Expert Dungeon Master Competition 24: Populate a Map -- Arcane Corridors!

128 posts / 0 new
Last post
XDMC 24: Populate a Map: Arcane Corridors!
Welcome to the twenty-fourth Expert Dungeon Master Competition! The primary purpose of the Expert Dungeon Master Competitions is threefold:

  • To create a resource for new Dungeon Masters drawing on the vast talent pool of the experienced Dungeon Masters of this forum.

  • To create a fun and vibrant competition that is sportsmanlike and friendly.

  • To showcase the creativity and talent of Dungeon Masters like you.


The best way to keep informed about the competition is to join the Expert Dungeon Master Competition group. There you can review the rules, archives, and future contest ideas, and get broadcasts telling you when new competitions begin and when results are released!

The topic for this competition is Arcane Corridors. Below you will find a map created using 28 tiles from the Arcane Corridors tile set published by Wizards of the Coast. Your job is to use this map to create an exciting delve.

Required Elements


The map is shown with all the tiles "face up". It should be assumed that the reverse of each tile is plain stone floor.  You cannot move, shift, rotate, or add tiles to the map. However, you may remove one or more tiles altogether, decide which tiles begin play face up, which tiles begin face down, which tiles might be flipped, removed or restored during play. You may also populate the tiles with terrain, traps, effects, objects, and creatures. Stat blocks are necessary only for objects, creatures, and traps that cannot be found in the Compendium. You can decide what the specific tiles represent (though how well you do this can affect your Themes score). When describing tiles, use the numbers (and/or tile names) set forth in the map key also included below.

In order to enter this competition, your entry must fulfill the following required elements:

  • What: Name the delve

  • Who: State the median level of the party for which the delve is intended.

  • Which: Describe which tiles begin play removed, "face up", or as plain stone floor.

  • Where: Describe the contents of the delve, including all objects, traps, creatures, terrain, and other effects.

  • Why: Describe why adventurers might venture into this complex.

  • How: The map has no obvious entrance or egress. Describe how a party might enter and leave the delve.


If you do not meet each of these required elements, you will receive a score of zero in Themes.

Optional Elements


This contest has no optional elements. Instead, your use of the tiles presented will be used to determine your Themes score.

The Maps


Following are the map and the map key to be used for this contest:


General Rules


Following are some general rules of the Expert DM Competition. The complete list of rules is in the Expert Dungeon Master Competition Group Wiki.

  • Code of Conduct. All entries must comply with the forum's Code of Conduct.

  • Contest Duration. Contests usually run for two weeks, beginning with the post announcing the competition. The Coordinator may extend the duration of the contest at his discretion after consulting the other judges for that competition. However, such extensions should be done very rarely.

  • Edits Made at Entrants' Own Risk. A judge may download your entry any time after it is submitted. So any edits you make might not be considered by a judge. For this reason, you should submit your entry in as complete a form as possible. Use the preview function liberally. Once winners have been announced, entrants may edit their entries.

  • Images Allowed. If you want to use an image in your entry, you must first post it to your profile gallery.

  • Multiple Entries Prohibited. Each applicant may only submit one entry during the period in which entries may be submitted. Submitting multiple entries disqualifies all entries. Additional entries may be submitted after the competition closes, but they will not be judged.

  • Multi-Post Entries Prohibited. Each entry must be contained within a single post. The judges must ignore any subsequent posts.

  • Outside Links Prohibited. Entries may not include material hosted on a website other than the post on which the entry appears.

  • Plagiarism and Peer Reviewing Prohibited. All entries must be the original, exclusive work of the applicant. Entries found to be copying the work of another, or that have been posted for review prior to the close of the competition, will be disqualified.


Judges and Schedule


The contest will run from today through Friday, December 31, 2010. All entries must be submitted no later than 12:00 midnight at the end of that day (Eastern Standard Time). The judges of this contest are Koradzi, Lord_Ventnor, Qube, and wrecan, and the coordinator of this contest is wrecan. Good luck and have fun!!
Medalists and Scores
We are pleased to announce the winners of Expert Dungeon Master Competition 24....

The bronze medal goes to...

Krika
for
The Test!


