As part of my existing Pathfinder campaign, I want to run an in-game tournament between twelve adventuring parties. The PCs would form one team. The other 11 are NPC teams put forward by NPC nobles. The nobles are running the tournament within the story.
At the end of the tournament, we'd see each team ranked by its performance:
First Place: Team PlayerCharacter Second Place: Team Orc Third Place: Team Goblin ... Twelfth Place: Team Kobold
How would I design such a tournament? What elements do I need to consider? Some other GM must have run something like this before. I am looking for a precedent which worked for that GM.
A single game of Capture The Flag wouldn't work, as that produces one team that wins and eleven teams that lost.
I could run a knock-out tournament between sixteen teams, in a series of team vs team cage matches. That produces a result where one team gets gold in first place, other teams get second, third and fourth, along with four teams that lost the semi-finals and eight teams that lost the first qualifying round.
I would rather not have the competition turn into a gladiator ring death match. I'm looking for examples more like a scavenger hunt.
The answer I seek would have precedent and examples that would make sense in a High Fantasy setting. I have no experience with convention play nor Pathfinder Society play; if those have precedent I have not been able to find it.
The best idea I have come up with on my own is that a committee of judges would time some sort of scavenger hunt. There'd be some number (like 20) items to collect; teams are ranked by how quickly they can bring back the most items. I'm hoping someone here has run something like this already (with a better framework than what I've proposed) and can provide guidance on what worked (and what didn't).
Even an answer like "Go look up XYZ scoring" would help, if XYZ were an example of how to score multiple tournament participants.
I want to run this tournament "in the game" for my players. My friends and I are not interested in participating in RPGA / convention tournaments.
While I have not yet found examples of "how to calculate tournament scoring", I'd be willing to consider what the examples say, if they help answer my question and provide a rank to each participating party.