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IRON DM General Discussion

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I assume that gripes like that are why the panel was adopted in the first place; it’s a lot harder to make that argument when it’s not just the one judgement you’re railing against.

I assume the same. Who kept it going in our absence?

But I also think it is still possible that someone could object to the result and feel two or more judges treated them unfairly and in the process undermine their opponent's efforts, which is not cool.
 

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FitzTheRuke

Legend
I went and read some of your 2004 judgements, and while you're not soft on them, you're fair enough. I can see feelings getting hurt if the contestant didn't expect to be judged in your style, but they generally seemed to know it was coming.

Still, it's a shame to lose contestants.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
I assume the same. Who kept it going in our absence?
There was a gap where the answer is “nobody.”

I left around 2004 or 2005. Came back shortly after the 2010 tourney had completed. From the records, EN World appears not to have had tournaments from 2006-2008.

But I also think it is still possible that someone could object to the result and feel two or more judges treated them unfairly and in the process undermine their opponent's efforts, which is not cool.
The rules do remind readers that opinions will vary snd that it’s just a game among fans. So far, no major issues. Usually, when someone is stung by a loss and vocalizes it, the peanut gallery comes to the defense of the winning entry (sometimes both).

Its hard to see things from perspective for a while when you’ve been stung.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
One thing that seems to have not be as popular in the contemporary tourneys is the ingredient recap/overview as part of the entry. If I were to judge again, I would advocate for asking all opponent to include this at the end of their entry and it will not count towards word count (but limiting to one sentence recap per ingredient - in other words, it won't count towards word count, but if you cram too much info into it, it can count against you). I find it useful both as a judge and a player (and I think those who follow along probably find it clarifying too)
 

Rune

Once A Fool
One thing that seems to have not be as popular in the contemporary tourneys is the ingredient recap/overview as part of the entry. If I were to judge again, I would advocate for asking all opponent to include this at the end of their entry and it will not count towards word count (but limiting to one sentence recap per ingredient - in other words, it won't count towards word count, but if you cram too much info into it, it can count against you). I find it useful both as a judge and a player (and I think those who follow along probably find it clarifying too)
I think that if the piece actually needs such an indicator, the ingredients aren’t well-used in the first place.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I think that if the piece actually needs such an indicator, the ingredients aren’t well-used in the first place.

I don't agree. I don't see it as an indicator, but as an overview that helps the judge be fair that they caught everything. If it is listed in the overview, but even a review of the body of the entry doesn't make it clear then I'd say it wasn't well used.

For me it is not just about the player's clarity, but helping the judge's attention to detail.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
I don't agree. I don't see it as an indicator, but as an overview that helps the judge be fair that they caught everything. If it is listed in the overview, but even a review of the body of the entry doesn't make it clear then I'd say it wasn't well used.

For me it is not just about the player's clarity, but helping the judge's attention to detail.
Fair enough. But in the hypothetical case where such descriptions don’t count against word-limit, I’d still personally want to limit it to 5 words per ingredient. That should be plenty for a signpost.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Fair enough. But in the hypothetical case where such descriptions don’t count against word-limit, I’d still personally want to limit it to 5 words per ingredient. That should be plenty for a signpost.

As you might already know, I tend towards more informal rules than what I consider the unnecessary granularity of something like "5 words per ingredient." Saying one sentence seems fine when if someone writes six 40 word sentences they are 1. gonna get dinged, and B) undermine their own attempt at clarity through verbosity.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
As you might already know, I tend towards more informal rules than what I consider the unnecessary granularity of something like "5 words per ingredient." Saying one sentence seems fine when if someone writes six 40 word sentences they are 1. gonna get dinged, and B) undermine their own attempt at clarity through verbosity.
I get it.

But allowing something as nebulous as “a sentence” leaves the door open to details that bypass the word-limit (and that can be done in far fewer than 40 words – or 10, even). That’s what I don’t want to see.

Plus, parameters are as good for the tournament as they are for creativity; when the judge is given leeway to assess those types of things subjectively, that comes at a cost. That cost being: room for contestants’ indignation. As you’ve seen for yourself going through the old tourneys, those kinds of attitudes can snowball quickly.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that there is no room for judges’ subjectivity: it’s an inevitable and essential element. But the tournament really does need some rules to be explicitly defined in order to run smoothy. And, in my view, that involves all rules related to the word-limit and time-limit (whatever they happen to be or not be).
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I like the idea of a few words per ingredient. I don't mind limiting the word count (five might be a bit short, but I'd be happy with a limit under ten).

I've been meaning to talk to @Rune on the subject of ingredient-use. I didn't want to mention it before because I didn't want to seem like I was arguing with the judgements. (I'm not arguing at all, in fact, just pointing out how it feels from the other side).

