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Old Sep 16th, 2021, 11:29 AM
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Meet The Judges

This thread is for each of the main judges for this year's competition to introduce themselves and share a little about what they think the ideal submission would look like. All contestants are recommended to read this thread carefully, and note down what their judges are looking for, and how they will score you. As per the last few years, there is a 'judging guideline' to help make the judgments not too surprising, create more consistency between them, and help lessen the work for those judging!

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Old Sep 16th, 2021, 01:47 PM
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Big Pig here and I'm looking for to eating up all your entries. I only ask for two things.

1) Every round will begin with instructions involving word count, dead line, and limitations. Read them carefully before entering your post. Once you've posted... you've just committed. Take your time to double-check that you understand them before taking the plunge.

2) Have lots of fun. This will not only build your DM skills it will also increase your skills in creativity and planning, so try to have fun with it all as you build your self up.

Game On!
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Old Sep 16th, 2021, 04:48 PM
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Hi - Savoy here, at your service!

I'm really looking forward to seeing what you bring to the table in this year's competition.

Pig has already hit the most important points. I think the only thing that I'll add is - I appreciate the commitment and hard work that goes into competing in the Iron DM. Please have a sense of humor and humbleness when receiving feedback from us.

Sometimes its easy to give guidance on what will help hone and deepen your already strong DM skills and sometimes, we have to dig deep to find something that might help. Regardless, these are just our opinions and always meant to be constructive. Don't take it as a personal hurt or attack. That isn't why we do this.

Truly, we're here to build you up - both when you advance and when you don't. Thank you for having me along in this journey.

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Last edited by savoylen; Sep 19th, 2021 at 12:53 AM.
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Old Sep 17th, 2021, 10:15 AM
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Hey all, I'm Admin RonarsCorruption. I've accumulated a handful of nicknames over my time here, including ARC and Because RonarsCorruption is shortened to RC, which is also the name of a soft drinkCola. I'll be returning this year once again as a judge.

I could talk all day about how to write an entry, but I'm going to try not to go on and on this year, like I sometimes do. Instead, I'll leave you with my two top things that I care about when reading an entry.

From the DM's perspective, I care about clarity pretty much above everything. In general, I mark down each time I have to ask "but... why?", and any time I have to say "I think this was referenced before but I can't find it".

From a Player's perspective, I care about sense. Like, does this make sense. Is this something a reasonable group of players might do on purpose, given only the information listed in the adventure? Are the actions of the characters in the story things that could reasonably be expected to happen?

Game On!
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Old Sep 17th, 2021, 10:28 AM
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I'm sensing a pattern here. Some things don't change. Except for typos... I do try to clean up a few more every year.
Originally Posted by Bhelogan View Post
I am going to quote what I said last year since it still holds true, and I don't think I could write it up any better:
Originally Posted by Bhelogan View Post
Bhelogan here! Iron DM again, and here we are getting the stage set for another glorious competition. What does an Ideal submission look like? I'll give you a few pointers:
  • It has to be clear, and easy to read. If I get confused, I'm likely to skip over parts. That isn't good for you.
  • It has to be engaging. I also don't have a very long attention span. As a DM I need to be excited about potentially running this.
  • It has to be fun for the players. If they wouldn't enjoy playing in it, little else matters.
  • It has to be complete. Don't leave gaping holes for me to fill in.
My general advice would be, focus on quality vs quantity. I would rather see a few ideas fleshed out well than straws grasping at everything and trying to hastily glue it together.

Ingredients are going to matter. A lot. But, if they feel forced into the plot, rather than part of it, everyone will notice.

Lastly, brace yourself for some rejection. At the end of the day, only one person is going to win. You are going to get some criticism of your work. Nobody likes being told that their baby is ugly, but... you know what? There are actually a lot of ugly babies out there. Some of them are yours. Don't take it personally. Emotionally detach yourself from your work, once it is done, and try to view it from a 3rd party perspective. You will get more out of the event if you can do that, and it will help keep the environment friendlier between competitors and judges.

Good Luck Everyone!

Last edited by Bhelogan; Sep 17th, 2021 at 10:29 AM.
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Old Sep 17th, 2021, 10:36 AM
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Judge Squeak here.

A few recommendations on making a good post.

* Read last years entries and judges commentary, looking for things the judges like and don't like. We use a rubric for judging, but the specifics from real situations is far better than anything I could describe in this post.

There are a few commonalities all judges look for.

* Seamlessly inserting the key ingredients is what this is all about. The key is to not force it, but make it look like it's been there all along.
* It needs to be interesting. We don't want a dry textbook, but something we enjoy reading.
* It needs to be playable. How would I like to run this?

Interesting and playable often at odds with each other. It takes skill to blend them together, which is why ---

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Old Sep 17th, 2021, 04:37 PM
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Judge Talok here! Oh, boy, do I like the sound of that. Like I'm from the Judge Dredd franchise. "I am the law!" Gosh, that sounds fun. As long as I'm not written by Garth Ennis... Okay, I got distracted there. That'll be a theme.

I'm the newbie judge on the block. I've participated in IronDM for the past three years, and I even won once! I also blinded several judges last year, which is how I got the job. I love seeing all the beautiful creations y'all come up with. It really has been a source of joy for me each year.

Since I'm the newbie judge, I should probably defer to the folks above. They know their stuff better than me. But I won't. Things to keep in mind to make me a happy Judge (and therefore not tossing frag grenades at you!):
  1. Read the rubric! It's what I'll be using to grade things, as best I can.
  2. As others have said, clarity is key. If I get confused reading your entry, that affects a LOT of things on the rubric from a player and GM perspective!
  3. I can't lie-- if I laugh at something ingredient-related, I'll probably be inclined to rate that ingredient higher than I would otherwise. That said, this is secondary to using the ingredient well in the first place. If your choice is to make a cool story that players and GMs will enjoy, or making a funny, you'd be best served focusing on the adventure quality.

I'm so excited to read what you rascals come up with!
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Last edited by Unko Talok; Sep 17th, 2021 at 05:11 PM.
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Old Sep 28th, 2021, 11:43 PM
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Sorry that I'm late to the party.

I just wanted to give a few comments on what I personally look for when I'm reading an entry.

First, how clever is the use of the ingredient. The first thing I do when I see the list of ingredients is to try to think of unique ways to use it, especially with a bit of wordplay with the ingredient's name. So, if something stands out and makes me think "Wow, I never would have thought of that," or "Niiiice pun" that's going to be a bonus for me. Of course, it still needs to fit in with the rest of the entry, so make sure there is a balance there, or it could backfire.

Second, please make sure you double, triple, and quadruple-check your entry for spelling and grammar. I teach ESL and so I spend a lot of time reading and checking students' writing assignments. I'm way better at picking out someone else's mistakes than I am at picking out my own. Spelling and grammar are worth 5 points and should be an easy 5 to get.

Good luck to everyone and I look forward to reading this year's entries.
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