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IRON DM 2022 The Tournament Thread


Eight Go In, One Comes Out!
Sound the trumpets, strike the drums and unfurl the banners!

The IRON DM 2022 Tournament is upon us.
Let all rejoice!

This year’s judges will be:
@Deuce Traveler

Three times crowned Iron DM (2012, 2015, 2016), Deuce has more wins than any other participant. He knows what it takes to win, and takes that wisdom with him into the judge’s booth.
@Radiating Gnome
A competitor from the early days, a well-seasoned judge, and a gnome of wisdom and renown. Has he seen it all, or do you have what it takes to still impress him?
This year’s MoC. Two time Iron DM (2002, 2013), Wicht has been participating in the tournament as both competitor and judge from the very beginning. He knows what he likes, but does that include your entry?

Our Contestants:
1: @Gradine (IRON DM 2017, 2021)
2: @Andrew Anderson
3: @Rune (Iron DM 2002)
4: @Helena Real
5: @Snarf Zagyg
6: @FitzTheRuke
7: @Kobold Stew
8: @J.Quondam

The Basics
The tournament is set up in a single-elimination bracket style, with each match pairing determined according to scheduling availability among the eligible contestants within the match’s tier.

Each match consists of two contestants given a single set of ingredients with which to construct a brief adventure or adventure synopsis in any game system or genre. (A word of advice: You should waste neither time, nor words, on overly detailed stats, but you should also not assume familiarity with any given system or genre. Explain what you need to explain, and stop there!)

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 to submit the entries within. An entry that is late will still be accepted, but with a penalty applied to its word-limit. Late entries that are less than 1 hour late will have their word-limits reduced by 10% (meaning, for example, a first-round entry would have its word-limit reduced from 750 to 675, which is harsher than it looks). Entries that are at least 1 hour late, but less than 1 day late will have their word-limits reduced by 30%. Entries that are at least 1 day late will have their word-limits reduced by 50%. Entries that are at least 2 days late may be disqualified at the discretion of the other competitor and judges. Entries that exceed their word-limits will be considered to end once they reach that limit; judges will ignore everything after.

(Another bit of advice: Obviously, you really want to avoid being late, especially in the first round, but life happens, and sometimes you just can't make it. In such cases, you should take the extra time (before your next threshold) to polish your entry with your new word-limit in mind. It won't be easy, but you might still win. Even if you don't win, you may at least find the judgement enlightening for future IRON DM tournaments!)

Entries are expected to make good use of all of the ingredients submitted. The ingredients 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, and contestants who fail to use the full compliment of ingredients will suffer for it in the judgement of the round.

Each of the first-round matches will use six ingredients. Second round matches will utilize seven ingredients and third round matches will have eight ingredients.

All entries are to be submitted with the list of ingredients at the top and are not to be edited, once submitted. To repeat: DO NOT EDIT YOUR POST, ONCE YOU HAVE SUBMITTED IT! Check your work before you send it in. Then check it again, if necessary. But do not edit it, or you will risk disqualification, according to the edicts of the judges. Part of the challenge of IRON DM is in the development and use of discipline in editing and time-management.

Do not expect judges to follow links within your entry. You may include links for others to follow if you choose to do so, but understand that any information that is necessary to the entry must be in the actual entry. Judges will be reading each entry multiple times and, are unlikely to also be willing to go outside the entry to find context for it. More importantly, expecting outside sources to carry the load of exposition very much defeats the purpose of the word-limit.

If the author chooses to include a trigger warning in an entry, that warning will not count against the word limit. Such a warning is being offered as a courtesy to readers (not necessarily the judges) in a context where the author can never know who those readers will be. Further, the kind of information conveyed in a trigger warning may not be in a form that can be used to shortcut exposition in an entry. Any information which conveys exposition will count against the word count.

Entrants may also put a description of the match at the top, for example: Iron DM 2025, Round 3, Rune vs. Wicht. Such a description will also not count against the word limit.

To clarify: Word count will include any and all descriptive text and exposition. It will not include the title, basic ingredient list, any trigger warnings, nor the round information.

