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Old Screeds


GitP's Summer Design Contest [7 September 06] Looking at all the entries.

Over at the Giant in the Playground, they regularly have design contests. I entered one a while back. This week I've been blogging about my entry in the latest contest. Well, here are the other contest entries, and a few comments from me on each one.

Submissions that feature an item:

The /B/rotherhood by The Demented One
A "humorous" submission about black-skinned elves, Afro wigs, and AIDS. Supposedly not racist, but I'm not getting it. Deal breaker: Not funny.

The Ones-With-Trees by adriankas
This evil org implants victims with pods that turn them into plant-people under the control of a demon. Intended as an adversary for a high-level party. Deal breaker: No real connnection to summer, warmth, or fire, aside from limited photosynthetic regeneration.

The Steamscorch Guild by Draz74
A complex religious and mercantile desert org that seeks to control all the oases in the desert. Deal breaker: None! Worth a closer look.

The Vintners by AKA_Bait
A mildly amusing social org of drinkers who keep themselves well supplied with Decanters of Endless Wine. Deal breaker: Really no link at all to the summer/fire theme.

The Order of the Rusty Kettle by Vaynor, High Priest of TOOTRK
Strange short write-up of a LG org that wants to rid the world of all evil. Deal breaker: Link to theme is unclear. Why a Match? Why a "Stove of Righteousness"? Why is the kettle rusty? What "power" is in the kettle? Is this supposed to be funny? Meh.

Children of the Burning River by Elvaris
A monastary and mage school next to a patch of river that is magically aflame. Much about the flames/river is a mystery. Deal breaker: Permanent supernatural abilities gained by invoking the fire in a ritual are somewhat overpowered. Worth a closer look.

The Catalysts by Mike_Lemmer
Anarchist org that seeks to bring down governments so new ones can form. They use arson and summer heat to incite unrest, rebellion, and change for sake of change. Deal breaker: None! Worth a closer look.

Defenders of the Flame by Rimx
Dwarven org devoted to protecting a holy Dwarven flame and Dwarf culture in general. Interesting and balanced fire and rune magic "items." Deal breaker: None! Worth a closer look.

Submissions that feature a prestige class:

Mindfire Knights by The Demented One
This org is a variation on the Soulknife class, consisting of warriors who are dedicated to killing rakshasas. Deal breaker: I personally think the Soulknife is borderline bogus to begin with. The prestige class submitted with this org is way way broken. Specifically, in addition to stacking with Soulknife levels for Mind blade and Psychic strike, the PrC adds exclusively combat-oriented abilities that add even more damage and power to an unbalanced option.

Order of the Eternal Summer by Fax Celestis
This org fights cold creatures and winter in general. Good application of theme. Includes nifty entry tests. Deal breaker: The PrC, which can be taken at 5th level, is a little overpowered -- two good saves, d10 for hit points, 4+Int skills per level, fighter BAB progression, Daylight at level 5, Fireball at level 6, Sunburst (an 8th level spell) at level 10. Play it at 2+Int skills, cleric BAB progression, one good save, d8 for hp, and it would be much more reasonable. But still worth a closer look.

Doom the Daystar by Gnudro
Evil org uses trickery, psi, and worse to advance its goal: Destroy the sun. Deal breaker: Very complex, confusing. Psi-oriented PrC allows 6+Int skills per level, +1 caster level per level, and somewhat broken item and power creation (costs reduced too much).

The Callers of the Summer Rain by Mephibosheth
Amazing org of religious fanatics who capture, bless, set free, and watch over a cat for ten months ... then sacrifice it to ensure summer rains. Well constructed PrC. Potential for amusing moments: "Don't touch that cat!" "But it's eating my familiar!" "Sorry, too bad!" Deal breaker: None, really, but the connection to summer, fire, and warmth could be stronger. Well worth a closer look.

The Soulfire Knights by Lord Iames, the CoP
Martial org devoted to a LG fire goddess. Deal breaker: PrC is too potent: Fighter BAB, two good saves, +8 caster levels over 10 level PrC, special fire-oriented powers are too strong.

The Fireballersí League by Elvaris
This is a funny write-up of a (hee hee) fantasy baseball league. Clever. The PrC is actually playable, too, for adventuring in the off season! Deal breaker: Not enough of a link to fire. They don't throw actual fireballs! Worth a closer look.

