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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    You're interested in competing in an Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground? That's great, and welcome! These have been going on for a good while now, and are pretty entertaining; I should know, I've participated in most of them, in some capacity. In fact, because I've been involved in so many, I thought it might be helpful to provide a few handy pointers that might make the whole process a bit less cumbersome for someone just starting out. What follows is what I've personally found to be true and/or useful in these challenges. Others may have different viewpoints, which - expressed civilly - are welcome additions to this thread.

    1. Know What Has Come Before: GitP has hosted 46 Iron Chef Challenges as of this posting, and the contest has its Char-Op origins on another forum prior to that. This amount of history - 'baggage' if you're not feeling generous - serves to normalize expectations. Take a look at several previous contests through the links in the OP of the current iteration to get an idea of what sort of Characters are typically rewarded, and what sort of Characters struggle, within this environment. As judges come forward and post criteria, be mindful of that criteria as you create. Knowledge is power.

    2. Make a Character, Not Just a Build: It's tempting, in a contest on a forum that prides itself on Char-Op, to try to wring the highest level of power from an entry possible. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, but it's a dangerous strategy here. Power is but one of four categories on which your entry will be judged, after all. Given that we have had no new materials from WotC for 3.5 since before the Iron Chef contests began, it's unlikely - though not strictly impossible - that your super-powered concept will be deemed highly Original merely on the merits of its power level. It's possible, even likely, that you may run up against a given judge's definition of 'Known Cheese' in a Power-at-all-costs entry, or that cobbling together many disparate strong pieces - with no cohesive story as to why you made those choices - into an entry whose obvious function is 'Moar Powah!' will be deemed less than Elegant. . . or both. Finally, if all of that phenomenal, cosmic Power is derived from judicious use of Feats, Skills, WBL, and the prefixes and suffixes to the SI instead of from the actual SI, many judges will not call that a strong example of Use of Secret Ingredient. The idea here is to maximize your use of as many of the categories as possible, rather than dumping 3/4 of the scoring criteria in order to do well in the last. Of course, all that is null and void if you've actually discovered a nifty new trick. Similar caveats apply to focusing too exclusively on any single aspect of the judging criteria. Again, perusal of past contest entries is helpful in this regard.

    3. Poof Reeding is Impotent: While the judges generally understand the fact that English is not everyone's native language, they almost universally prefer to see an entry that's free of obvious errors. Make sure your table is filled in properly, verify that you've included all the relevant bits of information on your Character, use a spell-checker, and check that your format is free of coding errors that may leave a spoiler dangling, or an underline unfinished. It may be useful to have a friend who isn't participating give your entry a review for such errors, as it's often harder for a writer to spot his or her own typos. There's also a "Preview" function you can use before you hit "Submit" and send your entry to the Chairman, which is a good way to do a final pre-launch check.

    Particular care is advised if your entry is especially long; the character-limit for private messages here is around 25,000 letters (correct me if I'm wrong), while the character-limit for a forum message is closer to 50,000 (again, correct me if I'm wrong); spoilers can change the way the boards count your letters, allowing you to appear to exceed these limits. This matters because an entry that comes close to or exceeds the limits for a PM and/or a single forum message can result in awkwardly parsed sentences, tables, and HTML codes.

    4. Cite EVERYTHING: You may very well know the page number for D&D's Faustian Pacts, the average wingspan and life-expectancy of a Raptoran, and the prerequisites for Swiftblade off the top of your head. Don't assume the judges do. Make it clear in your entry where you got your Classes, your Feats, your everything, rather than making the judges guess. Spell out as plainly as you can what your various features do, particularly what they do in conjunction with each other. You want to give the judges every opportunity to see just how awesome your Character is; you want to give your fellow contestants every reason to fear and respect your entry enough to vote for you for Honorable Mention because you've made it obvious that your Character is just that baddonkey.

