Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The THREE CASTLES Award
How It Came into Being
I will take full blame for the initial award idea. Very soon after returning home from NTRPGCon #1 I contacted Doug Rhea and suggested this, then drew three roughs for him to look at. In between I roughed out the award process and we discussed the preliminary rules by phone and email. A furious email exchange soon ensued between us where the idea started to take firmer root. The initial plan was a very intricately designed plaque, but as it turns out, Doug was bitten by the scope and immensity of the idea, which is to award "The VERY Best" in RPG design. He now suggested that it be a 3D sculpture. I, of course, stood back, not wanting to suggest expenditures which were not coming out of my own coffers. No worry there, quoth Douglas! So, in pictures, this is how it took shape:
Step 1) I commissioned Andrew Taylor (ATOM) to give us standard views of the three castles used in D&D's play-test,1972-1973: Blackmoor, Greyhawk and El Raja Key. Andy produced the following concept sketches from my detailed notes, all of which were splendid and accepted.
Step 2) I introduced Lauren Hawkins to Doug after David LaForce (Diesel) who Doug had originally contacted could not go forward with the design or the sculpt due to other concerns. Lauren (Journalizer from this blog) stepped firmly in with her 3D rendering mastery to craft the final composite design based on Andy's full-blown sketches, and from many angles. There ensued another furious email exchange between Lauren, Doug and myself wherein we nailed down many specifics about the final design.
Step 3) Doug passed along Lauren's excellent finished design and many perspective sketches to the sculptor at Awardsideas.com. The sculpting process was now in full gear.
Step 4) Finish. About a month before the convention and after 10 months of work in various forms from my initial ideas and drawings. Doug and I, Andy and Lauren and the sculptor are all proud of it! It's possibly one of the most expensive awards ever rendered for our industry and certainly each of these is a piece of art that any deserving RPG designer would be proud to have on their shelf.
The 3C Award: What it Is and What it Isn't...
This award is for true excellence in RPG design. The criteria for winning is very demanding. There will be only one award given per year so the competition could be very tough, However, the judges can rule that no submission equals the rules standards and thus a year could have no winner. This is not a placebo (or best of what has been submitted) award, as I noted at the convention introduction to the award where Doug and I spoke about it. There will be several stages which pare down the entrants, and if by the final round none have met the criteria, no award will be issued that year. As Vice-Chairman of the 3C Award Steering Committee, the process I am drafting for the adjudicators is both stringent but refined. The competition is not only among the entrants. More importantly, each submission will be eyed for raising the bar when compared to past designs of excellence in our industry.
NTRPGCon co-founder and Chairman of the 3C Award Steering Committee, Doug Rhea, will receive RPG submissions for 2011 between Oct 01 and Dec 31. News on submission and closure dates will be posted on the NTRPGCON site very soon along with full submission guidelines.
Year 2011's 3C Award judges have roughly 200 years of game design and other far-ranging industry experience between them. Many of the judges have been nominated for, or won, awards for work in our industry. Their work as a whole has been noted for excellence and/or for raising the bar in game design or interrelated areas. They are: Dennis Sustare, Paul Jaquays, Steven J. Winter, Tim Kask and Robert J. Kuntz.
Enjoy the news and be looking for more updates here and at NTRPGCON.com !