Specifically, I want to speak on the subject of using ingredients more than once. You've said that you feel that it shows that the writer lacks confidence in their ingredient use. I disagree. I mean, it could be that, but there's many other reasons that a writer could want to use an ingredient twice. I did it once, by accident (and only called attention to it as a joke!) I also stopped myself from doing it in the final match, because I thought you might penalise me for it, when it came to me because both uses worked. Now, I know that if someone used an ingredient two or more times, and they were really good, then you probably wouldn't give them flack for it, but I think you should reconsider your general aversion to it. (Just a friendly suggestion - do whatever you like.)

One more thing on that - as far as actual confidence in our use of an ingredient goes: Only a fool would ever be fully confident in any of their ingredient use! Nearly every single one of us in the latest competition had an ingredient use that was our personal favourite that was thrashed by a judge. We can't ever be confident. It's folly. How we see it, and how it's judged, just won't always line-up. I mean, most of the time we'll get a judgement and think, "yeah, I could have done better there" (or we knew before judgement that it wasn't our best take) but we've all had it happen that a judge just doesn't see what we see. Luckily, that happens the other way sometimes too - where the judge likes a usage that we were not as fond of.

At any rate, it seems reasonable to me to want to hedge your bets. Also, it could just be artistically interesting to use an ingredient more than once, just because you have two ideas that both work. (Again, I think that if both uses were good, you probably wouldn't dock someone for doing two, but you really seem to dislike the idea). Thoughts?
 

Rune

Once A Fool
I like the idea of a few words per ingredient. I don't mind limiting the word count (five might be a bit short, but I'd be happy with a limit under ten).
I’m sure next year’s judges will figure something out.

I've been meaning to talk to @Rune on the subject of ingredient-use. I didn't want to mention it before because I didn't want to seem like I was arguing with the judgements. (I'm not arguing at all, in fact, just pointing out how it feels from the other side).

Specifically, I want to speak on the subject of using ingredients more than once. You've said that you feel that it shows that the writer lacks confidence in their ingredient use. I disagree. I mean, it could be that, but there's many other reasons that a writer could want to use an ingredient twice. I did it once, by accident (and only called attention to it as a joke!) I also stopped myself from doing it in the final match, because I thought you might penalise me for it, when it came to me because both uses worked. Now, I know that if someone used an ingredient two or more times, and they were really good, then you probably wouldn't give them flack for it, but I think you should reconsider your general aversion to it. (Just a friendly suggestion - do whatever you like.)

One more thing on that - as far as actual confidence in our use of an ingredient goes: Only a fool would ever be fully confident in any of their ingredient use! Nearly every single one of us in the latest competition had an ingredient use that was our personal favourite that was thrashed by a judge. We can't ever be confident. It's folly. How we see it, and how it's judged, just won't always line-up. I mean, most of the time we'll get a judgement and think, "yeah, I could have done better there" (or we knew before judgement that it wasn't our best take) but we've all had it happen that a judge just doesn't see what we see. Luckily, that happens the other way sometimes too - where the judge likes a usage that we were not as fond of.

At any rate, it seems reasonable to me to want to hedge your bets. Also, it could just be artistically interesting to use an ingredient more than once, just because you have two ideas that both work. (Again, I think that if both uses were good, you probably wouldn't dock someone for doing two, but you really seem to dislike the idea). Thoughts?
Oh, boy, there’s a lot here.

First of all, I don’t think multiple manifestations of an ingredient are always bad. Sometimes, they are necessary to set up a strong thematic component. Those are my favorite.

Usually, they don’t. Understand, my aversion is based on a lot of experience as a judge. Most of the time, they really do indicate that no single usage is good enough. It is so reliable an indicator, that it stands out as a red flag. Not a given, but definitely a warning.

An ingredient’s manifestation should be like the answer to a well-written riddle: It could be no other thing.

The reason you can use different manifestations when setting up a theme (and probably will need to), is because the theme is the ingredient!

Without that extra effort, the author is basically saying, “pick one.” To which, my response is, “no, that’s you’re job.”

I’ll read them as many times as it takes, I’ll analyze them until I’m fatigued, and I’ll judge them independent of my own preferences, but I’m not going to edit them, too. Discipline!
 

Rune

Once A Fool
One more thing on that - as far as actual confidence in our use of an ingredient goes: Only a fool would ever be fully confident in any of their ingredient use! Nearly every single one of us in the latest competition had an ingredient use that was our personal favourite that was thrashed by a judge. We can't ever be confident. It's folly. How we see it, and how it's judged, just won't always line-up. I mean, most of the time we'll get a judgement and think, "yeah, I could have done better there" (or we knew before judgement that it wasn't our best take) but we've all had it happen that a judge just doesn't see what we see. Luckily, that happens the other way sometimes too - where the judge likes a usage that we were not as fond of.
Since I didn’t address the confidence thing: When I judge, I’m not looking for confidence from the author that an entry will win, or that I’ll like the element in question.

I’m paying attention to indicators of the author’s confidence that the element in question is right for the entry and presented in a way that makes it so. I’m still going to do my own analysis and make my judgement accordingly.

I’m not judging on the confidence, but if the author doesn’t believe that the element is strong, they’re probably not wrong.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I’m sure next year’s judges will figure something out.


Oh, boy, there’s a lot here.