    5. Repeat After Me - It's Not That Serious: This is a contest with no real prize on a message board dedicated to a comic that pokes fun at a game. It's difficult to come up with a scenario that's less SrsBzns than that without considerable effort. Have fun, enjoy the process, and hopefully learn something about D&D 3.5 while you're competing. Unless you sign your name to the entry or decide (against the contest's spirit and rules) to otherwise reveal yourself ahead of time as a particular entrant's creator, the judges aren't saying anything about you, personally. So, don't take it personally. It will be okay. Remember, your worst completed effort in this contest scores better than any effort you made for the contest and didn't finish.
    Last edited by Amphetryon; 2013-06-11 at 09:55 PM. Reason: fixing character limit data
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    As current Chairperson of Iron Chef Challenge in the Playground, I approve of this message.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    As a competitor in the current IC competition, Judge of Talon of Tiamat, and chairman of Zinc Saucier as of this writing, I concur wholeheartedly.
    This forum may use my name, simulated likeness, and/or words for any entertainment purposes or signature quotes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    So now you're claiming that spellcasting "lacks a clear, supernatural element?" Being supernatural is literally the only point of magic.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    3. Poof Reeding is Impotent:
    This is perhaps the greatest typo I have seen in some time!
    Quote Originally Posted by tricktroller View Post
    Lol Bad bozo. Bad.
    Quote Originally Posted by Immabozo View Post
    Certainly if you have magic, or magic items that specify that is how that goes, it does. why? Because MAGIC! Does that mean that is how that works in general? Well, the same way that a wizard cast a finger of death on something and that means that whatever he points at must make a save or die. Well, I guess thats ok, cause in D&D, death doesn't stop them from living.
    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    Barbarians are sweet at first level, especially if the main goal is indiscriminate murder.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Particular care is advised if your entry is especially long; the character-limit for private messages here is around 50,000 letters (correct me if I'm wrong), while the character-limit for a forum message is closer to 70,000 (again, correct me if I'm wrong); spoilers can change the way the boards count your letters, allowing you to appear to exceed these limits. This matters because an entry that comes close to or exceeds the limits for a PM and/or a single forum message can result in awkwardly parsed sentences, tables, and HTML codes.
    character cap in a PM is 25,000 characters, cap in a post is 50,000

    this has been an issue for me more than once, it's a real lifesaver to make sure you can chunk up your build into manageable sections if it'll inhabit more than one post when the chairman reveals it in the thread.
    fight my brute! it's a lot of fun
    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    Venger, can you be my full-time memory aid please?
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    mattie_p's Avatar

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    character cap in a PM is 25,000 characters, cap in a post is 50,000

    this has been an issue for me more than once, it's a real lifesaver to make sure you can chunk up your build into manageable sections if it'll inhabit more than one post when the chairman reveals it in the thread.
    Venger, just FYI, I crosslinked your previous post in IC regarding Judging. It might be beneficial to post it here.

    Speaking as a Judge, here is how I judged Talon of Tiamat:

    Quote Originally Posted by mattie_p View Post
    Generally, entries will start at 3 in each category, with bonuses and penalties assessed from that starting point. Please list the sources of all feats/classes used outside of the SRD, sometimes it takes me a while to find a particular item.

    * Innovation (Uniqueness in character concept, race, class, etc)
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    Is the build boring? What new tricks did you find or use? Does it look like the other entries? Are you unique in some way? Bonuses will be awarded for using races, classes, concepts, feats that others did not. Penalties will be assessed for "expected" tricks, slight penalties may be assessed if multiple entries use the same overall build. If it seems "vanilla" you will be assessed a penalty of some sort.

    * Power (How powerful and versatile it is compared to others in your role. As a half casting PRC, you have some flexibility in choosing your own role.)
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    -> How strong is this character compared to a straight duskblade 20/ full assassin/whatever role you choose? How strong is this character compared to other entries? Is this character a one-trick pony? How does it function if that trick doesn't work? Bonuses will be awarded for being more powerful than the other competitors, as well as over-all utility both in and outside of combat. Penalties will be assessed for being weaker, overall, than other competitors.

