IRON DM revival!

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First Post

I’ll skip the normal banter and head right to it – both contestants know the rules.

Does anyone wonder why Vaxalon is the current IROM DM champ? If they do, a perusal of the scenario set up by VAX should set the bar. It’s important to realize players may not immediately feel that Lobelia is guilty, if only because that is the obvious conclusion to draw. The use of many of the core ingredients is masterful. The brilliant energy falchion is not only used as a way to identify the false Lord Marshal, but is ALSO a symbol of state, which means that the PCs cannot simply abscond with it once the adventure is over (GP value is at least 98K) - and hey, I did hammer Wicht about throwing around items like this, so I’m glad it’s probably NOT going to be used in the main adventure. Amusing is the inclusion of Level playing field, which Vax subjects to his unique interpretation – and since it is well done…I cannot help but enjoy it. What strikes me most is Vax’s use of strong NPCs. Not strong in power, but strong in personality. Canterbin hates his sister – as only a truly messed up family member can. The gnomes are truly worried – seeing their duties as being compromised. Lobelia is a schemer who is really willing to take risks, not just follow through with the same old coup. Leveling a stadium with visitors (and undoubtedly nobility) from several nations is downright chaotic and evil – she certainly recruited the right outsider for the job. Finally, Vax’s submission is rules-tight. I did not see any gaping hole where one spell, or one action by the PCs would unravel his thread… And I was lookin’!

So where does Vax fall short? Three areas, some major. Plot hooks. There is only one. If the players feel that the worried gnomes are just busybodies: adventure over. In past entries we’ve seen other IRON DMs try to include hooks that work for a variety of parties, and I expect the same or better from Vax accordingly. Next, level of detail – yes, Vax did highlight all the relevant points, and kept his submission - with spaces - to under 8K. But I need to know more about Canterbin; give me examples of his rigid routine – just one line! And give me examples of his rigid intolerance – beating a delinquent acolyte is always a winner. Also, I want the final day(s) at the arena more detailed: Who’s there? Where are they sitting? How does the Slaad know the heads of state will perish? Speaking of, one ingredient was a little forced. The annoying violin bringing down the house stands out as a ‘must be used because it’s an ingredient’ rather than the rest which weave SO well. Finally, and I know VAX said he wanted a challenging end boss but whoa! A CR13 Sladd vs L10 characters. Lemme tell ya, I fought a Death Slaad at level 12, and it gave us a whoopin’. 25% of your parties resources does not mean for every fight, 25% of the party should die (implosion anyone?). The only saving grace is that this is the end boss, and the only combat spec’d out (By the way, 20 rounds of combat ensures the party will either kill the slaad or be killed, the violin threat is a non-issue, except to casters heh, heh).

Wicht falls on the other end of the spectrum – submitting a series of challenges that the party should be able to handle easily – the PCs just have to be quick about it, and they know it. There is a good stuff to say about this submission. It introduces some high level areas for the PCs to visit, no matter how things work out. It gives rise to the idea of a ‘blood less coup’ - an out of the box idea, to any coup-type submissions I’ve ever run across. We also have plot devices (misleading maps) intended to foil the party if they get too heavy handed; enforcing the role-play. Like Vax’s this one is rules tight – no loopholes that will bypass the adventure, getting the party to endgame before other interested parties can catch up, ruining the ‘ending.’ Even if the party uses commune a yes/no series of questions will not short circuit this adventure. Not bad!

That’s where the goodness ends, I’m afraid. There is actually a lot NOT to like about this submission as well. Several of the key ingredients are tacked on. The captain of the guard’s brilliant energy falchion, the level playing field, and the animated violin are not woven, they are just in there. One of the big disappointments though, is the general lack of description of the utopian city. We get the ‘fighting in the streets’ visual driven home very well – but why do so many outsiders want to live here in the first place. I got the feeling that the adventure called for this city to be something magnificent, yet I felt no awe in its description here. And where is the Grisfird Axehelm? Don’t get me all juiced up about this NPC and then leave him out of the action! Instead we get a (dare I say?), run of the mill Death Slaad. Neither IRON DM hopeful gave the Slaad a name, but Wicht’s slaad seemed more….vanilla. Oddly, one of the things Wicht’s does well, also tastes pretty vanilla to me here: Plot hooks. We have 3, but they are SO predictable - find Adriu for a reward. While reading it, I thought – gee, wouldn’t it be neat if the PCs were their training for their next level, or doing important research in this unique city, such that it was vital for them to return the city for peace, inherently? If I can think up a hook that quickly, it means the hooks were underdeveloped (but hey, better than Vax’s, which were slim and none).

With that, it should be clear that I have found the winner of this round
and STILL IRON DM, BIG_GOLD_CROWN bearer…ladies and gentlemen:



incognito, having supped deeply on the contents of the arcane writ, comes across an obscure passage left by a disgruntled competitor that, once read, opens a window to a pocket universe and is...

Sucked In!!!!

The window slams shut.



First Post
I do request exposition :)

In closing:

Please, gentle readers - pats on the back not only to Vax and Wicht, but to anyone you thought was a good submitter.

I'll be the first - Wulf, you got screwed by that good for nothin' judge :D

and Finally - I hope you all enjoyed the IRON DM format, your for next quarter's contest are sincerely appreciated.
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Once A Fool
It should have been you, Wulf..., I mean, Congratulations again, Vaxalon.

And congratulations for putting up a good fight, Wicht! Having lost against both of you, I can attest to the fact that you are both really tough competitors.

Well, g'night folk, it's been fun. Hope I get to play in the next one! So many people I still need to test myself against. Wulf, seasong, Tuerny...


Good job Vaxalon.

Well, what can I say? It all seemed like a good idea at the time of course I was operating at the time on only 4-5 hours of sleep yesterday. ;)

In my defense...

The quench spell operating on the arena grounds was a factor I thought might be a nasty surprise for PCs (especially ones fond of fireballs and the like). It was not just thrown in, it was meant to make the battle more interesting. Likewise the spell mastery was meant to mean the though she had lost her spellbooks Adriu could still be an aid to the PCs in some small way. My bad in that my prose was lacking.

The level playing field was incorporated into another aspect of the adventure - the city of Arcim's Analogy was supposed to be a level playing field for a variety of cultures to interact on - perhaps I should have mentioned that more specifically. As well, in my sleep deprived mind, the real analogy was that the city, designed to promote harmony had become a mirror of the fighting of the outer planes.

The violin should have been made more a factor in the encounter with Tirst and I probably should have given more detail to the Death Slaad (though I felt my entry was already getting too long).

In the end I think two things hurt me 1) trying to keep it as concise as it was and 2) a major lack of sleep the other night :p

Ah well... I Shall Return!

In the meantime Wulf has had his revenge ;)


First Post
Oh yes, Rune you will have your day, oh yes you will.......


Yes, I want to say I as duly impressed by all of the competitors who made it to round 2. Every one of them put out some top notch entries, and I must say I am duly impressed. I hope I get an oppurtunity to face all of you again in the next round of........


Sorry. Would have been funnier if I'd caught him before he posted. I have really enjoyed following this contest. I look forward to the next round. All of the entries were interesting and deserve respect.


First Post
Congratulations, Vaxalon! And congratulations to everyone else. I didn't go a single (non-me) round without stealing at least two wonderful ideas. They are all mine now. MINE! :p

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