[4e] Expert Dungeon Master Competition #9: Build a Nation!

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Expert Dungeon Master Competition #9
Build a Nation!



[indent]One aspect of being a Dungeon Master is creating a complex campaign world in which to adventure. Within those campaign worlds, nations govern their populaces. An Expert Dungeon Master can create a unique nation that draws players into the fantasy without breaking suspension of disbelief, all the while providing fodder for countless adventures. This competition asks you to create such a nation.[/indent]

Welcome to the ninth 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.


In order to enter the competition, your entry must fulfill the following required elements:
  • Name your nation.
  • Provide a one- or two-sentence encapsulation of the nation's most prominent characteristics.
  • Briefly describe the nation's geography, racial demographics, exports, system of government, and any influential non-governmental organizations.
  • Briefly describe the nation's recent history, and the DCs for History Skill checks at which they become available.
  • Provide a Background for player characters from the nation.


In addition, the entry must include at least three of the following optional elements:
  • A city-state, the nation governs no more than one urban center and its surrounding farmlands.
  • A plurality or more of the nation's populace believes the nation has an ethical or religious duty that extends beyond its borders.
  • For reasons described in the entry, one character class has a disproportionate presence in the nation.
  • One or more of the nation's leaders is of a race unavailable to player characters.
  • The entry offers ideas for one or more nation-specific encounters for each tier of play.
  • The nation contains a unique geographic feature, landmark, or monument that might be of interest to adventurers.
  • The nation has a chivalric order, described in the entry, that is unaffiliated with the government.
  • The nation has a unique tradition, custom, or observance that some player characters might find troubling.
  • The nation has unusual laws with respect to the use of magic or concerning religious observance.
  • The nation is in a fantastic location (cloud-city, on multiple planes of existence, underground, etc.)
  • The nation is in a state of declared or undeclared civil war, rebellion, or revolution with two or more rival factions (governmental or otherwise) vying for control or influence.
  • The nation lacks an essential resource (stone, wood, arable land, etc.) and must trade to make up the deficit.
  • The nation's defenses rely on a unique ritual that their ritualists alone possess, as detailed in the entry.
  • The nation's system of government is neither monarchic nor democratic.


Following are some general rules of the Expert DM Competition.
[post=16059666]>>>You can read the complete contest rules here<<<[/post]


  • 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 After 15 Minutes Prohibited. Applicants may not edit their entries more than 15 minutes after submission. This includes editing done by forum moderators, unless the moderator specifically states that the entry had not been edited prior to the moderator's action. If the entrant submits an entry before the contest closes and then edits the entry after the contest closes, but within fifteen minutes of submission, the edits will be considered valid. Entrants should use the forum’s “preview post” function or an off-line text editor to check the entry before posting. Once winners have been announced, entrants may edit their entries.
  • 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. Images hosted on, or links to, other websites will be ignored by the judges when scoring.
  • Plagiarism and Previewing 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.


The contest will run from today through Friday, May 1, 2009. All entries must be submitted no later than 12:00 midnight on that day (Eastern Standard Time). The judges of this contest are Eldritch_Lord, Lord_Ventnor, Veok, and wrecan, and the coordinator of this contest is wrecan.

Good luck and have fun!!

Questions & Answers
(questions posed by potential entrants and the coordinator's response)



Q. For purposes of Required Element E, what is a "Background"?

A. Backgrounds are detailed in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide and Players Handbook 2. It is a brief description of non-combat situations in which having this background could be a benefit, and some "associated skills" for which characters with this benefit often receive circumstantial bonuses. For those without these books, a sample background follows:


[indent]Euphonian Background
Euphonians are taught song and music from an early age. Except those who are tone-deaf (unfortunate souls exiled to a life of musicless misery), every Euphonian must know how to play and tune at least one instrument and sing a full operatic aria. They are fully versed in music theory and history, and have a keen ear.

