Monday, June 4, 2012

Wowwwww, Check Out The One-Page Dungeons

Man these just get better every year...

The One Page Dungeon contest is rapidly turning into some kind of serious thing.

Many of the winning maps could (and should) easily be the sort of work appearing in official D&D stuff. (And official stuff generally.) Maybe more "should" than "could", because they're better.

Maximum content maximum density maximum value fits on your goddamn table next to your 900 other things you gotta deal with while you DM.

This is beautiful. Some people are like "the Old School Renaissance has won because like something something WOTC something" don't know don't care. But this here? This is like some Martin Sheen level winning here. Like some slowly rising from the Cambodian muck to stab a moaning and useless Marlon Brando and then call in the airstrike business here.

Whatever combination of people and forces and ideas is responsible for the inventiveness, energy, creativity and confidence-that-what-you-do-will-be-worth-showing-people-and-they-might-like-it-and-use-it-so-just-do-it on display here is an awesome thing.

This is some DIY D&D at it's finest and I think anybody designing RPGs or RPG books should be required to spend a long, lingering 5-hour look at it--both the individual entries and the emergent creativity inspired by this one simple constraint--before they touch pen, paper or mouse ever again.


  1. Agreed.
    And "Deep in the Purple Worm" is the one I printed off and pored over.
    It's nuts!

  2. Too right. "Old Bastard's Barrens" is, like, witchcraft: a sandbox wilderness map with many intertwined encounters, secrets, hooks, humor, a great theme, and a convincing skeleton for a 1-8 level campaign. An epic sandbox on one page.

    Also, I'd pay a lot of real money for a small booklet of 'Operation Eagle Eye' style espionage missions. Too fun.

  3. I feel like I just failed my Will save ... fucking lost 90 minutes in a fugue state, all available bandwidth devoted to processing the awesome.

  4. Reminds me of one of the sub-plots of Ken Hite's "The Day After Ragnarok" RPG setting. In it, the desperate Nazi's start Ragnarok and summon the Midgard Serpent. Truman sends the Trinity device to kill the immense, world-girding, snake from beyond only to have it's compose crush most of Europe (as well as drown the Eastern half of North America under a Mega-Tsumami when one of the Serpent's coils falls back into the Atlantic). The British, eager to learn what made the Serpent tick, cut into the immense carcass and find that guts of Jormungand is a virtual ecosphere in and of itself, full of various horrors.

    It's a great setting. I highly recommend it.

  5. Dammit. Next year for sure...

  6. I was amazed at these maps. The Worm was my favorite. It also highlighted that maps don't need to be overly complicated and full of tons of shit to be fun and enjoyable.

  7. "Malefex" says it all, really.

  8. Oh man, that is inspired. Color me impressed.

  9. they really are getting better. The first year there were a lot of entries, but a lot of them were also really poor. The second year had fewer dungeons, but the average level of quality went up. Now it's just getting silly. I think some of these guys secretly work on their entries for the entire year.

  10. Hey, great to see my dungeon featured here :). In response to the Iron Goat - I actually originally whipped up a black/white version of the "Deep in the Purple Worm" while listening to "The Best of Deep Purple" one-and-a-half times ... so the original drawing was about 2 hours, plus 1 hour for polishing up and adding the texts. It helps when you have an evilly approaching deadline (Cartographer's Guild competition) & a relatively detailed setting (couple of years of evil adventuring).

    Hope you get some fun use out of it! :)

    1. Oh yeah, forgot to mention ... there's a hi-res version at my Prekomorec blog, too.