Each of the first-round matches will have a single judge. The second- and third-round matches will have a full panel of three judges. Each entry will be judged on its own merits and then the two competing entries' critiques will be compared for the final judgement. In the latter rounds, the majority opinion will determine the victor. Different judges have traditionally had different processes to arrive at such outcomes – for instance, some may use a point-based grading chart, while others may prefer a more abstract analysis.

Judges will endeavor to be Nemmerelesque in their judgements – critical, but also fair and constructive in that criticism. It's tradition. It is understood up front, however, that all judgments are subjective. That's the nature of the game. Traditionally, trying to figure out what a given judge may want to see is part of the game, though doing so is not always a recommended strategy. How well do you know your audience? After all, being a DM is not about simply pleasing self.

Round 1: The Crucible
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. Contestants who win their Round 1 matches will proceed to Round 2.

Round 2: The Refinement
All matches in the second round will have a 48 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. Contestants who win their Round 2 matches will proceed to Round 3.

Round 3: The Tempering
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.The contestant who wins this match will become the IRON DM 2022!

Scheduling, Discussing, and Spectating:
To keep down the clutter, scheduling for all matches will take place elsewhere, in the scheduling thread.

This tournament thread will be used to list the ingredients and the judgements for each match, as well as the entries, themselves. Commentary and good-natured trash-talking will also be welcome in this thread, but, please, if you are commenting on an entry that has not yet been judged, hide that commentary with spoiler tags so that the judges can view the entries with fresh eyes!

If spectators would like to play the home game, please feel free to do that in another thread.

One final note:
Once these tournaments have been completed, we try to archive them on these boards for posterity, and so that the adventures can be run or plundered by future Internet generations. We make no claim of ownership over the entries, but we do request that you do not remove or alter your entries once the tournament has concluded.

The challenge begins!

Round 1: The Crucible

Match 1:
J.Quondam vs. Rune; Wicht's Judgment
Match 2: FitztheRuke vs. Helena Real; Radiating Gnome's Judgment
Match 3: Andrew Anderson vs. Kobold Stew; Deuce Traveler's Judgment
Match 4: Gradine vs. Snarf Zagyg; Wicht's Judgment

Round 2: The Refinement

Match 1: J.Quondam vs. FitztheRuke; Radiating Gnome's Judgment, Deuce Traveler's Judgment, Wicht's Judgment
Match 2: Kobold Stew vs. Snarf Zagyg; Radiating Gnome's Judgment, Deuce Traveler's Judgment, Wicht's Judgment

Round 3: The Tempering

Championship Match:
FitztheRuke vs. Kobold Stew; Deuce Traveler's Judgment, Radiating Gnome's Judgment, Wicht's Judgment

Congratulations to this years IRON DM: FitztheRuke!
Last edited:

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Round 1, Match 1
J.Quondam vs. Rune

@J.Quondam and @Rune, you have 24 hours to post your entries to this thread. Please limit your entry to a title, a list of the ingredients used and 750 additional words. Remember that if you include descriptions of your ingredients with the ingredients list, those descriptions will count against your word-limit! Entries that exceed their word-limits will be considered to end once they reach that limit; everything after will be ignored.

The judges will be using Wordcounter.net to ensure that our counts are consistent.

Please include your list of ingredients at the beginning of the entry and please do not edit your post once it is submitted. 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:
Wet Dragon
Gold Plated Saw
Forest Mushrooms
Icy Temper
Living Cave
Terrible Triad

Your 24 hours starts now!


Once A Fool
Round 1, Match 1: J.Quondam vs. Rune

Wet Dragon
Gold Plated Saw
Forest Mushrooms
Icy Temper
Living Cave
Terrible Triad

Wicked Trinity: A Dungeon World Adventure

Surreal, recursive, haunting dreams draw the PCs.
  • A mystic imbues a golden weapon with runes.
  • A rotten forest in darkness.
  • A tortured soul, eternally drowning.
A living cave, invades their dreams with whispered pleas for help.

