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Posted by Brother None

NMA Brotherhood of Steel Writing Contest

A little while ago, Bethesda released a developer diary describing for the first time the background events leading up to persistent Brotherhood activity in war-torn Washington D.C. Opinions on the piece were vocal and divided. Some thought it was a reasonable take showing that even Elders of the Brotherhood can undergo character growth in the face of wasteland realities; others decried it as a hamfisted retooling out of step with Fallout lore. Obviously such an argument can have no definitive resolution.

But why leave it there? We at NMA invite you to don your creative hat and present your own vision of the Brotherhood, where they are now and how they got there. Your assignment is to write your own version of this story, to tell it the way you would want it to be told, to set the Brotherhood up for the game you would want to play.

Your entry must be centred on the premise that the Brotherhood of Steel, or some group using their name and trappings, are operating on the East Coast. Who are they? What do they represent? What's their history, what state do we find them in, what's their agenda? We're looking for stories that are ambitious, well-considered, well-written, consistent and believable.

All surrounding details are mutable. You can but do not have to refer to other aspects of the setting and plot of Fallout 3 that have been revealed or hinted at, or try to guess at undisclosed plot points. You can frame your piece however you like, but don't forget about the content.

To fuel your creative efforts at fan writing, we'll be offering up a desirable fan prize. The winner will receive a poster-sized print of any one art piece by renowned fan artist Defonten: City Ruins, Cafe of Broken Dreams or Brand New Reno.

When judging your outline we will consider the following points:
  • Style: You'll want your text to be clear, concise, and comprehensible. Don't lose focus, and don't get bogged down in details. Use proper grammar and punctuation. In short, be professional.
  • Substance: Do you have bright ideas and neat touches? Do you have smooth transitions and clever symbolism? Startling developments or grounded and low-key - just make us believe it.
  • Legacy: How does your piece connect to established lore? Is it consistent with itself and with what we know from the previous games? Does it have a "Fallout vibe"? Whether it represents a brave new direction or a measured take on previous trends, we'll be curious to see how you build on Fallout canon.
This doesn't mean we've decided on "right" and "wrong" ways to go about each aspect; it doesn't mean we'll be awarding scores in these specific categories and adding them up to find the winner. No, in the end we'll simply pick the best entries - because that's how good we are.

Here are the actual rules of the competition:
  • Entries should be mailed to before March 3rd, 2008.
  • Entries must consist entirely of written English presented in plain text, must be between 1,000 and 1,200 words long. This leaves you with a little less elbow room than the original article, but bear in mind we'll have to read all of this stuff. Don't sweat it if you end up running 50 words long, but don't push it, either.
  • There is no limit to the number of submissions. If you're smart, however, you go with one vision and make it count.
  • Since this is a fan contest, it is only fitting that we offer up a fan prize: the author of the winning entry will receive a poster print of any one art piece by renowned fan artist Defonten. If that doesn't make you go "Holy crap!" and pick up your metaphorical pen, what will.
  • In addition, the winning entry and up to two more worthy submissions will be run as featured articles on NMA - a claim to fame as sure as any. It will be jolly well assumed that you consent to this.
  • The jury will consist of select infallible members of the NMA administration. We aim to deliberate for no more than two weeks before announcing the result, unless we get swamped by submissions.
  • NMA staff members that are not on the jury may participate, but are not eligible to win the grand prize.
That's it. Get thinking, get writing, and get your points of data into a beautiful line.