Tabletop game publisher Paizo Publishing is opening its 8th RPG Superstar Design contest, an annual competition to find the best new game designers. The contest will open on December 10 and offers aspiring game designers the chance to create new Role Playing Games, have their work critiqued by game design veterans and ultimately be published by Paizo. The deadline for entering is January 1.
Paizo specializes in RPGs—tabletop games that use special dice to decide battles and quests and initiate game actions—in particular Pathfinder, its flagship sword and sorcery Role Playing Game. Contestants’ entries must be set within the Pathfinder fantasy world and the contest consists of four rounds, each requiring a new entry from each contestant. 32 contestants are chosen from original entries and whittled down over the four rounds to determine the winner.
The winner will have his or her RPG published as a Pathfinder Module, which is a series of 64-page paperbacks and hardcovers that offer stand-alone adventures set within the Pathfinder universe. In addition, three runners-up will be offered publishing contracts with Paizo.
Sean Reynolds, Paizo game designer and developer, told PW that contestants submit descriptions and rules for “new magic items, new monsters and new adventure stories.” Reynolds said, “we’re looking for someone who understands the game rules, can write evocative text and understands what’s appealing to gamers.” Reynolds said most competitors are age 20 to 40 with some college education though he noted that at least one pre-teen made the top 32.
He said that while RPG designers don’t necessarily “strike it rich,” they can earn a comfortable living or at least supplement their income by designing games. Asked if contest winners really become “superstars,” Reynolds said, “famous enough to have a page on Wikipedia. I consider that the exact right amount of fame: famous enough to be recognized at a convention, but you can still walk around your hometown without getting mobbed by fans.”