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Great idea resource: Paizo's RPG Superstar

Paizo is currently in the midst of their 2010 Paizo RPG Superstar contest, where they have gamers submit a number of concepts and finished ideas to their staffers for judging and criticism. I believe the winner last year won a writing spot on one of Paizo's products, possibly their Pathfinder line? (I don't remember exactly).

Over the course of the contest, the contestants must design a number of varying entries - a wondrous item, a monster concept, followed by its stat block, a location complete with map, and finally a full adventure proposal. The field of entries is narrowed down to 32 writers in the first round, and then halved each round after that until only one is left standing (writing?).

While this is certainly very cool to any aspiring RPG writers, I find it to be a great source of ideas and inspiration for my own personal GM toolkit. Every GM I know is constantly on the lookout for cool ideas or novel concepts, and this contest is an incredible think-tank of creativity. Obviously you can't pluck someone's adventure proposal out and get it published, for blatant legal and copyright issues. But in your own personal game? Go for it!

One of the best things about looking at such an unrestricted field of entries is the huge variety you see in the entries. Some people submit simple and conservative ideas, others might have bizarre necromantic elements in everything they do, others might have a cosmic/starfarer slant to them.

My favorite category is the first round finalists - 32 wondrous items that made the cut past Paizo's judges. The nice thing about any of these 32 items is that you already know that they are mechanically sound and not game-breaking/overpowered, since those are some of the criteria the judges looked at. However, even the items that didn't make the cut are worth checking out. Even if you don't use the item as-written, you're bound to find some fascinating and truly imaginative things you could implement into your own games.

The only negative for 4E players is that the contest is for Paizo's Pathfinder universe, which uses the 3.5 rules. Even if you can't use the exact crunch of some of the applications, you can always reskin them for 4E, or simply view them as raw, undeveloped concepts and ideas.

Some of my favorite wondrous items from this year's finalists, which I intend to stat up for 4E and work into my game:

Amulet of Sparkling Deceit by Jeff Spencer (amulet that distracts a nearby enemy, making it grant combat advantage to the wearer)

Batrachian Helm by Matthew McGee (a frog helm with a tongue attack!)

Tankard of the Cheerful Duelist by Matthew Morris (tankard that buffs AC a little while worn, but more when carried in offhand)


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