Workshops and sparring
April-August: Synopsissparring (mainly new authors)
If you haven’t written a Fastaval scenario before, we would love to put you into contact with a synopsis sparring-partner. This is an experienced Fastaval author, who can help you, for example by reading through your synopses and giving you constructive criticism. We facilitate the contact and then you can agree on the specifics. Send us a mail at email@example.com, if you are interested
July-August: Synopsis workshops
Before the deadline for handing in your synopsis, there will be a synopsis workshop in Copenhagen and online.
The first workshops are for sparring ideas, where everyone gets the opportunity to develop their idea together with the other participants. Keep a lookout on Fastavals Facebook or write to us, for more info.
Fastaval scenarios 101 (14th of July, online)
We talk about Fastaval scenarios, how you apply, the process, the practical requirements, and why this is an interesting way of creating scenarios. This workshop is especially for new authors, but everyone is welcome.
The synopsis workshop (4th of August, Copenhagen & 15th of August, online)
Please bring three copies of a draft of your synopsis, so that we can work with those.
September – February: Scenariosparring
If your synopsis is among the ones chosen for Fastaval 2023 the scenario organizers can help you get an experienced sparring partner for the next parts of your writing process. We will also gather this year's authors in a Facebook group where you can exchange ideas or help each other in other ways. The deadline for turning in your scenario is 1st of February
How to win the scenario (15/9, online)
A get-together for young and new authors, where we talk about how to make scenario writing a positive experience, share stories about the mistakes we made in the past, and answer whatever questions might come up.
Get a hold on your process (22/9, online)
There are a lot of ways to structure a good Fastaval scenario writing process. We go through some of them, talk about their strengths and help each other make good plans.
Playing with game mechanics (13/10, possibly online)
Hands-on workshop with a focus on how to use game mechanics to support your scenario. Bring your ideas and mechanics and test them out.
Author weekend (11-13/11)
This is an opportunity to meet the other authors for Fastaval 2023. ALEA is providing us with a cabin and the scenario coordinators and their amazing kitchen crew organize the practical circumstances. Throughout the weekend there will be a program of workshops, social activities, and time to work on your scenario.
What the synopsis should contain
A synopsis is a short piece of writing that explains the scenario's special features, why it's cool, and what kind of experience the players will get from playing it. It must contain the following facts:
- Title. Can be a temporary working title
- Type. Full length, novella or other
- Description, typically 1-2 pages general description of the experience, world, rules, plot, mood, characters and whatever else is relevant.
- Key words. Style of play / setting etc.
- Number of players
- Number of game masters. Typically one, but anything is possible.
- Expected playing time
- Contact info. Name, email, and phone number of all participating authors. (It is possible to write under a pseudonym, but the scenario coordinators must still ask for author data.)
- Optionally, a brief introduction of yourself, if you are a new writer and not acquainted with the scenario coordinators. Include some information about what else you have worked on roleplay-wise. In no way does it count against you being inexperienced, but we would like an insight into your level of experience and your roleplaying style. It is important for us that we get a good mix of experience among our writers so that we constantly get new blood and new ideas into the environment around the Fastaval scenarios.
- Optionally, a short 1-2 sentence pitch, to put on fastaval.dk if the scenario is accepted. You can also let the scenario coordinators write this.
Tips for writing the synopsis
A synopsis is an overview of your scenario idea which gives the scenario coordinators a foundation from which to evaluate it. A synopsis does not have to go into very specific details, or explain the entire course of the plot or the background story of all the characters. Instead, focus on touching on all the important aspects of the scenario. You need to make the scenario coordinators understand what the players are going to do and experience during the scenario.
We love when we can sense the enthusiasm in your idea and when you can tell us how your idea will create a good and engaging experience. On the other hand, you should like to avoid excessive bragging and long manifestos about what “true” roleplaying is, and also are not interested in negativity about other kinds of roleplaying games or styles.
When you submit a synopsis, the scenario does not need to have been tested or written down yet. The vast majority of scenarios are only at the idea stage when there is a synopsis deadline, but we want a clear impression of your vision. The idea must be solid enough for us to believe that the scenario can realistically be completed on time.
If you want good extra advice for your synopsis, you can attend one of the synopsis workshops.
At Fastaval, we go to great lengths to accommodate all kinds of ideas, but there are certain limitations and frameworks that you need to be aware of if you are considering writing for Fastaval.
