Eight amateur game designers have advanced to Round 4 of Paizo Publishing’s RPG Superstar, the largest open-call tabletop roleplaying design contest in history. Paizo Designer Stephen Radney-MacFarland joined Pathfinder Tales author (Prince of Wolves) Dave Gross, celebrity judges Sean K Reynolds and Mark Moreland from Paizo, former Dungeons & Dragons Brand Manager and creator of the Open Gaming Movement Ryan Dancey, and RPG Superstar 2009 winner Neil Spicer to critique complete villain designs based on archetypes created in the previous round or from an official Paizo source. As a special Round 3 twist, the 16 finalists had to base the villains on artwork provided specifically for this purpose.
“If you think you have the chops, and you have a burning desire to do roleplaying design for a living, then participating in RPG Superstar is the best way to prove it. At the very least you’ll improve your craft through a crucible of constructive criticism,” said guest judge Stephen Radney-MacFarland. “Even before coming to work at Paizo, whenever I taught game design classes, I recommended RPG Superstar to my students who wanted to take their game to the next level.”
The Top 8 finalists for RPG Superstar 2011 and their winning entries are:
- Artus Nemati (Oviedo, FL) — Varstrius, Connoisseur of Living Dolls
- Cody Coffelt (Boise, ID) — Lyell, Deacon of Ash
- Ethan Day-Jones (Ireland) — Drayden D’Arteros, Prince of Knives
- Jerall Toi (Port Elizabeth, South Africa) — Tarvin Haddon, Agent of the Grim Harvestman
- John Bennett (Rochester, NH) — Meneena, Derro Bard
- Sam Zeitlin (Arlington, VA) — The Gentleman Knave
- Sean McGowan (New York City, NY) — Lady Rosiline Mistandre, Razor of Crownsgate
- Trevor Merback (San Diego, CA) — Ankradula the Sane
The Top 8 will now be required to design a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game location set in Golarion, the world of the Pathfinder RPG. The location must come complete with lore, a full encounter, and a map. Contestants must submit their entries to Paizo by 2:00 PM Pacific time on Friday, February 18. These Round 4 submissions will be commented on by the four regular judges plus two special guest judges, professional cartographers and regular Paizo contributors Rob Lazzaretti and Jared Blando. On February 22, the entries and judge comments will be revealed to the general public, who will then get to discuss the entries and vote for their favorites. Voting ends on February 28, and the Top 4 (by votes) will move on to Round 5.
The ultimate winner of RPG Superstar, who will be announced on March 22, 2011, will write a Pathfinder Module to be published in early 2012. The winning 2010 RPG Superstar module, Matt Goodall’s Cult of the Ebon Destroyers, releases in February 2011.
For a complete schedule of RPG Superstar, including rules and a FAQ, please visit paizo.com/rpgsuperstar.