Saga Forge Scribe is a competition to design a one-shot fantasy adventure.
The top prize is a Cthulhu-themed DM screen from Nerdy Chicken, handmade, complete with LEDs and with a recommend retail value of $765.
Adventurers Wanted will also stream the winning adventure. Companies like Gaming Geek, Kobold Press, Wyrmwood Gaming, Miniature Market and 2minutetabletop are also providing prizes. Some winners will take home goodies simply because their submission was picked at random. Other prizes go to runners up.
The competition opens for entries on August 14th and then close on the 24th. It’s free to enter, but since there’s a panel of experts looking at the submissions, you can pay to get some professional critique of your work. I spoke to William Bailey, Director of Events, and Scott Peters, Director of Operations at Saga Event Management, about the paid options and the competition in general.
Can you tell us what Saga Forge Scribe is?
William: Saga Event Management are currently in the process of developing a live event called Saga Forge which incorporates aspects of TTRPGS & escape rooms with a renaissance fair feel, and Saga Forge Scribe was developed to support the event. However, due to the current climate, the contest has been put on hold and we have shifted or efforts into making Saga Forge Scribe a contest which stands on its own and will hopefully become a stable in the TTRPG community regardless of whether you are a seasoned player or new to the genre.
Scott: We wanted to offer something for people to do right now, especially as many people are spending more time indoors and in isolation. We couldn’t find anything really like Saga Forge Scribe and we felt it was a creative outlet which people really need right now. We threw a flash contest back in April where we got everything (from sponsors to judges) up in just a few weeks and it was a great success with both our judges and participants having fun and asking about the next one. We learned a lot from the contest and Saga Forge Halloween is set to be bigger and better and we look forward to how the contest will grow now that it is an annual contest.
Who’s the contest aimed at?
William: Saga Forge Scribe originated as a contest aimed at amateur writers. However, we realized there was lots of demand for it to be opened up to those who may be considered as semi-professional or professional. We really want this to be open to everybody in the TTRPG community so, as long as the adventure is original and not previously published or posted elsewhere you are free to participate in Saga Forge Halloween. We had participants from all over the world last contest ranging from Asia to N.America (please check our contest rules as unfortunately, some geographical restrictions apply).
Scott: We are really excited by this change as we look to foster the creativity we saw in the first contest and want participants to walk away with ideas of how to improve their craft. However, we want to stress that this is a contest open to everybody and if you are new and perhaps not confident you can win the grand prize, you still have a chance at some great door prizes so we really encourage you to enter.
We should also clarify that the contest is aimed to be system agnostic. We recognize that there tends to be a bias toward D&D as this is the most familiar system for our judges as well the system used to play the winning adventure. However, we saw some great adventures and unique systems during the flash contest and our marking system has been developed to try and be as fair as possible to other systems (while still providing a base for our judges).
If someone needs some examples of one-shot adventures to look at are there any designers, shops or sites you recommend?
Scott: You can always check out our website for the top 5 adventures from the previous contest. Although the marking criteria has evolved a little bit and our judges change every contest, this is still the best resource to see what our judges will be looking for. In addition, the DrivethruRPG groups, like DMs Guild, are an obvious place to start. For resources, I personally am a fan of the many Sub-Reddits with accommodating communities relating to lore/world building, adventure writing, and the hobby in general.
If someone enters Saga Forge Scribe and is really proud of their one-shot could they then submit it to DMs Guild or DrivethruRPG?
William: In short, Yes. All participants and winners of Saga Forge Scribe keep 100% of their rights and are free to do what they want with their adventures. If they make the top 5 we ask that they hold off for 2 weeks so that we can highlight the adventures on our website (early October), as DMs guild don’t allow for adventures to be published elsewhere. We link all winners on our website to their respective Dms Guild portfolio, so we would prefer them to be “pay what you want” so that future participants can read through these great adventures and people can play them during Halloween, but ultimately this is up to the authors.
Scott: We hope that this contest will one day evolve into a great fundraising event, so for those who do not put their adventures on DM guild we will look into creating an anthology of winners in the future (with proceeds going to charity). However, due to DMs Guild’s terms, we won’t be able to include anything on their site. That being said, we continue to speak with the folks at DMs Guild and is something we are working on.
Previously, you’ve had Clint McElroy from the Adventure Zone Podcast on one of your judging panels. Can you reveal any names for the Halloween contest?
William: Clint was a pleasure to work with last year and we hope to have him on again soon. This year the biggest name probably goes to The Dungeon Dudes. However, we have another great panel this year which was put together trying to keep a balance in expertise with each bringing a different perspective to adventures. We are happy to give you the full list:
We have to start with DEREN. Deren played an integral role in helping to develop the contest during the early stages of the flash contest and is returning to our judge’s panel. He is the designer of the indie TTRPG project LEGENDS OF AVALLEN, which I believe you have previously covered on your site. The game is inspired by Celtic mythology and Roman-occupied Britain and is a great game for those looking to be introduced to the genre.
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As mentioned, our most well-known judges probably goes to Monty Martin and Kelly Mclaughlin who are known as The Dungeon Dudes. Their YouTube channel covers everything Dungeons & Dragons, featuring guides for new players and advice for veteran Dungeon Masters. They also stream every Tuesday on Twitch. I know many of their fans have been itching to get feedback from them and this would be a great opportunity to do so.
Venture Maidens is an all-female D&D podcast which is quickly picking up traction and making a name for themselves. Joining our panel is Sage Stafford. They are the show-runner for the Venture Maidens, professional DM, and renaissance nerd who knows what goes into making a successful adventure.
Fellow Canadian Jess Go is a streamer, showrunner and game designer. She frequently highlights new game designers on her itch.io channel and designs GMless games where everybody has equal control of the worldbuilding and storytelling.
Leona Maple is the founder of Maple Intersectionality Consulting and works with Salt and Sage Books. She has been a member of the TTRPG community for 2 years and is quickly rising in the community with her passion for diverse, inclusive gaming.
And last but definitely not least is Malcolm Trotter, also known as The Gentleman Gamemaster on Instagram. He has been playing and running RPGs for over 20 years, of which the past 5 he has been a DM for 5th edition. Malcolm takes a very character-driven cinematic approach to his games and uses a level of production value to make games immersive.
We would also like to give a shout-out to Chloe Mashiter (a previous panelists) and the rest of the team at Adventurers Wanted who will be playing this contest’s winner on a special Halloween episode so be sure to tune in!
You can see their full judge profile on our websites under the panelist page.
And what about the paid option? Can you tell us a little more about that?
William: Of course, the critical feedback is aimed a those who would like more detailed feedback on their adventure. It does not improve your chances of winning the contest but is purely for those who would like more feedback.
Generally speaking, the free entry receives minor comments and feedback from the panelist that marks their adventure, but a critical feedback will receive a page of detailed feedback on what worked and what could be improved in the adventure. If a participant wanted one particular area of their adventure looked at (for example their story or encounters) they can make a note when signing up for critical feedback and we will do our best to make it happen. The cost of the critical feedback tokens goes towards the panelist who is taking the extra time to produce this feedback (as they are volunteering their time otherwise) and to the costs of running the contest. The number of critical feedback entries is capped so we do not make any profits from them and our panelists do not end up with more work than they can handle.
Want to know more? You can check out Saga Forge Scribe here.
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