Thursday, September 9, 2021

3-Sentence Opener Contest Winners


At long last, I'm ready to reveal the winners of my 3-sentence opener contest!

Before I do, here's a quick list of dos and don'ts I came up with, based on the 100+ entries submitted...

  • Keep it short and sweet - just a few colorful details is all that's needed.
  • A little purple prose goes a long way.  The opener is not the place to wax poetic.
  • The scenario should be set in a specific... place; even if that place is vaguely suggested.
  • Give the players some idea who or what they'll be facing.
  • Hint at some kind of reward or other juicy motivation.
  • Foreshadow potential danger as you set the scene.  Use both carrot and stick to drive the action.
  • Don't rob the players of what little agency they have by writing their characters into the middle of trouble they never signed up for.
  • Make it gameable - inspiring and easy for the GM to run.
  • If it doesn't directly deal with the PCs, their perceptions and current path to adventure... consider getting rid of it. 
  • Don't come right out and tell the PCs that this is their mission, this is what they have to do.
  • Use the PCs point of view whenever possible.
  • Immediacy!  What is happening here and now?  Open the scenario in the moment.
  • Information that the PCs wouldn't have access to should remain hidden.

Thank you to everyone who participated.  Just the act of submitting your entry puts you on the road to adventure writing excellence.  Now, you have to hone your talent.  Don't stop reaching for the stars, hoss!

If you are among the winners (I decided on two winners for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place), email me so we can get your prizes squared away:

First Place

A proud princess of the Nu Caliphate kneels before you. She begs, "We are threatened by the warlock Orgo, who has summoned the green gibbering zombie-slugs from beyond the stars to slime our earth! Slay him noble warrior, and I will reward you with your weight in melanj spice ten times over!"

By A Derpy Slurpy Snail

First Place

The crack of plasma whips and the howling of slaves can be heard all around the quarry in which you work. Mounds of gibbering, convulsing and copulating flesh that make up your daemon overseers watch over head, cackling at your misery and servitude. A young woman, her alabaster flesh scarred from the sadistic games of these profane horrors, whispers in your groups ears saying "I have a key to your shackles, prepare to run, we don't have much time."

By Malalhotep

Second Place

The goblins have invaded your grandad’s farm, stolen his magic sword, and killed his dog. They left a message for all of humanity to go f—- themselves. They went that way.

By Robin

Second Place

As you approach a town, a local constable greets you with, "Eleven people have disappeared down that God-cursed hole and it's only been three days since they first heard the noise in the cellar. Whatever is down there, kill it, remove it and save this village from damnation. The mayor is offering his country estate and the entire contents of the treasury, as reward."

Joss Sticks on Jupiter 

Third Place

Night falls over the putrid splendor of Shahrgül; the clamor of the bazaar retreating before the quiet roar of back alley gambling dens and clandestine orgies. Here you sit smoking from hookah pipes, and sharing seductive glances with feminine creatures that secrete psychoactive poisons within the pipes' massive water tanks. Yet the bliss is abruptly lost as a figure as beautiful as it is alien bursts forth from the smoke, calling out to you "Come to me! Come to me!"

By Malalhotep

Third Place

Once more we return to our previously occupied party member to find he is awakening the next morning after a long night of energetic activity still cuddled with the beautiful alien barmaid. His moment of satisfaction suddenly turns to alarm as he catches sight of the nine ambilocal cords now attaching themselves from the barmaids still shapely stomach to their strange green glowing sack pods now growing on the floor. As the barmaid turns towards him in what could only be joy she says" Oh love! They are almost ready! Just a few minutes more and our children will sing their first song of life!"

Karl Von Doom Kringle




p.s. Just over a week left to back my Crimson Escalation Kickstarter - it's only a buck!


  1. Thank you for posting the winners. I do not use pdf's, so I would like to give my winnings to 3rd place finisher Karl Von Doom Kringle, a worthy and imaginative competitor.

  2. I already own Verger's stuff in pdf! I was trying for the hardback and needed this list of winners before I could start eliminating my competition! A few accidents and that sweet sweet hardback is mine.

    1. Well, having ceded my winnings to you, I certainly offer no resistance. Feel free to eliminate the other competitors without complaint from me. :)

  3. Those are some great and juicy plothooks!