They may seek answers, protections, or escape from the mysteries these persistent nightmares present.

Superstition, sagacious learnings, and serendipitous discoveries provide relevant wisdom:
  • A monstrous cave haunts the dreams of folk and drives them mad.
  • It is home to a wicked demon or is itself the demon.
  • It is a place of supernatural decay.
  • There is one person skilled and pious enough to forge a weapon suited to destroy a demon.
  • A truename spoken will control a demon and can compel it to depart.

The Mystic Weaponmaker:
Instinct — to destroy the avatar of the Wicked Trinity.

Deep in the wilderness lives a hermit who knows much of demons’ threats and vulnerabilities.
  • The Living Cave is home to — and imprisoned by — a demonic avatar: the Wicked Trinity.
  • The demon seeks to corrupt and spread. Unchecked, the world is doomed to rot and be consumed. Even virtue will decay.
  • The Wicked Trinity is Fear and Despair and Apathy, made manifest in one entity. It uses these tools to ensure its survival.
  • The Living Cave is tortured and in need of being freed.
  • All things within the demon’s influence decay at a supernatural rate.

The source of this knowledge is deeper than mere decades of study. In truth, the Living Cave has long spoken to the hermit through dreams, but she is unlikely to reveal this.

If the PCs take up the quest and provide the necessary materials, she will make a weapon:
  • Cast iron tempered in an icy bath of holy water to convert it into cold iron, capable of harming the demon.
  • Gold-plated and imbued with runes to protect from supernaturally quick oxidation.
  • A saw, because their foe is “flexible, but tough and fibrous” and a sword or axe will not do the job as well.

Perils Along the Way:
  • A rot that spreads and crimson mushrooms thriving on it.
  • Common folk, unwelcoming and fearful. Unworthy of aid. Lost causes, all.
  • Rations rot and water sours. Gear proves untrustworthy at the worst of times.
  • A growing sense of dread. A question in the air: What will you sacrifice?
  • A slow understanding that there is no victory. The PCs’ foe has spread beyond their ken and it’s death can only delay the inevitable.

The Living Cave:
  • A psychic pain emanates from abundant crystalline mineral formations.
  • Water drips from the ceiling, the walls, pools underfoot. An uncomfortable humidity permeates the unnaturally warm air.
  • Non-living materials decay. Clothing and leather rots. Iron and steel rust.
  • In the depths: a vast cavern, a long-sunken forest, rotting and consumed by colossal crimson mushrooms, malign and ominous. These — and those aboveground — are actually a single entity: the avatar of the corrupting demon.
  • Surrounded by rot and fungi: a massive crystaline formation formed around a long-subdued gem dragon. Water drips inexorably upon it’s forehead. The many years of torture has driven it mad and the crystal formations amplify it’s psychic agony.

Defeating the Demon:
The avatar can be utterly destroyed if ever single mushroom is killed and its spores can not spread. Aboveground, fire can do it, but the air within the cave is to humid. The saw can hew the massive mushrooms, though, if two PCs work in concert to saw through the stalks.

The Wicked Trinity will challenge this. It’s instinct: to corrupt and then consume.
It’s moves:
  • Threaten the decay of something a PC loves.
  • Thrive and spread, even as they watch.
  • Compel the dragon to reveal that its freedom will yield no reward.
  • Compel the dragon to psychically attack.
There is a hidden way to defeat the demon. If the PCs guess it’s truenames, they can compel it to abandon it’s avatar and leave the fungal growth bereft of supernatural power. These truenames are: Fear, Despair, and Apathy.

The Mad Dragon:
If the PCs defeat the demon, they still must decide if they will free a mad gem dragon upon the world. There is no material reward for such, but they may at least earn a powerful ally/adversary.


CR 1/8
title: The Three Omens of the Spirit Nobles

Wet Dragon
Gold Plated Saw
Forest Mushrooms
Icy Temper
Living Cave
Terrible Triad

The Three Omens of the Spirit Nobles

Three comets recently appeared over Woodmere village. Locals believe it's a curse by elves in the valley. This is true! Enraged by the newcomer's disregard for the woods, the forestfolk petitioned three Noble Spirits to destroy Woodmere when the three comets converge upon the next full moon.

