Iron Chef Contestants!

So there were, in the end, just four completed entries.  I’d be a little disappointed except that the entries are all very solid.  It’s well-neigh impossible to judge them against each other, as they are all so different.  So, instead of trying to rank them…I think I have four winners.

1. Matthew Schmeer of Rended Press: Everyone’s grumpy under that hill– and a river runs through it

This one has 17 flail snails, and includes a keyed dungeon map.  The map was made by someone else, but Matthew definitely makes it his own.  Those flail snails are makin’ babies, for example.  This one is probably closest to the sort of thing I’d have made in the challenge, as I am a very meat-and-potatoes, dungeon-crawl kind of DM.

2. Matt Sprengeler of Uncle Matt’s place: Madness in the mist

This is probably my favorite, because it is an odd locale you could throw in almost anywhere … a swamp, the part part of town, a dungeon, whatever.   It reminds me of a OPD design, and the procedural set up (rather than using a map, the party randomly is transported from room to the next) is clever.  The “mist goblins” are creepy and will be the bane of any adventurers.

3. Andrew Shields of Between are the doors: The war for time

This one is pure evocation … a little short on A to B to C, and very long on rumors, names, and relationships that could spark a whole damn campaign.  It does bear some comparison to the fourth entry.  I think both of these entrants got nothing but NPC cards.  I heard that from several contestants.  Looking over my set of cards, it does seem like the cards have more NPCs than monsters, items, etc.  Maybe TSR was trying to make sure the collector cards were different from the old Monster Cards.  (If so, big mistake!  The Monster Cards were one of the best accessories ever.  I’d totally use them now if I had them.)

4. Theodric the Obscure : THE MEMBERS OF CAVEN

This one has a goodly number of interesting NPCs and the DM needs to keep their different motivations in mind to use them as the backdrop, as well as patrons and adversaries, in an adventure — actually this one is more a set-up for a series of high-level adventures, involving artifacts.  I love the idea of a coven, er, caven, of wizards at cross-purposes … maybe because as DM NPCs are my achilles heel…I’m just not that good at characterizing them or making them all that significant.  So this one would play to my weakness, but it has a lot of interesting ideas, and most astonishing it give game stats for Pathfinder, S&W, AND Labyrinth Lord.

(5.) Bob at Back to the Keep: Unfinished but interesting project

Bob blogged about his design process, and presents enough material to cobble together a sessions’ fun, but he did not finish it.  Bad DM, no prize.

There were about ten other sets of cards mailed or scanned and emailed to various people, but these were the only entrants.  So, I’ll be sending around a private email to the winners to let them pick their prizes.

Published in: on December 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm  Comments (6)  
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Iron Chef challenge update

A brief one.

The notional deadline was November 11, but if you got cards and still haven’t submitted something, the truth is that I am frikking busy lately and haven’t had time to really look at the entries yet.  So if anyone wants to finish their thing by Sunday (or if you wanted to revise or edit & resubmit) that’s cool with me. The entries that made the original Nov. 11 deadline will have a slight edge in the judging, but at this point there are still more prizes than entries.

FAQ addendum:

Q: “Is this any way to run a contest?”

A: Sorry.

Published in: on November 18, 2011 at 6:59 am  Comments (5)  
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Iron chef adventure challenge — there is still time to enter

Just in case you were interested in the Iron Chef challenge and haven’t asked for cards yet, I hereby announce that any requests not recieved by 5 pm Friday Eastern Standard Time will not get sent out with the rest Saturday.  If you’ve laready asked for cards, I plan to send them out Saturday morning, as I need to go to the post office then anyway.

The ratio of contestants to prizes is very good right now.

