I honestly was very deeply honored by the request, as I started my blog a few years ago really just to practice my writing and share some thoughts of an old-school gamer who still actively games but doesn't hate some of the newer systems as much as other people my age, even though I do greatly enjoy the older editions of the game. I never dreamed of my blog turning into a repository for inspirational ideas that, in addition to RPGs, covered all aspects of so-called "geek culture" including TV, movies, books, and comics, the latter of which led to a second job as a journalist for the comic review site Comic Attack.
In any event, when Random Wizard (RW) asked me to be a judge, I was excited and a bit taken aback. After I accepted, he sent me a short note wherein he mentioned that the other judges included Ernie Gygax, Steve Winter, and "Brendan S." of the blog Necropraxis. He mentioned this in a sort of off-the-cuff way that you'd say something like "your cold cereal is ready for you to eat." Good old RW moves in some powerful circles, so chatting with these guys must just be par for the course for him. For me, after getting back up into my chair after having fallen out of it and hitting my head upon reading who the other judges were, I began to second-guess whether I should really be judging. Sure, I've been playing RPGs for a long time, and I am currently reviewing all sorts of things from comics and graphic novels to consumer products with a comic/"geek" theme. I've also spent a fair amount of time writing RPG reviews, including a nifty adventure designed by RW himself. But... well, Ernie was there at the very beginning, and I can clearly recall reading articles by Steve Winter published in Dragon magazine as well as tons of his other published RPG stuff. And Sean K. Reynolds, one of the principal designers of 3rd Edition D&D (which is the edition that got me back into regular playing after a drought during most of 2E), has also come on board as an additional judge. These guys are legends. I'm just a guy with a blog who likes this stuff as a fan.
Nevertheless, I will of course be one of the judges for this year's contest and to say I'm looking forward to it is an understatement. Yes, it's all "virtual" so sadly I can't sit around a table with these gents and have a pint or two, but it's still an honor to be included in their company. [And I will most likely be partaking of a pint or two to toast the folks in spirit during or after the judging.]
So, what do you need to know?
- What is it? The name says it all - design a "dungeon" (the use of this term is a bit vague; past winners have included taverns and other structures) that fits on a single sheet of standard-size paper. The contest has been around since 2009.
- The contest deadline is April 30th. You can read about the details on the One Page Dungeon site.
- What can you win? Check out the list of cool prizes that have been donated by some of the best names in the industry.
- Who are the other judges? Here's the list with shorts bios and links for Ernie Gygax, Steve Winter, Brendan S. of Necropraxis, Sean K. Reynolds, Daniel R. Collins of Delta's D&D Hotspot blog, and me.
- Stuck for ideas or just need some tips? Random Wizard wrote a really helpful piece entitled "Judging Creativity" wherein he shows examples of past winners but also notes that he has not given the six judges any specific "criteria" by which to judge the adventures we receive. It's an interesting piece which you should definitely check out.
I tip my hat to Random Wizard, for I know from experience that organizing and managing something like this is a ton of work, but he's really gone above and beyond by getting some true legends of the RPG community as judges, as well as some sweet prizes for the winners.
So start working on those ideas, check out the links above, and good luck!
Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: A Pisco Sour at lunch at a Peruvian restaurant, which was quite refreshing
Listening: "East of the Sun (And West of the Moon) - Live" by Diana Krall