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Chaosium Inc.

Cult of Chaos Convention Scenario Competition 2019

Posted by Michael O'Brien on

By Todd Gardiner, director of organised play

Last year conventions featured four of the seven winning Call of Cthulhu scenarios from the Cult of Chaos Convention Scenario Competition: Deirdre of the Sorrows, Outlaws of Desolation Peak, The Ides of Winter and The Wailing Women. Next year will feature the remaining scenarios at our conventions: Blood Orgy on Vampire Island, The Shooting Party, and The Search for Brian Boru.

With Call of Cthulhu already covered, we can turn our eyes to the other major roleplaying game that Chaosium publishes, RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. The fanbase for this game is absolutely rabid when it comes to new content and we aim to bring these long time fans back to the convention floor with new scenarios.

We are looking for engaging and dramatic convention scenarios dreamt up by the minds of the Cult of Chaos. This is your opportunity to share your experience and writing skills, and get your scenario played around the world as official Chaosium convention games.

RQ Quickstart Cover

What are we looking for?

We are seeking pitches for writing a full RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha convention scenario with a running time of 3.5 to 4 hours maximum, playable by up to 6 players. Ideally, scenarios should be set in Dragon Pass or Prax, but lands adjacent to these locations can be pitched to us. 

For scenarios this year, we will be using the pre-generated adventurers in the rulebook: Vasana, Yanioth, Vostor, Harmast, Sorala, Vishi Dun, and/or Nathem (you may drop one if needed). The adventure should take place during Sea or Fire season, 1626 ST and run no more than two weeks of in-game time. Lengthwise, each scenario should plan on approximately 7,000-10,000 words maximum. These should not be sourcebooks, detailing a place in every detail. Just the parts that will be used in the scenario.

A note on play time: Fights take significant time to adjudicate in RuneQuest, with large pitched battles of six verses many--all supported by magic and augments--taking as much as two hours to run. Consider this when planning the climax and any skirmishes. In fact, having non-combat options for resolving a scenario--or splitting the climax between some characters achieving an objective while protected by the others from attacks--could be a smart move for a convention scenario. Use your imagination!

To date Chaosium convention play has consisted of The Broken Tower (from the RQ Quickstart), Return to Apple Lane (From the GM Screen Pack), and the upcoming sequel, Darkness at Runegate. That and all of Vasana's Saga from the core rule book can be inspiration for striking off into new adventures. Please make use of as many of those as you have access to.

The deadline for submitting pitches is December 4th, 2018.

What do the selected pitches get?

First, after submitting the full scenario you get the credit for writing an official Chaosium convention scenario. Second, your scenario would be eligible to be part of a professionally published RuneQuest book or PDF, if selected the author will be offered a standard publishing contract.Third, each pitch that becomes a fully written scenario submitted to Chaosium will receive a $40 (USD) voucher for the Chaosium webstore.

The deadline for submitting full scenarios is January 19th, 2018.

RQG Gamemaster Screen Pack Cover

What do you need to do?

Write a short (no more than 300 words) pitch and post it to the Cult of Chaos forum at BRP Central. The pitch should outline the scenario, describe the nature of the mystery and/or threat, and how the heroes become involved (whether it starts in media res or more traditionally). Do not consider the pitch to be a spoiler-free zone. In judging these scenarios, we need to know what actually occurs during the scenario from the GMs perspective.

A successful pitch tells us what the players will do during the scenario and only glosses over the background of the setting.

  • What is at stake?
  • What is the hook to get them into the story?
  • What is the climax of the adventure?
  • What choices do the players have in between these two events? What keeps them interested in seeing this scenario through to the end?
  • What tone does the writer want GMs to convey to the players during the session?

There are many winning pitches already on BRP Central. Reading these might be helpful for those submitting pitches this year.

What happens next?

Chaosium will review the pitches and then draw up a short list of the pitches we’d like to see developed into full convention scenarios. Chaosium will contact shortlisted authors to invite them to write up their pitches.

Once written and submitted to Chaosium, we will review the final scenarios and pick which ones will become official Chaosium convention scenarios for future events. Non-winning shortlisted scenarios will be made available via the Chaos Library to Cult of Chaos members for general use.

In fact, the 2018 Call of Cthulhu scenarios are currently in layout and will soon be posted to the Cult of Chaos Library. Feel free to use these as models for the structure of a successful contest submission.

Terms and Conditions

  1. The Convention Scenario Competition 2019 is only open to members of Chaosium’s Cult of Chaos. (Not a member? Sign up here: http://www.chaosium.com/join-the-cult-of-chaos/)
  2. Only unpublished scenarios will be considered. If you have run it as an adventure, that is acceptable (in fact, testing is fully approved), but print or digital distribution of the scenario prior to the judging will remove the scenario from consideration.
  3. Scenarios containing what Chaosium deems to be offensive content will be disqualified. Please review the Cult of Chaos code of conduct for better understanding of what might not be acceptable.
  4. Authors retain all copyrights to the scenario, pre-gen characters, hand-outs, etc., but grant an unlimited and perpetual license to Chaosium to use these materials, including electronic distribution (PDF) on BRP Central and distribution directly to GMs running the events at conventions, as well as whatever local printing is needed to have these materials available to players and GMs at these events.
  5. Author warrants that they are the owner or creator of all submitted materials and that the scenarios do not contain copyright infringing material. All photos, graphics, text and other content must be the original creation of the author or in the public domain.
  6. Chaosium reserves the right to publish winning shortlisted scenarios in future publications. Such publication will fall under a newly negotiated work-for-hire contract.
  7. Winning scenarios will be released for convention play at the discretion of Chaosium.

Seeking GMs for Conventions

Just a reminder, Chaosium also needs GMs for these scenarios. We are offering free badges and gifts for Origins, Gen Con, UK Game Expo and other big conventions next year to GMs that volunteer and join the convention team. Contact Todd@Chaosium.com to find out more about running games with us.

  • Cult of Chaos
  • RuneQuest
  • Glorantha