Associated Skills: Diplomacy, Perception.[/indent]


Q. For purposes of Optional Element 4, what races are "unavailable to player characters"?

A. If a race has rules for making player characters, then the race is available to player characters. I believe that list includes: Bladeling, Bugbear, Deva, Doppelganger, Dragonborn, Drow, Dwarf, Eladrin, Elf, Genasi, Githyanki, Githzerai, Gnome, Gnoll, Goblin, Goliath, Half-Elf, Halfling, Half-Orc, Hobgoblin, Human, Minotaur, Orc, Kobold, Shadar-kai, Shifter, Tiefling, and Warforged

Entry List



  • [post=18474139]Tinwe's Copseholme[/post] [highlight](Gold medalist!)[/highlight]
  • [post=18476564]ff6shadow's Alaron[/post] [highlight](Silver medalist!)[/highlight]
  • [post=18351427]Jonathan_Vagabond's Arx Ancilis[/post] [highlight](Bronze medalist!)[/highlight]
  • [post=18408213]GregT_314's Maelstrom[/post] [highlight](Bronze medalist!)[/highlight]
  • [post=18324708]Caladors' Imperious[/post]
  • [post=18335675]S-Marrow's Holshorn[/post]
  • [post=18336937]CorrinAvatan's R'norima[/post]
  • [post=18349198]Witchslasher's Suminya[/post]
  • [post=18350048]Falstyr's Imbelote[/post]
  • [post=18359490]JayJian's Islan[/post]
  • [post=18361120]ClanBattlerage's Araddona[/post]
  • [post=18366063]Koradzi's Soren Empire[/post]
  • [post=18367886]shinobicow's Bakanoria[/post]
  • [post=18390973]Zetesofos' Wakemist[/post]
  • [post=18436236]Sinjei's Dominion of Erathis[/post]
  • [post=18445321]Drecon84's Ravellon[/post]
  • [post=18451903]herald108's Surin Heights[/post]
  • [post=18457373]TelinArtho's Grum-fells[/post]
  • [post=18476403]CountessKathleen's Amalthean Republic[/post]
  • [post=18476533]Exultation's Quellera Imperialis[/post]
  • [post=18476574]JRGumby's Akkadia[/post]
  • [post=18476623]Elil's Swallowed City[/post]


After-Hours Entry:
  • [post=18587444]Koradzi's Necrodome[/post]
  • [post=18603546]senorpenor42's Marthol Harborage[/post]

Medalists







[Deck=The Silver Medal Goes To...]

ff6shadow with "Alaron"!!

[/deck]

[Deck=The Gold Medal Goes To...]

Tinwe with "Copseholme"!!!

[/deck]

Congratulations to all of you!

The gold medalist, Tinwe, is eligible for the custom title of "Heroic Dungeon Master" (if so desired) and is also now eligible to judge future competitions! If tinwe wins subsequent competitions, the custom title can be changed to "Paragon Dungeon Master" and then "Epic Dungeon Master"!

Thanks also to my fellow judges, Eldritch_Lord, Lord_Ventnor, and Veok, who did a great job judging the competitions and were so speedy. This was one of the longest competitions (both in number of entries and in the size of each entry) and they did an amazing and thorough job! I am so very grateful to them for volunteering.

Congratulations again to everyone for such wonderful entries and thanks for making the XDMCs a continuing success!

Anybody who wishes to edit their entries are welcome to do so. Also, judges are welcome to post their comments. I'm afraid I won't have comments this time.

Stay tuned for XDMC #9 to begin (hopefully) in a few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy the carefully tabulated scores below.

Before scores are posted I need to say that we had an unusual number of people who got a zero in Themes for failing to include optional elements, particularly the Background. It's very important for people to make sure all the required elements have been included. Please don't be discouraged if you feel you scored low. Keep entering the contest and as you gain experience, I'm sure your score will improve.