Check out these fabulous prizes:

A Zombie Fluxx game courtesy of Ze Bulette

A 1st ed. Monster Manual II courtesy of Scottsz

A  1st ed. DMG (Easley cover) courtest of Carl Nash

This here swamp banshee courtesy of Scottsz

This amazing conversion job of an original monster by Scottsz

Not to mention what I’m offering…  which is kind of paltry compared to the very generous offers above but includes:

A copy of Jack Vance’s Eyes of the Overworld in luxurious retro paperback

A big ol’ bag of plastic minis (TBA)

Two old issues of the Dragon Magazine: #150 and #153

3rd edition D&D module The fortress of the  Yuan-ti

And win or lose you do get the cards.

Published in: on October 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm  Comments (11)  
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Iron Chef Contest update and FAQ

So far, I believe I have 7 contestants., and 10 packs still available.  For contestants overseas or who really don’t want the cards, I’m willing to scan a pack’s worth of cards (selected randomly from my 1992 factory set) so if you were on the fence for that reason, you’re covered.  In fact within reason this method will let me open the contest to a lot more than 16 participants.  Within reason — I’m not scanning all weekend long.

A few emailed questions I should answer for everyone are:

Q: How long does a submission need to be?  

A: No minimums as far as I’m concerned, and really shorter is better.  You can refer to the cards for more detailed descriptions of NPCs or whatever, although you should at least summarize what’s there (“Daggins, a halfling fighter who is searching for his thieving cousin who stole his birthright” would be better than “Refer to card 144”)  In fact my ideal adventure would be one page of key and one page or less of map, but I don’t want to squash anyone’s creativity either.  If you go on for pages and pages, that’s OK too.

Q: Does it have to be for D&D?

A: Only in the most general sense of fitting a fantasy RPG. GURPS, TWERPS, MERP, BRP, Rolemaster, FATE, Fudge, Savage Worlds, Unisystem, d6, d20, a retroclone, any edition of D&D, whatever.  The best  adventures will fit into any system.  You can leave out all mechanics if you want.

Q: Is there, like, a deadline?

A: Oh, yeah.  Let’s say your entry needs to be postmarked/emailed/posted online with notification to me by November 11th (Armistice Day or Rememberance Day for most of the world; Veterans’ Day for the US; those freakish Belgians have yet another name for it).  Judging will begin when I have all the entries in, or the 11th, whichever comes first.  Winners announced the following week.

Q: I was told there’d be prizes.

A: Yes there will. Already several people have offered prizes up and I am perusing my own mathoms for decent prizes.  What I’d like to do is give first prize, first choice at the list, and then down the winners roll until we run out of prizes.  So hey, you might come in 17th, but if no-one else wanted my WRG 7th ed. Rules, it could be yours!  The prizes other people have offered so far are pretty rad though — a classic  mini painted by Scottsz, a game of Zombie Flux, a 1st ed. DMG … these are some nice swag. and make me want up up my own contribution.

So there’s still time to enter, and I for those of you who are still patiently waiting for your cards to be sent or scanned, I plan to do this weekend, & apologize for my foot-dragging.  It turned into a really busy weekend, even with Monday off.

Published in: on October 11, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Iron chef adventure challenge: AD&D collector cards

Your secret ingredient...

The challenge: open a pack of AD&D (2e) collector cards, and use as many as you can (at least 1/2) to set up an adventure hook, encounter, or to stock one geomorph or small area full of rooms (using whatever geomorph or map you find online or devise yourself).  NPCs might be used as monsters, hooks, objectives, etc., as may monsters and items.  Do what you want, but make sure the thing on the card is somehow present.  I recognize that it would be pretty hard to integrate random things that could be from Dark Sun, Spelljammer, etc. … so you can go gonzo, or ignore some (up to 1/2 of the) cards.

The the first sixteen respondents I get will get a brand stanking new pack of cards to use (still wrapped! I won’t know what you’re getting!), because I am down to sixteen foil-wrapped packs of AD&D collector cards unless I open the second (shrink-wrapped) booster box (email me at mike period monaco at yahoo dot com).  If you have your own pack handy, or even a larger collection you already own (surely someone owns a mess of these still, despite TSR’s terrible marketing and the whole line’s ill-conceived nature), you can use them, but they must be, on your paladin’s honor, randomly selected.  No cherry picking.  What you got is what you got.

