At last, after a year of hard work and designing, the Blades of Exile Scenario Contest is over. We were truly impressed by not only by the number of scenarios we received but by their quality. When we decided to run this contest, we had no idea how difficult a choice it would finally be. It took a lot of time and playtesting to determine the winners, and every decision was agonizing.
The main criterion in judging the scenarios was a simple one. How much would someone enjoy playing this? Is it a fun, gripping scenario? A lot of factors go into answering that question. Is it bug free? Is it well written? Is the plot involving? Are the puzzles both intriguing and fair? Did the scenario do something new, exciting, and unexpected? We judged how well each scenario answered each of those questions, but we always kept our eyes on that one key quality - Fun.
If we had known how hard it would be to judge these wonderful pieces of work, we would have thought twice before running this contest. That's how good the winners are. For this reason, we are cheating a bit and giving out more prizes than we intended. Picking the top three was bad enough. Picking the top ten would have been impossible. So, without further delay ...
1. First Place ($500): Tatterdemalion, by Tarl Roger Kudrick. The scenario, to be honest, amazed us. Its size and quality are both first rate. What's more, it does what we most hoped people's scenarios would do. It takes the old Exile world and structure and turns them into something intriguing, creative, and new.
2. Second Place ($300): Quest of the Spheres, by Brett Bixler. Brett Bixler created the first good Blades of Exile scenario, Riddle of the Spheres and followed it up with this elaborate, puzzle-based piece of work. Again, Brett took the Exile framework and created a new world, with distinct culture, magic, and rules, and, at this point, few can rival his mastery of the Blades of Exile engine and editor.
3. Third Place ($200): Trouble in Mendor, by Ben Frank. Another ingenious bit of design. Trouble in Mendor takes place entirely within one huge, sprawling city, filled with both glorious palaces and pits of villainy. The detail of the city and the tightness of the scenario's design made it great fun to play.
The Runners-Up: (Each receives copies of all of Spiderweb Software's products, including Nethergate, when available.)
4. Rubacus and The Magnificent Six, by Leon Lin- An exceptionally good
and prolific scenario designer.
5. Nightfall and Truffle Days, by Scott R. Evans - Both fun and well desgined scenarios. Nightfall is a great adaptation of the Asimov short story.
6. The Amazonian Saga, by Haneda Yoshiyuki - Deserves special mention as an anime story in computer game form. Great fun.
7. Requelle's Nightmare, by Mike Natushko
8. Under the God's Hand, by Alex Jackson
9. Erika's Legacy, by Bonnie Gorshe
10. The Wreck of the Slug, by Tony Wilsdon & Sue Harris
11. Nephil's Gambit, by Tormod Stangeland
12. Treacherous Waters, by George Piggford