Scenario Competition!

Written on 2011-04-19 Tiedotus to the category Uutiset

The Ropecon Scenario Competition 2011

For the third time running, Ropecon will be graced by the Great Scenario Writing Competition. This time, we are trying something a bit different.

In the competition, the participants send in their written adventure modules, and the most esteemed panel of judges will read them and provide constructive criticism and feedback – and they don’t get much more esteemed than this. This year’s panel consists of the guests of honour Frank Mentzer and Erik Mona, and the Helsinki-based game designer James Edward Raggi IV, each of them an expert on Dungeons & Dragons and its close relatives. The judges will convene in a panel discussion at Ropecon and talk about the contest entries and scenario writing in general.

The Rules of the Competition

The competition module should be playable in about four hours. The length is 7,000 words, maximum.

The competition modules will be uploaded to the Ropecon website, where interested game masters may download and study them before making the decision what to run. Although our judges are second to none when it comes to module writing, their Finnish is a bit rusty, and thus the language of the competition is English. Entries in other languages will be disqualified. Ropecon believes in the ability of Finnish writers to produce good, readable English. The scenarios will also be edited for grammar before being sent to the judges.

The entries must be sent to the address no later than July 10th, 2011. Unlike the years past, this time there will be no pre-registration for the contest. The preferred file formats are .doc, .rtf and .odt, but in general, anything we can edit and wasn’t written on Notepad is good. The name of the writer should be omitted from the module file itself to retain the contestants’ anonymity.

Only Ropecon attendees are eligible to participate in this competition. For those merely wishing to make a scenario pitch to the companies of the judges, please see their own websites for instructions.

The Rules of the Game

This year, we have no theme as such, but if such can be said to exist, it is Dungeons & Dragons.

The hobby in its present form started with D&D in the 1970’s. D&D was the brightest star during Finland’s RPG boom in the late 80’s, and is still played here. D&D showed the way for open gaming systems with its third edition in 2001. Likewise, D&D and its relatives, such as Pathfinder RPG and Lamentations of the Flame Princess, are the specialty of our erudite panel of judges. Thus, the contest entries must be based on a ruleset released under the Open Gaming License either D&D or one of its many sons. There are piles and piles of these available for free (and legally!) on the internet. Some of these represent more modern game design, but most of them are so-called “retroclones”, reverse- engineered from the D20 System to resemble the older editions of D&D. Apart from the original D20 System of the third edition Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder RPG, most of these are quite simple and easy to learn. Here, a handful of examples, complete with download links.
D20 System Reference Document
Pathfinder RPG Reference Document
Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing
Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game
Spellcraft & Swordplay
Swords & Wizardry
Labyrinth Lord

Because many of the systems are very close to one another, the scenarios should note clearly which ruleset they are based on. Note also that the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons does not use an open ruleset and is thus not eligible.

For the Game Masters

As in years past, the competing scenarios are freely available for anyone to play or run at Ropecon. Because this time the modules will be downloadable at the Ropecon website soon after the deadline, you also need not pick what to run completely blind, but may freely read them through before making your choice.

The registration for running a competition module is done as normal. You may also register to play a competition module before they are released, if, for instance, you wish to get your t-shirt order in. In this case, make it clear when signing up that the contest game’s information will be filled in later. If you won’t remember, we’ll pester you about it when we start compiling the table schedules. As for the possibility of reading the modules beforehand so you can do better when playing them, Ropecon will only comment that we have a separate room for small children this year.

The Prizes

The judges will pick the first, second and third place winners, who will receive gift vouchers to Fantasiapelit, and a prize plaque. Additionally, the game masters and players who run and play the modules will vote on the recipient of the Player’s Choice Award, who will likewise receive a gift voucher and a prize plaque. The contestants themselves are free and encouraged to run and play the modules, though for obvious reasons they are disqualified from voting on the Player’s Choice Award.

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