Your entry should include a list of the cards you used, and must be something I can read (hard copy, pdf, word doc, text, etc.).  Also, it should be as system-neutral as possible. After you get your cards and write up your adventure/hook/encounter/whatever, send your submission to me by snail or email, or post it on your own site.  I’ll recruit one or two judges from my gaming group.  I will try to scrounge up some decent prizes from among the gaming things I own but am not using, unless someone wants to donate a prize or two.

To recap, here are the rules:

  1. You email me your intent to enter the challenge, and note if you need a pack of cards (first come first serve) or will use your own.  I send you a pack of cards if applicable.
  2. You write up an encounter/adventure/location/key to a map using at least 1/2 of the cards (monsters, items, NPCs, etc.) in some way.   There are 16 cards per pack, so you need to use at least eight!
  3. Your thing needs to be system neutral.  OK to mention HD or CR, classes, etc., but leave out the massive 3e/4e stat blocks, Rolemaster skill lists, etc.
  4. Post your work online (send me a link!), or send to me.
  5. Judging will be by whoever I can recruit from among my gaming group, or as a last resort by me alone.  Judges’ decisions are final.
  6. There will be at least three winners (1st-3rd prize, plus possibly more if there is big turn out and/or great mentionables).  Prizes will be awarded from my junk, plus anything contributed to the contest.

If you have something you’d like to offer as a prize, let me know.  Free publicity for you, prize for an entrant, my job made easier, win-win-win!

Published in: on October 3, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (18)  
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AD&D collector cards

Hoo boy. Evey now and then I pull these out from a box of stuff I’d like to sell or at least get rid of, and then I look them over and think they have potential to be put to some use, and then I look them over and the art and descriptions are so uneven I put them away again.

TSR thought that the way to compete with the then wildly popular Magic:the Gathering cards (and a few other collectible card games slowly emerging at the time) was to release their own collectible cards.  Only, it looks like they had no idea how to tackle the job competently.  I am guessing a few interns were told, “you have almost no budget, and will have to use new art created by our in-house illustrators, preferably rough drafts they have already done but no used, and then fill in the back of the cards with whatever.” 

I can think no other explanation as why the cards did not use any existing art from past products, and does not even match the standards of Dragon magazine filler art.  The NPCs, items, monsters, and so on the cards are very uneven.  Some are just existing AD&D things reprinted onto a card.  Some are actually very inventive and unique. 

There are subseries with the cards for the several boxed sets TSR was pushing in the early 1990s — Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Forgotten Realms, and maybe some others, as well a lot of generic ones with no setting.  They were randomly mixed in the card packs, probably on the assumption that completists would want every card for their chosen setting, etc. and buy and buy.

TSR had already released some other card-based products (like spell cards and monster cards — the monster cards were great, with new art, and released very early on, before anyone was doing random card packs for gaming; the spell cards were later and not a bad idea but I was not interested in buying what was already in the PHB).

As a player, the NPC cards seemed pretty useless, especially since most of them are adventurers.  As a DM, I’d rather see hirelings, merchants, damsels in distress, that sort of thing, than NPC adventurers (most of whom are not evil, in compliance with TSR’s misguided code).

I never looked twice at these BITD but a few years after they were released, I picked up a “factory set” and two boxes of packs (meant for a countertop display in a store) for $1 each at a dollar store.  I could have gotten at least a score of sets if I wanted them, but I only a few bucks handy and just picked of each kind of thing they had on sale.  I rifled through the factor set a few times, looking for interesting stuff, and then opened a few packs, out of curiosity, and filed them away for a really long time.  Last month I sent out a few packs to other bloggers I had addresses for or who had bought or traded for stuff from me, just as a little gift. 

You can still find them relatively cheaply on eBay, Troll & Toad, and so on.

Anyway I recently got an idea for how to dispose of some more of them, which I’ll post about later.

Acaeum thread


Published in: on October 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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