Welcome, one and all, to URPG’s first ever Write-a-Roll Competition! This competition is designed to stretch your imagination to the limit, expand your ‘comfort zone’ within your writing, and develop your writing skills to levels unimaginable. This contest will be challenging for almost all that decide to participate, but the rewards are high. Along with honor, you can claim a Pokémon that will equal your writing effort. More is ahead, so be sure to put on your random pants and strap in for a crazy ride!
Essentially, this contest is a prompt-based competition. Upon entering the competition, you’ll be given a specific topic/plot you’ll have to write a story based around. After obtaining your prompt, the story is all yours – write whatever you want and post it before the deadline to participate. A grader will judge you on how closely you stuck to your prompt, and you shall be rewarded for your endeavors, assuming all goes as planned.
However, this isn’t quite over. Your prompt is entirely up to chance. A grader, official, or moderator follows a specific set of instructions to determine what the author’s prompt will be. You’ll either get an easy prompt or one of extreme difficulty (in which case I will laugh at your misfortune and proceed to mock you). These different variables, including genre, time period, and “characters,” will determine how an author receives their prompt.
After you receive your prompt, you’re set on the path to success! You may begin posting your stories as soon as you have it written, as long as it’s posted before the cut-off date (May 31st). You’ll be judged upon how closely you stuck to your prompt and your reward is dependent on this judgment, so don’t just slap the title of Write-a-Roll on anything! Put some time and effort into your story, and you’ll be glad you did.
1. You must be a member of URPG to participate. If you have any interest in participating and you’re not a member of URPG, sign up.
2. Everyone is a winner. I repeat. Everyone is a winner. You win by participating, so there is no voting or nonsense like that. If you write a story and do it well, you’re the winner of this competition and you’ll be rewarded accordingly.
3. You may only have one prompt. Once that prompt is rolled for you, you can’t ask for another one. The point of this contest is to stretch your imagination, and you’re hardly doing that if you continuously ask for more rolls. We’re reasonable, but we want to see you work for this contest.
4. The prompt is for fun, and there is no required participation in the contest. If you roll and get something that you’ll unlikely be able to work with, you can just leave it as that. No money reduction, no awkward scenarios, nothing.
5. Only graders, officials, and moderators can roll prompts for authors. These people are allowed to participate, but must get another grader/official/moderator to roll the prompt for them.
6. The submission window is from the moment your prompt is rolled until the end of May 31st. Your story can be posted at any time during this period.
7. Follow all other URPG Story requirements.
Here is where the fun happens. There are three (3) total dice that are rolled to determine the prompt of your story. These dice are the genre of the story, the time period/setting in which the story must take place, and who will be telling/within the story. It’s a bit confusing, but I’ll go ahead and show how to operate the system.
Dice #1: The Genre (20 sided dice)
This genre is all about the exciting and intense. Explosions, car chases, burning buildings, hand-to-hand combat, sword fights, and whatever else you can imagine. But before you go off and write all that insanity, take some time to consider why all of it is happening in the first place. And don’t settle for reason like, “cuz it rocks,” if you’re actually looking to get your story accepted, that is.
This genre is about traveling to unusual places and doing unusual things. Oftentimes, it involves a quest of some sort, but not necessarily. The key concepts of this genre are ‘exploration’ and ‘discovery.’
It can be hard to make people laugh, but that’s what this genre tries to do. If you wanna write for this genre, then you have to think about not just what is funny, but also, what makes a story funny. Take your time.
Mm, organized crime. This genre gives the reader a look into the souls of the unlawful, and what the reader sees is what makes or breaks these kinds of stories. Think about human nature, corruptibility, justice, things of that sort.
A trippy genre. Cyberpunk entails a generally futuristic, technologically-intensive world where things aren’t so ideal, hence the name (a marriage of “cybernetics” and “punk”). If you’re not too familiar with this genre, then some popular examples might be Blade Runner or The Matrix. Key concepts of this genre include ‘systems’ and ‘control,’ or lack there of.
The bread-’n-butter genre. This is such a broad genre that it’s hard to even pin it down with words, but essentially, drama is about some sort of character conflict; it could be a conflict between friends or family or even a conflict with oneself. “Good” drama not only capitalizes on the intensity of the conflict, but also makes the reader understand why that conflict has to happen.
