Become a Scenario Designer

One of Fastavals absolute focal points are the scenarios, both tabletop role-playing and live. They are unique stories and narratives that every years i written specially for Fastaval. A Fastaval scenario is not bound by specific genre, style or techniques. They can be both grave serious, action packed and surreal. The most important thing is that your game is done with love for Fastaval and created for Fastaval’s participants by Fastaval’s participants. If you are entertaining the notion of writing a scenario, please keep reading.      

Roleplaying Scenarios at Fastaval 2021 – Call for synopsis

If you want to contribute to Fastaval with a scenario or Larp the first thing you must to is to submit a synopsis to the scenario organizers. A synopsis is a summery and pitch of your idea on 1-2 pages of text, where you describe the most important elements of the game. It is based on the synopsis’ that the scenario organizers selects all the scenarios for Fastaval, because we typical have more scenario-ideas than Fastaval can accommodate.

Fastaval has room for many types and diversity is a priority. From commedies to fantasy and heavy drama – no story is more right for Fastaval than others. So, if you have an idea please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

The scenario organizers for Fastaval 2021 Mads and Marie has now officially a call out for synopsis’. If you want to write a scenario for Fastaval 2021 we need to have you synopsis in hand (metaphorically speaking) by August 30th at 11.59 PM 

If you have questions about the sysopsis process or about the Fastaval scenarios in genrerally please write us here.

On this page you can read loads more about what it takes to become a designer for Fastaval.

Rules for writing a scenario for Fastaval

  • We welcome both full-length scenarios (2-5 hours), novellas (less than 2 hours all included), games running the full convention, LARPs, outdoor scenarios, anthologies, nanogames, form experiments and all other types of role-playing games in a broad interpretation, as long as they can be played in or around Fastaval’s location in Hobro. Feel free to contact us if you have practical questions about premises, equipment and other practical requirements for the execution of the scenario, Fastaval is happy to help with the practical.
  • Only premiere scenarios written for Fastaval 2021 are accepted, and thus not scenarios written for previous years, other conventions or the like. Playtests from other conventions, remakes and similar gray areas are allowed, but it is worth mentioning in the synopsis how a remake differs and evolves from the original. (2020 scenarios are, as something special this year, exempt from this rule.)
  • You can submit more than one synopsis, and can be selected to write one or more scenarios. However, we prefer to focus on sharpening one scenario idea rather than sending many loose ones, quantity does not necessarily help the chance of being selected.
  • If you are not situated in Denmark, please specify whether you plan on attending Fastaval 2021 in person. Given that travel restrictions will allow it.
  • A classic scenario is an explanatory text for the game master of 10 to 100 pages, but there are no fixed requirements as long as it can be played by a good portion of Fastaval’s participants. Cards, audio files, physical props, etc. can be used to communicate the scenario.
  • A scenario at Fastaval will automatically become a part of the Otto competition and the finished product will be judged by the otto jury

Here you can find three examples of good synopses

Mandatory data for your synopsis

  • Title (can be a temporary working title)
  • Type: Full length, novella or other
  • Key words (Genre / style of play / setting etc.) 
  • Number of players
  • Number of game masters (typically one, but anything is possible)
  • Expected playing time
  • 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 short 1-2 sentence pitch to put on fastaval.dk if the scenario is accepted. You can also let the scenario coordinators write this.

Deadlines

Synopses must be sent to the scenario coordinators Marie Skouenborg and Mads Egedal Kirchhoff at the email address: scenarieansvarlige@fastaval.dk no later than Saturday August 30 2021 at 23.59.

We will send answers back no later than September 7. Shortly afterwards, the selected games are presented on Fastaval.dk.

The completed scenarios must be handed in to the scenario coordinators around the end of January (exact date will be announced later).

Synopsis sparring: August (mostly for new writers)

If you have not written a scenario for Fastaval before, we can help put you in touch with a synopsis sparring partner. That is, an experienced Fastaval writer who can help you by, for example, by reading through your synopsis and giving constructive criticism. You agree on the details of the collaboration yourself. Send us an email at scenarieansvarlige@fastaval.dk, if you are interested.

