Today I should be announcing the winner of the second Grognard's Challenge, but the simple fact is that I received so few entries that I don't feel I've got an adequate number to be able to call any one of them a clear winner. The entries I have received so far are all good ones. However, they number precisely three, whereas Grognard's Challenge #1 resulted in over 50 entries.
Part of that is likely because of the narrower scope of the second contest. Part of it is also, I suspect, because the creation of original tricks and traps in an old school style is difficult to do well. Indeed, I would probably argue -- and I may write an entry on this topic some day soon -- that tricks and traps are one of the greatest casualties of the shift from the old school to the new. Tricks and traps challenge the player as much as they challenge the character, which is why they've been reduced over the years to a series of purely game mechanical obstacles that can be overcome with the right in-game skills and a series of dice rolls.
That aside, I am now formally extending the deadline of Grognard's Challenge #2 to midnight (EST) August 17, 2008, as well as broadening the scope. The broadened challenge is to create, describe, and provide game stats (if necessary) for either a single new trick or trap or a locale for use with a wilderness or dungeon scenario. To clarify: this means you can describe a single room, cavern, or terrain feature that may or may not be inhabited but must have something unique and interesting about it. All the other normal rules for Challenge #2 still apply and I will still judge more favorably those entries that attempt to provide a challenge for players as well as their characters.
Again, this is not a reflection on the quality of three entries I received for Challenge #2, as I could easily have chosen one as the winner. However, part of the purpose of these challenges is to get people thinking about what old school gaming is about and into that spirit themselves, if only for a little while. I haven't yet achieved that with this challenge and would like to give people another week to try and do so.