    * Elegance (What can only be described as how well the build "flows", i.e not using lots of 1-2lv dips, sacrificing flavour for power or using flaws)
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    How does the build feel? Is it chopped and ugly, with small, unjustified dips? Are the dips completely justified and rationale? Do you meet the pre-requisites for each feat and class when you take it? Obscure classes and feats that get you what you need will not be penalized, nor will 1-2 level dips that make sense, both at the time you took it and with regards to the overall flavor of the ingredient. Bonuses will be awarded for smart, legal decisions that get you towards your goal, obtaining unique, synergistic features. Penalties will be assessed for not meeting pre-requisites at the time you took a class or feat, for dips that do not add to the flavor of the dish sufficiently (in comparison to a different dip), and for questionable reading of the rules.

    Also, how does your story (if any) grab me? Does it blend seamlessly with the build? Does it make sense? Length really does not matter too much, a well-written paragraph may well be awarded more points than a one-page boring story.

    TL,DR: The story (if any) should be like a miniskirt - short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the essentials. You will not be penalized for lack of a story, but it may provide a bonus.

    * Ingredient (How well the build captures the abilities and feel of the ingredient)
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    Does the entry feel like a Talon of Tiamat? Bonuses will be awarded for synergy with using all class (or most) class features in your role. Penalties will be assessed for failure use the unique characteristics of the ingredient in your build. Please provide an explanation, if possible, of what you can do. I am not a mind reader, if you have a trick that plays off the ingredient let me know.

    Citing Sources: Please do. I reserve the right to penalize an entry if they use an arbitrary number of sources without citing book and page number.
    This forum may use my name, simulated likeness, and/or words for any entertainment purposes or signature quotes.

    Chairman Emeritus of Zinc Saucier. It is just like Iron Chef but comes with double the prize money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    So now you're claiming that spellcasting "lacks a clear, supernatural element?" Being supernatural is literally the only point of magic.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Venger's Avatar

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by mattie_p View Post
    Venger, just FYI, I crosslinked your previous post in IC regarding Judging. It might be beneficial to post it here.
    well, that's awfully nice of you. thank you, especially considering cryokineticist was so long ago. I'll quote it here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    What I did when I judged cryokineticist first of all was make sure I had at least a 2 hour block of time free. if you have less time than that at each sitting, you won't get much done. even if you do have a high degree of system mastery (I'm no tippy, but I usually only need to look to references when it comes to stuff like prereqs for classes/feats) a lot more of your judging time is spent checking the chefs' sources than it is actually writing down your reactions.

    what I did first was, as you said, check skills/feats level by level. scroll down to each chef's list of sources and open all of those up to save yourself a little time. checking skills doesn't take as long as you think, even for skillful characters. just calculate how many points they get at each level and look at what their class at the moment gets as class skills. make sure everything there adds up and if it does, great, if not, make a note of it depending on what exactly you deduct for. this is probably the part that takes the longest, but it's important since many feats have skill prereqs, and IC classes usually have some weird skill that needs a bunch of ranks to get in, which entrants sometimes forget (ardent dilettante had the most entrants that didn't qualify at one point or another) once you're in the swing, it goes faster, so I strongly suggest doing just skills first then moving to feats. if you try to switch back and forth, you slow way down.

    next: feats. same as when you're building a character, check the prereqs for all the feats in an entry by looking them up in the listed sourcebook and compare them to what the dish has at that level. people qualify for stuff more often than not, but everyone makes mistakes sometimes. the feats that most often are thrown in without meeting prereqs are the ones people usually get for free without having to meet them (monk feats, for example) so when you see a build with, for example, improved grapple, make sure they meet the stupid prereq of IUS and dex 13.

    looking up the prereqs for the classes/prcs that they're in is the same and often takes up less time. red flags are classes/prcs that require a specific alignment. depending on whether or not you care about alignment changes in order to fulfill a certain build (ex: being lawful for a monk dip early on and then changing to chaotic for the rest of the build) you may or may not deduct for this. some prcs are mutually exclusive with respects to alignment, so watch out for them when you are noting possible alignment bumps.

    it may seem like something you don't need to check, but make sure the entrants' saves/BAB make sense. you generally don't need to go and add everything up the way you do with skills, but if you are looking at it and it doesn't make sense, check the math, the chef may have just made a mistake. (I got a major headache trying to figure out how the antipodes had such a good BA when I realised this was not in fact the case) this can be important for, say, a melee oriented character, since they want to ideally at least keep all 4 iteratives, or for an entrant who touts their survivability (like, say monty back in mindbender) if the character has divine grace and arcane resistance, but due to weird multiclassing doesn't have the saves to back them up, this may merit a deduction to you.

