Man, I got 34 more months until I retire and it an’t come soon enough. It’s 11am and I’m three beers in a Monday morning. Someone else at work needs to figure the fuck out how to make a fuckign decision.
So, follow along with me on this journey. I review this adventure, right? And it sucks shit, right? I mean, that’s nothing new, most of what I review really sucks shit, right? I mean, yeah, we’re stuck in this position where I can’t suggest that someone NOT write an adventure. You gotta write. It’s important. You want to share your vision with the world. Creativity is important. But, like, I’m paying for this shit, right?I’m a consumer. And while consumer gonna consume, it would also be super chill if shit didn’t suck as much. So, you’re a new designer and you got an idea and its super cool in your head nad you want to share it and so you write something and it just sucks shit. So, like, as a consumer, what do you do? Chalk it up to money wasted, I guess? Create a blog where you write reviews of shitty adventures for ten years straight? Or, maybe, as a designer, you could write something that don’t suck? But that requires you to not what Not Sucking is. And you don’t know what you don’t know, right? I mean, all you’ve seen is this suck-ass from the majors and the other designers, who also all suck. And then, eventually, mr Adventure Reviewer is so disgusted with the state of affairs that they run a fucking contest all in honor of you cause while your adventure is not the worst ever written, it is the proverbial straw.
And thus, gentle reader, we arrive at the Wavestone Keep contest. The first time this happen was when I was reviewing Dungeon Magazine, and I took some time off. Another time it happened I went and published some adventures that I wrote in 90 minutes, to see just how hard it was, and fucked with Prince and Melan to get a Not Suck review. This time I ran the Wavestone Keep contest.
And how pleasantly surprised I was! It was a lot of Not Suck. I mean, some sucked more than others, but none of them were the major suckatutde I had been dealing with. In retrospect, this makes sense. It you’re reading tenfootpole and wallowing through all the same filth I am, except deal with my bullshit ennui and stream of consciousness and complete disregard to editing, then, hey, you must actually care something about design. Or, maybe you’ve picked something up by osmosis? Whatevs, even the most sucky of the entries didn’t reach hte standard of Shitty Adventure. I mean, sure, soome were not great, but, they didn’t make me want to drink myself in to stupor, which is what I encounter most days and therefore the tenfootpole standard.
And, I feel, this is an important point. This blog has a reputation. And, I mean, I guess I do to. “Oooo, Bryce is a hard ass” Oooh, Bryce has exacting standards. No. Absolutely the fuck not. I do not. I think I’m’, a pretty generous guy. Understanding, even. You don’t gotta be the greatest new thing ever. You just gotta not suck. And for all of my advice, and points I like to see hit, there’s a thousand different ways to hit those points. “Bryce wants you to do X” No. Bryce doesn’t want you to do X. Bryce wants an adventure that is easy to run and makes him want to run it … and I’ll even go light on that second point. And, fuck, maybe even that first point is that second point is chill. I mean, Thracia, right? I should review that some day (This Buds for you, Kent.)
Ok, back to the fucking point of this drunken monologue (I had to correct drunken three times.) Everyone sent something chill. I don’t hate myself, or my life. In fact, I’m gonna be a little sad not reviewing a sea tower with lizardmen when I get down to things tomorrow. I’ll miss you people! (Fuck me, three times to correct people also.) So, everything is chill. All entries: chill. Yeah, so, Mr I wrote a single column word doc, you’re not gonna win, but, also, I don’t hate my life after reviewing your adventure. And, more than that, I feel most of the entries (all fo the entires?) were a solid six or seven on a ten point scale. We are fortunate that we live in the best of all possible worlds (Leibnitz or Candide, your choice) and have a fucking rediculous number of choices to pick from in adventures. This makes my job all the much harder, since I’m nitpicking, a lot of the time, and selecting on ly thebest of the best of th best of the best. Which is chill, right? I mean, ther’s a heavy Curation aspect to this blog. Butm hey, nice job everyone. Even the most suck ass of the adventures submitted doesn’t rise to the level of Wavestone Keep.