Another very broad genre. A lot of folks consider fantasy to be about swords ‘n magic, but that’s not quite right. Fantasy almost always entails some kind of magic, even if it’s only in a minor way, but swords, not so much. Swords belong to several fantasy sub-genres, like ‘sword and sworcery’ or ‘medieval fantasy,’ but they are not necessary for all fantasy tales. When you write fantasy, the most important thing is to rely foremost on your imagination and dig in for the creativity. “Good” fantasy is certainly a matter of opinion, but try to remember that fantasy without a certain degree of reality is much more distant from the reader and, more often than not, very confusing.
8. Fairy Tale
Stories that belong to this genre can be a bit strange. Fairy tales invoke a certain sense of “whimsy,” more often than not, and they also tend to involve “nature” as a theme. If you want something even stranger than that, then you can look into urban fairy tales and get yourself lost in the crazy myths that people come up with about everyday things. In short, fairy tales are a little kookie, but maybe a little fun, too.
9. Freaking Epic
What the heck is this genre? Glad you asked, because this genre isn’t like the other genres. It’s special. This genre is all about being freaking awesome. It has lotsa awesome things with lotsa awesome characters in lotsa awesome places. And we should probably tell you, that no, we’re not going to try define what “epic” means; and also, this genre is held to even higher standards than the other genres, so if you’d like a real, freaking challenge, then go ahead, put this as your main genre and try to get it entered. We dare you. We freaking dare you.
Any story about a hero or heroine will fall under this genre, which includes superheroes, if you like. However, that doesn’t just refer to some guy with a magic sword or some lady that can fly under her own power; a good story about heroism requires the author to really stop and consider what that word “heroism” truly means.
This genre is just flat out supposed to scare the bajeebus out of whoever reads it. Think of the gruesome and grotesque; think what it really means to be a “monster.” Gore is commonplace in the Horror genre, but not a necessity; you can scare the heck out of the reader without spilling a drop of blood. It’s all about getting under the reader’s skin and making them scared to read further, yet still compelled to, because maybe they’re hoping for a happy ending somehow or maybe they just enjoy the rush. The intent is to shock the reader, to catch the reader off guard, to provide single moments of surprise and, preferably, terror. So focus on how you tell the story, more than the story itself; though, don’t neglect the latter, either, because a ludicrous plot can ruin even a very well-told story.
12. Juvenile Fantasy
These are children’s stories, or at the very least, stories aimed at younger audiences. In all honesty, most of the stories in URPG fall under this category, so to narrow it down, we’ll have this genre concern only very young children. If you wanna write for this genre, then think about what tickles the young mind.
Giant robots. That’s pretty much it. That’s all you need for your story to be a part of the Mecha genre. Particularly, the robots should walk on two legs and most likely be used as tools of warfare, though not necessarily. Most likely, readers will want to see your giant robots fighting it out, but don’t let that overwhelm you or your story; exercise your creativity here and try to think about what else you can provide besides a lot of action and violence.
A curious genre, BAHAHA. Sorry. This genre is all about the plot twists, about keeping the reader guessing. A lot of times, mystery authors will try to trick the reader into thinking one thing is true so that they can reveal the opposite to be true, and thus, provide a "shocking twist." However, such tactics are not very admirable. Don’t try to string your reader along with endless misinformation; instead, keep the truth well-hidden and do your best to provide information that may seem like it supports one idea, even though it really supports another idea. It’s a subtle, but important difference, not to mention difficult. Mystery plots are extremely difficult to write well, but they’re essentially just puzzles. Make sure to nail down your plot in strong detail before writing very much text, and when you’re whittling away at the plot, it may help to work backwards, especially if you hit a wall.
This genre is often a bit mind-bending; it’s meant to explore the human psyche, oftentimes the psyche of a specific sort of person, such as a masochist or serial killer or someone with a messianic complex. Typically, psychological stories will involve complex human emotions and thought processes, and these stories shouldn’t be afraid to delve into the uglier side of humanity. Be prepared to explore your own emotions as your write and try to really imagine yourself in very different contexts.