    judging is essentially looking at what an entry says it can do vs. what it can actually do. if it fails to perform, note how in your notes. I found that phrasing things in the form of a question helped me organise my thoughts better when it came to stuff the build said it would do but didn't. (ex: you built a pouncer. why didn't you give him power attack?) because writing out declarative statements about a build can sometimes make structuring stuff properly a little weird.

    backstory is obviously subjective. I am a fiction writer by trade and understand the pressure of performing under a time crunch, so always keep it in mind when evaluating them, and also that not everybody enjoys the writing part as much as I do. as a result, and also because it's a character building contest rather than a writing contest, I view backstory as a kind of "bonus" where you can only gain points rather than lose them. possible additions include to originality (I never would have imagined a paladin as a spetsnaz officer, way to throw me a curveball), elegance (antipodes's writeup of how exactly their entry merged fire/cold made the transition feel a lot more natural than if I'd just seen the bare bones of the build without the explanation), or even UotSI (explaining in-story why they are a member of, say, the temple raiders is sort of important, especially when the class imposes a certain restriction on your backstory as this one does)

    personally, I like to just skim over a build first so I can have a quick breakdown of the levels and keep them distinct in my mind at least enough to have a mental callback for which one that was. (who am I judging next? oh yeah, sue. that's the duskblade) and then read their backstory. once I'm done with the backstory, I'll go back and do all the skills/feats/prereqs (do you qualify for x,y,z) stuff. reading the skeleton of the build also, for me, piques my curiosity a lot sometimes (how the hell do you get from black dog to green star adept?!)

    as far as worrying about not being thorough enough, you don't really need to. if you make any kind of mistake worth worrying about (saying someone doesn't qualify for such and such when they really do or misunderstanding how one of their tricks works) then the chairman will PM you with a dispute and you'll have a chance to fix it.

    as far as scoring goes, almost all the judges start everybody at straight 3s and give merits/demerits based on what they see in each category.

    judging isn't hard, it just takes a lot of time. as far as not noticing everything, don't worry about that too much. no judge can spot every single slip-up, so don't feel too bad if you do.

    spoiler your judgings too, so people who go after you don't accidentally contract a bias, and don't read other judgings before you do yours so you make sure each dish gets your opinion of it and nobody else's.

    best of luck with it. hope you like my entry.
    fight my brute! it's a lot of fun
    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    Venger, can you be my full-time memory aid please?
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Thurbane's Avatar

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Here's a tip I would strongly recommend for all entrants.

    While the entries are somewhat uniform in formatting, it can still be devilishly hard as a judge (or spectator) to work out exactly what your build is just from the level breakdown table.

    Please, please, include a one line description somewhere near the top of your build. Something like:

    LE Kobold Fighter 2/Sorcerer 6/Eldritch Knight 7/Abjurant Champion 5

    ...trust me, it is appreciated.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Awesome! This is perfect. Thanks for posting, Amphetryon. I can't recommend this advice more.

    Here are a couple of my own tips and takes on this:

    1. Presentation is important!

    As Amphetryon said, proofreading is huge. But it goes beyond that. Your whole entry's presentation is actually really important.

    Seriously, the judges are going to be reading through at least six or seven entries, and sometimes as many as twenty-three. Presenting your entry in a clear, visually engaging manner makes a huge difference, and helps ensure that they understand just what it is your build is trying to do.

    Now, I don't mean that you should be sticking gimmicks in every post. Sometimes visual gimmicks are great (I loved the "present" on the Santa-themed artificer in the Nightsong Infiltrator post, for example). A lot of times, though, they can be distracting or take away from the entry as a whole.

    What I DO mean is that you should make sure your entry is easy to read, minimize blocks of text whenever possible, and find various ways to draw the eye. You don't need to make a fancy design. Just keep things from being cluttered and make sure your information is able to be digested in the way you want it to.

