Kobold Press

Valhalla Calling: An Adventure Design Competition for Pathfinder and AGE

Valhalla CallingAdventure Designers Wanted

Sound the horns of Valhalla! Adventure awaits, and you might be the one who provides this adventure to a multitude of stalwart heroes!

Valhalla Calling is our newest and most awesome contest from Kobold Press. If you have an idea for a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or AGE System adventure that you’d love to design and see published by Kobold Press, write and submit a 400-word pitch for a 32-page adventure. If you have participated in Open Design projects before, you’ll be familiar with the demands of a pitch; if not, a summary of writing a successful pitch is available in the Kobold Guide to Game Design, Vol. 2

A panel of industry professionals will pick five finalists from these submissions, and the voting public will choose the winner from among those five. That person will hear the call to Valhalla, which will come in the form of a design contract to write a 32-page RPG adventure module. Learn more after the jump.

Who can enter?

Why, anyone can—this is an open call! We will limit the total number of entries received to 100, however, so gather your thoughts and make your best pitch at your earliest convenience. The two rules systems we will take pitches for are AGE System and Pathfinder RPG. You can set your adventure in the Midgard Campaign Setting if you wish, but it’s not required.

Now, you have the basics, right? What do you need to do next? First, read all the stuff below, then start writing your pitch!

Here’s how it works:

To enter the contest, your submission MUST…

  • Be 400 words or less. All longer submissions are automatically disqualified.
  • Be sent to the Valhalla Calling Contest at miranda(at)koboldquarterly(dot)com no later than December 20, 2012, by noon PST.
  • Be submitted as a doc, docx, or rtf attachment.
  • Have Valhalla Calling Submission [insert adventure title] in the email’s subject line.
  • Include your full name and contact information in the body of the email (not in your attachment!).
  • Be designed for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or the AGE system.
  • NOT include any references to Golarion, Thedas, or other settings not published by Kobold Press. Please note that Kobold Press does not have a license to print adventures using settings published by other companies. Any such entries will be immediately disqualified. You may refer to locations from the Midgard Campaign Setting, and creatures from Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG or Midgard Bestiary for AGE System, Vol. 1

Now, let’s see if you have what it takes to call adventurers to Valhalla!


The Ride of the Valkyrs: Guerber, H. A. (Hélène Adeline) (1909). Myths of the Norsemen from the Eddas and Sagas.All submissions that meet the criteria will be entered in the contest and be judged by us, the Kobolds, and our guest judges on originality, effective writing, and fun. The five best submissions will be published on koboldquarterly.com in December and will be voted on by the public. Of those five submissions, the one with the winning votes will receive a contract to write a 32-page adventure module. The winner will be announced January 1, 2013.

So who’s judging? As ever, we have a quartet of extremely talented and terrific judges: Wolfgang Baur, Brandon Hodge, Ben McFarland, and Wade Rockett. Take a look at their bios below.

Wolfgang Baur is the founder of Kobold Press, its publisher, and general go-to kobold. He enjoys the Gothic style in architecture, the Venetian style of rampant mercantilism, and the Dutch style in gardens and hydroengineering. For adventures, he’s an omnivore. Wolfgang is the author of the Midgard Campaign Setting, the Dark*Matter setting, the Kobold Guides to Game Design, and a smattering of other RPG titles dating from the days when TSR walked the earth. He has served as a judge for the RPG Superstar contest run by Paizo Publishing (twice), but doesn’t seem to have learned his lesson yet! Wolfgang lives in an impenetrable set of warrens near Kirkland, Washington.

By day, Brandon Hodge owns and operates Monkey See, Monkey Do! toy store and the steampunk-and-circus-sideshow-themed Big Top Candy Shop in Austin, Texas. When night approaches, he produces his pen to set nightmares to paper. A proud Werecabbage, Brandon’s design credits include Sunken Empires, the Paizo adventures From Shore to Sea and Feast of Ravenmoor, and two finale chapters for Paizo’s Adventure Path line. The demented twists he brought to Midgard’s Wasted West can perhaps best be explained with his extracurricular hobbies: when he isn’t writing, he brings curses home with him in the form of ouija boards, haunted antiques, planchettes, and other Spiritualist-related items. He displays his world-class planchette collection on his website, www.mysteriousplanchette.com. He lives in the historic Hyde Park neighborhood in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, Adrienne, and their black cat, Miette.

