?
As one of the judges of that particular entry, I can say with absolute confidence that I do not know the answer those, and in fact could not have cared less about them :p
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Here’s another example, from one of my own entries: The PCs in a 5e D&D adventure might be traveling around with a rogue modron quadrodrone and need to enter an inverted tower that is the reflection of another tower across the surface of a lake. The modron can’t go with them because it’s innate truesight prevents it from seeing metaphor. To the modron, it is only a reflection.

You dare to understand me?

ac48abc2527ccf38689c6465ae5cc5f0.gif


Don't you mess with my metaphor.
 

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