Scheduling for the IRON DM 2017 Tournament

Rune

Once A Fool
The time has come around again. Do you have what it takes to succeed in three grueling rounds of intense and competitive adventure-writing, in order to become this year's IRON DM?

What is IRON DM?

The founder says it best:

el-remmen said:
Simple. We get 8 people willing to play (and 3 alternates). I pair people off as competitors and give them a set of 6 "ingredients".
The ingredients are elements that must be used in the designing of a scenario/adventure - which should be written up in overview form - players can be as specific as they like - but detailed stat-blocks and the like are not weighed as heavily as uniqueness and playability of the ideas.

The results are then judged by me and the winner moves on to the next round. . .
That's the basic structure, but times change and the rules evolve. A more accurate and detailed set of this current tournament's rules will appear later in this post.

First, though, an introduction and some history of this tournament, one of EN World's oldest traditions:

Who am I?

This year's tournament will be coordinated and judged by me, a once-frequent competitor, the IRON DM of Spring 2002, and a not-infrequent judge of tournaments past.

What's the history of this tournament?

[sblock=Waaay back in the day...]Back in 2001, before the current incarnation of these boards, Nemmerle threw together the first EN World Iron DM tournament. Contestants each had one hour for each entry. By the next year (my debut), it was 24 hours, which remained the case for several years.

Soon after the first EN World tourney, tournaments were being held at other sites, as well. The now defunct Nutkinland held a few. And, as Nemmerle was a founding member of the semi-secretive Rat Bastard DM's Club, it was only natural that tournaments happen there, as well. The judges for the EN World tournaments have almost all come out of that club, as well (I can think of only two exceptions).

That's not iron-clad (pardon the expression!) though. If any previous contestant is interested in being a future judge, send me a PM with links to the tourneys you participated in and we'll consider you.

Anyway, back on topic: there were a few years (2006 through 2008) when EN World saw no tournaments, simply because the RBDM Club had a public forum for a while, and nobody ever started them up over here. But the RBDM Club moved and became private again and in 2009, IRON DM returned to EN World.
And here we are. [/sblock]

How can you find the old tournaments?

[sblock=Here are all surviving EN World IRON DM Tournaments:]
IRON DM 2016

IRON DM 2015

IRON DM 2014

IRON DM 2013

IRON DM 2012

IRON DM 2011

IRON DM 2010

IRON DM 2009

IRON DM 2005

IRON DM SPRING 2004

IRON DM WINTER 2004

IRON DM FALL 2003

IRON DM SUMMER 2003

IRON DM WINTER 2003

IRON DM WINTER (HOLIDAY) 2002

IRON DM FALL 2002

IRON DM SPRING 2002[/sblock]

And then there's the IRON DM Anthology. This is a collection of entries from the above tournaments that are particularly usable and/or inspiring. Note that many of them did not win the matches that they appeared in and should not necessarily be used as models for a winning entry. Still worth a look, though, especially if you've got a game coming up on short notice.

What are the rules?

[sblock=The Rules:]The Basics:

The tournament is set up in a single-elimination bracket style, with each match determined based on scheduling availability among the eligible contestants.

Each match will consist 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. 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 your entries within. Entries that are 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 competitor and judge. Entries that exceed their word-limits will be considered to end once they reach that limit; I will ignore everything after.

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!

All entries are expected to make good use of all of the ingredients submitted. They should be creatively applied, well-integrated, and fundamentally necessary to the adventure that they are used in. This is the crux of the tournament, so don't think that maybe (for example) doing a good job with three ingredients will be enough, as long as you can craft a better adventure! I wouldn't count on it, if I were you.

Finally, matches have traditionally (but not always!) had exactly six ingredients. This will not be the case in this tournament. The list of required ingredients will get longer as the rounds progress!

Formatting:

All entries are to be submitted with the list of ingredients at the top and are not to be edited, once submitted. Let me repeat that last part: DO NOT EDIT YOUR POST, ONCE YOU HAVE SUBMITTED IT! Check your work before you send it in. Then check it again. I will not look favorably upon any entry that has been edited and may penalize the entry as I see fit, including, possibly, outright disqualification. Part of the challenge of IRON DM is in the development and use of discipline in editing and time-management.

