Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Halloween One-Shot Adventure Contest!

That's right, gentle readers. I'm giving in to this whole "hosting a contest on your blog" thing, and holding a contest to see who can create the basis for the best one-shot Halloween adventure!

The month of October, and Halloween in particular, has always been a special time of the year for me, and I thought that there is no better way to celebrate Halloween than to invite my readership to submit to me an adventure primer that epitomizes what you either enjoy most about Halloween or think is the most important aspect of the holiday.

Now, this isn't going to just be some "write me a bunch of meandering paragraphs of what you think makes for a great Halloween adventure", or "here is my adventure module" contest. No no no. I work in academia, and here in academia, we like criteria, percentages, and grading.

So here's your assignment:

Submit to me via e-mail (to be found under the profile link in the top-left hand corner of the blog), in an attached document (PDF preferred, .txt, .rtf, .doc, or .docx accepted), an adventure contest entry with the following:

1. Your preferred e-mail address (make sure this is in the attached file!).

2. A statement granting me (or denying me) permission to bundle your adventure together with all the other entries into a free Halloween Adventure Sourcebook PDF, to be released somewhere, somehow, after the contest is over.

3. The name of your blog (if you have one, of course. No points off if you don't).

4. The name of your adventure (points off if you don't have a name for the adventure!).

5. A three-part summary of the adventure. I want a broad-brushstrokes summary of the "hook, line, and sinker" of the one-shot. By this I mean, what hooks the player characters into the adventure, how does the adventure progress, and what "finishes off" (no pun intended) the adventure. Because this is a one-shot, and not simply a "sandbox module" plonked into the middle of your campaign, please consider some kind of beginning, middle, and end to the adventure (if it helps, picture your adventure as the basis for a horror movie). The end can be something as simple as "the PCs either all get wiped out by the Thing in the Woods, or they make it into town and find shelter in the sheriff's office", but I want the one-shot to have some kind of closure (although "sequel potential" is fine...). Percentage of your grade: 50%.

6. What system you would use to run the adventure. I don't care what system it is, I want to know why you would use it to run your adventure. Is it a horror system (Chill)? Something you're most familiar with (Swords & Wizardry)? Are you trying to say something ironic by using it (Bunnies & Burrows)? As with any good academic essay, it's not about right and wrong answers - it's about presenting a convincing argument. Percentage of your grade: 20%.

7. How you would handle characters for the adventure. Would you make pre-gens? Would you give specific character types you'd want people to create? Would you encourage people to make whatever character they want and just see how it plays out? Provide a reason for your argument, as well as a rough estimate of how many players/characters you'd want at the table. Percentage of your grade: 10%.

8. How you'd set the mood for the adventure. Would you make or provide props? Would there be an adventure soundtrack, and what would it contain? Would you serve food during gameplay? Before? After? Is there a particular place you'd want to hold the adventure (sky's the limit here)? Assume you're running the adventure on Halloween night, and go from there. Again, it's not what you'd do, it's why you'd do it that counts. Percentage of your grade: 10%.

9. Why this submission best represents, in your mind, "Halloween". If you feel Halloween is best represented by trick-or-treating, kids, candy, and fun, maybe your adventure is something of a kid's adventure. If your version of Halloween is dark and bloody and disturbing, maybe your adventure is a gruesome horror-fest. If you feel it's all about Pagan celebration and ritual, perhaps your adventure represents something cthonic and primal. As I keep stating, there is no right or wrong answer here, just well-justified and poorly-justified answers. Percentage of your grade: 10%.

Deadline: I want these submissions by no later than 11:59pm on Friday, October 23rd. I will penalize your final grade by one point for every 24 hours past the deadline you submit your adventure. I will be announcing the winner on the morning of Halloween, so if I don't get your submission by 11:59pm on Friday, October 30th, you're out of luck.

Contest Prize: I wouldn't expect you folks to do all this hard work for nothing. So, the winner of the contest will recieve a gift certificate (or e-mail, or whatever) for $31 from I'll also post the winner's submission on Halloween when I declare the winner.

All right, that's it! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave 'em. Also, if my fellow bloggers would like to be so kind, please put the word out and let's see what sorts of submissions we can get.

And, most importantly of all, Happy Halloween!


taichara said...

I must say, ye tempt me ~

Hrehehe. ;3

Zak Sabbath said...

Sent you one.

Zachary Houghton said...

Working on it!

Dr Rotwang said...

How many times can I enter?

Jack Badelaire said...

In theory, as often as you like...

In practice, I'd like your "best" Halloween adventure. As in, what you think "best" symbolizes a Halloween one-shot, just like there are horror movies and there are "perfect for Halloween" horror movies.

Toss one in the pot and we'll see how it goes, eh? Besides, how many are we talking about?