[b]CONSOLIDATED SCORES BY ENTRY[/b]<br /> [b]Entry Creat'y Usab'y Theme Clar'y Bonus Total Author's Entry[/b]<br /> 1 8 1/2 9 0 4 1/4 21 3/4 Caladors' Imperious<br /> 2 10 1/4 12 7 6 35 1/4 S-Marrow's Holshorn<br /> 3 12 11 1/2 9 1/2 7 40 CorrinAvatan's R'norima<br /> 4 13 10 8 3/4 8 1/4 40 Witchslasher's Suminya<br /> 5 10 1/2 7 0 7 1/2 25 Falstyr's Imbelote<br /> 6 12 1/2 10 9 3/8 8 5/8 40 1/2 Jonathan_Vagabond's Arx Ancilis<br /> 7 7 11 1/2 0 7 1/4 25 3/4 JayJian's Islan<br /> 8 12 1/4 10 1/4 6 3/4 8 3/4 38 ClanBattlerage's Araddona<br /> 9 11 1/4 12 1/4 7 1/2 8 7/8 39 7/8 Koradzi's Soren Empire<br /> 10 13 1/2 8 1/2 8 8 38 shinobicow's Bakanoria<br /> 11 10 8 7 1/4 7 32 1/4 Zetesofos' Wakemist<br /> 12 14 10 7 3/4 8 3/4 40 1/2 GregT_314's Maelstrom<br /> 13 11 1/4 11 8 1/8 6 3/4 37 1/8 Sinjei's Dominion of Erathis<br /> 14 8 1/2 9 3/4 7 6 7/8 32 1/8 Drecon84's Ravellon<br /> 15 11 3/4 9 3/4 8 3/4 8 1/8 38 3/8 herald108's Surin Heights<br /> 16 8 3/4 6 3/4 0 7 1/2 23 TelinArtho's Grum-fells<br /> 17 13 10 1/4 9 8 3/4 41 Tinwe's Copseholme<br /> 18 9 1/2 9 1/4 7 7 7/8 33 5/8 CountessKathleen's Amalthean Republic<br /> 19 11 3/8 8 1/4 7 3/4 8 5/8 1 37 Exultation's Quellera Imperialis<br /> 20 11 1/2 12 1/4 8 1/4 8 7/8 40 7/8 ff6shadow's Alaron<br /> 21 9 3/4 10 3/4 8 8 1/4 1 37 3/4 JRGumby's Akkadia<br /> 22 14 1/4 8 3/8 8 1/2 8 1/2 39 5/8 Elil's Swallowed City<br /> <br /> [b]CONSOLIDATED SCORES BY SCORE[/b]<br /> [b]Entry Creat'y Usab'y Theme Clar'y Bonus Total Author's Entry[/b]<br /> 17 13 10 1/4 9 8 3/4 41 Tinwe's Copseholme<br /> 20 11 1/2 12 1/4 8 1/4 8 7/8 40 7/8 ff6shadow's Alaron<br /> 6 12 1/2 10 9 3/8 8 5/8 40 1/2 Jonathan_Vagabond's Arx Ancilis<br /> 12 14 10 7 3/4 8 3/4 40 1/2 GregT_314's Maelstrom<br /> 3 12 11 1/2 9 1/2 7 40 CorrinAvatan's R'norima<br /> 4 13 10 8 3/4 8 1/4 40 Witchslasher's Suminya<br /> 9 11 1/4 12 1/4 7 1/2 8 7/8 39 7/8 Koradzi's Soren Empire<br /> 22 14 1/4 8 3/8 8 1/2 8 1/2 39 5/8 Elil's Swallowed City<br /> 15 11 3/4 9 3/4 8 3/4 8 1/8 38 3/8 herald108's Surin Heights<br /> 8 12 1/4 10 1/4 6 3/4 8 3/4 38 ClanBattlerage's Araddona<br /> 10 13 1/2 8 1/2 8 8 38 shinobicow's Bakanoria<br /> 21 9 3/4 10 3/4 8 8 1/4 1 37 3/4 JRGumby's Akkadia<br /> 13 11 1/4 11 8 1/8 6 3/4 37 1/8 Sinjei's Dominion of Erathis<br /> 19 11 3/8 8 1/4 7 3/4 8 5/8 1 37 Exultation's Quellera Imperialis<br /> 2 10 1/4 12 7 6 35 1/4 S-Marrow's Holshorn<br /> 18 9 1/2 9 1/4 7 7 7/8 33 5/8 CountessKathleen's Amalthean Republic<br /> 11 10 8 7 1/4 7 32 1/4 Zetesofos' Wakemist<br /> 14 8 1/2 9 3/4 7 6 7/8 32 1/8 Drecon84's Ravellon<br /> 7 7 11 1/2 0 7 1/4 25 3/4 JayJian's Islan<br /> 5 10 1/2 7 0 7 1/2 25 Falstyr's Imbelote<br /> 16 8 3/4 6 3/4 0 7 1/2 23 TelinArtho's Grum-fells<br /> 1 8 1/2 9 0 4 1/4 21 3/4 Caladors' Imperious

Oh, this one will be fun. I can't wait to work on it.