The silver medal goes to...

quid.tu.facis
for
Sigil Falls!!


The gold medal goes to...
Shaadow
for
Transcendence!!!
Congratulation to all the winners.  Shaadow, as our newest Heroic DM, is now eleigible to judge future XDMCs!

Please be patient as we organize another exciting competition!  In the meantime, enjoy these carefully tabulated scores...



























































EntryCreativityUsabilityThemesClarityTotalEntrant's Entry
1107 5/67 1/65 1/630 1/6quid.tu.facis' Sigil Falls
210 1/39 5/67 1/6835 1/3Shaadow's Transcendence
37 1/3966 5/629 1/6Krika's Test
48 1/36 1/34 5/65 1/624 2/3Clanbattlerage's Search for Syashdan
5885 1/2728 1/2ankiyavon's Tomb of the Nameless Mage
Wow!  Very cool idea, but obviously a bit of an advantage to those who own these and can play around with layouts easily.

One important question - Can we use tiles on top of other tiles?  For example tile #6 Pool with tile #27 Censor sitting in the pool.  I assume we could as long as we are clear?
Ah - on a second reading this is clearer.  We can't move them at all but we can flip them over.

I think I was confused by the term "blank stone".  Do you really mean "plain stone floor" for the ones we flip (i.e. open space with grid)?  "Blank stone" sounds impassable.
I think I was confused by the term "blank stone".  Do you really mean "plain stone floor" for the ones we flip (i.e. open space with grid)?  "Blank stone" sounds impassable.


Yes, "blank stone" means "plain stone floor".  I'll amend the initial post to make that more clear.
Heh, at first reading I thought you had to use the map as presented... I figured it was a bit crowded but that it was part of the challenge.

Maybe I'll try to make a map using all the tiles face up all the time anyway, that should be quite the dungeon. 
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
One important question - Can we use tiles on top of other tiles?  For example tile #6 Pool with tile #27 Censor sitting in the pool.


I know you already figured out the answer to this, but just to be sure nobody else lurking the thread becomes confused: No, you cannot move tiles on top of one another.  You may not move tiles at all, except to flip them or remove them from (or subsequently to restore them to) play.

On the other hand, you can add props to a tile.  So you could add a censer to the middle of the pool.  You just wouldn't move one of the other tiles to do that.

On the other hand, you can add props to a tile.  So you could add a censer to the middle of the pool.  You just wouldn't move one of the other tiles to do that.



This confuses me.

So you're saying that tiles 27 and 28 (Censer) remain there (unless we remove them or flip them down), but we could add a third, not-represented-on-the-map censer to a tile (say, the middle of the pool)?
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
So you're saying that tiles 27 and 28 (Censer) remain there (unless we remove them or flip them down), but we could add a third, not-represented-on-the-map censer to a tile (say, the middle of the pool)?


What you would be adding would not be a tile.  You'd be adding a prop.  You can describe the pool as having a mermaid in it.  You can describe the pool as being full of bubbling acid.  You can describe the pool as covered in lily pads.  Why not say there's a censer of burning coals floating in the middle?

The only caveat is that the further you deviate from the appearance of the tiles, the more your Themes score will suffer.  (I probably wouldn't penalize you at all for sticking something in the pool.)  On the other hand, you can very well make up for it in Creativity!

Does that help?
........HOLY......

Oh, I'm going to have fun. People need to bring things to disable magic traps. Fun times people, fun times await. This is one competition I AM going to enter.

Heh...traps....ehe.....
Take a look at my Handbook: The Pet Store: A Familiar Keeper's Handbook Nacht: "Vecna can do ANYTHING given preptime. He's like an undead lich god Batman."

What you would be adding would not be a tile.  You'd be adding a prop.  You can describe the pool as having a mermaid in it.  You can describe the pool as being full of bubbling acid.  You can describe the pool as covered in lily pads.  Why not say there's a censer of burning coals floating in the middle?

The only caveat is that the further you deviate from the appearance of the tiles, the more your Themes score will suffer.  (I probably wouldn't penalize you at all for sticking something in the pool.)  On the other hand, you can very well make up for it in Creativity!

Does that help?