The Pyrotransitionists by DEMONhunter
Org devoted to protecting planes from danger of collapse. Deal breakers: PrC boosts psionic power, but most of the members of the org are not psions, and there is no psi requirement for PrC entry. Also, the org is centered on planar travel, but the PrC offers no ability to travel planes. Connection to theme (HQ on fire plane, fire abilities in PrC) is stretched. If you took away the fire elements, the theme of the org (protecting planes) still works just fine.

Loatuo Firewalkers by RobbieOC
Polynesian-type org living on a volcano works to placate fire spirits and fight fire monsters. I served in the Peace Corps for two years in Polynesia (Tonga), so I have a personal fondness for this one. Deal breaker: None! Worth a closer look.

The Cinderborn Sentinels by The_Glyphstone
Druidic org fights those careless with fire, uses fire to guard and tend forests. Deal breaker: PrC is somewhat overpowered.

The Cult of the SummerKin by Cayzle
Bronze-age org of wemics and humans worships the sun and rejects modern metals. PrC has powers that vary with season and light. Deal breaker: This is my entry, so I admit to some prejudice. Worth a closer look, IMNSHO!

The Bluescale Order by Sucros
In a desert nation ruled by blue dragons, this martial org enforces the dragon's rule. Deal breakers: Aside from desert setting, little link to theme. Also, PrC is overpowered and uses strange and needlessly complex token pool mechanic.

Order of the Desert Orchid by Tarkahn
Good org helps travellers through desert terrain. Balanced PrC has interesting entry test, and balanced mix of abilities -- not all combat related! Good treatment of theme. Deal breaker: None! Worth a closer look.

Submissions that feature one or more spells:

The Order of the Hidden Flame by Mephibosheth
Protectors of those who are 'Plaguetouched." Good read, compelling story, inventive. Deal breaker: Connection to theme (flame = succor) is stretched. If you took away the fire element, the org still works just fine.

Sect of the Burning Feast by Carmichael
This circle of evil druids tell the future by feasting on humans at midsummer (and other times). Aside from the eating innocents, they're not so bad. They have some neat spells, especially one in which you char a voodoo doll meant to be a person, who then takes damage. Deal breaker: Connection to summer/heat theme is minimal.

Keepers of the Fevered Mount by The Vorpal Tribble
In a world that has frozen over, one order of druids works to mitigate the cold, help people adapt, and preserve endangered species on a secret warm isle. Engaging read with good warmth themes, including a spell that creates a geothermal hot spot. Deal breaker: Very hard to adapt to other games. Worth a closer look.

Flame Speaker Academy by Moon Called
An academy teaches those born with a special power to control flames. Deal breakers: Poorly organized, errors in grammar and punctuation, way too much flavor text, spell does not follow standard format.

My voting:

  • Best Overall: Keepers of the Fevered Mount
  • Best Articulation of the Theme: The Cult of the SummerKin
  • Funniest Organization: The Fireballersí League
  • Best PC Organization (must be open to PCs joining up easily): Order of the Eternal Summer
  • Best Ally Organization: Order of the Desert Orchid
  • Best Adversary Organization: The Callers of the Summer Rain
  • Best Adventure Hooks: The Catalysts
  • Best Spell or Spells: Keepers of the Fevered Mount
  • Best Item: Defenders of the Flame
  • Best Prestige Class: The Cult of the SummerKin

Yeah, I know, I voted for myself twice. Color me classy. But if I lost by just one vote, that would suck even worse!


Update! [8 Sept 06] The official list of winners:

  • Best Overall: Keepers of the Fevered Mount
  • Articulation of the Theme: Order of the Eternal Summer
  • Funniest Organization: The Fireballersí League
  • Best PC Organization: Order of the Eternal Summer
  • Best Ally Organization: Order of the Desert Orchid
  • Best Adversary Organization: Doom the Daystar
  • Best Adventure Hooks: The Catalysts
  • Best Spell or Spells: Sect of the Burning Feast
  • Best Item: The Catalysts
  • Best Prestige Class: Mindfire Knights
  • Gorby's Seal of Approval (Staff Award): Doom the Daystar
Well, on the plus side, I called it right on five of the categories. On the minus side, well, they laughed at me at the Sorbonne. Alas!


Home | This page last modified: 8 September 06