One question for element E: What do you mean a background for player characters from that nation? Do you mean telling the history of the nation so player characters can write their own ticket... or, like, a sample history of someone who grew up in the nation that can inspire folks?
Backgrounds were introduced in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide and the Players Handbook 2. It is a small benefit a PC can get by concentrating on their background.

It is, essentially, a brief description of what roleplaying benefits a character might gain for having been raised in the nation, and a few Skills associated with characters from that nation.

For example:
Euphonian Background
People from Euphonia are trained at birth to sing on pitch and to have an ear for music and tone. Almost every Euphonian can tune an instrument, and -- except for those poor tone-deaf exiles -- perform at least one operatic aria.

Associated Skills: Diplomacy, Perception
Wow, this one is going to be interesting... I'm already taking notes. Hopefully i can actually put the advice i got in the last one of these things to practical use here.

Question:
Regarding optional element four, by what source are we to assume the races are unavailable to player characters? if its in the Character Builder its legal?

Thanks
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

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Question:
Regarding optional element four, by what source are we to assume the races are unavailable to player characters? if its in the Character Builder its legal?

Any race for which rules exist for making PCs out of them is a race available to player characters. That includes every race in the character builder.
And so, the great Flumph Empire takes shape...


Sounds like a great competition, am looking forward to it. :D
I have a question regarding required element B.
Are we supposed to give a one or two sentence description of the city, or note any interesting things, and give each of these a one or two sentence description?
Ok I will give it a shot.

Something from my own homebrew campaign.

The Nation of Imperious.

Imperious is a military nation.
Everything is military, you are given rank according to ability and nothing else and this is the defining characteristic of Imperious.
You need not be the greatest solider but they tend to hold the highest ranks.
You can be a great engineer or mine worker.
Everyone has rank according to ability.


Imperious has the barren desert lands of tebnet to the west where Sand elves and Orcs scrap it out for the osis with the barren land.
Argoth forest to the north and east with it's collection of resistant inhabitants.
Tartilian forest meeting with it's sister forest in the south.
Beyond the forest of Argoth lies Grand Port and the collection of independent city states that support it.
In the south the super city-state of Barzon lets it's reach be felt.

Imperious is strongly human based.
There are no other races that call core cities home.
There belief is simple Humans are superior, they can call any climate home and are not weighed down by any preset moralities.

Imperious is highly insular.
The one 'export' if you will that people most enjoy is there ability to police.
When in Imperious territory if it be the seas or land they viciously attack any bandit, priates or thieves of any sort.
So dogged is there actions that they have almost gone to war with some cities over there actions.
So as a result the trade routes of Imperious are extremely safe.
But there is always the tax that comes with that but cheaper than hiring a mercenary company.

The system of government is simple it is military.
Everyone must obey the order of there superior officer.
Dissent is unheard of.

There are no regions within Imperious as there supreme commander 'Imperious' is the god-commander.
Watching over there great nation and protecting it with his careful hand give life milk the lands she protects.
(note that god is refenced in both the masculine and the femininen, for example in regards to hunting he will be male but in regards to safekeeping she will be female.)
The only originizations of note are the five noble families.
Though no one is granted automatic rank these families have give Imperious some of the finest warriors and generals ever seen thus given the name noble out of respect.

History Checks.

DC 10
Imperious is military nation where order is everything.
Everyone is a soilder.

DC 15
Imperious is a military nation where rank is everything.
Everyone has a rank.

DC 15
Sao Lous is only a recent addition to Imperious nation.
Twenty years ago or so it was Annex by force.

DC 20
Though a military nation, rank need not be earned through combat.
rank is earned according to excellence in your field, even if that is just in a field.

DC 25

The Imperious god is also a part of there command structure.
S/He is the highest ranking officer.

DC 30
Some of the highest ranking officers of Imperious are rumored to be Dragons

DC 35
The so called god of Imperious is apparently one of the oldest dragons in existence.

