Tag Archives: Competition

Challenge 1 Closed, Challenge 2 forthcoming

Challenge 2 to be posted on Friday!

Trying to keep the Superstar spirit alive, I posted a design challenge at the Paizo forums for detailed reviews by yours truly. Some very nice entries resulted providing varied feedback opportunities. Check them out and think about entering the upcoming villain challenge!

EDIT: Challenge 2 out early – now available and open

Starfinder Design Advice?

Will I be looking at posting about designing for Starfinder. The short answer is yes. This may be a few months after its release to allow me time to read and digest the product itself. So watch this… ummm… space! (pun unintended)

Page Updates and Continuations!

I will be posting the next part of the Item Design walk-through in the next two weeks, along with another fully detailed review for Wayfinder 14.

I have also updated my evidences and samples page with links to all my published and accessible products so far.

Paizocon 2017?

Yes, I can confirm I am returning to Seattle for Paizocon’s 10th Anniversary! See you there!

Anthony Adam (Template Fu)

Anthony Adam

RPG Superstar Hiatus, and New Reviews Section

I decided to get back to this blog site, trying to post at least once a fortnight. This impetus clearly driven by the announcement of an indefinite hiatus of the annual RPG Superstar competition. Here goes…

Superstar on Hiatus

Sadly, the Paizo RPG Superstar competition is on indefinite hiatus. It is sad but entirely understandable, and, after 10 years, Paizo now have a substantial pool of discovered talent and freelancers on which to draw. With today’s financial climes, they need to put their time on their direct business needs, and so we wish them every success going forwards.

It may come back, and I hope it does. It was one of the main driving forces behind my frequent visits to their site. The competition hiatus will not stop the development of design resources for this site. If anything, it will add impetus to continuing the design topics and getting things moving again!


The eagle eyed among you have probably already spotted the new review section in the title bar. If you have your own blog sites or frequent the Paizo product pages, I heartily recommend you to join the reviewing fun.

Reviewing products with a gamer design eye is one of the best ways of learning good games design, and my reviews are from the designer perspective rather than from a player or consumer perspective. It is hoped that they will give even more food for thought and drive your design mindset.

Forums tend to have a word limit for each post. This results in reviews being split over a number of posts, and is not ideal. Such reviews are hard to read and follow in their entirety so I have collated my reviews into single pages here. No editing beyond making each review into a single page, and correction of spelling has taken place. The reviews are as found on the publisher sites in terms of content.

I hope you find these reviews useful and that they provide an insight into my design thoughts and processes as a guide to refining your own. You may not agree with me in all cases. Which is great! It shows you are thinking about game design and how you interpret it!

Template Fu Design Discussion Thread

In the absence of the RPG Superstar competition, I have created a design thread in the spirit of the competitions. On this thread, I make bi-monthly design challenges in the style or prior competition rounds.

At certain intervals, I close the challenge, analyse and feedback on submissions posted there, and then post the next challenge. You are invited to this thread to take part in any challenge set there. See you there!

Anthony Adam (Template Fu)

Anthony Adam

Congratulations Monica Marlowe!

RPG Superstar has drawn to a close for another year, so I am finally able to return to this blog and finish up that item tutorial you have been following along with. Congratulations to Monica Marlowe for winning this year – I absolutely loved her dwarven map shaped like an axe from round 2, so do take the time to visit the Paizo site and check things out.

The annual blazing 9 practice thread has opened, so try to participate in there – I will pop along occasionally to review submissions in this thread, so you can get feedback from me on your designs if you so desire.

With the change this year to the first round, I now have a lot of jumbled notes and pointers for creating item types other than wondrous items, so these will follow after the completion of the wondrous item.

I have also completed my first paid work as a lead games designer in the first quarter of this year. I hope to be able to share more details in due course as I have to wait for its release before talking about it. This is known as working under an NDA and is very common practice these days. And yes. It can be frustrating, but it is a necessary evil of today’s highly competitive world.

As soon as the NDA is lifted, I will talk about some of the design decisions I made in the product. This should hopefully provide a nice overview of larger pieces of work and the amount of thinking and planning than can be involved.

So expect this site to resume shortly as my time is no longer consumed by all things Superstar 😉


It’s a most Superstar time of the year!

RPG Superstar has begun!

Paizo Publishing, LLC.Paizo‘s annual search for new games design talent via the RPG Superstar competition has begun with an immediate twist to the first round! It is NOT a wondrous item!

Time scales this year for round one is very, very, short – a real test of working under pressure! Continue reading It’s a most Superstar time of the year!

RPG Superstar Task – Design a Wondrous Item – Description (1 of 3)

Right, time to start on that description.

The first thing we should do is review the general layout of existing designs in the target system, and at the same time keep the criteria set for the design in mind.

For this tutorial, this will be for Paizo’s RPG Superstar Round 1 item design. Continue reading RPG Superstar Task – Design a Wondrous Item – Description (1 of 3)

RPG Superstar Task – Design a Wondrous Item – Item Name

Today we start putting the item together, starting with the item name and the item description breakdown.

To recap, we are using a hermit crab shell, with a core them of a sideways scuttle that will deflect/avoid potentially lethal attacks. It is not to provide a boring AC bonus though.

Item Naming

Now, I am going to start this discussion by looking at the item name first. Some designers do this during the design and some do it as one of the last things. They do this in order to allow the design to solidify and suggest an apt name as part of the design process. Because I start with the item name does not make those methods invalid – but I do have specific reasons for starting with the item name. Continue reading RPG Superstar Task – Design a Wondrous Item – Item Name

RPG Superstar Task – Design a Wondrous Item – Choose Your Base Power

Let’s continue our examination of our base item choice which we started in the first of our item design posts.

In that post, we started looking at the attributes of what the snail shell is and does in the real world and how we could portray that withing a magical item. So, let us continue or examination of this early part of item design and see where it leads us.  Continue reading RPG Superstar Task – Design a Wondrous Item – Choose Your Base Power

RPG Superstar Task – Design A Wondrous Item – Choose Your Base Item

PaizoNow, we have read and understood the competition round rules, it is time to start designing our entry – a wondrous item. Continue reading RPG Superstar Task – Design A Wondrous Item – Choose Your Base Item