Tuesday, July 8, 2014

One Page Dungeon Contest: "Honorable Mentions" Prizes

My daughter in her homemade Wonder Woman
Costume, Halloween 2013. She's trying to look
"tough" to capture the Cheetah. She turns 5 today.
(So it doesn't get buried in the post: I'm offering a free RPG book to the two Honorable Mention winners of this year's One Page Dungeon Contest. Please read below for more info.)

Today is my daughter's birthday - she turns five years-old and is super excited. She has a little party planned this weekend - a "neon party" out in the backyard. My wife has been purchasing everybody garishly colored neon shirts to wear, but of course I have something completely different and thematically appropriate to my own personal tastes.

Recently my friends came over to play another session of my World of Samoth campaign. We've been continuing to play despite my lack of updates about it here on the blog. My daughter was home when the gang came over and entertained herself with books, her Leap-pad, and movies, but also asked a bit about Dungeons & Dragons and said that she wished she was old enough to play. This got me to thinking about running a game for her and a few of her friends, which I'm going to try to set up soon.

And all of that got me to thinking that during my judging for this year's One Page Dungeon Contest, I remembered seeing two entries that were clearly written by young people. One of them, Gwendolyn A. Potter's "Ponies Candy Square Dungeon" had a cute introduction written by her dad, wherein he identified that the "Tiny Tyrant" was age six, and that she demanded to be able to make a dungeon for the contest her dad was entering. Her dad took dictation and wrote out the dungeon word-for-word, and it's really quite charming.

The other dungeon, "Magic Dungeon" is by Sadhbh Brennan and includes a very colorful map with some hand-written descriptions such as "Tower full of statues coming to... life."

I was very impressed that these youngsters chose to enter the contest and come up with their own dungeon designs, and I had actually emailed the contest coordinator, Random Wizard, to ask if we could award some sort of "honorable mention" status, which did end up happening. You can see the full list of the winners here, including these two dungeons called out for special honorable mentions.

While that's really nice, as I thought about my own daughter and trying to encourage her to use her imagination and I've explained to her how a role-playing game works and what we do when we play. And I thought I could use this opportunity of the One Page Dungeon Contest to reward these two youngsters for their creations.

To that end, through a series of circumstances, I have ended up with extra copies of the D&D 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide II and also the original Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting (the one before Paizo created the Pathfinder RPG system, so it's also 3.5 compatible). I'm offering Gwendolyn and Sadhbh each one of the books as a reward (including shipping) for their work and to encourage them to keep at it. I want them to understand that their creativity was recognized by the other judges and myself.

I have Gwendolyn's dad's email address, as he put it on the submission, but if anyone knows how to get in touch with Sadhbh's parents, please have them contact me on Twitter, Facebook, G+ (links to all over at the side) or to email me using gmail and the name samothdm.

Here's a bit about the two books - I'm hoping that they'll each want a different book. Otherwise, I'll flip a coin.

The Dungeon Masters Guide II for the 3.5 system is really less about mechanics and more about running a game. It includes chapters on things like knowing your players and their play styles, communicating at the table, modifying published adventures for your own campaign, and ideas for archetypal locations such as a battle in the sky, a burning building, a flooding dungeon, or an ice bridge. It also covers how to begin and end a campaign, using house rules or expanded rules, building cities, and more. There are also some really fun random tables, such as "50 Rumors and Hooks" and "100 Instant NPC Agendas." Again, while this is a 3.5 era book, the vast majority of this book is either mechanics-free or can be easily stripped of mechanics or replaced with the game mechanics of your choice. Hardback; 288 pages.

The Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting depicts the world of Golarion, the world in which the Pathfinder game takes place. It covers about 40 different empires, kingdoms, and city-states as well as the religious pantheon common to Golarion which includes 20 different deities in addition to a variety of lesser gods, archdevils, demon lords, and more. One of my favorite parts of the book is detailed descriptions of the standard D&D races in Golarion (dwarves, elves, etc.) but also all of the world's different human ethnicities. When this book was first published, it wasn't common to call out differences in humans; they were just "humans." In this campaign setting presentation, we get 11 different human ethnicities that are all different, but with no mechanical changes to those presented in the standard rules. This isn't a book about "giving bonuses" but rather just a book of ideas to mine for your own campaign world creation, or you can just use it "right out the box" (so-to-speak). Hardback; 256 pages.

Both books are un-used and I never even cracked the bindings, as these are duplicate copies that I was given as gifts. As an added bonus, each one also has the price sticker from Border's, where they were purchased for me, and as we know, Border's is out of business so maybe these are collector's items! (Just kidding).

Hopefully Gwendolyn and Sadhbh will get some use out of these books and they will help to spark their imaginations even more, and encourage them both to enter the One Page Dungeon Contest again next year.

Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: Hendrick's Gin Martini
Listening: "Oh My God" by Mark Ronson featuring Lily Allen

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