Ben McFarland lived on a desert island for two years and once beat Zeb Cook at a Greyhawk Trivia contest. He likes to brew his own beer, make his own Chinese food, and fence saber; although he does none of these as much as he would like anymore. Ben will proudly tell you 5’9″ was the perfect height for a Roman legionnaire. His writing credits include Streets of Zobeck (2012 Gold Ennie for Best Adventure), 101 Boons, The Breaking of Forstor Nagar, Down the Rabbit Hole, Tales of the Old Margreve, Tales of Zobeck, and contributions to many projects such as Halls of the Mountain King, Wrath of the River King, Courts of the Shadowfey, and Coliseum Morpheuon. He is currently working on the upcoming Pathfinder anthology Midgard Tales and the supplement, Pirates of the Western Seas. You can always find him in the pages of Sub Rosa, the Ars Magica fanzine.

Wade Rockett is a writer, editor, and public relations professional in the game and technology industries. If you’re reading this you have definitely seen his work: for more than four years he’s written and edited countless Kobold Press ads, flyers, blog posts, store copy, announcements, back cover copy, news releases, Courier articles, and more. His writing has also appeared under his byline in Kobold Quarterly, Tales of the Old Margreve, and Midgard Preview. Wade is an occasional freelance editor for Dungeons & Dragons and does promotional work for Pelgrane Press and Fire Opal Media’s new game 13th Age. He lives in Tacoma, WA, with his wife and 2.75 cats and is currently working on Secret of Warlock Mountain, a campaign setting for Robin D. Laws’ Hillfolk DramaSystem game.

Prizes for the Valhalla Calling contest

The winning pitch will receive a contract for a 32-page adventure module. All five finalists will receive a signed copy of the ENnie-award-winning Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design (though they might not need it!).

Additional Rules

1. The contest is open to all.

2. One entry per person. The entry must be your own work, which has not been published previously, is not being considered for publication by any other publisher, and is original and does not infringe upon any copyrighted material.

3. All entries become property of Open Design LLC.

4. By entering this contest, you authorize the use of your name and likeness without additional compensation for promotion and advertising purposes in all media.

5. This contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws where applicable.

6. Open Design reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this contest at any time without prior notice.

7. All decisions of Open Design LLC and the contest judges are final.

So, now you have all the relevant information to enter this contest. What’re you waiting for? The kobolds eagerly await your pitches, and adventurers the world over are readying their gear for what just might be YOUR adventure.

27 Replies to "Valhalla Calling: An Adventure Design Competition for Pathfinder and AGE"

Caleb T. Gordan

November 11, 2012 at 3:33pm

For those of us who have never written a pitch, where can we go to learn how to write one?

A good idea would probably not be enough.


November 11, 2012 at 3:56pm

Best bets are to practice pitches in an Open Design project, or read up on how to pitch in the Kobold Guide to Game Design. Good luck!

James Thomas

November 11, 2012 at 4:51pm

Got a pitch in mind! And another as well!
I’ll have to choose the better of the two…

Alex Putnam

November 11, 2012 at 8:13pm

I’ll definitely give this a go. Glad to see this posted.


November 11, 2012 at 9:12pm

Question: Should this be Valhalla themed, should the pitch specify the system in mind, will the finalist’s pitches show the intended system?


November 11, 2012 at 9:23pm

The adventure pitch can have whatever theme you like. It need not match the contest title.

If you do not name a system, the judges will assign one to you at random.

All finalists will specify a system, either as named by the contestant or assigned randomly.


November 12, 2012 at 1:44am

This is going to be fun….

