A few years back, somebody in the old-school D&D movement came up with the bright idea of a one-page dungeon: a small map, some sketchy notes, and you’re good to go. This is the sort of neat concept you can have with old-school D&D games, since the stat block for any given monster is maybe three lines long and traps need no more detail than ‘anything put in a hole gets chopped off’.
And, over the past few years there has been an annual contest revolving around this: the One-Page Dungeon Contest. I entered a few years back, and was somewhat discouraged that my clearly superior* dungeon didn’t win any categories at all – I’m still quite pleased about the dungeon which serves no purpose other than to give its creator a chance to fall about laughing at the unfortunate fates of the PCs within.
Anyway, I thought I’d enter again this year, since I had an hour to kill over lunch. My entry is The Cult of the Tyrant Kings, and while it’s got it’s moments – Gavrik who thinks he’s a minotaur is my favourite, followed by Usebio and Lara who have a flat 50% chance of being a couple on any given day – I think it’s going to be roundly trounced by some of the competition I’ve seen. Oh well.
Still, it’s been a useful exercise in brevity – as the editors at Purple Duck can attest, I have a tendency to get verbose when describing dungeons. Having to cram everything (21 locations!) onto one page, even without any system info, is pretty hard. Even now I’m thinking that the Tyrant Kings have legs; hitting their cult should either be the culmination of a more investigative adventure or start you off on another trail, and it was difficult to hold myself back from filling in the details in the adventure itself.
If you feel like entering there’s still time! Only, like, 10 days, but since you can knock one of these out in *checks clock* about 1d3 hours, that’s not a great obstacle.
*Dungeon may not have actually been superior. =P