DC 40
Imperious is a Dragon that has been using his children to create a great empire using humans as fast breeding easy to manipulate soliders.

DC 45
It has been so long since this scheme started that some of Imperious dragonic descendants believe the same as the humans that Imperious is a god and they are doing his will to save the humans from themselves.

Well I believe I qualify for number four in the optional rules there and number fourteen also.
But something that maybe inferred the nation has compared to others a great number of warlords with in it.

Also I would like to give the most likely center for adventure Sao Lous

Sao Lous
The famed stop over point the half way point between Grand port and Barzon the other major human powers in the Realm.
It was once just a fishing community which was free from attack from dragons and other small disasters.
Which made it an attractive spot to stop over.
The city grew in all directions.
However since Imperious has taken control there have been some major changes.
Mainly the great walls the artificial harbor that protects the docks.
Though much to Imperious despaired they couldn't put all of the local resents to the sword bad for there image so there are many different cultures and people living with there walls.
Imperious has a long term view of this they have decided they will eventually be phased out as more and more people join there glorious nation.

In the mean time it's causing them more headaches than ever.
This the only city in which they have 'allowed' a thieves guild to operate.
Due to the hap hazard nature of the way the city was built they have had trouble rebuilding it according to there way.

There are many organizations at work here.
Some are trying the peaceful solution to the day to day conflicts showing that there is more to life than three hots and a cot.
Others are taking more drastic action.

Lo Angsa the Flash
The new captain of the black howl (A massive pirate ship made from bones of a dragon of unimaginable scale) Inheritor of the power of Blood Fist Bill.
Has long had conflicts with Imperious
To this day no one is exactly sure why.
But she wants those gates to the harbor opened so she can bring the howl in a special brand of hell to Imperious and to take back the city.

I can see the three different tiers of adventuring working here.

Ether for Imperious or Against, Law or Chaos.

Law Heroic
Working with the Imperious government try and make changes with there organization, prove your race or class or mearly gain rank.
As you slowly weed out thieves guild working to undermine your nation and destabilize Sao Lous.

Chaos Heroic
This is Imperious first step into taking over the world we must work to stop there insidious entices from ensnaring the world.
Find there ancient enemies with the underground ruins.
Steal uniforms for the forecoming event
If we can prepare for Lo Angsa's attack we can help free the city.

Law Paragon
It was thanks to your efforts that the insurgents were unable to gain a foot hold with in these walls.
It could have spelled doom for the city.
With a capital L for Lo Angsa
Who would have thought we had dragons on our side to fight of her frightful unique ability.
After defeating one of the captains of the invasion fleet you turn your attention to the sea.
After such epic encounter it's obvious your the man for the job clean up our seas like you did our city.
If be kracken or more mundane threats.

Chaos Paragon
It's all thanks you the liberator of our fair city.
The connections you made, the enemies the conventually arrived when they did not to menchion uniforms that allowed us to open the gates.
Who would have thought the gatekeeper was actually a dragon.
It was an epic battle thankfully you had the uniquely skilled pirate Lo Angsa
on your side.
Or it could have spelled doom for the resistance.
The pirate queen has given you a new job, take the fight to core lands.
The three cities before Imperious.
Lets give them some taste of Freedom before they forget what it is.

Law Epic
If a priate fleet wasn't enough, you find out your seas are testing lab for both Tower of the Artizil and the Order of the Eye.
Spires that rose from the sea.
Many eyed floating flesh balls?!
But after one rather harrowing encounter with Queen of the Pirate Lo Angsa
You were able to hold off until renforcement arrived.
And thank stars for that you don't think you could have waited a second longer.
But now our sea is safe for now.
But there is one way to make it safe for sure.
Travel to the far north lands to lands of Isis and to Opious capital of debauchery.
More importantly home to Lo-Angsa.
Time to take the fight to our really enemy.

Chaos Epic
Befriending the locals, check.
Slaying a dragon, check.
Clearing out the labs of mad Imperious battle mages, check.
Slaying the same Dragon that refused to die and came back to life, check.
Changing my underwear after encountering Imperious the Ancient Red dragon,
Check.
Thankfully since we had cause it some injury, Lo Angza was able to rescue us.
But this the end of his mad plans for world domination, were going to take the fight to him now soon we will be ready and when we are.
Were going to give him a special brand of hell.

