Thursday, 2 May 2013

One Page Dungeon Contest Reviews

I wanted to tour the highlights - to me - of the other entries in the 2013 One Page Dungeon contest. (Apologies for leaving out the link in my original post.)

This year, entrants are stretching the boundaries further, with many dungeons actually being complete mini-games, and gimmicks a-plenty. I'm even skipping over the couple dozen dungeons I wouldn't mind dropping into my campaign on the fly, and focusing on the ones that get a special piece of my attention and appreciation.

Aaron Frost and Mundi King, Old Guard Tower

The scenario is pretty simple - more a tactical challenge than anything else - but it's the toy factor that sells it. This one lets you cut out and assemble the adventure site as a handsome 3D cutaway model, complete with stand-up monsters.

Alex Cirsova, The Revelry at Pickett Castle

I have a soft spot for this one because it answers the pressing question posed years ago by Mr. Show ... Monster Parties: Fact or Fiction?

Oh my god ... PUZZLES. To progress in the dungeon your players must solve a real Rubik's Cube. Gloriously over-the-top in its genre.

Bringing 1980 back with a delirious Metal Hurlant science-fantasy setting, and a zine-press look.

Wonderfully illustrated map and some great architectural concepts - sea plunder against the ticking clock of the tide.

Eero Tuovinen, Miscegenation of the Ancients

One of the best premises ever. A certain Ark got stranded on the top of a mountain and, trapped behind an angelic seal, the animals bred with each other and created a bizarre mutant menagerie. This one will either get Pat Robertson to convert to D&D, or make his head explode.

Eric Harshbarger, Games People Play

Plain-looking but notable for its twist, which is the kind of thing you are allowed to pull only once in your career as a Game Master. Ever.

Jobe Bittman, Into The Demon Idol

An eye-catching cutaway illustration of an iconic piece of scenery with a small isometric dungeon below; it turns out the all-too-familiar idol has a preposterawesome secret.

Jason Morningstar, La Bassee
Jim McGarva, Dinner at the In-Laws

When the fantastic is commonplace, the mundane is exotic - but very different tones can flavor it. Jim McGarva offers a comical modern-day social adventure complete with its own system. Jason Morningstar gives an enigmatic art-adventure in which Great War veterans revisiting their old battlefield find tangible and intangible memories of the past, leaving unsaid what is real and what the nature of the challenge is.

Jens Thuresson, The Giant's Dollhouse

Just plain weird but strangely compelling. A giant with a magic staff can petrify and un-petrify people at will, and keeps them in cutaway rooms in the side of a mountain. Has the feel of a lost Cugel the Clever episode.

Joe Pruitt, Echoes of Empire

The graphics are pretty basic but Joe Pruitt has hit one of my weaknesses - this one-page adventure is actually an epic fantasy wargame wherein the party must run around a hexmap, gathering allies to resist an invading army.

Kaylee Thumann, Girly Girl Dungeon

Lo, a satire and/or celebration of gender roles. Graphically great and there's also some meat to the jokey encounters.

Leslie J. Furlong, Surface

An interesting, artistic presentation of a solo exploration adventure conducted mostly in the dark, with an abstract map and evocative sensory descriptions.

Ramsey Hong, Something Happened At The Temple Near Glourm

What happened is the fairly usual scenario of evil critters up in the temple, but the graphic design is great, with an almost-isometric perspective and a use of silhouettes that doesn't feel schematic. Also with the nice graphics: LSF, A Stolen SpringNick Wedig, Kingfisher.

Roland Volz, The Blackacre Heist

Lots to chew on in this elegantly presented modern scenario, packing multiple plots and possibilities.

Scott Slomiany, Assault on the Goblin Hold

Just wow. A choose your own adventure folding 8-page book that has you interacting with it by cutting off pieces, poking holes in the book, turning and flipping ... Probably the best outside-the box format of the contest.


  1. Okay the Girly Girl dungeon is awesome. I intend to pay Ms. Thumann for her idea.

  2. The Giant's Dollhouse is awesome. Fits anywhere and can't help but be fun.

  3. I haven't read them all, but at the moment one of my favorite is "Into the Demon Idol"; wonderful map and the fact that the "dungeon" isn't necessarily fixed in place.

    I also like "Kibhur's Dungeon", but I'm uncertain about the whole Rubik's cube thing, if it would slow things down at the table.