Contest rules may vary from competition to competition. At the beginning of each competition, any special rules for that contest will be detailed. Failure to abide by these rules will result in a score of 0 for Thematic Consistency, and may result in disqualification. In addition, the following rules are in effect for all Master DM Competitions:
Creativity (15 points)Creativity measures the originality of a particular submission or how well it takes an existing idea and converts it into game terms. High scores are reserved for entries that are completely unique, or provide a new twist on an old idea. Creativity can reflect entirely new ideas, thoughtful parodies of existing ideas, or unique derivatives of a classic archetype.
Adaptability (10 points)Adaptability measures how much effort would be needed for a DM to include the entry in any given campaign. Entries may use any source, but for purposes of this category it is assumed a DM has access only to the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual. Thus, the use of material from other sources can result in a lower score. Including descriptions on how to use the entry without the supplemental material, or having a brief synopsis of what the material entails can alleviate this somewhat, allowing the entry to score well even with the supplemental material. In addition, if the subject or background of the entry would be difficult to include – for example, if the entry is located in a vast desert the size of the Sahara and involves 1,000 years of history, it will probably not score well, as a DM might not want such a disruption to the continuity of their game world.
Thematic Consistency (10 points)Thematic consistency measures how well the entry fits the overall theme of the contest, as well as how well it incorporates the specified number of thematic elements. Thematic elements that are touched upon but are not central to the submission will score fewer points than those that integrated fully. The more thoroughly the entry considers the elements, the higher the score. Attempting to include more than the specified number of thematic elements will not necessarily result in a higher score, so it is better to include the minimum number elements very well than many loosely. To assist the judges, it is asked that an entry provide a brief mention of which thematic elements it was intended to meet.
Technical Information & Rules Use (10 points)Technical information & rules use measures how well the entry uses and represents the rules of the game. The completeness and accuracy of all necessary mechanical information is a center point of this category, but is not its entirety. The use of proper and logical formatting as well as the correctness and appropriateness of cited or implied game rules are also covered. If an entry presents a new mechanic or game component, it must be described well enough that readers understand how to use it with the existing rules. In addition, the new mechanic should fit well and be “balanced” in comparison to existing game mechanics. For example, a 1st-level spell that does 1,000 damage with no save will likely score poorly. Lastly, all mechanics and rules should be consistent with the most current version of the game (3.5).
Clarity (5 points)Clarity measures how easily accessible the ideas presented in the entry are to the reader. A high score will follow a logical format, information will be easily found and the entry will flow from one section to another with narrative continuity. This is not simply a measure of grammatical aptitude, but if frequent grammar and spelling errors serve to confuse the ideas the submission attempts to convey, this category will suffer. As judges often download entries and review them offline, the use of text formatting that may not copy correctly (text color, spoiler blocks, etc.) is not recommended, though not prohibited. Entries must be written in English. Either American or English spelling conventions may be used.