    My favorite chef from a presentation side is OMG PONIES. OMG currently holds more gold medals than any other Iron Chef contestant*, and manages to consistently put out interesting and engaging builds every time he competes. But he is also great for making his work clear and easy to understand. Here are three examples of his work: Lo-Kag Rootwatcher, Hezekiah d'Cannith and Clifford the Dim.

    Notice that there's no real visual "tricks," but the entries just look great. The presentation actually encourages you to read the whole thing, rather than just scan for the crunchy bits. Most of them are short and sweet, with just enough information to tell you what you need to know and let your imagination take things the rest of the way.

    Of course, presentation is no substitute for content. The most well-presented entry in the world isn't going to be worth much if the build itself just isn't up to par. But it sure as heck helps.

    2. Long isn't necessarily better.

    I can tend to go on at length. (Insert shocked gasps here.) I'm wordy by nature. Heck, I was a creative writing major in college. I love nothing more than to just dive into build ideas.

    In these contests, though? I try my darnedest to keep things short and to the point. It's fun to go crazy, to really dig in to a backstory, to go all out with explaining abilities. And I've seen some fantastic writing as a result of this contest.

    But in a contest like this, brevity is a virtue. The length of a backstory doesn't make it any more engaging, and a really long explanation of abilities won't make your build any stronger. What's important is finding a happy medium - giving just enough information to inform, but not so much that you overwhelm.

    What I always try to remind myself is that the longer an entry goes, the more likely it is that something will be missed. Maybe I'll be lucky, and what gets missed will be something of no great consequence. Maybe not, though. Maybe my long and awesome backstory means that a crucial part of the build itself gets overlooked or glossed over. In an ideal world, every entry will get the exact same loving care and attention from the judges, no matter how long. But judges are human, and that's probably not going to happen.

    Longer also means it's easier for mistakes to slip through the cracks. It's much harder to catch mistakes on a 120k character post than it is on one with only 40k. Also, as was alluded to above, the more posts your entry gets split into, the greater the likelihood for formatting errors.

    My own personal rule of thumb is this: if I can't fit it into a single PM, it's probably too long and I should find some way to trim it down. I don't always abide by this - I've broken this rule twice, and I feel like I made the right choice both times. But whenever I find that an entry is too long to fit into a single PM, I try my best to be merciless, and to cut and trim until it fits.

    3. Don't be afraid to break the rules.

    These are all guidelines. They should help you make a build and an entry better, rather than serve as a straightjacket. At the end of the day, the best piece of advice I can give is this: submit an entry that you're happy with. Even if it breaks every piece of advice ever given, make sure you're submitting the build that you actually like. After all, if you don't like it, why would a judge?

    I can't even tell you how many times an entry that has broken the rules has ended up winning. Take a look at Gotterdamerung's build from Shadowblade, for instance. Bloodlines are explicitly verboten and will face penalties in the scoring metric, but he submitted a bloodline build that won it all. Not finishing the SI is a surefire way to lose points from judges, but the two times I've submitted builds that hopped out of the SI early, I took silver and gold. On the flipside of the coin, most of my "safe" submissions have failed to place.

    It's better to submit a build that you're happy with, even if it breaks the rules or guidelines, than to submit something constrained. Sure, sometimes it means you won't walk away with a medal. But it's the builds that break the rules or challenge expectations that make this contest interesting.

    *For now. I'm comin' for you, Mr. Ponies.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Glad to see some folks find this collection of observations useful.

    Venger, thanks for the numbers correction.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Glad to see some folks find this collection of observations useful.

    Venger, thanks for the numbers correction.
    thanks for making the thread!

    my pleasure :)
    fight my brute! it's a lot of fun
    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    Venger, can you be my full-time memory aid please?
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Do any others have something they'd like to add?
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Considering myself an Iron Chef noob, I'll just have to add: Don't be afraid, it's all in good fun. When you start to read up on some of the builds entered and you find yourself massively confused by all the cooking done in it using sources you never heard of: you are not the only one. In fact this is what it's all about. It's all a massive learning experience. So if you have fun building that special cillain or a specific pc or you just like splatbooks: read the rules, read this thread and go after it. I didn't regret it.

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    When I'm on my home PC, I might add a list of handy links for character building...