That poor dude. (Dude?) I don’t know and can’t be bothered to check.) Anyway. Get you’re adventure torn to fucking shreds and, then ,further mocked by having a contest? Brutal!
Ok, so, for the firth fucking time I’m doing this reprtospective. I’m now four beers and half a bottle of Fireball (two corrections) in. So, no one scuks. Yeah! Some of you were close! Yeah! You know who you are. Deep deown, you know don’t live up. That little voice inside of you, telling you that you sucl? It’s almost correct. Ok, so, maybe this blog is a little harsh.
Looks like there were five No Regerts entries to this contest. That’s great! You should all be very proud! For almost winning! I mean, second place, right? If you had just worked just a littttttttle harder …. (The correct response here is “Fuck you asshole/”) Still, five is great. I would absolutely happy to blind buy a No Regerts adventure. Rolling Deep Keep, Wyvery’s Roost, Tidal Terror Tower, The Floating Tower of Atlantic, and What Lurks Beneath all displayed a a great deal of adventure design knowledge.e. No. I mean, fuck that,they were pretty good adventure. All of them hit a lot of good points and they all would have been great to run. The open ended nature of Wynern, Under Da Sea in Rolling Deep, the open ended nature of Tidal Terror, and the wizard tower nature of Atlantis. And, I was drunk at a bar during Jordans, so, you know, they get a pass. But, really, a solid all around adventure in Lurks Beneath.
But, I mean, fuck those second place finishers. We’re here for the winners on the brutalis t blog on the internet, am i right? (But, good job folks! If we ever meet I wont glare at you in absolute scorn!)
So, The Best, Greth, Surgerock, Gravestone, Pink Waves, Guimond. Frost Spire, Monolith. Like, six The Bests in, what, one month? Give yourself all a pat on the back. You’re all good looking, talented, and, of course, humble. So, like, jackass Jacob is gonna win. Yeah! But, also, so is someone else. “Shaq wins the playground dunk contest!” Ok, so, sure. Good job Jacob! Your adventure, Frost Spire, is REALLY good. Painfully so. You should, like, send me your address or something, for a handwritten note from a stranger on the internet that will give you fulfillment in life. Also, like, I get the harpies, but, we need a stronger harpy/wife connection. Also, here’s your pull quote: Jacob Hurst, You’re Not A Fucking Idiot. It’s painfully good.
But, also, like Guimonds, right? First time publishing? No D&D experience? Someone get that person a game! You did that, right? And not a suck ass one, right? (I mean,. That’s a whole other discussion!) Fuck me, can I finish this bottle of jalapeno pineapple margarita before my call with the VP in an hour AND not appear drunk? Let’s find out~
So, the fucking ine bottle adventure, Pink Waves, right? Jetsam, mini-dimension, fucking fucked up people, open ended, rock on! Needs more cowbellbell thoough. Gravestone … literally made up of gravestones? Surgerock was fucking great. Monolith, in two pages? Go back and read the reviews of these. I gush over them. I weep for joy over them. Need ideas. Good micro-mechanics. Great writing, and easy to run. Seriously, I gave people like two weeks and popped out seven Bests and like five Regerts? icely done! See, it’s not hard, you just have to be Not A Fucking Idiot.
Ugm so, welcome to the blog. Hope you had a good time. Greth wins. I’m gonna pass out now. Good job man! Not a fucking idiot1
Congratulations, and a very cool winner!
Bryce, thank you for the motivation to have a go.
Cheers and enjoy that margarita!
This makes so much more sense if you read it in the drunk voice.
Bryce, thanks for running this and very well done to all entrants!
Congrats everyone, it was an honor to be part of this! This blog and community is the best cauldron for good adventure design.
Congrats to the Winner!!! Well earned.
Was rated in the “Not Terrible” category, but with the timeline and more ambition than sense, I sent something only 75% done. Given an extra week would I have been in the “the Best”? Probably not but I feel much better about the product I put out on DRIVETHRU than the draft I sent in that was reviewed.
The contest pushed me to finish it and hopefully someone somewhere will enjoy my free adventure or at least reading it will occupy them for 15 minutes while they sit through a boring ass conference call or take a shit.