Wow that took to long for something I wrote on the spot...
Sorry for the length guys hope you enjoyed.
I have a slightly different question that may just be judge preference:

In the last contest, there were several complaints about names in particular that could be pulled from a modern town. Is it discouraged/will you lose points if your creation has strong similarities to a real current/historical nation?

The main reason I ask is that the best worlds and nations are believable, the most believable nations are realistic, and the most realistic nations are based on real nations.

I was planning on basing a nation on a historic source. If I'm going to get sunk in ratings for it though, I'd prefer to have something less realistic and in line with the contest.
I have a question regarding required element B.
Are we supposed to give a one or two sentence description of the city, or note any interesting things, and give each of these a one or two sentence description?

First, it's a one or two sentence description of the nation, not the city (unless you are using optional element number 1. Basically, you need to encapsulate what makes this nation unique in a sentence or two.
In the last contest, there were several complaints about names in particular that could be pulled from a modern town. Is it discouraged/will you lose points if your creation has strong similarities to a real current/historical nation?

Creativity (15 points)
[INDENT]Creativity measures the originality of a particular submission or how well it takes an existing idea and converts it into game terms.[/INDENT]
Some factors judges consider when assessing an entry's Creativity:
  • Has the concept been previously seen in popular culture or in a published gaming product?
  • Does the entry provide a new twist to or thoughtful parody of a common trope?
  • Will the entry be fun to both players and Dungeon Masters if included in an established campaign?

Each judge is going to weigh things differently. Just do your best.
And the list is updated. Welcome to the XDMCs, Caladors!
Is it discouraged/will you lose points if your creation has strong similarities to a real current/historical nation?

Generally, people prefer fantastic nations like Eberron's Karrnath (where everyone and his dog is undead) and FR's Netheril (a floating city from the Shadow Plane) over Faux-Medieval-Country #843, so I would err on the side of basing something on history but adding a fantastic twist. Calador's entry is a good example of this: A militaristic nation? Sounds like a bunch of nations throughout our history. A militaristic nation...being led by a dragon worshiped as a god, so he can conquer the world? Fantastic twist.
Okay, this contest is going to be fun. There is no way I am going to miss this one.

Now, the only problem is limiting myself down to a single entry. I've got at least two good ideas, and I am not quite certain about which one to use... The big problem is that one is more playable, but harder to make generic, and the other is already generic enough but isn't quite as playable. I'll figure it out, though.
First, it's a one or two sentence description of the nation, not the city (unless you are using optional element number 1. Basically, you need to encapsulate what makes this nation unique in a sentence or two.

whoops, I meant nation, of course.

I'll be sure to write something up for this, it seems like great fun:D
Alright! Now that TwinBahamut isn't judging, I can finally make an entry again. Still need to settle on a concept though...
Okay, this contest is going to be fun. There is no way I am going to miss this one.

Now, the only problem is limiting myself down to a single entry. I've got at least two good ideas, and I am not quite certain about which one to use... The big problem is that one is more playable, but harder to make generic, and the other is already generic enough but isn't quite as playable. I'll figure it out, though.

Keep in mind that you can always submit multiple ideas after the contest closes, you just can't submit two and have them be judged. If there's one really cool idea that would be dinged some points for being hard to make generic, post it for peoples' review after the contest closes, and put in your more-generic idea as your entry.

One of the goals of the XDMC is to help DMs come up with interesting facets to their campaign, so the more examples of this we have, the better.
I hearby request a ruling on the inclusion of maps, charts, and other works of cartography.
I hearby request a ruling on the inclusion of maps, charts, and other works of cartography.

  • Outside Links Prohibited. Entries may not include material hosted on a website other than the post on which the entry appears. Images hosted on, or hyperlinks to, other websites will be ignored by the judges when scoring.

If you can convince Wizards to host your map (don't bother-they won't) you can post it. otherwise, any links or images you post are for the entertainment of those who would read your entry, but will not be considered by the judges.
Okay, I have a few questions about optional element 14, mostly concerning the exact definition of "monarchy".

First, does it count as a monarchy if the role of the king is mostly symbolic, and thus the reigning monarch has almost no political power?

