Monday, June 20, 2011

Fat Frog Challenge Winners!

I am sorry to have been so late in getting this out, but there were quite a few good entries, and my weekend was exceptionally busy (hope everyone had a happy Father's Day...I did!). However, I did go over all the entries for the Fat Frog Challenge, and yes, I have picked out my Favorite Five...actually, there was a near-tie for 5th place, so you've got six to peruse!

As I said in the beginning, "judgment" was rendered by nothing more scientific than "what appealed to me." I do enough statistical analysis and empirical consideration in my regular life and game design...this was supposed to be fun. So without further ado, here's how I ranked 'em:

#6 The Frog God's Sinkhole (by Rorschachhamster) - I just couldn't leave this one out. Even though it's a bit less polished than the Top Five, the guy used my own least, it's pretty close to my original idea (I, too, was planning on a sinkhole entrance to the frog god's lair). That and the extensive use of frog critters (froglings, frog champions, undead frogs) made this an excellent example of "unified theme." It also made me re-think my own "froggy dungeon" as I, of course, wanted to be different.

#5 Madness of the Frogmen (by David Brawley) - A nice little RC/BECMI adventure, this one not only incorporated Mr. Short's statue as a new magic item, it added several new monsters (including illustrations) and a backstory of the war/rivalry between frog men and croc people. A nice touch with good potential for role-playing and non-combat problem-solving. Though why not simply use the Frog Folk from my B/X Companion?

#4 Deceit of the Demon Frog (by Dwayne Gillingham) - One of several entries that incorporated a romance theme, a play on the "frog prince" fairy tale, AND a "switcheroo" at the end. Of the bunch, this was the best was simple, yet had plenty to do and had a bit of light-heartedness to it. It is also the only adventure that credits maps to someone other than the author (cartography: Robert Conley); a little amazing that my no-prize challenge warranted collaboration!

#3 Sir Froig (by ze bulette) - Not even an adventure per se, but a plug-in encounter with an interesting NPC. This kind of thing is great to throw into any makes players stop-and-think, putting them (at least momentarily) into the shoes of their characters while they figure out just how to approach such an individual. Is it dangerous? Humorous? Would it make a good retainer? What the heck are we supposed to do here? The fact that ZB included a cardboard miniature of Sir Froig was the perfect extra touch of thoughtfulness...well done!

#2 Sunken Abode of the Batrachian (by Brian Russell) - Now THIS is old school dungeon design. I almost, ALMOST chose this as my #1 choice...very close. It is only four pages long, the first page of which is simply an illustration "cover." One page is a beautiful map, and the last two pages include all the keyed encounters in a clean, easy to use format. There's no introduction, no background...a DM can add whatever color they desire to this sweet little dungeon delve. My favorite part, though? The Batrachian Curse. Simply brilliant. Excellent, excellent work.

#1 Challenge of the Frog Idol (by Dyson Logos) - Just because someone sends me a 21 page document (plus two pages of OGL legalese) does NOT mean they automatically walk off with top honors. Personally, there's a lot to be said for short and sweet (one of the reasons I liked the #2 entry so much). But after taking the time to read it, I found Dyson's adventure excellent in many regards. In essence, he's crafted a mini-campaign including four maps (the wilderness hex map is's my inability to do this kind of work that has stopped me from publishing my adventure modules). There are random encounters, several helpful side-bars, and four adventure sites ("dungeons") to explore. The adventure itself is fairly straight-forward bit of step-and-fetch, but it still manages to be both interesting and clever, and there's no "switcheroo" at the end...this is a WYSIWYG. Finally, there's plenty of room here for an enterprising DM to expand this into a small sandbox world. For a free download, there's a lot of good stuff here and it's well written. If you haven't already downloaded it from Dyson's blog, you should definitely take a look.

All right, that's it folks. Sorry it took so long to to get this typed up, but I have been busy. Congrats to everyone that entered the contest...all the entries were entertaining and creative, and I look forward to seeing your work elsewhere!
; )


  1. Excellent entries. All of them. I may end up using one or more in the new campaign.

    And one more thing...of course Dyson won. He wins every contest he enters. He's a machine!

  2. Great contest! Congrats to Dyson, this was a really excellent entry. With such a short timeframe it has a remarkable amount of content. Just going to show what inspiration can do.

  3. Congrats to Dyson! And all the others for doing a kick-butt job.

  4. Though why not simply use the Frog Folk from my B/X Companion?

    Because I haven't bought it yet!

    Thanks for hosting a great challenge, and congrats to Dyson! He deserved it!

  5. I'm in the same boat as David. I almost tried to suck up by using a witch for the zombie master, and definitely would have used Frog Folk had I a copy of the Companion. One of these days I'll spend money on gaming stuff again (instead of groceries and rent) and the companion remains at the top of the pile of awesome I must acquire.

    And I'm glad you liked my mini-campaign.

  6. I've looked through now and there's some great gaming material in there. Wonderful atmospheres conjured up and situations it would be very good fun to explore.

    I'd say we need more of this kind of thing, for the spark of inspiration, incentive to create and the benefits of the work produced for the rest of the community. Maybe it could tie in with that idea of a themed week? The responsibility for setting and ranking could rotate or just be as spontaneous as this was.

    Thanks for taking it on by the way, and to Tim and Whisk too for the idea and support, and of to course everyone who made it so cool.

    I'll post mine up at my blog at some point and maybe expand it with stats for a concrete system. I'd suggest anyone who hasn't already done this consider it, getting their hard work and imagination out there.

  7. @ Dyson: Drop me an email regarding the Companion...amybe we can work out some kind of trade.
    ; )