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Scheduling Thread for the IRON DM 2020 Tournament!

Rune

Once A Fool
If the purpose is to test discipline, it seems backwards to me. The higher word count should be toward the front of the competition, so that the contest gets more difficult and the writing requires more discipline the further you advance. Unless the first round is intended to be a "weed-out" round, I suppose.

This is just food for thought; don't change it on my account. I will hate a word limit of any size in a creative writing contest.
The idea is to shift the focus of the challenge toward the integration of ingredients as the rounds progress. The corresponding increase in word-count is a necessary byproduct of the increased ingredient-count.

For me, 750 words for Round 1 is perfect because it’s always going to be a challenge (where 1000 isn’t always – speaking from experience). Part of the IRON DM experience is that of improving as an adventure-writer.

Because of the bracket-structure, there isn’t a lot of room/time for that to happen. Half of the contestants will only get one shot in a tournament. The tough parameters (especially in Round 1) force the author to focus on the things that really matter. Part of that is going to be innovating ways to be efficient.

But, then again, I also tend to think most published adventures (especially nowadays) are overly wordy and often poorly presented. Take that for what it’s worth.
 

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Wicht

Adventurer
Trivia question I am interested in for those doing the sorting: who has the most entries over the course of the years?
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Personally, I don't see why you can't just hijack this thread now... it's on topic and its what the rest of us are doing anyway. :unsure::sneaky:

Gradine started one. Plus it will be easier to reference back to a separate thread down the line when someone wants to read about the brainstorming re IRON DM but doesn't remember it was in the scheduling thread of the 2020 tourney. ;)
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Trivia question I am interested in for those doing the sorting: who has the most entries over the course of the years?

So far that is just me. I do hope to make some spreadsheets as I go through to keep track of number of entries by each contestant, wins, losses, and a master list of all ingredients.

Edit to ask: aside from word count any other data that should be looked out for as we go through?
 

Rune

Once A Fool
So far that is just me. I do hope to make some spreadsheets as I go through to keep track of number of entries by each contestant, wins, losses, and a master list of all ingredients.

Edit to ask: aside from word count any other data that should be looked out for as we go through?
It would be interesting to keep track of systems and genre. My recollection is that Summer 2003 was the first tourney with non-D&D 3e entries (two of them). These says, D&D seems a lot less common. Without checking back, maybe half in this tourney?
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
It would be interesting to keep track of systems and genre. My recollection is that Summer 2003 was the first tourney with non-D&D 3e entries (two of them). These says, D&D seems a lot less common. Without checking back, maybe half in this tourney?
To be fair, I was doing my level best to pick ingredients that would lean away from standard D&D-esque fantasy
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
The idea is to shift the focus of the challenge toward the integration of ingredients as the rounds progress. The corresponding increase in word-count is a necessary byproduct of the increased ingredient-count.
I'm glad you brought that up. Why does the ingredient count increase from round to round? Like the word limit, this wasn't always the case in Iron DM.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Some ideas on theme weeks, in no particular order (and of variable usefulness):

Random Encounter Week
Contestants compete with each other to develop the best random encounter. Each contestant has 24 hours to write a random encounter that fits the brief set forth by the judges. The brief can be a list of ingredients, a specific monster or terrain, a theme, whatever. If it were up to me, I'd stay away from making it game-specific or edition-specific.

Cartography Week
As above, except the brief is to develop a map of some sort. See the comments upthread about potential pitfalls.

Beach Week
To kick off the start of summer, the contestants must write a beach-themed adventure. The judges provide a brief full of summertime, beach-party ingredients.

NPC Week
The judges provide a brief to the contestants to write a colorful, imaginative, and detailed Non-Player Character. Especially if the NPC isn't a standard humanoid...I'd love to see functional NPCs built from ghouls, oozes, or elementals. As always, I think this should avoid being edition-specific, and shouldn't include game mechanics or stat blocks.

Free RPG Week (for the week of July 25th)
The judges choose one or more of the free products available for download on Free RPG Day, and the contestants must create an adventure or whatever from those ingredients. I think this could be really fun.

Monster Week
As above, except the brief is to create a brand-new monster. If it were up to me, I'd avoid making it specific to a particular game or edition...I'd avoid stat blocks altogether and focus more on descriptions, ecology, and non-mechanical descriptions of attacks (Writing "this monster breathes fire" would be fine, but writing "this monster's breath weapon deals 4d6 fire damage on a failed DC 12 Dexterity save" would not be.)

Riddle Week
The contestants must create a riddle, puzzle, cipher, or similar brain-teaser. This is always the hardest part of writing an adventure for me, and I'd love to see what others come up with.