Second (and this is not related to the previous question at all), does it count as a monarchy if the ruler's position is not hereditary?
And the list is updated. Welcome to the XDMCs, Caladors!

Thanks man.
Are there always these many questions?
Before other people start posting?
Okay, I have a few questions about optional element 14, mostly concerning the exact definition of "monarchy".

First, does it count as a monarchy if the role of the king is mostly symbolic, and thus the reigning monarch has almost no political power?

Second (and this is not related to the previous question at all), does it count as a monarchy if the ruler's position is not hereditary?

A constitutional monarchy is one in which the monarchy is determined by non-hereditary means and the monarch holds little actual power, yet it is still a monarchy.
Okay, I have a few questions about optional element 14, mostly concerning the exact definition of "monarchy".

First, does it count as a monarchy if the role of the king is mostly symbolic, and thus the reigning monarch has almost no political power?

Second (and this is not related to the previous question at all), does it count as a monarchy if the ruler's position is not hereditary?

I would define a monarchy as any nation with a singular ruler (hereditary or otherwise). A nation with a king or queen is a monarchy. A nation with a king and an elected council that helps govern the land is some strange melange of republic.
If you look past the plot and the voice acting, Metroid: Other M was an okay game. Not a great game, but an adequate one. Not using the Metroid item collect jingle though? That, was a mistake.
Hello,

This will be my first competition that I enter, and I just had a question as to the optional elements. Namely, is it poor conduct to point out the optional elements that are included, for example by stating:

Nation X is governed by Y (op. element 14)...

Is that considered poor form to point it out, or is that alright, since some people might not notice it unless pointed out?

Thanks for your time,

Corrin Avatan.
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
Hello,

This will be my first competition that I enter, and I just had a question as to the optional elements. Namely, is it poor conduct to point out the optional elements that are included, for example by stating:

Nation X is governed by Y (op. element 14)...

Is that considered poor form to point it out, or is that alright, since some people might not notice it unless pointed out?

Thanks for your time,

Corrin Avatan.

I've been in almost all of these, and I've found that its best to list all of the optional elements at the bottom of your entry in their own section.
I've been in almost all of these, and I've found that its best to list all of the optional elements at the bottom of your entry in their own section.

Thanks for your prompt answer.
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
If you can convince Wizards to host your map (don't bother-they won't) you can post it. otherwise, any links or images you post are for the entertainment of those who would read your entry, but will not be considered by the judges.

Not to drag the issue out, but would it be acceptable / admissible to link to a piece in the wizards gallery? As it's not original material I'm guessing no, but it's worth asking.
Thanks man.
Are there always these many questions?
Before other people start posting?

Sometimes there are a lot of questions and sometimes there are none. Most entries come later in the competition. This allows you time to write it up and then come back to it an polish it up before posting. Or it may be that people procrastinate. The advantage of posting early is that it is more likely you will be the first to do something a certain way and therefore get more creativity points. If you post later you could read other entries and incorporate good ideas. I personally don't read them until I post mine so that my ideas don't get stuck on the same track.

Identical Games

D&D Published World foums at The Piazza (Dark Sun, Mystara, Spelljammer, Planescape, and more); Core Coliseum; D&D Material including my Master/Expert DM Competition entries

Thanks man, I just saw the other one didn't look but saw like 10 pages to the thread or something and I thought this would be some what explosive.
But apperently not...
First time I have been spending any real time on these boards I have been here off and on but I thought what the heck.
And then no one else had posted anything.
So I felt cold and alone.
The disadvantage of posting first is many, many spelling and grammer errors that you can't edit out...
I did it on the fly I tell you!
Such is life.
I forgot to get my entry in for the last few of these, so I'm making sure to remember this time. I do have a question though, which is more or less an extension of TwinBahamut's:

How do you count governments which claim to be one type, but are in fact another?

To take a couple examples, Rome under Julius Caesar was nominally still a republic, but in actuality was a dictatorship. In modern times, England has a queen, but is in fact a democracy.

In other words, what if the king or the senate or whatever has a purely symbolic role, with the actual power being held by another group? Does it still count as a monarchy or democracy?
Okay, I have a few questions about optional element 14, mostly concerning the exact definition of "monarchy".