Please do not expect me 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. Not only will I be reading each entry multiple times, but expecting outside sources to carry the load of exposition very much defeats the purpose of the word-limit.

Along those lines – I reiterate: I will be reading each entry multiple times. Please don't make that difficult for me. Don't bore me and don't make my eyes bleed. Please.

Judgement:

As I said before, each entry will be judged on its own merits and then the two competing entries' critiques will be compared for the final judgement. 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.

I will endeavor to be Nemmerelesque in my judgements – critical, but also fair and constructive in that criticism. It's tradition. Even so, please understand that not everybody will agree with every decision that I make – that's the nature of the game. Traditionally, second-guessing the judge is all part of the game – and that can lead to some undesired outcomes. It can sting sometimes (believe me, I know!), but it is a game. Let's have some fun with it!

That said, those wishing to gain a little insight into the judge's thinking will need to do a little research to do so, but the information is out there. Be warned, though! I may have changed my thinking on some of these things within the last 15 years!

Tournament Structure:

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 – any descriptions or definitions of ingredients will count against the limit!). That may not seem like a lot, but I assure you, it's even less than you think! 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 – any descriptions or definitions of ingredients will count against the limit!). Contestants who win their Round 1 matches will proceed to Round 2.

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 – any descriptions or definitions of ingredients will count against the limit!). The contestant who wins this match will become the IRON DM 2017!

Scheduling, Discussing, and Spectating:

Once all contestants have signed up, this thread will be used only for scheduling the matches.

The tournament thread will be used to list the ingredients and the judgements for each match, as well as the entries, themselves. Commentary will also be welcome in that thread, but, please, if you are commenting on an entry that has not yet been judged, hide that commentary with sblock tags, [sblock]like this,[/sblock] so that I can view the entries with fresh eyes!

If spectators would like to play the home game, please 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 your entries once the tournament has concluded. [/sblock]

Who can enter?

Anyone!

[MENTION=34958]Deuce Traveler[/MENTION], as the current IRON DM, has automatic entry into this tournament. The field is open to everybody else!

So, I gotta ask:

Are you creative enough?

Are you disciplined enough?

Are you good enough?

Sign up and prove it!

Our Contestants:

1: Deuce Traveler (IRON DM 2012, 2015, 2016)

2: Gradine

3: Iron Sky (IRON DM 2009)

4: Slit518

5: MortalPlague (IRON DM 2014)

6: Lwaxy

7: tglassy

8: Yaztromo​


Alternates:

1: Imhotepthewise
2: LongGoneWrier​
 
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Deuce Traveler

Adventurer
I really recommend this to anyone who wants to practice writing. The small word count at the start and limitation of ingredients really makes for a solid writing challenge. It's a great exercise for improving your skills, and I think it's also a sort of contest that one could play with friends for kicks. Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting beaten this year and welcome all challengers.
 


Rune

Once A Fool
Perhaps some former contestants, judges, and/or alternates from the last few tournaments might want to get in on the fun?

[sblock]@Morrus;

[MENTION=976]Imhotepthewise[/MENTION]

[MENTION=60965]Iron Sky[/MENTION]

[MENTION=758]Leopold[/MENTION]

[MENTION=6857996]LongGoneWrier[/MENTION]

[MENTION=6762606]LucasC[/MENTION]

[MENTION=53286]Lwaxy[/MENTION]

[MENTION=62721]MortalPlague[/MENTION]

[MENTION=6786484]PnPgamer[/MENTION]

[MENTION=150]Radiating Gnome[/MENTION]

[MENTION=6803713]Slit518[/MENTION]

[MENTION=92511]steeldragons[/MENTION]

[MENTION=6678460]UselessTriviaMan[/MENTION]

[MENTION=1830]Waylander the Slayer[/MENTION]

[MENTION=221]Wicht[/MENTION]

[MENTION=40177]Wik[/MENTION][/sblock]
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
I'm pretty busy trying to get some board game designs polished up for a contest, but I could probably squeak in some time to do some Iron DM! Consider me signed up.
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
I can judge but not write, considering I'm running 13 games right now which mostly need a little prep time,too. :)
 

Slit518

Adventurer
Perhaps some former contestants, judges, and/or alternates from the last few tournaments might want to get in on the fun?