- It must be possible to run the scenario at Fastaval. The vast majority of scenarios are played in a classroom at Mariagerfjord Gymnasium, where the only scenography is tables and chairs. However, there is also room for role-playing in the Fastaval common areas or the nature behind the high school. We go to great lengths to accommodate quirky ideas that play with the role-playing game form, but you need to be prepared that Fastaval does not own costumes, props, or candles that you can use. All extra scenography and props you want to incorporate in your scenario, you must basically bring with you.
- The scenario must be written down. A Fastaval scenario can fill anywhere between 10-100 pages and acts as a kind of manual for game masters. Fastaval tries to guarantee a minimum of five runs of each scenario, divided into two blocks (except in special circumstances such as large live scenarios). Therefore, the role-playing game must be able to be read, understood, and run by one or more GMs, or by the players themselves. The written tradition is also an important part of developing and strengthening the quality of role-playing games at Fastaval. On the Alexandria website, you have free access to fixed selection scenarios over many years, a fair bit of which has been translated to English and can be read, learned from, and played. It is not required to put your scenario online on Alexandria for free if you have commercial plans for it, but definitely in the spirit of Fastaval as a non-profit, volunteer-driven convention.
- The scenario is automatically included in the Otto competition. This means that your scenario will be read and judged by a panel of judges who will also give you good feedback after Fastaval. Read more about the Otto competition here.
- The scenario must be written specifically for Fastaval. Fastaval is proud of its premiere scenarios and would like to incentivize the creation of new roleplaying games so scenarios written for other congresses or similar events are not accepted. However, we do accept reinterpretations or full rewrites of old scenarios, just as it is also allowed to play tests at other conventions.
- As far as possible, you should recruit five Game Masters for your scenario. There is always a shortage of GM and it is a huge amount of organizer work in obtaining enough so that all writers get the mentioned five+ runs and the players get to play the games they want. If you are a new writer, do not be put off, we have a couple of skilled GM master recruiters, who will help, we only want you to do your best. For experienced and well-networked writers, it is expected that they will find these five GMs yourself.
- It is allowed to send more than one synopsis. However, we recommend that you focus on sharpening one scenario idea rather than sending many loose ones. Quantity does not necessarily help the chance of being selected.
How the scenarios are chosen
It is Fastaval scenario coordinators who have the responsibility and privilege to read the submitted synopses and select the scenarios that will premiere at Fastaval. The scenarios are selected as a single field. So we look not only at the quality of the individual synopsis but also at how your idea fits among the others.
First and foremost, we select based on a desire for diversity in the scenario programme. We would really like to offer Fastaval’s participants a wide range of role-playing experiences. Everyone who reads Fastaval’s program should be able to find at least one scenario that they really want to play. We strive for a good breadth in terms of genres, themes, forms, content and systems. Just as we also look at what age groups the scenarios are aimed at. Most of all, we want dice, action, drama, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, social realism, feel-good, historical, live and everything in between and beyond.
We are also looking for a good spread in the authors’ level of experience. Every year, we actively provide space for debutants who get the chance to try their hand at screenwriting, so we continue to develop the writing community. Of course, we would also like writers with a two-three scenario under their belt who get the chance to develop further. Finally, there must also be room for the seasoned writers, who in addition to their scenarios also contribute by sharing their experiences for workshops and the writers’ weekend.
Fastaval is not only for Danes and therefore the scenario managers also look at language and nationality. We are happy for international authors who show interest in Fastaval and therefore we go for there are at least a handful of scenarios from abroad, even though the majority are written in Danish.
Of course, we also look at the quality of the scenario ideas as they appear in the synopsis. We talk in particular about whether the idea is mature enough and whether we believe that, within the time frame, it can become a solid product that will be cool to play at Fastaval. Dissemination is also a factor. Small linguistic errors are not something we notice, but if we can not understand how the game should take place, then we can not trust that the author will be able to convey an entire scenario.
Finally there is the ratio between novellas and full-length scenarios.
In 2019 the allocation of time slots at Fastaval allowed room for 6 novellas and 22 full-length scenarios and we aim for more or less the same numbers in 2021. But if the synopses pull us in another direction then we will consider revising the time slots.
About being a scenario writer
If you have an idea for a Fastaval scenario, the first thing you should do is submit a synopsis to Fastaval’s scenario coordinators. The scenario cycle usually begins around the summer holidays, when the scenario coordinators send out a call-for-synopsis, which is announced on Fastaval’s Facebook page, our Twitter, and here on the website. In September, about 30 scenarios will be selected to premiere at Fastaval. There is often great interest in writing to Fastaval and therefore we, unfortunately, do not have room for all the synopses we receive. If you are a new writer, then you must not despair – we really want debutants!
