Mmm...I'm feeling a bit inspired.
2020 was the Year of the Rat, and I only wish I'd had this idea back then when everyone was hunkered in place. Unfortunately, I'm self-absorbed and slow to come up with original ideas. SO, riffing off someone else's idea, I'm going to do my own adventure design contest, largely inspired by Bryce's review of yet another boring, rat-themed adventure.
Rats are awful. I mean real life rats. Yes, I know some folks love their pet rats. I find the creatures horrid. I once had to dispose of a monster one (killed in a trap) and the thing was just nauseating. Neutral with evil tendencies, says the original Monster Manual, and I'm inclined to agree. I don't think any D&D player EVER had any misgivings about slaying as many rats (and ratlike creatures) as their DMs threw at them. Getting TPK'd by giant rats (as I've watched happen multiple times in running The Keep on the Borderlands) must be one of the most ignominious ways of seeing a campaign end.
Time to rehabilitate the rat. No, not as a good guy, but as an adventure trope. Rats are awful and should be slain (duh, just said that). But let's see if we can't build an interesting scenario around the overused creature. HERE ARE THE CONTEST RULES:
- Send me your rat-themed adventure. It should be an original creation of yours and NOT something you've previously published.
- The adventure should be written for a particular system of D&D or appropriate retro-clone. The system should be pre-1999 (no 3E or later editions). The system should be stated.
- The adventure should be written for a particular level range. This should also be stated (for example, "for AD&D characters of level 5th - 7th," etc.).
- Adventures should feature a mapped "dungeon" (adventure site) for exploration that has a MINIMUM of 12 keyed areas.
- All submissions must be received before December 1st, Seattle time; entries should be emailed to me at bxblackrazor AT gmail DOT com.
You will retain ownership of your adventures and are free to publish them yourselves. However, by submitting them to the contest, you are granting me permission to use them in book (again, with all profits going to charity).
Unlike my Fat Frog Challenge, this time I will be offering a prize to the TOP TWO entries: a print copy of one of my books (winner's choice of either my B/X Companion or The Complete B/X Adventurer). I am also currently getting a price quote on a (softcover) print run of my newest book Comes Chaos and that will also be a third option, assuming it's available.
Some notes on playing to the judge (me): submissions probably shouldn't exceed 20 pages, and no more than 2-3 pages of maps. I tend to hate skill/ability checks and non-weapon proficiencies. I prefer pre-2E design sensibilities but I am allowing 2nd edition adventures as a bone for the "younger" participants; if you're doing 2E, better make it great! And remember that TREASURE is an important aspect of adventure design, and should be appropriate for the party levels for which you're writing.
All right, get to work. Have fun. Hopefully something cool will come out of this. Any questions folks have may be emailed to me or submitted in the comments section of this post.
Thanks for playing!