Workshops

If the circumstances around Corona allow it, physical workshops will be held for all interested parties before the synopsis deadline in Copenhagen and a series of workshops afterwards for the selected author team. In addition, there will be an email version or video call version of many of the workshops in Danish and English you can participate in if you can not come to Copenhagen or Aarhus on the mentioned dates. Email workshops take place over four days, where authors will be paired in small groups and will exchange emails with ideas, sparring and feedback. Set aside an hour each day to participate.

Idea Workshop: August 10

A loose and open workshop where you present your idea and we brainstorm on them together. It will take place at Rådhusstræde 13, 1466 København K, 19:00 and simultaneously at Vejlby Toften 360, 8240 Risskov. Please sign up for the facebook event or send a mail if you are planning on coming..

Mail workshop: August 11 – 14

For those that cannot show for the physical workshops. Will contain elements from both the idea and synopsis workshop.

Synopsis workshop: August 20

Here advice is given on how to write the synopsis so it best communicates your idea. Everyone must bring a draft of their synopsis in triplicate, so that we can work from something concrete.

Scenario sparring

If your scenario idea is selected for Fastaval 2021, the scenario coordinators will be happy to help you get an experienced sparring partner for the next part of the writing process. We also gather this year’s group of authors in a Facebook group, where you can exchange ideas and updates with each other.

Writers-Weekend: October 30 – November 1

ALEA sponsors a cabin, and the screenwriters and their fantastic kitchen team are in charge of planning the practicalities. Throughout the weekend there will be workshops, fun and time to write on your scenario. More info about time and place follows. As with all the other workshops, we will of course keep an eye on how the situation around Corona develops, take precautions and replace with other online activities if necessary.

Preview workshop: January 5 (approximately)

All scenarios are presented to the participants of Fastaval with a short written pitch, and it is from these pitches that the participants choose which scenarios they would like to play.  It is a difficult exercise in both seeing your scenario from the outside, and attracting only those players for whom the scenario will be a good experience. We practice this in this workshop.

The basic purpose of the synopsis is to give the scenario coordinators enough understanding select the field of roleplaying scenarios that all-together will give next year’s Fastaval participants the best experiences.

A synopsis is a short text that outlines the story and structure of the scenario, features, why it’s fun or engaging, and what kind of experience the players will get out of it. It should not go into too specific details, such as explaining the whole plot or background stories of all characters, but should at least touch on all important aspects of the scenario. Focus on providing a broad overview rather than spending multiple paragraphs on a single element. The most important thing is ultimately whether we understand what is going to happen in the gaming room, what the players are going to feel, do and experience. The ideal length of a synopsis can vary a lot depending on how complex the scenario is and how much there is to explain, but one to two pages is often enough. More than that is rarely justified.

Furthermore, it is great if we can sense the enthusiasm for the idea. An understanding of what makes the idea interesting and engaging for players to play is an advantage. Do avoid excessive bragging and long manifestos about what good role-playing really is and how all other scenarios are trash. 

If you are a new writer and not known by the scenario coordinator, you can include some information about what else you have worked on in an role-playing context so we get an feeling for your level of experience and style. It is NOT a disadvantage to be inexperienced, as we want a diverse make-up of authors, introducing new blood and ideas into the community.

For more on Fastaval style scenarios please check Kristoffer Apollo’s article The best one-shots in the world: The Danish scenario tradition.

Since there is normally a huge interest in submitting scenarios for Fastaval, all the synopses will go through a selection process, and we will pick the cream of the crop for the final Fastaval line up.

Synopses are selected as a single field, so it is not only the quality of the individual synopsis that counts, but also how it fits into the field.

We select based on diversity in the scenario field. We would really like to be able to offer Fastaval’s participants a wide range of role-playing experiences. All the players of Fastaval should be able to find at least one scenario where they think – “I really want to play this!”. We strive for a wide breadth in genres, themes, mechanics and forms – and also which age groups the scenarios are aimed at. Ideally, we  want action, drama, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, social realism, feel-good, documentary, live, system and everything in between and beyond.

We are also looking for a diversity of experience among the authors. We would like there to be some debutants every year who get the chance to try their hand at writing scenarios for Fastaval. We would also like there to be some writers with a scenario or three under their belt who get the chance to develop further on their abilities. Finally, we also want some really seasoned writers to write, taht can share their experiences at workshops and such.