The goal is to uncover the nature of the comets, and find a way to the Noble Spirits to end the threat.

  • heard of mysterious comets visible only from Woodmere.
  • attacked near Woodmere, by creatures that dissolve into mist when defeated:
  • --- snowstorm and ice mephits (in mountains);
  • --- rockslide and earth elemental (on road);
  • --- plesiosaurs (by boat).
  • summoned by Woodmere council to drive off forestfolk.

Woodmere village, a new lumber settlement, is led by four councilors:

Errik Rackham, no-nonsense businessman with a writ to operate a sawmill, is the real power.
  • views the forestfolk as pests.
  • His employees, the Sawyers, wear gold-plated saw-shaped badges as a symbol of authority.
  • Armed Sawyers patrol frequently, which escalates tension.
Mayor Brendish, affable, but always "busy" and indecisive, offers a reward.

Capt. Abbad, gruff guardsman who resents the Sawyers' interference with security.
  • grudgingly respects the forestfolk and their position.
Prof. Lize Orora, scholar, is helpful and very knowledgeable, but worried.
  • encourages parley with forestfolk.
  • knows to wait "at the standing stone" an hour away to contact the forestfolk.
  • knows "the blind hermit," but thinks he's crazy.
They allow the party to investigate without interference. If PCs go into the woods, Capt. Abbad or Errik Rackham offer equipment or guards, but don't insist. Sawyers are sure to provoke a forestfolk skirmish.

Crabbins, the blind hermit, is grumpy but knows much.
  • understands the comets' meaning.
  • doesn't align with villagers or forestfolk.
  • possesses a map to the Fairy Ring.
  • knows Noble Spirits can be beaten or bribed.
Forestfolk, primarily elves, usually only scout.
  • attack badged Sawyers on sight or if they witness trees indiscriminately felled.
  • do not talk of themselves or tactics.
Wyllynwe, druid Speaker for the forestfolk, is outwardly aloof and inwardly angry.
  • despises Rackham and the Sawyers, and will never negotiate with them.
  • acknowledges that forestfolk prayed to Noble Spirits to destroy Woodmere with floods, blizzards, and earthquakes at the next full moon.
  • might name the Noble Spirits or the Fairy Ring, but provides no directions or other help.

The Fairy Ring is an ancient circle of glowing mushrooms and the door to the Spirit World. Turning oneself clockwise three times is transports a character to fey lands. Turning counterclockwise exits the realm.

The Spirit World is vibrant, hazardous, and tricky to navigate. A guide is needed to move fast and avoid trouble. With some searching, PCs could find a guide who demands a weird payment.
  • Frystyss (pixie, adores Birtok, fears Gheodda),
  • Gwllyth (faery dragon, aka "Dewdrop", loves Svilla, hates Birtok),
  • Grumb (mushroomfolk, reveres Gheodda, fears Svillla).
With a fey guide, it takes only one day to travel between Noble Spirit lairs.
Without a guide, PCs navigate slowly (1+1d4 days) by asking directions and following the comets which appear over each lair.

The Noble Spirits' omen is not necessarily imminent: each can be flattered or bribed. A noble can also be defeated in combat, in which case their comet disappears temporarily, until the spirit reforms in a year and a day.

Birtok of the Mountain Ice rules a snowy keep.
  • frost giant, with yetis and ice mephits minions.
  • aggressive and quick to anger, so negotiation is difficult.
A good fight could impress him, and he might accept fresh fruit offerings left in a mountain pass.

Svilla of the Lake lives around a small island.
  • sea serpent, with water weird servants.
  • sly and elegant,
  • enjoys flattery, dismisses threats.
Her mind is not easily changed, but she might accept a fine idol in her likeness dropped in the lake.

