One of the reasons I love Santicore, and crowdsourcing, and contests, is that placing artificial constraints on something can be very stimulating to creativity. By forcing yourself to think about things in a new way, you're going to end up with something very different than the "same old", whether it's something like "use only monsters from this one book for a while" or "riff off the plot of one of these movies". While it's often just a thought-experiment to get the creative juices flowing, sometimes I find the products of these challenges are my favorite work.
In that vein, here are two challenges I'm thinking about. Not contests, not dares exactly - but personal challenges of the New Year's Resolution variety almost.
#1: UNDER THE TREE CHALLENGE
aka "Use What You Get"
My lovely wife picked me up some Christmas presents at the local game store already, and they're vintage 1e/2e AD&D stuff. I know this because she told me so, and further informed me that the stuff was "sort of themed together". That could mean anything. It could all be Dark Sun stuff, or Spelljammer. Or all Complete brown books, or Historical green ones. Or a mess of Dragon magazines, or Dungeon. From any pre-4e edition, actually, those could be 3e-era magazines. No idea.
So here's the challenge: everything under the tree gets used, mashed up, together, somehow. On Christmas I'll artfully arrange whatever it is and snap a pic, pledging to use something from everything in the stack, ideally together in some way. Charlemagne's Paladins vs. Night Below? Who knows what it will be. If there are Dragon magazines in there, I'll aim to use significant chunks of each of them. Mash mash mash.
Dare you attempt the Under the Tree Challenge?
#2: SAVE A DEAD TREE CHALLENGE
aka "Use What You've Got"
There's quite a bit of gaming material on my bookshelves (I wager yours look similar). A good chunk of it is vintage stuff I picked up at a con ages ago (for a song) that I still haven't used in any real way. Shouldn't I be using some of this? Sure, I'll cannibalize maps or flip through old modules for inspiration, but what about actually running the darn things?
And therein lies the second challenge: something - or several somethings - get pulled off the shelf and used. As in actually run. Run straight, run as a one-shot, run adapted to Wampus, whatever - but run. It could be War Rafts of Kron or Greyhawk Ruins or Dragons of Midsummer Angst or That One Eberron Thing I Forgot I Picked Up or who knows what else. It could mean taking an adventure from one game (Island of Dr. No, I'm looking at you) and adapting it to another game, but still trying to run it using as much material from the original as possible. This is a throughout-the-year challenge, to utilize and repurpose the stuff I already have. Ghost Tower of Inverness, adapted to Wampus Country? Yes, please. Could also be a good opportunity for folks to play through 'classic' modules...
Dare you attempt the Save A Dead Tree Challenge?