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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

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
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:

Oh right, yep. I do remember that!
 

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ersatzphil

Explorer
Oh right, yep. I do remember that!
I can't seem to find the tweet that I'm remembering, but the author mentions his stated goal of showcasing and extending deep FR lore here: Twitter. He had a followup I can't seem to find now where, after his public freakout, he mentioned that he had reached out to Wizards and had been told that an adventure in an anthology product simply wasn't the place for a huge lore dump.
 








Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
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.
Hrm... seriously, the best GMs are often not the best writers - indeed, very often it is the GMs whoimprovise who are best. On the other hand the good writers often have really big issues with adventure design. The only way to know a good GM is to see them in action. So this contest is really badly named. I'll completely ignore it :)
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Hrm... seriously, the best GMs are often not the best writers - indeed, very often it is the GMs whoimprovise who are best. On the other hand the good writers often have really big issues with adventure design. The only way to know a good GM is to see them in action. So this contest is really badly named. I'll completely ignore it :)
I mean, it does both? Design rounds and game running rounds.
 

Reynard

Legend
Yep. I'd have had a 1500 word version done in half the time.
Indeed. I have 100 words left to trim and love them all.

What actually helps is a format I call the micronovel which is made up of 100 chapters of exactly 100 words, so I have had a lot of practice trimming words while maintaining meaning and impact.
 

Reynard

Legend
Quick question: did you include your name and contact information in your PDF? The guidelines don't actually say one way or the other, and sometimes such information is NOT supposed to be there for fairness sake.
 



Quickleaf

Legend
Quick question: did you include your name and contact information in your PDF? The guidelines don't actually say one way or the other, and sometimes such information is NOT supposed to be there for fairness sake.
When you submit it asks for your name and email in online fields.

I opted not to put my name or contact info within the document – not sure how their word count system operates for the submitted PDF and didn't want it to accidentally push me over – and I named my PDF "Trap Name_My Name".

I was at 1,000 words exactly. I also included a pen sketch to illustrate it, scanned via Adobe Scan app and placed directly in the PDF.

I know there was mention that good writing =/= good DMing, but the lack of writing/submission guidelines makes it feel like this is much more about the idea and less about the writing (not that both aren't important).
 

Reynard

Legend
When you submit it asks for your name and email in online fields.

I opted not to put my name or contact info within the document – not sure how their word count system operates for the submitted PDF and didn't want it to accidentally push me over – and I named my PDF "Trap Name_My Name".

I was at 1,000 words exactly. I also included a pen sketch to illustrate it, scanned via Adobe Scan app and placed directly in the PDF.

I know there was mention that good writing =/= good DMing, but the lack of writing/submission guidelines makes it feel like this is much more about the idea and less about the writing (not that both aren't important).
I put my name in the header along with standard submission information. I don't imagine anyone will tell you why you didn't win so we can just believe it was because we're terrible, not stupid. :D

Mine came in at 977 words after some pruning.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I put my name in the header along with standard submission information. I don't imagine anyone will tell you why you didn't win so we can just believe it was because we're terrible, not stupid. :D

Mine came in at 977 words after some pruning.
Nice! Nicely done. How did you approach the bit about being evaluated for lore?

I chose to set my trap in a place within Sigil referenced in Mordenkainen's Tome, so the lore tie-in is very specific.
 

Quick question: did you include your name and contact information in your PDF? The guidelines don't actually say one way or the other, and sometimes such information is NOT supposed to be there for fairness sake.
I'm putting them into the header of my document, the same as I do when I'm applying for a job. I also included my name in the PDF file name.
 
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When you submit it asks for your name and email in online fields.

I opted not to put my name or contact info within the document – not sure how their word count system operates for the submitted PDF and didn't want it to accidentally push me over – and I named my PDF "Trap Name_My Name".

I was at 1,000 words exactly. I also included a pen sketch to illustrate it, scanned via Adobe Scan app and placed directly in the PDF.

I know there was mention that good writing =/= good DMing, but the lack of writing/submission guidelines makes it feel like this is much more about the idea and less about the writing (not that both aren't important).
Their rules say that they can and will rewrite it as necessary. Being a good writer will help -- you can be more precise and clear and better communicate your hopefully brilliant ideas -- but it's not an absolute requirement. In every writing field, there are people whose ideas are stronger than their writing, and vice-versa, and publishers know they need to help the former group out a little more with polish. All part of the process.
 

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