Gheodda the Living Cave lurks within a low rocky hill.
  • has no creature manifestation, attended by earth elementals.
  • harmed by drowning or transmuting its heart chamber.
  • faceless and inscrutable, and slow to anger and understand
  • fights foes with shifting tunnels, pits, and rockfalls.
If placated, it may accept a bear's skull left in a cave.

Concluding developments
  • Early negotiation between forestfolk and villagers (without Rackham): Wyllynwe asks the Noble Spirits to dismiss the comets.
  • Noble Spirits all defeated: PCs collect reward. Forestfolk are angry, but know the spirits will return.
  • Noble Spirits all persuaded to end omen: PC collect reward. Forestfolk are angry and continue skirmishing, but willing to negotiate.
  • If any Noble Spirit remains: Woodmere will be destroyed.


Once A Fool
Commentary on @J.Quondam ’s entry:

I like your efficient presentation of …well, pretty much everything. It looks like that allowed you to pack a whole lot of adventure into a limited space. Looks fun!


CR 1/8
Super-quick observations on the entry by @Rune. .. .
I love the dark atmosphere, and how organized this is! I'm not too familiar with DW, but this does make curious to crack open my copy again and see how this might run.

and my thoughts as a first-time entrant in IronDM:
HOLY MACKEREL!!! That was in no way, shape, or form even remotely approaching anything resembling "easy". Even after following the contest a few years and reading others' commentary on it, I really didn't think that paring ideas down would be quite that difficult.

Squeezing six ingredients into 750 words felt like trying to cram 13 eggs in a dozen container.



Once A Fool
Those were a tough set of ingredients for me. I just could not get an idea to gel, and what did form resisted being an adventure. The imprisoned dragon came quickly to me (but at one point wanted to be a wizard’s faerie dragon familiar). I figured on a wicked fey-fueled adventure, but the terrible triad and the gold plated saw both remained obscure. This especially was a problem with the triad, because I knew if I was going to hang my adventure on a thematic frame, the terrible triad was going to be it.

What I had wasn’t enough, and it wasn’t connected nearly tightly enough to be presented in 750 words. Next try: basically the same thing, but aquatic. The living cave would be coral, the foes: to be determined. Same problems.

Eventually, I had to sleep on it. Up early this morning, a couple more hours of development and I wrote down something I could make a theme of: the concept of a wicked trinity and the inversion/corruption of the pious virtues of faith, hope, and love. If only there was some way I could put those virtues to the test in 750 words. I had to be subtle. I hope it worked. Especially after I think I had to cut every explicit mention that the demon’s influence corrupts virtue as well as matter. What can I say? I had 15 minutes to cut 51 words. I didn’t even have time to count as I cut.

I think I like it, but it’s too soon for me look at it objectively. I think I managed to accomplish everything I was aiming to (once I finally figured it out), but I haven’t reread it yet – for all I know I might have inadvertently butchered it in editing. It might be a little more linear than I prefer (especially for Dungeon World*), but I don’t think it’s presented too linearly.

I’ll reassess later. For now, I’ll drink some more coffee and ride out my adrenaline rush. There’s not quite any feeling like the one you get immediately after posting an Iron DM entry that might just be okay.

* For those wondering why this Dungeon World “adventure” isn’t presented as a front, I thought it best to present the adventure system-agnostically. It’s basically got the elements of a front, but is organized to be useful for traditional systems.

Why not just use D&D? Demons aren’t vulnerable to cold iron in 5e and I’m not even sure gem dragons are still psionic.

Radiating Gnome

Round 1, Match 2
FitztheRuke vs Helena Real

@FitzTheRuke and @Helena Real, you have 24 hours to post your entries to this thread. Please limit your entry to a title, a list of the ingredients used and 750 additional words. Remember that if you include descriptions of your ingredients with the ingredients list, those descriptions will count against your word-limit! Entries that exceed their word-limits will be considered to end once they reach that limit; everything after will be ignored.

The judges will be using Wordcounter.net to ensure that our counts are consistent.