Self-explanatory. These stories revolve around the relationships of its main characters. The trick to writing an interesting Romance is to create unique elements and conflicts that your characters must undergo. Try not to let the traditional concept of "love" overwhelm the rest of the story. Everyone looks for originality in Romance, which is difficult, because the whole genre hinges on some rather unoriginal concepts. But at the very least, Romance needs to be believable. If the reader can’t accept your romance, then your story is pretty much toast. Not much to go on, but it’s important to keep in mind, nonetheless.
Essentially, science fiction tries to make the impossible plausible. Not possible, but rather just believable, by way of some highly scientific explanation that we are assured is quite sound and provable within the context of the story. From the author’s perspective, however, you should look to science as a means of inspiration, rather than just explanation, because there is a tremendous amount of freedom available to you. Creativity and believability are the key aspects of any sci-fi tale, and while that may not seem like much to go on, there’s not much more that can be said without placing severe limitations upon yourself.
This genre is often confused with Fantasy. The main difference between the two is that Supernatural pertains more to "otherworldly" subjects, things like spirits ‘n the like, while Fantasy tends to focus more on "magic." It’s a rather subtle difference, to be sure, and there is some overlap, but the two genres have the potential to tell very different stories. For inspiration in this genre, look to modern myths.
No, these aren’t stories about MJ’s video. BUMMER. These stories keep you on the edge of your seat. Prepare yourself for several twist and turns, shocking surprises, and unsettling themes. This is a more story-driven and milder genre than that of Horror. An example might be a story that entails a complex conspiracy theory.
This one is a catch-all, for anything that doesn’t quite fit into the other genres. If chosen, your goal is to make your story NOT one of the above genres.
Dice #2: The Time Period/Setting (10 sided dice)
1.Primitive: Think cavemen. Living in caves and scrounging for fire. Very wild and unstable/unpredictable. Right when humans are first starting to appear in history. Feel free to go wild with this one. Pun intended.
2.Dark Ages: Smack in the Medieval times. Knights of the Round Table, castles, wizards, you name it. This is back when illness was rampant, wealth distribution was massively unequal, and the entire world is shrouded. We don’t even know all the places you can go with this one.
3.Steampunk/Victorian Era: The world is changing fast. Industrializing at the speed of light, your goal is to capture this era of development in your story. Steampunk is a great idea of how this can be used effectively, but you’re free to do as you please. Know that the world is just now truly being discovered, and your story can explore any piece of this fascinating time in history.
4.Current Day: No matter the universe you’re in, no matter where you are, your story takes place now. Current information, current technology, everything. You’re only restricted by what we have now, but that’s hardly a restriction. Just make sure to stay true to the world around you while you’re writing about this.
5.Not-So-Distant Future: A futuristic utopia. Everything seems flawless in this newly developed world. Technology is advanced and green, and humans are reaching levels of intelligence higher than thought possible. Floating cities, hover cars, and more are all possibilities within this interesting time period. Feel free to expand!
6.Apocalypse Now: The world is ending. Pick your poison. Zombies? Sure. Alien Invasion? You got it. Nuclear Warfare instigated by Invading Zombie Aliens? Bring it on. Just know that society and possibly even the world itself is crumbling around you.
7.Space: We’re on a spaceship! You choose the circumstances, such as the reasons and the consequences, but remember that the gravity force isn’t like one would normally think. Again, where, why, and how is up to you, so get creative!
8.Within the Pokemon World (Regions): We give you the region and you pick from there. It can be a town/city within the region, an area mentioned in the anime, or even a completely new area. Stay true to the local culture and you’ll do fine – the rest is up to you! Rollers: if this is selected, roll an additional 10 sided dice to determine which region. The order goes: Kanto, Sevii Islands, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Orre, Fiore, Almia, Oblivia. If you're unfamiliar with these regions, time to start with the research!
9. An Alternate Universe: We don’t know how different this universe is, nor if anyone is even picking up on this difference, but we know for a fact that something is… off. Don’t confuse this with crossover, as this still takes place within a single universe. There is a change and we have to be able to pick up on it, but you’re free to choose from there!
10. Crossover: Have another universe you’re obsessed with? Ready to mesh it up with Pokemon, even if it doesn’t quite deserve it?! Well, you’re in luck! This takes two or more different universes and merges them into one. It doesn’t matter which universe you’re combining, as long as Pokemon is one of them, so feel free to get those creative juices flowing!