“And, I was drunk at a bar during Jordans, so, you know, they get a pass.”
This is definitely going to be the marketing blurb when I put my adventure on DTRPG.
Great contest, and congratulations to J on a well-deserved win.
Reading through Greth again, tools like the time management system really stand out. Bryce often asks in reviews what the designer is offering that the purchaser couldn’t just do themselves. My takeaway from this contest: whether it is art, or a game management tool, or some one-in-a-million concept, a great product offers the purchaser one or more things they wouldn’t ever come up with on their own.
Cheers all around!
Congratulations to the winner and to Bryce for pulling off/pulling through with this huge competition!
Thanks, Bryce! I never won anything before. So, this was an unexpected surprise. Not sure what to say other than: Thanks for running the contest. Because of it, I finally got a chance to play my first game – a special thank you to Stripe for DMing Keep on the Borderlands. And another thank you to Kelsey for helping me with a new 5e adventure I was working on.
I called it! Totally agree. Greth was the best of the best, and that’s really, truly saying something among these stand-out candidates!
So cool, man! I only have time to read the last line and was so happy!
You were a great player and let’s keep in touch! Hey, Run Greth on the OSR Pick-Up Games server, would ya? (https://discord.gg/PWfgBss)
Congrats to the winner and honestly congrats to everyone who threw in a submission. I was surprised how many people entered on such a short timeline–that’s awesome! Thanks for reviewing them all Bryce, enjoy your drinks! Cheers!
Congrats J and Jacob! And thank you, Bryce, for getting this all together and reviewing all of our adventures!
Also, to any Palace on the Pink Waves fans… be on the lookout for the “Revised, Expanded, & Inebriated Edition” in the coming weeks (or, if I’m being honest with myself, months)!
Get help man :/
Yes, Congratulations to the winner, I enjoyed reading the entrances and reviews. My personal favorite was The Frost Spire, excellent writing and ‘plot twist’!
This review is too long and meandering. It could use a good edit, and should try for more evocative text. It’s too hard to use at the table.
Disirregardless, congratulations to the winner and everyone who participated!
A fine haul. Congratulations on the success of the contest, and the material that it generated. You collecting and publishing for free by any chance?
This is a great example of how something crappy can result in something, or in this case somethings, good. Thus, I am grateful that Wavestone Keep was written because without it we wouldn’t have all these great adventures to choose from.
Congrats to the winner and all those who don’t suck. Well done
Congrats to all, and especially the winner!
Thanks Bryce again for lighting a fire and getting me to actually write something!
Congrats for everyone!
Bryce, what are you going to do once you retire? Do we want to know?
Hunt down the fuckers who let him down, presumably. There is a list, and the list is LONG.
“Do better than those fuckers” is great motivation. Delivered more lizard lighthouses than you can shake a stick at and then some.
The contest reveals the one dirty secret of advenure writing that somehow still eludes a lot of people: it is actually not that hard to be decent at it. Old-school gamers have cracked the code long ago, and spent more than a decade obsessing over the safe, secure formula to Not Suck. There are a few rules you *must*follow, a few more guidelines which do not hurt, and there you are. It is not exactly rocket science.
So… if you still produce crap, what’s YOUR excuse?
Then how come that the professional ‘fuckers’ won’t follow general wisdom? They somehow must have completely different goals in mind.
Those “completely different goals” are usually “get paid a lousy rate on a per word basis with a work for hire contract”. Encourages bloat and does not incentivise writing something with staying power, since you won’t really benefit.
That’s the writers motivation. The editors, layout, and heavenly host of others involved are just trying to shove something out the door that will sell. And that is not the same thing as good or playable.
I’ve heard one can make tens of dollars selling OSR modules. How much of an incentive can that unique mixture of sloth and haste actually be?
Bringing to mind old adages about “brain damage”, most of my current players don’t seem to want OSR adventures. At least in the current campaign, they want a straightforward obvious hook, chances to be goofy, clear bad guys to smite, not do have to do too much thinking… The occasional puzzle, the occasional moral conundrum, but nothing out of the box. No downtime projects or connections to the world.
And they’re coworkers, some senior to me… So we play WotC pap.