Please include your list of ingredients at the beginning of the entry and please do not edit your post once it is submitted. 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:
  • Sea of grass
  • Mountain of ice
  • Feather wig
  • Two-headed cat
  • Truthful mirror
  • Swindled noble

Your 24 hours starts now!


For any newcomers who don’t know how I judge matches, I use an arbitrary and subjective point system to help me with my thoughts. I award points as follows

Followed the Rules: Wordcount, time limit, etc. (6 points)
Ingredient Use: Were all the ingredients legitimately used as a necessary part of the adventure? (up to 2 points per ingredient)
Useability: How easy could a GM plop the adventure down into their game? (6 points)
Style: Personal preference – how much does the presentation and adventure appeal to the judge (6 points)

IRON DM 2022 Round 1, Match 1
Rune vs. J.Quondam

Before ever the entries were posted, I was curious as to how this would play out. @Rune is a veteran of the contest, both as judge and contestant, and experience counts for something. @J.Quondam is a first time entrant, and that first go can be a bit rough on some. It is not unusual for a first entry to be a bit on the rough side, so there was the question as to whether or not it would be a lop-sided contest. Thankfully, from my perspective it was not, and as I read through I was pleasantly surprised at the newbie’s entry. But was it good enough…?

Let’s see what we have. Rune gives us “Wicked Trinity” (hereafter Wicked). Bad dreams compel the PCs to seek out a hermit who makes a golden saw so they can go to a cave and cut down every mushroom therein while an evil demon gives them more bad dreams and rots their clothing. There is a dragon sleeping in the cave, bad food and bad neighbors.

J.Quondam’s offering, “The Three Omens of the Spirit Nobles” (hereafter Omens) presents the age-old dilemma of lumberjacks vs. the woods, with the woods being defended by fae elves who have summoned powerful spirits to destroy the village. The PCs must journey to the fairy land and either placate or overcome the spirits, or else placate the fae. There is intrigue in the village, intrigue in the fairy world, and intrigue with the spirits, and there may also be some combat.

Both entries were turned in on time, and under word-count, so let’s get to some critiquing…

Looking over the various ingredients, my first impression is that neither of the entries used the ingredients perfectly, but one was a little better than the other.

The first ingredient was wet dragon. The dragon in Wicked is a dragon who is trapped and being tortured with a water torture. While the dragon is mentioned as a possible weapon to be used by the demon, it seems to mostly spend the adventure sitting there being tortured, providing a potential hook for, and this seemed a little odd, after the adventure was over. The use of a wet dragon in Omens, being a sea serpent, is far from inspired, but it does fit and the sea serpent is fleshed out with motivations, personality and is one of the three nobles the PCs must confront. Advantage here to Omens.

In the ingredient, gold-plated saw, the advantage swings the other way. The saws of Omens are rather lackluster, being nothing more than badges, and thus window dressing. In Wicked, the saw is a necessary weapon for cutting down the malevolent fungi. The necessity of it being gold-plated, or a saw, seems somewhat forced, though it is true that gold does not corrupt as readily as other metals and certainly saws work better to cut down fibrous matter, though axes seem like they ought to also work. Still and all, Wicked gets the nod here.

Then with forest mushrooms, we go back the other way. I must say that I was more than a little disappointed with Wicked in this regard. A Forest Mushroom is a mushroom which grows in a forest. Wicked makes it a Forest of Mushrooms, flipping noun and adjective, and moreover makes all the mushrooms to be cave mushrooms, an entirely different beast, so to speak. Omens on the other hand makes the mushrooms into a fairy ring, and the method of travel from one world to the next. While the mushrooms are integral to both adventures, the too-clever-by-half changing of the mushrooms from forest to cave in Wicked makes me give this ingredient entirely to Omens.

I also have to somewhat give the nod to Omens for Icy Temper, though point wise its going to be a wash. Though I think the use of temper as an ice bath for a weapon to be clever in Wicked, I note with some disappointment that it is a thing done by someone other than the PCs. This is a lost opportunity, having the PCs sitting around watching someone else make a weapon when the PCs should be the ones meeting the demands of weapon creation, even if directed by the wise hermit. I am not overly thrilled by the use in Omens, being simply an ice creature with a temper, and think it could have been made a little more important, but still… The advantage is there, even if only slightly.

