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IRON DM General Discussion

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Oh and I haven't finished cleaning it up so it might lose a page or two, but round one of the 2009 tournament is a 130-page google doc!

Edit: @Iron Sky's 8683-word first round entry had a lot to do with that!
 
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FitzTheRuke

Legend
I guess 2009 was all about 4E and stat blocks. . .
That's not a 4e stat-block. It's a 3.5 one, or some kind of fusion. I admit, I don't remember well. I always move forward with editions without looking back. Probably because I sell them for a living and it would be silly to keep playing a game when the books are out of print. Kind of counter-productive. More that then some kind of criticism of the edition, though!
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
That's not a 4e stat-block. It's a 3.5 one, or some kind of fusion. I admit, I don't remember well. I always move forward with editions without looking back. Probably because I sell them for a living and it would be silly to keep playing a game when the books are out of print. Kind of counter-productive. More that then some kind of criticism of the edition, though!

Yes. It is strange. The adventure info says it is a 4E adventure, but this stat block looks decidedly 3.5E to me. That said, I meant 4E and stat blocks. Not "4e statblocks. . ."
 


Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
I was thinking earlier today about some of the comments floating around during this year's tournament regarding how the Iron DM Judges would rate the WotC published adventures. It made for an amusing side conversation, but it reminds me of one of the boons of the word limits. The WotC published "adventures" are less adventures and more "campaigns". And campaigns (or even mini-campaigns) are not exactly what we are looking for as Iron DM judges. The broader in scope the entry, the less of a connection the ingredients will general feel to each other. Shorter, tighter adventures, then, have a natural advantage.

This was probably the determining factor in the championship match, honestly.

I have to wonder... is this intentional, or a natural consequence of the ruleset? And is it preferable?
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
The WotC published "adventures" are less adventures and more "campaigns". And campaigns (or even mini-campaigns) are not exactly what we are looking for as Iron DM judges. The broader in scope the entry, the less of a connection the ingredients will general feel to each other. Shorter, tighter adventures, then, have a natural advantage.

I have to wonder... is this intentional, or a natural consequence of the ruleset? And is it preferable?

I have to admit I have not read a WotC adventure (that was not an adaptation of a 1E module) since The Savage Tide adventure path in the waning days of Dungeon, but I do want to address the issue of nomenclature that is confusing me in the above.

I see campaign as meaning the entire length of a D&D game from 1st level (or whatever level you choose to start at) until you decide (or must for other reasons) that it is over. This means to me a "campaign" encompasses every side-trek, random encounter, adventure, mega-module, or connective improvisation that happens over the course of the continuous game.

I see "module" as a store-bought published format that contains at least one "adventure" but that may link up to other adventures thematically or plot wise. So for example U1 - The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, U2 - Danger at Dunwater, and U3 - The Final Enemy - are three modules that can make up a specific campaign. (I ran these multiple times in 1E and 2E and now again in 5E using Ghosts of Saltmarsh - which I would call a "Campaign Book."

An "adventure" is a single scenario (or interlocked scenarios) that have a clear beginning and end (so most of what people submit in an IRON DM tournament. This may be "module length" or it may just be a side-trek.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
@el-remmen: Most of the WotC 5e (physically) published adventures have been aimed to be campaign-length in scope. They’ve also been inconveniently printed in hardback form, but that’s neither here, nor there.

They aren’t modules because they don’t do a good job of being modular. That said, the starter kit and essentials kit adventures are pretty good, if somewhat uninspired in content.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Most of the WotC 5e (physically) published adventures have been aimed to be campaign-length in scope. They’ve also been inconveniently printed in hardback form, but that’s neither here, nor there.

They aren’t modules, because they don’t do a good job of being modular. That said, the starter kit and essentials kit adventures are pretty good, if somewhat uninspired in content.

I can only use GoS as an example (or Yawning Portal, I guess) - but the adventures in there are only very loosely connected (in fact only U1, U2, and U3 really are). So that seem modular to me.

So yeah, I would say to contestants, we aren't looking for Ghosts of Saltmarsh, we're looking for "The Danger at Dunwater" or "Salvage Mission."
 

Rune

Once A Fool
In response to the question posed by @Gradine:

I personally like to see a more ambitious IRON DM entry, it’s just that they are inherently more challenging to pull off (with or without a word-limit).

This is true because of the ingredients (as you say), but also just because the structure of a simpler adventure is going to be tighter. Granted, “tight” does not guarantee “interesting.”
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
BTW, while I am in favor of word limits in general, I still plan to advocate for (slightly) higher limits than the last time around if I were to judge again. :cool:
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I will continue to advocate for no word limits. I've read all of the justifications and reasonings to limit the word count, and I understand where everyone is coming from. And I still don't want them. ;)
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
For those wanting a glimpse of how I am aggregating the data in a spreadsheet. I am realizing as I type this that I need a column for system (early on it was all D&D) and maybe for suggested levels (though maybe not, b/c it is very inconsistently mentioned)>


Edit: This is now in proper shape and you can follow along as I fill out the tabs - first one (available) down, and started on the next one. I am switching btwn doing this and formatting entries depending on my mood and energy.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
The original tourney (and any others before spring 2002) are also lost.

Yeah, ignore that - that tab was not what I wanted to show. As I come across references to "lost" tourneys I jot them down, and so far it has only been two. I am looking for specific names/dates references, not just "there was one."
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Just a note that I finally finished grabbing and cleaning up IRON DM 2009, which ended up being 254 pages (!) spread across four google docs (one for each round).

And with that I am gonna take a short break from this project to avoid burn out and will return to it soon enough.

Oh and @CleverNickName, the tournament you agreed to do is gonna be at least that long (is my guess), so you may have chosen the wrong one to get your feet wet with. :ROFLMAO:
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I skipped IRON DM 2010 because CNN said he'd be taking care of it, so it may be that that tournament was the actual first, but IRON 2011 is the first I've discovered that had a set word count (2000 words) and the first where I have encountered @Wicht's judging criteria/point system.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Oh and I also found what I assume is the reason why nowadays the judges link to and reference a specific word counter.

In his response to @Rune's judgement, steeldragons says that he has the word count at 1998 but Rune dinged him for a 2002 word count. For what it's worth, google docs calls it 1844. :unsure::oops:
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Sorry for the delay, work suddenly got very hectic and I'm now behind on several deadlines. I'll jump back on it as soon as I can. As for the word count, I can vouch that Iron DM 2010 did not have a word limit.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Oh and I also found what I assume is the reason why nowadays the judges link to and reference a specific word counter.

In his response to @Rune's judgement, steeldragons says that he has the word count at 1998 but Rune dinged him for a 2002 word count. For what it's worth, google docs calls it 1844. :unsure::oops:
Yet, for some reason, we let that kind of thing happen quite a few times before actually standardizing. Lessons learned. Eventually.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
For those wanting a glimpse of how I am aggregating the data in a spreadsheet. I am realizing as I type this that I need a column for system (early on it was all D&D) and maybe for suggested levels (though maybe not, b/c it is very inconsistently mentioned)>


Edit: This is now in proper shape and you can follow along as I fill out the tabs - first one (available) down, and started on the next one. I am switching btwn doing this and formatting entries depending on my mood and energy.

This spreadsheet is now updated with the IRON DM Fall 2002 data.
 

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