Got it.  The appearance of a tile is, well, a map tile; we can describe anything we want as being on that tile, and the more the judges feel our description fits the theme of the tile the more points we'll get in Themes.


This is gonna take me forever Tongue out
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
Wow!  Very cool idea, but obviously a bit of an advantage to those who own these and can play around with layouts easily.


This can certainly help with the design; just make sure you use the actual tile set and correct tile configuration.


This can certainly help with the design; just make sure you use the actual tile set and correct tile configuration.


Thanks - that is a good option.  I was actually expressing a concern for others though, as I am lucky to own these tiles, in fact the contest layout is currently covering my dining room table.  It's quite large.

It doesn't seem too hard though to mentally "flip" the tiles and just use the map provided.

I've already settled on a theme and overall structure of my entry, but will take some time to actually write it.  I expect there might be a bit of overlap in this one - some of us are likely to interpret a tile or group of tiles in a similar way.  But then again maybe we'll all go in very different directions.  It will be fun to see what everyone comes up with on this.
I have a question:



  • How would you type/edit your entry? I've noticed copy-pasting from open office yields very poor results.

Wow!  Very cool idea, but obviously a bit of an advantage to those who own these and can play around with layouts easily.

Do you have access to a printer?
That and a pair of scissors gives you the pieces to play around with (perhaps not real size, but for designing, that shoudn't be a problem)
I have a question:


  • How would you type/edit your entry? I've noticed copy-pasting from open office yields very poor results.


personally,

At a first stage, I use notepad (which uses no layouting at all).

At a second stage, I copy paste my notepad content on this forum and start adding layout. If I need to save it again, I don't save the (plain) text, but I copy paste the html content (accessable with the 'html' button on top) in a text file and save. To open, I again press the html button, and paste the content of my second text file in it. When I close, I have the exact layout back.

For creating stat blocks, I use my blockbuilder, which I designed so people can easely create nice stat blocks on this forum.
Qube's block builder: if you want to create blocks for powers, items and monsters for this forum, but don't know html
Signature in a box
For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

3.jpg
D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
Some of my work:
XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
My ego in a box
who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
I agree with Qube.  Anybody can print out the map.  If you click on the map in the spoiler block, you will be brought to a larger version that should just fit on a single sheet of paper.  Remember you cannot move any tiles.  You can only remove them (and then restore them in the same position during the adventure if you want) and flip them.

The map is lage, but tha gives you guys more options to play with!  Laid out with tiles, the map is a 26 inches by 26 inches.
I agree with Qube.  Anybody can print out the map.  If you click on the map in the spoiler block, you will be brought to a larger version that should just fit on a single sheet of paper.

if not, you can open it in paint (on windows), and press Ctrl+W to change the proportions of the image.

Qube's block builder: if you want to create blocks for powers, items and monsters for this forum, but don't know html
Signature in a box
For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

3.jpg
D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
Some of my work:
XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
My ego in a box
who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
Wow!  Very cool idea, but obviously a bit of an advantage to those who own these and can play around with layouts easily.


This can certainly help with the design; just make sure you use the actual tile set and correct tile configuration.




While I'm not certain I'll be doing this one (I'm not really liking the layout as it stands, and not being able to move them around, is a constraint I'm not certain I want to try and deal with, but who knows...).  This tool however is way cool!  I can make a little use of it almost immediately for my own campaign.



Cool Eric the Grey



  • Where: Describe the contents of the delve, including all objects, traps, creatures, terrain, and other effects.



Do you mean describe every relevant "thing" that is in the delve, or can a reference to Monster Manual be enough, for example?


While I'm not certain I'll be doing this one (I'm not really liking the layout as it stands, and not being able to move them around, is a constraint I'm not certain I want to try and deal with, but who knows...).  This tool however is way cool!  I can make a little use of it almost immediately for my own campaign.



Eric the Grey



Off topic: you might want to check out Pymapper as well if you like this. It has more tiles than the older tilemapper and includes some more functionality. games.groups.yahoo.com/group/dungeon_til... for more information.

Oh and I might throw in my hat for this one. Need to cogitate on the map a bit more. Cool idea



  • Where: Describe the contents of the delve, including all objects, traps, creatures, terrain, and other effects.