First, does it count as a monarchy if the role of the king is mostly symbolic, and thus the reigning monarch has almost no political power?

Second (and this is not related to the previous question at all), does it count as a monarchy if the ruler's position is not hereditary?

In my opinion, a monarchy is a system of government in which one individual is in charge of the government for life. It need not be hereditary. And it focuses on the system, so even if the person is only nominally in head of the government, they are still monarch (such as the modern monarchy of the United Kingdom, which is also a democracy).

So, for me, the issue is whether the leader serves for a fixed time or for life.

One tricky system would be a Peerage in which, for example, the nation is comprised of a bunch of independent kingdoms, each with a king who governs their kingdom for life, but the kings take turns being "High King" for a fixed term. I think such grey areas are best left to the individual judges' discretion.
I'm on 7 pages already. Need some History DC and Race Background and done. Hope it'll be decent enough to post when its done. Otherwise I'll bin it like with the last competition :P
Not to drag the issue out, but would it be acceptable / admissible to link to a piece in the wizards gallery?

That would be acceptable, but would probably be considered only with respect to your Clarity score. I.e., it makes the entry more attractive to view, and might illustrate something about your entry that words alone make it difficult to express. Obviously, the creativity of the artist who made the linked picture/map could not be imputed to you.
This seems like an excellent one, this is an issue that many new DMs struggle with (creating regions, nations, cities, etc) and I'd love to see more in this vein. I've been busy with work, school part time & children, but if I have the time I'll try and get an entry in.
Two more questions, the first one has to do with an optional element, the second has to do with the use of optional elements in general:

Q:
With regards to the optional element concerning a fantastic location, it states in the element "on multiple planes of existence" as an example. Does this therefore mean that a nation on a plane of existence, which is not the material one, doesn't count as fantastic? Does this vary by plane? Like, would the fey wild not count because its not fantastic enough, but the astral sea would, because it is downright crazy?

Also, second question, this has to do with judging.

I got pounded big time on the last XDMC for including too many elements in my entry. Now, this time a round, you've given me too many things that i see going together perfectly, and consequently, many of the optional elemetns go together so naturaly in my entry, that i see myself using many of them even if i'm not really trying to use them as optional elements to begin with ( i mean i would have them in the entry if they were optional elements or not).

So...

Q: If i include a bunch more than i need to and i only want to be judged on the optional elements which i used the strongest, if i specify which optional elements i used in my entry, does this mean that you are restricted to judging my use of optional elements to the ones i specified? Thus, i can include something that goes along the lines of a different optional element then the three i am required to use, but not have it counted towards my optional element points (so if i don't use it to the maximum of its ability, i'm not getting marked down in optional elements points for its drastic suckiness, but also, i'm not getting points if it turns out to be really good)?

Thanks
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

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With regards to the optional element concerning a fantastic location, it states in the element "on multiple planes of existence" as an example. Does this therefore mean that a nation on a plane of existence, which is not the material one, doesn't count as fantastic?

No. It's an example -- it isn't meant to exclude anything. if you think your city's location is "fantastic" then include it. it's up to the judges to subjectively determine how fantastic it may be.

Q: If i include a bunch more than i need to and i only want to be judged on the optional elements which i used the strongest, if i specify which optional elements i used in my entry, does this mean that you are restricted to judging my use of optional elements to the ones i specified?

No. If you got "slammed" for including more elements than you needed, it would be because including elements that felt forced would impinge on your Creativity, Usability and Clarity scores, not your Themes score. If you do a good job meeting the required elements and incorporating three optional elements you should score fine.

However, if you also include three other optional elements in a way that feels forced or muddles the entry, your other categories are likely to suffer. It's not unusual for an entry that tries to include every optional element to do very well in Themes but to suffer in Clarity and Usability.
I have to admit, the definitions the judges gave for what it means to be a monarchy are far more broad than I was hoping for. If democracy is given a similarly broad definition, optional element 14 is going to be very tricky. And here I was thinking it was going to be an easy fit for my ideas...

I guess I need to go back to the optional elements jigsaw puzzle. For some reason meeting the minimum number of optional elements is always the hardest step for me.
Indeed. By the same definition you can make a dictatorship and call it a monarchy. Laughable really.
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