Trap Week
Just what's printed on the tin. The contestants must create an interesting trap or environmental hazard based on the judges' brief. As with the NPCs and the monsters, I think this would work best if it weren't edition-specific, and didn't include specific game mechanics.

Golden Oldies Week
The judges pick a classic adventure module that is long out of print, like "Keep on the Borderlands" or "Under the Dark Fist," and the contestants must write a re-imagined version of it. Maybe they update it for the next generation? Maybe they "fix it" with a new and improved version? Maybe they import it into a completely different campaign setting or game system?

Finals Week
All of the gold-star winners' ingredients are combined into a single brief! The last three finalists must write an adventure using some (or all) of the previous winning ingredients: the winning monster, the winning riddle, the winning NPC, etc.

Welcome to Beach Week!
Write an adventure using the following ingredients:
  • Beach Towel
  • Sand Castle
  • Giant Crustacean
  • Sunburn
  • Killer Mai Tai
Your adventure must take place entirely on a beach of some sort.
Your adventure must be 750 words or fewer.
You have 24 hours, starting now. Good luck!
 
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Rune

Once A Fool
Some ideas on theme weeks, in no particular order (and of variable usefulness):

Random Encounter Week
Contestants compete with each other to develop the best random encounter. Each contestant has 24 hours to write a random encounter that fits the brief set forth by the judges. The brief can be a list of ingredients, a specific monster or terrain, a theme, whatever. If it were up to me, I'd stay away from making it game-specific or edition-specific.

Cartography Week
As above, except the brief is to develop a map of some sort. See the comments upthread about potential pitfalls.

Beach Week
To kick off the start of summer, the contestants must write a beach-themed adventure. The judges provide a brief full of summertime, beach-party ingredients.

NPC Week
The judges provide a brief to the contestants to write a colorful, imaginative, and detailed Non-Player Character. Especially if the NPC isn't a standard humanoid...I'd love to see functional NPCs built from ghouls, oozes, or elementals. As always, I think this should avoid being edition-specific, and shouldn't include game mechanics or stat blocks.

Free RPG Week (for the week of July 25th)
The judges choose one or more of the free products available for download on Free RPG Day, and the contestants must create an adventure or whatever from those ingredients. I think this could be really fun.

Monster Week
As above, except the brief is to create a brand-new monster. If it were up to me, I'd avoid making it specific to a particular game or edition...I'd avoid stat blocks altogether and focus more on descriptions, ecology, and non-mechanical descriptions of attacks (Writing "this monster breathes fire" would be fine, but writing "this monster's breath weapon deals 4d6 fire damage on a failed DC 12 Dexterity save" would not be.)

Riddle Week
The contestants must create a riddle, puzzle, cipher, or similar brain-teaser. This is always the hardest part of writing an adventure for me, and I'd love to see what others come up with.

Trap Week
Just what's printed on the tin. The contestants must create an interesting trap or environmental hazard based on the judges' brief. As with the NPCs and the monsters, I think this would work best if it weren't edition-specific, and didn't include specific game mechanics.

Golden Oldies Week
The judges pick a classic adventure module that is long out of print, like "Keep on the Borderlands" or "Under the Dark Fist," and the contestants must write a re-imagined version of it. Maybe they update it for the next generation? Maybe they "fix it" with a new and improved version? Maybe they import it into a completely different campaign setting or game system?

Finals Week
All of the gold-star winners' ingredients are combined into a single brief! The last three finalists must write an adventure using some (or all) of the previous winning ingredients: the winning monster, the winning riddle, the winning NPC, etc.

Welcome to Beach Week!
Write an adventure using the following ingredients:
  • Beach Towel
  • Sand Castle
  • Giant Crustacean
  • Sunburn
  • Killer Mai Tai
Your adventure must take place entirely on a beach of some sort.
Your adventure must be 750 words or fewer.
You have 24 hours, starting now. Good luck!
May I suggest you repost this in the other thread, so it will be easier to find later?
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
A final note for this thread:

For those who want an easy reminder of when sign up for the next IRON DM or its spin offs is going to be, I recommend signing up for the new IRON DM ALERT newsletter. We promise no spam - just IRON DM reminder goodness.


Also for those interested in contributing to a discussion on the past and future of IRON DM (and its spin-offs) check out the IRON DM DISCUSSION thread.
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
I want to say that was @Iron Sky? We should see if it’s a record.

Children Of Death (my first entry ever) was "only" 6767 words

Most of the rest of mine clocked in around the 3500-5000 word range.

I pushed hard for actual word count limits since I lost several matches due to entries that were "too long". When I asked "too long for what word count" I usually got non-answers. My favorite loosing judgment, however, was "this feels like a campaign, not an adventure." :p
 

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