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D&D General Win The Title of D&D's Best DM

WotC is running a competition called the Dungeon Master Challenge. Similar to Paizo's old RPG Superstar contest, it features various design rounds which whittle down the contenders until only one remains.

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The winner gets a trophy and some D&D products worth just over $2K.

Note: your entry becomes the property of WotC, which can use it in any way it wishes, even if you don't win. They don't even have to credit you for it. Be sure to consider this when deciding whether to enter.
  • The first design challenge for a 1,000-word entry is Thursday June 17th, and contestants have three days to submit their entries. This round is open to everybody who qualifies (18+, in one of a list of countries).
  • 10 contestants will then proceed to the next round in July, which is an elimination stage with various weekly 1,000-word design challenges.
  • Three of those will go on to the final challenge in September, which involved being a DM on a livestream, judged by a panel.
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

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Thanks for the video link.

I pretty much don't use traps. I'll have to review XGTE Ch 2 to see if this is something I'm even interested in doing for fun now.


I think "encounter" might be "side quest" in this case. And yes, 1,000 words is a decent chunk.
It's about 2 pages. That makes for a lore heavy monster or one with a few variations, or a complex encounter with a few moving parts, or a lightly sketched side quest style adventure. I am still leaning toward the latter as their intent. They are going to want to see that you can put it all together, I imagine.

EDIT: The answer was after Whiz's post I quoted.

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire

I'm actually surprised. It doesn't seem like a very representative design challenge for how people actually DM.

Yeah... plus, two pages for a trap? That's usually the opposite of good design, unless you want a mousetrap-themed funhouse dungeon room.

Which I guess they do?

This is just to get us from X people down to 10. A trap is simple, has "rules" they can check if we adhere to, and while many traps are very basic, there's room for creativity without going all Grimstooth (which I suspect will not be a winning strategy).

Also, good news: We're about to get 10 pretty good traps published on the WotC website, I suspect.


Registered Ninja
Yeah... plus, two pages for a trap? That's usually the opposite of good design, unless you want a mousetrap-themed funhouse dungeon room.

Which I guess they do?
The 1,000 words is a maximum, which they needed to head off crazy long entries and weed out people who can't follow the rules. I think being shorter is probably good, and definitely would NOT pad an entry to bring it closer to 1,000.

And yeah, I'm a little underwhelmed too. I feel like traps are increasingly niche in D&D adventures, far from the first thing I associate with being a good DM. Maybe they wanted draw more attention to them, or maybe they choose something less common to cut down on the number of entries they have to judge.


I literally feel that way when I enter any competition. :LOL:

No matter what, comfort yourself with the knowledge that, as far as anyone is knows, including yourself, you're guaranteed 11th place.

I am such a fool XD, for some reason I decided that they wanted me to do a general creative pitch under a 1000 words so I have made a Faerun mtg crossover with a Lich who is a planeswalker from Innistrad. I'll gave to post it on here so I can be mocked at some point.

On a side note, I think what I did is better than the trap as a theme.


Doddering Old Git
I feel like some folks that don't have experience doing this specific thing for money don't have a very good idea of what "up to 1000 words" means in scope.
Paid by the word... up to 1000. You are getting 999-1000. Or how large a 1K word submission is for a complex trap? How much real estate such a submission unedited would take up in a page, digital or otherwise.


This passed me by - what happened?
Graeme Barber butted heads with his editor and WotC for his chapter in Candlekeep, and it ended up being heavily rewritten and chopped up for the final release, to the point where he has requested that his name be removed from future printings:


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