If you would like help formulating your synopsis, Fastaval will hold several workshops (both physical and online) up to the synopsis deadline. Here you can get sparring, meet other potential writers and talk your idea through with the organizers.
If your synopsis is selected then Fastaval offers additional help to support you along the way. You can be assigned a sparring partner, who is an experienced Fastaval writer who will help you execute your idea in the best possible way. You will also be invited to workshops and to the annual author weekend, where you can meet with the other authors.
During the year the scenario coordinator makes sure to be in touch with you, just as you can communicate with the other writers in a closed group on Facebook.
In addition to the scenario itself, you are also expected to submit a brief teaser for your scenario to the website. It has a deadline in early January and should serve as a kind of advertisement and info about your scenario so that Fastaval’s participants can see if it is a scenario they would like to sign up for. The actual deadline for submitting your scenario usually falls at the end of January or the beginning of February, depending on when Easter is.
If you have questions about Fastaval scenarios, or if you have an idea that is outside the usual framework at Fastaval, then you should be more than welcome to contact Danny and Nina, who are the scenario coordinators for 2023 and 2024.
If you are selected to write a scenario for Fastaval, we expect you to do your best to deliver a solid scenario. It takes both time and energy to write a good scenario. You do not need to take leave from your studies or work, but expect that it will take some of your free time. Plot structures and design questions will haunt your thoughts for the next six months. It’s part of the fun.
In return, you get the opportunity to become part of a unique, creative environment, with experience and inspiration built up over decades. You can meet the motley bunch of writers and scenarios, save and be challenged on what role-playing is and can be, and develop your idea in directions you might not have expected. It is not unlikely you will make friends for life in the process and develop a broader taste and appreciation of role-playing as a medium. The scenario coordinators are involved in the process and will do their best to help get the scenario across the finish line. The Otto judges give thorough feedback on the scenario and the hope of a plaster penguin. The programmers guarantee at least five runs of your scenario. It’s not hard at Fastaval to catch your players and hear how your scenario went and get war stories. And lastly, of course, is the fundamental joy of doing creative work, writing, and struggling to make the scenario as good as it can get. It’s not always easy to be a scenario writer, but always engaging.
About the scenario coordinators
Fastaval has two scenario coordinators and it is our task to ensure the participants at Fastaval have the best possible role-playing experiences, as well as to ensure that Fastaval’s writers all have a good experience writing their scenarios. First and foremost, it is we who select this year’s scenario program, but it is also our task to arrange workshops for the authors, and provide feedback and moral support during the entire writing process from idea to finished scenario.
One is not the scenario coordinator indefinitely. Typically, a new duo is rotated every other year, to take over from the old organizers. In this way, we ensure that Fastaval’s program is constantly evolving and provides space for new ideas and priorities.
If you have questions about the scenarios or would like to hear more, you are welcome to contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently asked questions
Why is there only room for about 30 scenarios at Fastaval?
The number of scenarios on Fastaval has two explanations. First, Fastaval is limited by the number of gaming rooms we have access to at Mariager Fjord High School. Secondly, it is being prioritized by Fastaval that each scenario should have as many runs as possible. It takes a lot of time and volunteer effort to write a Fastaval scenario and therefore Fastaval would rather have fewer scenarios, that can be played more.
Who decides which scenarios are included?
It is the scenario coordinators who are responsible for selecting this year’s field for Fastaval. The coordinators are organizers at Fastaval, who have had the job for two years. They work to create diversity in the scenario program, so there is something for everyone to play. You can read more about their selection process below in the tab above.
Why can’t I submit my finished role-playing game as a synopsis?
There have been years where Fastaval has received 70+ synopsis, which in itself is a huge amount of reading material for the scenario coordinators and finished scenarios would only give them even more work. The synopsis form is there so that the scenario managers can easily form an overview of all the scenario ideas and thereby select the best overall program. Even though you may find it annoyingly redundant, you should still write a synopsis, even if you may already be far with your written scenario.
Can I bring my own role-playing game to Fastaval without the synopsis and scenario competition?
Fastaval is a big place and every year there are lots of participants who come to play their own roleplaying games and campaigns, bypassing the scenario competition and the official Fastaval program. Fortunately, there is plenty of space for this, but it often takes place in the common areas of the high school, as Fastaval uses the classrooms for programmed activities. If you just want to run your own game yourself and not have to write it out, you should not send a synopsis, but look for the general call-for-activities.