John Pope

November 12, 2012 at 7:09am

Wolfgang do you have a timeframe for development of the project? I am stewing ideas (need to figure out how to fill 32 pages) but I need to be realistic about making a commitment of this magnitude (it’s writing 2-4 LFR or AoA modules after all) and would rather leave an entry slot (assuming 100 are not gone already) for someone else if its not feasible for me to write when it needs to be done.


November 12, 2012 at 7:25am

The writing and development time that the winner will have is 100 days or possibly slightly longer.

Charles Carrier

November 12, 2012 at 8:06am

@John Pope

Okay, you roused my curiosity. What do LFR and AoA stand for?


November 12, 2012 at 10:01am

Can we refer to locations from Dark Roads & Golden Hells?

Pedro Coelho

November 12, 2012 at 10:10am

Do name and contact information count towards word count? Just to make sure. :)

Pedro Coelho

November 12, 2012 at 10:44am

Oops, never mind, re-reading the rules I noticed name and contact info go in the body of the e-mail and not in the adventure proposal.


November 12, 2012 at 11:11am

Trom, yes, you can refer to locations in Dark Roads & Golden Hells!

Pedro, sounds like you found the answer. The judges are reviewing these anonymously, so your name will not appear on the text they read.

Marc Radle

November 12, 2012 at 2:29pm

I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing how this shakes out! :)

John Pope

November 13, 2012 at 12:52am

Charles: LFR = Living Forgotten Realms and AoA = Ashes of Athas.

Hmm 100 days, so about 3 months, I hope that doesn’t include play testing time?

Now the tough choice, which system to use? AGE that I’m less familiar with but has broader scope or PF which I know better but find more restrictive.. This would be so easy in 4E.


November 13, 2012 at 9:35am

Are collaborative entries permitted?

Kobold Quarterly

November 13, 2012 at 10:08am

Trom, yes, collaborative entries are permitted. Include contact information for both designers in your submission email.

John Pope, the 100 days is writing time. If the design requires additional playtest or development after that point, then yes, playtesters will work on it past that point. The development and editing cycle is after the 100 days.

Erik Frankhouse

November 13, 2012 at 7:38pm

I am in for this. Already getting my ideas together and preparing for the pitch.

Caleb T. Gordan

November 14, 2012 at 2:02pm

WIll we be warned when you reach 50 and 75 entries?


November 14, 2012 at 2:14pm

Good question, and yes, there will be announcements here and/or on the Kobold Press FaceBook page about it, if and when we hit that number of entries.

Also, it’s fine if you reference something from the Mythic Adventures Playtest doc. Seems like it might be an interesting angle.

Kobold Quarterly

November 15, 2012 at 11:57am

Happy to announce that we now have more than 10 entries for the contest after 4 days!

At this rate (~2 per day), we’ll reach 80 submissions by December 20.


November 15, 2012 at 5:59pm

I don’t see anywhere how many words total and how much per word is paid?


November 15, 2012 at 6:20pm

It is listed in the contest as a 32-page adventure, so the winner will write the adventure in roughly 20,000 words.

Word rate depends on the quality of the winning entry but is comparable to the magazine word rates. So a $200 minimum, and likely higher. Less for a Dragon Age pitch (sorry guys, but that market is smaller).

Colin Langille

November 16, 2012 at 8:12am

If we choose to set it for the Pathfinder system, are we allowed to reference the deities presented in the Core Rule book?

Kobold Quarterly

November 16, 2012 at 9:48am

I believe you are allowed to use anything in the Pathfinder Reference Document, which includes much of the Core Rulebook, plus APG, Ultimate Series, Bestiaries, and more.

I don’t see the Golarion gods in that document, though.

Ted Reed

November 19, 2012 at 1:22pm

An open call called Valhalla Calling, accompanied by Hendrich’s “The Ride of the Valkyrs” painting and a clip from Die Walküre? My mother and aunt spent more money chasing performances of The Ring of the Nibelung around the world than my college education cost.

How can I not enter?