Dice #3: The Characters (5 sided dice)
1. Pokemon Main. Human main character? Nu-uh, unless the rest of your prompt specifically calls for it (which is unlikely). Your Pokemon can be human-like, like Team Rocket’s Meowth or the characters of the PMD games, but they can only be Pokemon!
2. Human Main. Pokemon main character? I don’t think so, unless you’re specifically told to write this from the rest of your prompt (again, unlikely.) This isn’t saying you can’t encounter a Pokemon – you’ll have to if you want your story to be a success – your main character is just a person instead of a beast.
3.. Pokemon and Humans, Together but Separate. A perfect harmony! You’ve got free reign here, but the main characters have to be at least one Pokemon and one human. This requires multiple main characters to be completely effective.
4. Pokemon and Humans, Hybrid. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking but I still don’t care. You’re going to write about some hybrids. Your main character is a mix between Pokemon and human, and which characteristic is dominant doesn’t matter. They could have the werewolf complex or be completely satisfied in their bodies, but we want an amazing combination!
5. ??? You got this, whatever the heck you are. You can’t be any of the above character options, so let your brain run wild. Make sure it applies to the rest of your prompt though, as you can still be reduced if this changes the other, “heavier” parts of your prompt.
Graders/Officials/Moderators: Important Message. If a prompt is deemed physically impossible (unlikely, but we’ll include this just in case), a prompt can be rerolled. This can only happen if you think that a prompt can’t be completed, and you’ll have to get the clearance of another grader/official/moderator before rerolling. You two must both agree that the prompt is unachievable, and then you can post another roll.
What everybody is here for anyway… By participating in this competition, you’re entitled to whatever you write. If you wrote for a Staryu, you can claim that Staryu, assuming your story is successful in its capture attempt. In addition to the initial earnings of the story, you will be graded upon how closely you stuck to your prompt. If you stuck close to your prompt, you can earn a Pokemon up to the highest rank of what you had written. However, if you didn’t stick to your prompt at all, you’ll be unable to claim anything besides your story-obtained Pokemon. I’ll explain more:
Continuing with my example, let’s say that I wrote for my Staryu with a perfect ‘stick’ with the prompt. The grader says I did a wonderful job and says I can claim a Pokemon equal to Staryu’s story rank, which is Hard. This claim is entirely my decision, and I can claim this new Pokemon as soon as the submission window closes. However, let’s say that I didn’t stick too closely to the prompt and the grader gives me a subpar score, saying I can claim a Medium-ranked Pokemon. Like I would claim any other reward, I’ll wait until the end of the submission window and claim my medium Pokemon. Finally, if I wrote for both a Staryu and an Abra (or a Magikarp, for that matter), I can only claim one prize, even if I stuck closely to the prompt.
Let it be known that you can’t obtain a reward Pokemon higher ranked than the one you wrote for. Even if you stuck to the prompt flawlessly and only wrote for a Magikarp, you would only be able to claim another Pokemon from the same rank as a reward. You can, however, obtain a reward Pokemon lower ranked than the one you wrote for. If you stuck to the prompt but not at the expected level, you might obtain a reward a rank or two down from what your target was. This is because you’ll be rewarded upon effort, not just completion, so don’t just write a bunch of scrambled words in hopes of obtaining a Pokemon of whatever rank you went for.
Another important notice: graders should be less strict on lower ranked stories and stricter on stories for higher ranked Pokemon. If a person writes for a Magikarp but doesn’t stick to the prompt too closely, don’t lock them out of the reward. They tried, and it’s honestly quite difficult to fit a prompt into a story of such miniscule length. On the other hand, if an author is aiming for a Merciless Pokemon, they better stick pretty damn close to the prompt if they wish to acquire a prize of the same rank. It’s like grading as a whole – you’re going to go easier on the shorter stories simply because there isn’t as much expected, and this situation applies here as well.
Not much else to say! I wish you good luck, and I hope that your imagination kicks into overdrive. Submissions can begin as soon as your prompt is rolled, so start writing as soon as possible. You have until May 31st to write and post your story, so make sure it’s the best that it can possibly be. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. If not, get rolling and writing!!