Do you mean describe every relevant "thing" that is in the delve, or can a reference to Monster Manual be enough, for example?




 Stat blocks are necessary only for objects, creatures, and traps that cannot be found in the Compendium.



Is this answer enough or where you looking for something else? 
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.



 Stat blocks are necessary only for objects, creatures, and traps that cannot be found in the Compendium.



Is this answer enough or where you looking for something else? 



It seems I had overlooked or misinterpreted that line. Thank you for pointing it out!


While I'm not certain I'll be doing this one (I'm not really liking the layout as it stands, and not being able to move them around, is a constraint I'm not certain I want to try and deal with, but who knows...).  This tool however is way cool!  I can make a little use of it almost immediately for my own campaign.



Off topic: you might want to check out Pymapper as well if you like this. It has more tiles than the older tilemapper and includes some more functionality. games.groups.yahoo.com/group/dungeon_til... for more information.


While i agree with the use of Pymapper, the setup is somewhat convoluted, a reason being copyright issues.

The old Tile Mapper does not suffer from this, is ready to use and complete for the purpose of this contest (the Arcane Corridors Tile Set is included).

For more serious tile mapping either Pymapper or MasterPlan are better and more up to date, than the old Tile Mapper which is no longer supported, it seems (as many other tools arent, unfortunately).

(Still looking for a good smatphone solution on this issue too, too soon to buy into the tablet wave).
I'm so bad at running traditional dungeons.  Mine usually all have the same layout, but with different stuff in all the rooms.  Then again, my players very rarely ever head into a Dungeon, so, they never really notice.
I live and work in Japan, near Mt. Fuji, teaching English to High Schoolers. In my spare time I also happen to be a husband, a father, and an Otaku. I run a biweekly DnD game on Sundays and blog about it every other day of the week at http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com

15.jpg
D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

I'd like to start by apologizing for testing your patience here... But this is turning into a wrestling match between me and the editor here on the forum. I have no idea if the problem is on my end or with the editor, but it just doesn't seem to be working properly for me. Could some HTML editor somehow be configured to work in this context? 

I'd really like to enter my take on the dungeon into the competition, but the standard of the visual presentation is going to be very poor. The way things are going, I mean.

Any further advice, tips or pointers would be much appreciated. 
Any further advice, tips or pointers would be much appreciated. 


In the past I did my entries in plain text and simply added the tags for this editor (no HTML at all).  This time around since HTML is best for stat blocks, I am using Open Office to create my entry.  I've found that aside from some quirks here and there, the formatting in Open Office is coming over fine. I keep it simple - some size differences in the headers, bold, italics, and that's it and it is looking pretty good.   Only HTML in the text of my entry is for stat blocks.

The specific quirks I have found with Open Office are that it adds an extra line for every break, but my work around is to eliminate any empty lines in my entry before pasting it.  Sometimes it seems to not like a couple of the HTML tags coming in and you get that "HTML removed" message when you preview, but I find that is fairly obvious when it occurs and easy to correct before posting.

I'm about 50% done, so if no else grabs "First Blood" I'll be posting mine when it is ready, so you can see an example of how someone else approached it.  Hope that helps.

Some tiles are presented as a concept. Room 3 is presented in the legend as "Fog". However, could you take the tile and have it represent "dust" instead? In that it's so dusty, it's like fog?


Yes.  I chose names for the tiles based on the best way I could think of so people would know what tile I was discussing.  If I had named it "dust" it couls have been that tile, or it could have been the Tile 5 (which I called "Red Mist").

Please don't feel tied to the tile names.  They are included only so it is easier to identify the tiels with which you are working.
Are we allowed to add doors, walls, etc. between the tiles or are we supposed to assume that all of the tiles that are connected without doors are essentially a single chamber?
I live and work in Japan, near Mt. Fuji, teaching English to High Schoolers. In my spare time I also happen to be a husband, a father, and an Otaku. I run a biweekly DnD game on Sundays and blog about it every other day of the week at http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com

15.jpg
D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

Are we allowed to add doors, walls, etc. between the tiles or are we supposed to assume that all of the tiles that are connected without doors are essentially a single chamber?