There is a more clear advantage, I think, in living cave to Omens, though the use in both might seem somewhat similar. The cave in Wicked seems more possessed than living, though maybe it was living before and will be living after being exorcised. But I don’t get a good feel for how it is living or what the ramifications of that are. In Omens, though I get a clear sense of an elemental being in the shape of a cave, which can fight with its own being, and which is also protected by an ecosystem of earth-elementals. Heavy nod to Omens here.

I think both adventures make decent use of terrible triad, and though point wise I’ll give full points to both, I think if I had to fall down on one or the other Omens would get nod once more, mostly because while the true-names of the demon, also being its nature, is good; having each of the triad being an actual obstacle is a little better. On the other hand, Wicked’s triad is more classically terrible in nature, but the threat of total destruction wrought by the spirits is pretty terrible, so again, point wise a wash, but slight personal nod to Omens.

So coming out of Ingredients, Omens has an advantage.

Let’s examine the two offerings for both their usability and their appeal.

I will state up front that I am not familiar with the Dungeon World system specifically, but from the way Rune wrote up his entry I can get a pretty good feel for the kind of game it is meant to be, and I would hazard that so far as the system is concerned, Wicked is entirely useable. I also suspect that it would play out better in that system then it feels like it would play out in a standard D&D style system, where the obstacles presented, though they seem trite in a typical fantasy realm, would present more scope for the imagination in a system of give and take story-telling. With that in mind, I suspect that Rune has given everything necessary to run the adventure in the system he set it in, and there is a good deal to work with here.

On the other hand, Omens, presents a wide range of encounters in three different “realms” (village, fairy and spirits), a plethora of options for dealing with various entities in each realm and even a suggestion of the politics and interactions in each setting. There is scope for role-playing, combat and diplomacy, and though there is some fleshing out to be done, the amount of material presented in the space allowed is pretty impressive.

Usability then on both is going to be about even.

Which brings me to my personal preference. Wicked has some very good things going for it, though also some weaknesses. On the one hand the threat seems rather significant. A demon slowly corrupting everything and driving the world mad with its dreams. On the other hand, the actual adventure seems a little wanting. You visit a hermit who makes a saw, and then travel to a cave and cut down mushrooms while the demon threatens you, ruining your clothes and food. I don’t know how it would play out exactly, and I suspect the whole is more than the sum of its parts so that it would end up being a fun time. But in the end you are sawing down mushrooms next to a sleeping dragon who may or may not be used to mentally attack you. And the dragon itself feels largely to be window dressing, or the plot hook to a different adventure.

Omens on the other hand is a bit cliched in some of its presentations, but cliché is not necessarily bad. The sheer scope of adventure presented from the humble beginnings of a forest village is very impressive. The number of encounters, diplomatic, mundane, fae, and combat wise promises quite a bit of variety in game-play. I also like how the different possible outcomes are presented. All in all, it seems well thought out, and very impressive, even more so when one considers this is a first-timer’s entry.

Comparing the two entries, I find I like both, but one clearly came out ahead of the other, in no small part because of ingredient use.

For this match, it is my verdict that J.Quondam advances to round 2. The collective members of the CND may rejoice,… for the moment.

Wicked Trinity
Followed the Rules:
6 points
Ingredient Use: 7 points
Wet Dragon: 1
Gold Plated Saw: 1.5
Forest Mushrooms: .5
Icy Temper: 1
Living Cave: 1
Terrible Triad: 2
Usability: 5 points
Style: 4
Total: 22/30

The Three Omens of the Spirit Nobles
Followed the Rules:
6 points
Ingredient Use: 9.5 points
Wet Dragon: 1.5
Gold Plated Saw: 1
Forest Mushrooms: 2
Icy Temper: 1
Living Cave: 2
Terrible Triad: 2
Usability: 5 points
Style: 5 points
Total: 25.5/30
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