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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    As someone who has considered competing for the last few ICs, I can promise I'll be watching this thread as well as the actual competition. I had some ideas for Talon of Tiamat, but didn't enter due to crippling lack of faith. This last one and the current one kind of just ran me straight out of ideas

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by Korahir View Post
    Considering myself an Iron Chef noob, I'll just have to add: Don't be afraid, it's all in good fun. When you start to read up on some of the builds entered and you find yourself massively confused by all the cooking done in it using sources you never heard of: you are not the only one. In fact this is what it's all about. It's all a massive learning experience. So if you have fun building that special cillain or a specific pc or you just like splatbooks: read the rules, read this thread and go after it. I didn't regret it.
    I certainly wouldn't argue against this point, but could you clarify if/how you think it's different from my 5th point of "repeat after me - it's not that serious"?
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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    It's the same point. So maybe the word add was a poor choice. Sorry for that. It's just that I feel that many lurkers are intimated by the contest and i wanted to point out that this point is the most important one. I wanted to give the perspective of a noob in contrary to you being former chairman, while stressing the same point.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    Quote Originally Posted by Korahir View Post
    It's the same point. So maybe the word add was a poor choice. Sorry for that. It's just that I feel that many lurkers are intimated by the contest and i wanted to point out that this point is the most important one. I wanted to give the perspective of a noob in contrary to you being former chairman, while stressing the same point.
    No worries. I was just curious if you were putting a different spin on your meaning, aside from the "experience" factor.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    This topic is very well needed. Seems like it could help a lot of people, or inspire more entrants.

    I personally want to say, it it hasn't been said before, to not be afraid to go with a character idea that is way out there, even if the power doesn't seem great. There could be a lot more to the idea than there first appears. Work with it, craft it, go crazy adding and subtracting until it works. A labor of love is a lot more fun to work with than that first idea that just makes things work and that's it. So, basically another way of phrasing rule #5, but also don't be afraid to take a unique idea that seems like it may not work and play with it until it does. You don't need to have it all done in the first week.
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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    A Note for those who are considering being a judge

    Iron Chef wouldn't continue to exist without our judges. But be forewarned, judging is hard and very time consuming. We get tons of people each round who volunteer to judge, but in the end only a small handful wind up following through. If you are considering being a judge, be prepared for the following unofficial expectations (at least from my experience in the competition thus far):

    Post your Criteria before the submission deadline

    It is not required of a judge to post their judging criteria, but it is widely considered to be a courteous thing to do for the contestants. Posting it early, before the deadline for contestant submissions, allows time for the contestants to take your criteria into account, if they wish.

    Don't take disputes personally

    There will be disputes. Don't take it personally, and do your best to answer each dispute in kind. You are not required to change your scores (barring blatant chicanery, or rules violations), but listening to the disputes and addressing them is important. Being exceptionally rude or unresponsive is not a desired trait in a judge. To my knowledge, there has never been a judge that was banned from IC, and I'm reasonably certain that there hasn't been a case where a judges scores were thrown out. It doesn't appear that there has ever been a need for such heavy handed action. This is a competition for fun, after all, and we all need to keep a civil tongue in our heads (contestants and judges alike).

    Explain your scores

    Yep, everyone is going to expect you to explain why you scored a build like you did. IC has had a few judges who posted none or very little in the way of explanation for their scores. Keep in mind that the less you explanation you post, the more likely it is that your judging scores will generate disputes. Communicate clearly, and you reduce the burden on everyone. I can't speak for all the chefs, but for me the value and entertainment I get out of these competitions primarily comes from the analysis and comments that the judges provide. The numbers are less meaningful to me than the feedback.

    Have fun

    This one should go without saying, but you should have fun when judging. If it isn't something you enjoy, don't do it. We've got lots of folks in this competition (with new additions each round), so there is really no need to make your life miserable.
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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Handy Tips for the Iron Chef in the Playground Noob

    To be fair on the "Explain your scores" point, I know that at some points during the IC contest's history here in the Playground, things had gotten contentious enough before a given judge had weighed in that judges who followed felt it best to specify that they weren't going to further explain scores, because the explanation process was turning into debate and/or bickering.

    That said, I'd like to think we've improved the dispute process through collective experience and reference to past dispute precedent.
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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