If the tileset only represents the "encounter" areas instead of the exact physical layout of the dungeon, then I was wondering if the connecting passages need to be detailed as well using a "flow chart" showing which tiles lead to which other tiles.  This could of course be through traditional passages, doorways, magical gates, and stairs/magical lifts if not all tiles are on the same "level" of the dungeon.  A lot of possible variation exists here depending on how "flexible" the rule are with the layout. 

However this is all a ruse anyway, because I just came on to say that I uploaded the "final" version of my book "Thomas the Poisoner - Tales from the Reading Dragon Inn Book 2" to the printer today, and should hopefully have a "proof" copy by Wednesday the December 6, 2010.  If the proof doesn't need any final corrections, then my book should be available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble online pretty soon afterwards.
Are we allowed to add doors, walls, etc. between the tiles or are we supposed to assume that all of the tiles that are connected without doors are essentially a single chamber?


I think you can do whatever you wish.  If you describe a wall between two tiles probably not a big issue, but I think you risk losing a little in Themes, since the layout provides tiles which depict walls and doors.  I don't think there's a limit to what you can do though, I suppose you could state that all tiles are separated by sheets of fudge.  It might cost you in Themes but if you can justify it, you might get props in Creativity.  Oops, now I've given away my theme....  Wink

But don't listen to me...listen to the tiles...
                                                  listen to the tiles.....

mmm  Fudge...
I live and work in Japan, near Mt. Fuji, teaching English to High Schoolers. In my spare time I also happen to be a husband, a father, and an Otaku. I run a biweekly DnD game on Sundays and blog about it every other day of the week at http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com

15.jpg
D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

You know, smelling fuge when there is no fudge is a bad, bad thing...
..ooops.  Forgot I am allergic to Chocolate.  That Dungeon would officially be my nightmare. 
I live and work in Japan, near Mt. Fuji, teaching English to High Schoolers. In my spare time I also happen to be a husband, a father, and an Otaku. I run a biweekly DnD game on Sundays and blog about it every other day of the week at http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com

15.jpg
D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

Any further advice, tips or pointers would be much appreciated. 



The specific quirks I have found with Open Office are that it adds an extra line for every break, but my work around is to eliminate any empty lines in my entry before pasting it.  Sometimes it seems to not like a couple of the HTML tags coming in and you get that "HTML removed" message when you preview, but I find that is fairly obvious when it occurs and easy to correct before posting.

I'm about 50% done, so if no else grabs "First Blood" I'll be posting mine when it is ready, so you can see an example of how someone else approached it.  Hope that helps.




Yes, that would help a lot!

Thanks beforehand.

I think you can do whatever you wish.  If you describe a wall between two tiles probably not a big issue, but I think you risk losing a little in Themes, since the layout provides tiles which depict walls and doors.


Shaadow's got it quite right.
Page 2?  oh, that won't do!

Famous Arcane Corridor

The stacks of the New York Public Library in Ghostbusters!
This one is going to take a lot of time.  I am hoping to sit down with this all printed out and design the Dungeon this weekend. 
I live and work in Japan, near Mt. Fuji, teaching English to High Schoolers. In my spare time I also happen to be a husband, a father, and an Otaku. I run a biweekly DnD game on Sundays and blog about it every other day of the week at http://thedumpstat.blogspot.com

15.jpg
D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

That's why we gave you guys the whole month!
That's why we gave you guys the whole month!



Indeed, glad for it as I just hopped on to check the deadline. I hope to get an entry in on this one, but with the holidays I know I won't have time to do anything but a cursory inventory of the monsters and elements I'm considering including until after Xmas.

Bit slow on the take. The entry is on a blog. Do we simply add a link to the blog at the reserved entry list? Do we post the entire entry to the thread and someone else handles the link? Talking about links, there are several Published in "Some Book", page(s) # on the entry. These links go to the DDI website. Is this okay, or should they be removed?

Also somewhat concerned that the entry is too much of an adventure and not exactly what you are hoping to see as an entry? It appears you might want something all the way up to the point of being an adventure, but just short of it. The entry might have overstepped being written as an adventure.

Sigil Falls: A Delve for five 11th level adventurers

Well... there's the link to the blog with the adventure/entry.