We also take language and nationality into account. We love international authors and would like to have some on every year’s program, while ensuring a plentiful amount of scenarios in Danish.

Of course, we look at the quality of the scenario idea itself interpreted through the synopsis. We evaluate whether we think the idea is mature enough to be completed before the deadline, whether it will become a solid product and will be engaging to play. Presentation is also a factor, a few errant commas and typos are not a damning factor, but if the synopsis is too poorly conveyed for us to understand what the game is, we cannot trust the author to convey it to their game masters.

Synopses are selected as a single field, so it is not only the quality of the individual synopsis that counts, but also how it fits into the field.

We select based on diversity in the scenario field. We would really like to be able to offer Fastaval’s participants a wide range of role-playing experiences. All the players of Fastaval should be able to find at least one scenario where they think – “I really want to play this!”. We strive for a wide breadth in genres, themes, mechanics and forms – and also which age groups the scenarios are aimed at. Ideally, we  want action, drama, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, social realism, feel-good, documentary, live, system and everything in between and beyond.

We are also looking for a diversity of experience among the authors. We would like there to be some debutants every year who get the chance to try their hand at writing scenarios for Fastaval. We would also like there to be some writers with a scenario or three under their belt who get the chance to develop further on their abilities. Finally, we also want some really seasoned writers to write, taht can share their experiences at workshops and such.

We also take language and nationality into account. We love international authors and would like to have some on every year’s program, while ensuring a plentiful amount of scenarios in Danish.

Of course, we look at the quality of the scenario idea itself interpreted through the synopsis. We evaluate whether we think the idea is mature enough to be completed before the deadline, whether it will become a solid product and will be engaging to play. Presentation is also a factor, a few errant commas and typos are not a damning factor, but if the synopsis is too poorly conveyed for us to understand what the game is, we cannot trust the author to convey it to their game masters.

Finally we come to 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.

If you are selected to write a scenario for Fastaval, we expect you to do your best to deliver a solid game. It takes both time and energy to write a good scenario. Not so much that you have to take a sabbatical from school or work, but expect it to occupy a good portion of your free time. Plot points and design questions will haunt your thoughts and dreams for the next six months. That’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 will meet the motley crew of writers and ideas, 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 scenarios coordinators are involved in the process and will do their best to help get the scenario across the finish line. The Otto judges provide thorough feedback on the scenario and the hope of a spray-painted penguin, and the group coordinators guarantee at least five plays of your scenario. It’s easy at Fastaval to find your players and game master and get great war stories. And lastly, of course, there is the fundamental joy of doing creative work, of writing and struggling to make the best scenario you can. Being a writer at Fastaval is not always easy, but always engaging.

Due to the cancellation of Fastaval 2020 and in respect for the great amount of work done by the authors this year, they have been given the opportunity for their game to be played at least in one block during Fastaval 2021. This means that this year we will accept fewer synopses than usual. We still really want a large & diverse field of new scenarios and writers, so please do not be deterred from submitting your synopses. We also hope that the authors from 2020 will continue to work on their scenarios and support the new team and the creative process through to next year.

The scenario coordinaters for Fastaval 2021 and 2022

It is the goal of the scenario coordinators to provide the participants of Fastaval with the best possible roleplaying experiences.

Among other things, this is done by providing opportunities for sparring, workshops and moral support for the authors – all the way through the writing process from initial idea to finished scenario.

It is also the scenario coordinators that select the line up of scenarios for Fastaval, based on the synopses received each year. As with most of the Fastaval organization, it is not an indefinite job, but typically a new duo every other year.

Contact: scenarieansvarlige@fastaval.dk

Marie Skouenborg has been at Fastaval since 2013, and has written a couple of scenarios and been Otto judge once. She loves role-playing games that evoke enthusiasm in the players, whether it is playful co-creation, deep drama or scenarios that exude love of genres. When out-of-character, she works a lot and enjoys life with board- and role-playing games, boyfriend, twins and pets.

Mads Egedal Kirchhoff has written eleven scenarios, and some change, for Fastaval and other Danish conventions since 2011 and has also handled synopses and authors for Viking-Con. He loves all kinds of role-playing games, from dreary social realism to boundary-pushing artistic experiments to silly action with robots. In everyday life he is a software developer, gamer and nerd.