[sblock]@Morrus;

[MENTION=976]Imhotepthewise[/MENTION]

[MENTION=60965]Iron Sky[/MENTION]

[MENTION=758]Leopold[/MENTION]

[MENTION=6857996]LongGoneWrier[/MENTION]

[MENTION=6762606]LucasC[/MENTION]

[MENTION=53286]Lwaxy[/MENTION]

[MENTION=62721]MortalPlague[/MENTION]

[MENTION=6786484]PnPgamer[/MENTION]

[MENTION=150]Radiating Gnome[/MENTION]

[MENTION=6803713]Slit518[/MENTION]

[MENTION=92511]steeldragons[/MENTION]

[MENTION=6678460]UselessTriviaMan[/MENTION]

[MENTION=1830]Waylander the Slayer[/MENTION]

[MENTION=221]Wicht[/MENTION]

[MENTION=40177]Wik[/MENTION][/sblock]

I remember the thread title, but what did I sign up for as a fill-in for originally? It's been quite a while, so I don't remember.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
I can judge but not write, considering I'm running 13 games right now which mostly need a little prep time,too. :)

Wow, 13 games! That's awesome!

Since no one answered the summons on the RBDM boards, I went ahead and started things rolling solo this year. Given our late start, I don't think we have time to coordinate a 3-judge panel (particularly since we would still have to enlist a third). Not to worry, though. Ain't my first rodeo.

Of course, I've always found judging takes way more time than competing (even if the time crunch is more intense on the contestants' side). Just sayin'...
 
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Rune

Once A Fool
I remember the thread title, but what did I sign up for as a fill-in for originally? It's been quite a while, so I don't remember.

You were an alternate for last year's tournament. I figured I'd give you a chance to sign up early as a contestant for this year. If you want to refresh your memory on what this tournament is I direct you to check out the OP.
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
Wow, 13 games! That's awesome!

Since no one answered the summons on the RBDM boards, I went ahead and started things rolling solo this year. Given our late start, I don't think we have time to coordinate a 3-judge panel (particularly since we would still have to enlist a third). Not to worry, though. Ain't my first rodeo.

Of course, I've always found judging takes way more time than competing (even if the time crunch is more intense on the contestants' side). Just sayin'...

Well, with 13 games I tend to be out of ideas at times, and then there's Xmas time which means additional games and family stuff. I can judge without having to find my creative side :)
 

Slit518

Adventurer
You were an alternate for last year's tournament. I figured I'd give you a chance to sign up early as a contestant for this year. If you want to refresh your memory on what this tournament is I direct you to check out the OP.

Alright, so I signed up as a contestant and not a judge?

If so, can we wait until after the New Year to start, so things with holidays and family slow down a bit?
 


Slit518

Adventurer
Then it would be a 1018 contest and not 2017 :)

Oh god! That is quite the time travel!

Back to being serious. There is only a few weeks left of 2017, and we don't even have everyone signed up.

I suppose we can do it, but it would be all rushed, right?
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Alright, so I signed up as a contestant and not a judge?

If so, can we wait until after the New Year to start, so things with holidays and family slow down a bit?

While it's certainly possible that we don't get started before the new year, I certainly hope to get round 1 going as soon as possible. Losing momentum from taking too long just makes the coordination harder down the line. The first round will begin as soon as we have 8 contestants and can schedule the matches. It'll move pretty quickly. After that, we'll ease off of the throttle a little bit for the next two rounds.

I know it's a bit of a commitment, but the first round (frankly, the toughest) only requires a block of 24 hours, which you get to schedule – and you'll probably only actively be working on the entry for a couple or few hours of that. Most contestants (myself included) like to let the ingredients marinate in the mind for a while before getting to work.

My advice: go ahead and sign up; competing in an IRON DM Tournament is probably the most exhilarating writing experience you'll ever have. If you absolutely cannot make the scheduling work for you, you can always drop down to an alternate.
 




Deuce Traveler

Adventurer
Maybe Morrus will allow you to put an announcement on the front page. Most people like me go from the first page to the play-by-post forums and could miss it.
 


MortalPlague

Adventurer
I'm interested. It's always fun to participate in the Iron DM competition! I'm a retail worker, so this time of year gets a little crazy, but I'm happy to give it a go regardless.
 

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