RPG Superstaaauugh!

For months I thought I wasn’t eligible for RPG Superstar. My understanding was: “if you have a credit in a hardcover RPG book, you aren’t able to participate.” I’ve got two credits upcoming (got paid for both Rise of the Drow and [redacted until it is announced by publisher]) and was really quite sure I couldn’t enter the contest.

So I blew out my creative tanks on other projects (like the upcoming Tsathogga’s Wart from Frog God Games, or the Underworld Classes and Underworld Races content for AdventureAWeek.com and like a dozen other pieces; including a Wu-Tang-inspired module for Dragon Tiger Ox) and made some amazing stuff, all of which I cannot emulate or re-create for RPG Superstar—which it turns out, I CAN enter (only a credit on the actual cover of a hardback counts against you). In frustration I ended up submitting an item I wasn’t totally confident about, and I was positive I shot myself in the foot.

Then I started voting.
Many times.
I think I voted over 100 times or something, and with that 60 second counter, that’s probably about 2 hours all told (and as a freelance game designer, I promise, my time is money). Fortunately, being a freelance game designer, I started to pick out patterns.

First it was seeing a recursive entry; I can’t name them here, but there were items that came up five, six or seven times. They weren’t the best of them either—the entries seemed to be grouped together by theme, adherence to format, and general balance (read: dynamically arranged as voting results come in). Moreover, the more I voted, the more often I saw pairings of comprehensive entries. Items that I consistently voted for or against would re-appear, often beside pairings that were just as bad or just as good (and in a few instances, I’d have to vote again on something I’d previously voted for already).

I ran into my item around vote 90 and am now freaking out.
Its competition for the vote was good (not as good as mine though!) and now I’m genuinely thinking I have a chance (my first time entering!) so the anxiety has settled in.
Boy has it settled in.

If you see me sometime in the next week and I keep scratching myself/biting my nails/chattering my teeth/suddenly dying of asphyxiation—that is why.

I’ll make sure to update when results from the 1st round are in.



  1. Is voting on RPG Superstar now done by Paizo users? That’s just a popularity contest and will not give logical results. I know the later phases are judged by a panel but that doesn’t prevent tampering with the initial results.

    That’s just a crazy way to run a contest of this type if you ask me….

    • I wouldn’t say that—are they necessarily looking for the most talented designer out there, or the one that’s going to be more profitable? Since they’re already rocking the Reynolds and Macklin cards, I imagine that the ‘crazy intelligent’ requirement is met, and RPG Superstar gives them an effective way to find the most *palatable* writers while simultaneously giving Paizo an opportunity to really look at what it is customers are interested in seeing vis-a-vis user voting.

      So I get it, I do; next year, I will have more warning than a week or two and will be absolutely sure I come out swinging (if I’m still eligible to enter, anyway).
      Still bummed that I didn’t make it but the d20 rolls on long after you fail your Constitution check. 🙂

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