• COMING SOON! -- Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition! Level up your 5E game! The standalone advanced 5E tabletop RPG adds depth and diversity to the game you love!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General The ENWorld Dungeon Master Challenge 2021 Invitational

It's true. Due to some sort of clerical error -- that's all it can be, let's be honest -- you were not one of the 10 folks chosen as a finalist by WotC for their Dungeon Master Challenge.

Let's see what you've got anyway.

Starting on Friday, July 23, the 10 finalists will be given challenges by WotC and a short turnaround time to get something done for the public to see.

Let's take a crack at those challenges here, for fun, to level up our DMing skills and to put a bunch of good content on ENWorld for members to use.

Let's not vote on what the finalists do here (there will probably be another thread for that, knowing ENWorld) and restrain ourselves from dissing the finalists for not being us. (Save that stuff for muttering to your pet offline.)

Anyone else interested? I had fun making my trap and look forward to seeing what's to come.

EDIT: For those who are interested in such things, here's official WotC D&D style guidelines.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


ersatzphil

Explorer
Have they said that the writing prompts will be public? I had assumed they would be, but it occurs to me that I don't think I actually read that anywhere.
 

Have they said that the writing prompts will be public? I had assumed they would be, but it occurs to me that I don't think I actually read that anywhere.
They haven't, you're right. But worst case scenario, we'll see each week's competition when we see what the finalists came up with. So at worst, we'll be a little delayed in making our own entries.
 

Quickleaf

Legend

D&D Celebration 2021 has a new video for Week 1. They are announcing the weekly challenge on Thursdays. They're doing an elimination every week, until Week 7 when they have three finalists.

They provided a "Feywild inspired creative brief from which they'll be designing their submissions."

Week 1's challenge (2:09 mark in video) is to design "a unique Feywild adventure setting" in 72 hours. That's all they're revealing to the public, so we'll have to make some assumptions about word count... Maybe say 1,000 words, just like the initial complex trap challenge? Maybe say by the morning of Monday the 26th to give everyone a little extra cushion of time? I'll defer to @Whizbang Dustyboots about specifics.
 

Yeah, it seems like 1,000 has to be what they're going for at this stage, because otherwise, that's a very big ask.

And heeeeeeey, this lends a little credence to the idea that there's a Feywild book coming, because we know there's a Domains of Delight document being created and it wouldn't be a surprise if they showed it to these folks first.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I'd say the best examples of adventure settings in 5e that are in the 1,000 word ballpark are the locations from Chapter 1, Ghosts of Saltmarsh, such as the Drowned Forest (which is ~1,025 words)....
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2021-07-22 at 7.03.39 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-07-22 at 7.03.39 PM.png
    3.3 MB · Views: 36

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire

D&D Celebration 2021 has a new video for Week 1. They are announcing the weekly challenge on Thursdays. They're doing an elimination every week, until Week 7 when they have three finalists.

They provided a "Feywild inspired creative brief from which they'll be designing their submissions."

Week 1's challenge (2:09 mark in video) is to design "a unique Feywild adventure setting" in 72 hours. That's all they're revealing to the public, so we'll have to make some assumptions about word count... Maybe say 1,000 words, just like the initial complex trap challenge? Maybe say by the morning of Monday the 26th to give everyone a little extra cushion of time? I'll defer to @Whizbang Dustyboots about specifics.

Dangit, why couldn't this have been the first submission? Complex traps are boring, settings are fun!

All I could whip up was a maze filled with chomping fireballs (yeah it was Pacman, sue me!), but I would have far preferred making a Domain of Delight!
 


Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
It's really interesting how the WotC contest continues to be a design challenge as opposed to a DM challenge. The mass public round pretty much had to be that way, but I really thought that starting with the elimination rounds we'd see more dungeon mastering and less designing.

While many great DMs are also great designers, they are distinct things and you don't necessarily have to be great at one to be great at the other.
 



It's really interesting how the WotC contest continues to be a design challenge as opposed to a DM challenge. The mass public round pretty much had to be that way, but I really thought that starting with the elimination rounds we'd see more dungeon mastering and less designing.

While many great DMs are also great designers, they are distinct things and you don't necessarily have to be great at one to be great at the other.
If it was going to be weeks of live dungeon mastering, they'd have to give DMs a week off, and structure it differently, I think, because getting an adventure ready -- especially to stream live to potentially hundreds of thousands of audience members -- is a lot of work, especially if you're going to be needing to come up with something new each time.

I do think the challenge will be structured differently in multiple ways in future years.
 
Last edited:

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
If it was going to be weeks of live dungeon mastering, they'd have to give DMs a week off, and structure it differently, I think, because getting an adventure ready -- especially to stream live to potentially hundreds of thousands of audience members -- is a lot of work, especially if you're going to be needing to come up with something new each time.

I do think the challenge will be structured differently in multiple ways in future years.

Wouldn't be a whole adventure in early rounds- give them each a pre-written encounter from an official adventure and tell them to run it. You could do that with an hour of prep or less.

