The Living MACE Campaign – Genesis

This year, MACE and JustUs Productions is trying something new to add to our experience.  Inspired by the Paizo RPG Superstar contest as well as a contest we ran at MACE called the Iron MACE Chef contest (where writers wrote an RPG given a certain number of parameters), the Living MACE campaign setting seeks to create a role playing game living campaign setting that will be exclusive to MACE events.

We knew this was going to be very involved for the contestants but we thought perhaps the rewards would outweigh some of the challenges.  We also hoped that some of our more loyal friends, as passionate gamers, would see it as an opportunity. We saw it as an opportunity to make something uniquely MACE and be a part of that.

The contest will be to create core aspects of the campaign setting, independent of a rule system.  Eventually by the final round or rounds we will have a complete enough setting to present to all the gamers at the 20th anniversary of MACE (2016).  For the system,  we plan to use generic systems like Savage Worlds, Pathfinder and a local favorite, Bare Bones Fantasy, assuming we handle all the licensing and rights before hand.

The basic parameters are:

Genre: Fantasy

System:  As mentioned, this would not be system specific.

The First Round encompasses the writers submitting a Name, Tagline, Elevator Pitch, and Designer notes.  This would give us the baselines of the setting.  It would give us the theme, the key plot elements and the general idea of the history of the setting.  From there, we would narrow down the scope, from world to subcontinent, to kingdom to location.  In the end, an adventure will be written.

Assuming we get at least 16, we will eliminate half each round.  After narrowing down the initial group of entries down to 16, it will be narrowed down to 8, then 4 and then 2, etc.   However, the difference between our contest and the one that inspired it is that the contestant may not be writing for their own setting after the first round.   We wanted to get an amalgamation of ideas in each entry.  Each entry will be a collective work between 4 of the contestants.

We realized that there is a risk of creating the “Platypus setting” but we thought we could avoid this by encouraging collaboration using tools at our disposal (social network and email) as well as relying on the participants’ imaginations to keep each setting relatively intact.   This kind of simulates common circumstances in the industry where writers on occasion are writing for other people’s settings. So it will be important for all involved to pay attention to other participants’ work.  The winning setting will represent a number of writers’ work.

The final round will have two adventures written for the top two settings.  These will be run in whatever system the authors prefer.  The players will score it and choose the winner based on the score.

I plan to have updates on this contest as we go along.  As of this writing, we are headed into Phase 3 with 8 writers.  So I am somehwat behind.  We have learned  a lot from the first time trying this.  I will document what I can and welcome comments.  I encourage other events to try this.  It’s is an amazing and enlightening experience