Saturday, August 30, 2014

Here Be Monsters: Some statistics from the first week

Here Be Monsters was announced a week ago, and there are still two more weeks left before the deadline! We want to be transparent about the contest, and that's why I'm posting some statistics about the first seven days, and discussing what we the judges do. The statistics are deliberately vague so that those who haven't submitted yet don't gain an unfair advantage.

  • The announcement has been viewed nearly 350 times so far. Though some people may have viewed it multiple times, it's still a lot of people!
  • A few days ago we passed the threshold of 5 received entries, which means we don't have to send any of the amazing prizes back to our sponsors. :-) There's still a lot of room for monsters in our holding pens, so keep 'em coming!
  • We have received monsters with CRs varying from very low to very high, and there are monsters of many different types.
  • Personally, I think the majority of the entries we've received are good, and some are actually great. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two of these made it to the top 5, but that of course depends entirely on how good entries we receive this week and next week! Don't make judging too easy for us, in other words, make awesome monsters! :-)

A few words about judging the entries

As per the contest rules, all the entries should be sent to Jacob, our Master of Monsters, removes all information indicating who wrote the entry, so they will be anonymous when Mike and I receive them. Jacob is nearly incorruptible and we trust him to make unbiased decisions even though he can see the authors' names.

Mike, Jacob and I each have 5 votes. If an entry gets a trifecta from us (i.e. three votes), it is automatically chosen to the top 5. Any entry that gets two votes is also very likely to be chosen. If there are still slots left, we'll discuss the entries that got only one vote.

We won't reveal how many votes an entry got; instead we only post our comments where we discuss the strong and weak points of the entry. We start commenting on the first entries already today, but initially the comments will be very short. After the 13th of September (the deadline) we cast our votes and start writing more detailed comments on the entries that got at least one vote.

Once Mike, Jacob and I have narrowed the entries down to a top 5, we send the entries to Sean K Reynolds for commenting. They will be anonymous when placed before Sean.

A week later, the top 5 entries will be posted here on A Sword for Hire along with the comments from Sean, Mike, Jacob and me, and the public voting begins! More about that in a later update!


  1. I'm having troubles keeping a possible entry at only 700 words in accordance to what Word says it is. Constructs need their "how to build" section and that usually requires at least 100 words by itself. How should this be dealt with?

    1. Hello K Vid, constructs are admittedly more challenging to design with only 700 words because they have the Construction section. Seeing that practically all constructs in the PRD have that section, it's advisable to include it in your entry, too. Unfortunately, we cannot make exceptions about the word count limit; if an entry includes a Construction section, animal companion stat block, traps (e.g. ettercap), or any other "extra" section, the entry still may not exceed 700 words. The only advice I can think of is trimming down the flavor text, maybe removing an ability, or simplifying the mechanics so as to reduce word count. I hope that helps!

    2. It does, and doesn't. I've managed to get it down to 712 words, but that seems to be the extent. Even the CR 4 Carrion Golem is nearly 600 words.

    3. Somehow I managed to get it down.


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