It's not the end of the world or anything, but dungeon mastering is first and foremost about running a table and creating an experience for live players.
 


Week 1's challenge (2:09 mark in video) is to design "a unique Feywild adventure setting" in 72 hours. That's all they're revealing to the public, so we'll have to make some assumptions about word count... Maybe say 1,000 words, just like the initial complex trap challenge? Maybe say by the morning of Monday the 26th to give everyone a little extra cushion of time? I'll defer to @Whizbang Dustyboots about specifics.
And yes, Monday morning seems reasonable. People wrecking their sleep (and possibly impacting their jobs) staying up until 3 a.m. to do this seems unwise.
 

Here's mine. Without seeing the finalists' work, or the document they were working off of, or Wild Beyond the Witchlight, or the promised Feywild domain creation document, I sort of winged it, taking loose inspiration from how domains were written up in Van Richten's. No stats included for anything here, to make it scale as needed, although as a DM, I think the bones are all I'd really need to run this Domain of Delight.



Duais, the Pirate Isle

Castaways from across the material plane can sometimes find themselves washed up on the shores of a tropical desert isle. The sky is blue with puffy white clouds. The ocean is a teal blue. The air smells of flowers and fruit and carries with it the sounds of birds and monkeys.

But they are not alone: The lost island is inhabited by several groups, each seeking pirate treasure. And the island is in another world entirely, a demi-plane within the Feywild, a Domain of Delight known as Duais.

Anything buried in the ground on or near the island instantly vanishes to somewhere else in the domain and can only be found with a treasure map, which instantly appears hidden somewhere else on the island. Duais is a setting for an archfey’s game, with participants seeking buried treasure, hidden somewhere on or near the island each month.

Wit and cleverness are rewarded by the archfey, who calls themself Admiral Sanntach, while violence and brute force is not. Those who break the rules of the admiral’s game wake up the next day to find themselves stranded on a sandbar far from shore. Each time Sanntach maroons visitors who violate their rules, the longer the stay on the sandbar becomes.

The winner of the contest each month is granted a wish. Wishing to leave Duais is the easiest way off the island, but it amuses Sanntach to trick winners into using their wishes on other things and many of the other groups trapped on the island have other agendas other than mere escape.

Duais itself is also a hazard, with a large variety of monstrous unintelligent plants, giant jungle animals, river and water spirits and a volcano that’s home to a small kingdom of fire and lava creatures.

And there is no simple escape from the island: Should castaways sail out of sight of land, they will catch sight of another island in the distance, which turns out to be Duais. And the longer one remains on the island, the more details of life before arriving slip away, fading to only vague memories after about a year on Duais.

Admiral Sanntach is a powerful archfey and the ruler of Duais. Years ago, they became entranced by the perceived romance of piracy. Today they appear as a storybook pirate, with impressive hats, peglegs, hooks for hands or eye patches as the mood takes them. They shift between appearances and gender at a whim, sometimes taking multiple appearances within a single minute. They rule the island from Skull Rock, an improbable skull-shaped cave and natural harbor.

Captain William Shrewsberry is the mayor of Safe Harbor, a settlement founded by castaways on the southwest coast of Duais. It’s a mix of simple lean-tos, buildings made out of driftwood and parts of ships and more formal construction. Shrewsberry’s ship, the Constant, is one of two ships anchored in the waters around the island. The captain has won the contest several times, but each time, fate conspires him to give up his prize for one reason or another, and he’s become increasingly frustrated at being unable to escape the island.

Black Bonny is the captain of the Relentless, the other ship anchored in the waters surrounding Duais. She and her pirate crew see the magical wishes granted by Sanntach as a way to accumulate a fortune before eventually escaping the island. They are as violent and terrifying as Sanntach will let them get away with -- only the threat of exile to the sandbars keeps them in check. At this point, most of the pirate crew know if they’re sent there again, they’ll likely die of dehydration before they are returned to land by Sanntach. Instead, they will use every trick short of violence to win.

Chief Kamaʻāina is the chief of a tribe of people who believe they are native to Duais. She hopes to be able to one day evict Sanntach and return the island to the world from which it came, which has become increasingly hard to remember. In the meantime, her people fish and work the land from Puʻuhonua, a village on the northeast coast of Duais. When she or her people have won the monthly contests, they have asked for more knowledge about the island and its archfey master.

The Constant and the Relentless are the ships originally brought here by Captain Shrewsberry and Black Bonny. Despite the years, they remain in good shape, appearing to be magically maintained and repaired by unknown beings or magic when no one is looking. Both ships appear to also be gaining sentience, seemingly moving themselves from where they were anchored to where they wish to be and sometimes taking control of their own navigation when they disagree with their crews.

Princess Coral is the leader of the local colony of merfolk. She and her people are also seeking to escape Duais, and throw themselves into the monthly competition each month. Over the years, they have developed magical Landwalker potions that allow them to turn their fish tails into human legs for one hour, allowing them to come ashore and compete in the hunt for treasure.