First of all, I don’t think multiple manifestations of an ingredient are always bad. Sometimes, they are necessary to set up a strong thematic component. Those are my favorite.

Usually, they don’t. Understand, my aversion is based on a lot of experience as a judge. Most of the time, they really do indicate that no single usage is good enough. It is so reliable an indicator, that it stands out as a red flag. Not a given, but definitely a warning.

An ingredient’s manifestation should be like the answer to a well-written riddle: It could be no other thing.

The reason you can use different manifestations when setting up a theme (and probably will need to), is because the theme is the ingredient!

Without that extra effort, the author is basically saying, “pick one.” To which, my response is, “no, that’s you’re job.”

I’ll read them as many times as it takes, I’ll analyze them until I’m fatigued, and I’ll judge them independent of my own preferences, but I’m not going to edit them, too. Discipline!
I understand what you're saying, and I hope you didn't take any of that as particularly strong criticism. I just enjoy discussions! Like I said, you've made me believe that if a writer used an ingredient well enough but more-than-once, you'd give them credit. Your reason for your preference is compelling. I'll give it some thought.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
I understand what you're saying, and I hope you didn't take any of that as particularly strong criticism. I just enjoy discussions! Like I said, you've made me believe that if a writer used an ingredient well enough but more-than-once, you'd give them credit. Your reason for your preference is compelling. I'll give it some thought.
The other judges may not be as vocal about it, but I think, historically, we’re fairly well-aligned on this point. Not all of the judges, mind. But probably most.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
For what it's worth from someone who has not judged in over a decade, I think using an ingredient twice is usually a sign of weakness or lack of an editorial eye unless it is part of a thematic reinforcement that works for the tone and structure of the adventure.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
A lot to catch up on.

Re: Acrimony
I agree that the judge panel resolves most of this. Amusingly enough, the one time I really felt salty after a loss was also the one time I lost in the first round. Looking back I'm sure I would agree with the judgment. I certainly earned my other losses. Otherwise I haven't seen too much salt directed at the judges since I've been a part of these. Now, the word limits on the other hand... :devilish:

Re: Ingredient Descriptions
I am definitely on team "Not Necessary". I know they've been a staple for a while, and they even featured in my first ever tournament. That said, I think the entries are better without them. I prefer it when the ingredients speak for themselves, and the ingredient descriptions at the end detracts from that.

Re: Multiple Uses
I also agree that using the ingredient in multiple ways isn't, by itself, good or bad on its own. That said, it does raise a red flag that maybe the author didn't feel like their use was that strong in the first place. Sometimes it works out anyway. Sometimes it plays that role of enhancing the theme, and it's great. And sometimes it is just cover for an otherwise weak usage.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
Judging these past two years has been fun, and I look forward to playing a role as a judge, if not host, if this upcoming Spring/Summer spinoff (if not hosting, but it seems Wicht is keen on taking on that role). For the next tournament though, I think I want to go back to competing.

Judging is a blast, and I like to think that I brought a somewhat unique perspective to the judging (and ingredient design, which is an under-appreciated judging skill). It'll be great to jump back in the saddle and create some more. The judgments are usually great and I've ended up writing some stuff i would've otherwise never even thought too write about before. That's probably my favorite part about the tournament as a competitor. Some of my favorite entries I've written are so far outside my typical wheelhouse.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Judging these past two years has been fun, and I look forward to playing a role as a judge, if not host, if this upcoming Spring/Summer spinoff (if not hosting, but it seems Wicht is keen on taking on that role). For the next tournament though, I think I want to go back to competing.

Judging is a blast, and I like to think that I brought a somewhat unique perspective to the judging (and ingredient design, which is an under-appreciated judging skill). It'll be great to jump back in the saddle and create some more. The judgments are usually great and I've ended up writing some stuff i would've otherwise never even thought too write about before. That's probably my favorite part about the tournament as a competitor. Some of my favorite entries I've written are so far outside my typical wheelhouse.
You’ve been great on both sides of the game; no reason not to switch things up once in a while if you can.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
That's probably my favorite part about the tournament as a competitor. Some of my favorite entries I've written are so far outside my typical wheelhouse.
I can say as a first timer, that was the best part for me. Both in the writing and reading other's entries. I think and play mostly D&D, with a very tiny amount of other games. (To be fair, I think and play D&D A LOT, like every day really). But it's very nice to see (and do) some outside-the-box thinking. And being given a deadline to do it made me actually write stuff down for once! (I 'write' all the time, but mostly in my head! It's why I can't actually call myself a writer!)
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Every single IRON DM entry I have ever written has been a D&D scenario. While I have played/run a handful of other games, I definitely do not feel as comfortable with them - and a game like the various Star Wars iterations or superhero games would be hard to make work with the ingredients we tend to get - though in the case of the former, I guess I could make it more generic space fantasy. I did almost make that last one I wrote a Starfinder adventure - except while I've played it I don't own the book.

EDIT to change "Spacefarer" to "Starfinder" - See? I don't even know the proper name!
 

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