Initial Thoughts on the RopeCon 2015 Scenario Writing Contest

The contest is open again. The announcement spurred a lot of ideas, but its going to be an uphill battle.

So, for those who are new here, I won last year. I went pretty deep into my thoughts last year and I’m going to be documenting this whole thing the same way this year.

The New Rules

The competition introduced a couple of new requirements this year: The scenario needs to have a conflict resolution mechanic and the scenario should have a plot twist. I’d like to claim responsibility for these changes, at least based on this innocuous comment from the organizer last year.

The rules also state that these are not hard rules, but I think you’re better off following them. However, I’m not a big fan of them. I like to keep my games freeform, so a prescribed plot twist might be awkward. After all, my whole scenario last year was about setting the scene and letting the people involved just go with it. Also, I wrote the thing last year in such a way that there wouldn’t be conflicts that need resolution. It was all about improvising the whole history of the group. Hopefully twists emerged (and there were things encouraging it), but it wasn’t necessary for the enjoyment of the group.

On the other hand, I wasn’t planning on remaking an old idea. I was planning to do something completely different… its just that my planning hasn’t really passed that point yet.

The Theme

The theme of RopeCon this year is ‘journey’. At least that’s how I read it. The Finnish word ‘matka’ could be translated as ‘trip’ or ‘distance’ as well, but ‘trip’ and ‘distance’ don’t have the profound meaning ‘journey’ has.

Journey (in fiction) is all about change. The distance the character or characters move is just a metaphor for the transition in that character to a new being. Its all about self-discovery.

How do you get that in a 45 minute scenario?

Preliminary Ideas

However, neither of the previous are actually problems I can’t overcome and since they are limitations every competitor faces, I can’t really complain about them either. So, we are on the same level. Also, I don’t think the players and GMs are going to be critisizing their experience based on the list given in the rules, so that’s some reprieve.

I probably can’t make a fun scenario like last year. At least its going to be harder. From what I heard last year, there will be kids, so designing some sort of sophomoric, fantasy road trip isn’t probably a good idea.

As I’m thinking, a Godard film called Week End is haunting my thoughts. I don’t think I can use it as a source of inspiration however. Too dark and cynical.. and definitely not for kids.

3 thoughts on “Initial Thoughts on the RopeCon 2015 Scenario Writing Contest

  1. Pingback: Keväinen uutiskatsaus | Roolipelitiedotus

  2. Your reading of the theme is correct, the official translation is “Journey”.

    The feedback you gave last year was read carefully by myself and Arttu (who are mainly responsible for the contest) and it was valuable. However taking credit for the changes is a bit far fetched (= This year we wanted to go for more focused scenarios, so as to differ from the contest of last year and also because we believe this will lead to a better contest.

    Having tighter restrictions on the scenarios makes it much easier to grade and this in turn hopefully results in clearer gaps between contestants.

    And as always, restrictions feed creativity. Hopefully we’ll get a lot of entries this year.

  3. The scenarios do not have to be suitable for children. Children will only play scenarios suitable for them and not being for kids is not taken into account in the scoring.

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