Kanaloa is an awakened giant squid. He’s only able to obtain treasures hidden underwater, but he’s a fierce competitor nonetheless, and has won the contest several times, each time wishing for more intelligence, the ability to breathe air for short periods of time and to use magic.

Mr. Smile is an enormous shark the size of an orca. He seems to be smarter than most sharks and may be under the command of Sanntach. He patrols the sandbars where rule-breakers are exiled and harries boats and ships attempting to escape Duais.
 
Last edited:

slobster

Hero
I will try this out, I love the concept! Only saw it today so I'll rush to get it up to meet the deadline, when should we shoot for to get the submission in?

I mean I know this is just for fun, but I work better with a deadline breathing down my neck, growling every time I scroll further down on my social media feed of puppy videos...
 

I will try this out, I love the concept! Only saw it today so I'll rush to get it up to meet the deadline, when should we shoot for to get the submission in?

I mean I know this is just for fun, but I work better with a deadline breathing down my neck, growling every time I scroll further down on my social media feed of puppy videos...
Ha, I was the same way. I spent days thinking about it, started the doc on Saturday night and got serious on Sunday.

Everyone gets 72 hours, so since you're starting late, get your adventure setting done by Thursday.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I'm working towards a deliverable for architecture school, so didn't have the time to finish and polish this, but wanted to adhere to the 72 hour window everybody gets.


Tattered Realm of Wingless Voices

Nestled between the Shores of Dream and the Murkendraw is a realm of breezy grasses stretching like fingerlings through rivulets of rippling water. Abandoned children’s forts litter the sandy banks, tattered quilts and rope ladders waving in the breeze. Extinguished campsites still have gnawed boots and patchwork socks hanging out to dry. Sighing ships – beached for countless years – groan and rock when the waters rise high, their weary flags fluttering still. The winds carry uncannily familiar whispers.

Riddling harpies infest the realm, attempting to lure travelers to their watery graves, but they avoid the center of the realm at all costs. Yearling beasts abound – goats, deer, waterfowl. Every night the yearlings travel to the center of the realm, past stone menhirs which are actually slumbering galeb duhr, and hold court.

Vilta the Spoon Princess rules over the assembly. She appears as a wild-haired girl adorned in a wreath of flowers, a disheveled gown and cloak, carrying a heavy wooden cudgel (use korred stats, but she is Chaotic Good and speaks Common). Born as wise as she is uncouth, Vilta longs to reunite with her “fair sister” Retterfina. Once upon a time, the sisters traveled the Shores of Dream aboard a ship known as Wingless, but Retterfina chose to settle down in a mortal life to manage the kingdom of their departed parents. Over time, Retterfina nearly forgot her wild sister Vilta, only recalling glimpses of their deep bond in her dreams. In fact, the twin sisters are incomplete without the other; Retterfina lacks the gumption to face life’s challenges head on, and Vilta lacks a bosom companion to share adventures with.

Tattered Realm Whispers

d8Whisper
1The voice of a defeated foe hangs on the wind, shedding new light on a character’s flaw.
2The voice of a missing or dead loved one beckons towards the borders of the realm.
3A whisper similar to one of the character’s own voices forces that character to make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or be charmed to cast off all gear save the clothes on their back and run into the wilds for 8 hours. During that time, a wild twin of that character approaches the party to join them.
4Whispering voice of a child – this could be a child known to the characters, or even the voice of a future child one of the character’s will have. It foretells an ill omen.
5Voices of the characters echo from their childhoods. Each character must succeed a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be transformed into a child for 8 hours. During this time, the character acts as if under the effects of the reduce spell, and gains a new flaw: I quickly get frustrated with anyone who tells me I’m not old enough.
6An insidious voice mocks the responsibilities of the characters, and calls on them to unfetter themselves. Any character dropping an item representing their bond or responsibilities floats up into the sky, through the clouds, and emerges on the deck of the airship Wingless.
7A wailing voice is barely audible on the wind. Anyone listening closely must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, a creature drops to 0 hit points, as per a banshee’s wail. On a success, a creature takes 10 (3d6) psychic damage.
8Laughing sister’s voices ring out across the waters, sending wildflowers tumbling on the wind.

Wild Twins. When a character’s twin manifests, it takes the form of an unruly childlike yet wise version of that character (use korred stats).

The Hourglass Promise. When the moon is at its darkest and the boundaries between the Feywild and mortal world grow thin, trolls crawl out of the muck at the bidding of the Hourglass Coven. It was through their fertility magic that Vilta’s mother gave birth to twin girls, and the hags wish to bring Vilta into their fold. As yet, however, the Spoon Princess has proved the equal to every foul minion the Hourglass Coven have sent after her.

The Wingless. This rudderless worn airship drifts in the clouds above the Spoon Princess’ realm. Singing voices echo for 100 feet around it, acting as a permanent bard’s Countercharm to all non-evil creatures.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top