Saturday, May 19, 2018

One Thing: "Golden Peak Spire"

One thing I love about Richard Grzela'a 2018 One Page Dungeon Contest entry is how easily it can be dropped into any campaign that is headed towards war, or battles. This is often part of the progression for characters, getting caught up in the politics of neighboring kingdoms or defending against vast hordes of inhuman invaders.  The banner at the top of this mountain could very well turn the tide in a losing war, or give the characters an edge before the fighting even begins.  An endless variety of hooks could lead your party to this adventure. Perhaps they will keep the banner for themselves, with one party member being saddled with the banner while the others benefit from its effects, or as part of a greater story they might part with it no sooner than they acquire it.
Nice work Richard!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

One Thing: "the awakening"

One thing I love about Dan Smith and Tisha Parti's 2018 One Page Dungeon Contest entry is how effective it can be used as a catalyst for an entire campaign in a post-apocalyptic game setting (or even used in a fantasy setting as well).

Smith and Parti have included lots of hooks and leads including the possibility of a lower level, robotic units, and other buried bases. The awakened sleeper will also likely have extensive knowledge of the past, including the locations that may contain all sorts of loot and salvage. She could emerge as a powerful NPC that could serve in an advisory capacity, or perhaps even a target of rival tribes fearful that her knowledge will give the character's people and unfair advantage.  There are lots of directions the game master and players can take after this "campaign seed" is planted.

Nice work Dan and Tisha!

One Thing: "Island X"

One thing that I love about Pyry Qvick's entry in the 2018 One Page Dungeon Contest is the ever-changing nature of the environment. One minute the characters are marching towards the mysterious mountain at the center of the isle through a thick jungle, only to find themselves in the heart of a forest the next. From the jungle they may find themselves in a subterranean cave complex in an instant.

The island's inhabitants also share this peculiar, shifting quality, with familiar beasts having remarkably unfamiliar features. These effects intensify as the players near the mountain, with four possible causes listed (determine randomly or pick your favorite) once the characters reach the summit of the mountain.

Lots of potential for using bits from other One Page dungeons here as the island shifts. Is something trying to dissuade the characters from venturing closer to the mountain, or are they just neck deep strange magic that indiscriminately affects everything on the island?

Nice work Pyry!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

One Thing: Tome of Horrors

One thing I love about Jeff McKelley's 2018 One Page Dungeon Contest entry is the use of riddles. While not impossibly difficult, they aren't obvious, and any player that solves one will no doubt feel a swell of pride in having done so.  The first riddle is not a bottleneck, as there is a 1/6 chance the characters will choose the correct button to push randomly, but each incorrect press and the party will be faced with an invisible foe to deal with.

The second riddle will halt the character's progress if they cannot figure it out, and given vast number of possible incorrect combinations, the odds are greatly in the favor of the party being electrocuted long before they gain access to Curiosa Binder and her scriptorium.  If the players have missed the clue, or are unable to determine its meaning, there is an easy work around. Shock them a few times and then simply have Curiosa open the door and confront the party, handing them the original tome and late fees, just as is written.

I haven't come across either of these riddles personally, and I look forward to seeing my players wrack their puzzlers trying to figure them out.

Nice work Jeff!

One Thing: "Lava Clock"

One thing I love about Sterling Heibeck's "Lava Clock" is the sense of urgency and impending doom from the beginning to the very end.  As characters navigate the dungeon, the hands of the eponymous lava clock begin turning, causing a veritable lava storm to erupt in the main chamber of the volcano.  Many of the locations are precarious as it is, but even more deadly during one of these minor eruptions.

After fighting and puzzling their way to the chamber of flame and the adventure's conclusion, all while racing against the lava-clock, the part will be confronted with an imminent, full blown eruption that will kill them if they cannot escape in time.

Nice work Sterling!

Monday, May 14, 2018

One Thing: "Quest for the Murder Sword"

One thing I love about +Johan Nohr's "Quest for the Murder Sword" is the use of two maps in the entry. The primary, larger map, details a vertical dungeon complete with bones and gore, while the second, much smaller map details the dungeon from the same perspective, but includes the names of dungeon locations.

 This second map, with hand written location names, fits the style of the first, and allows Nohr to leave the "main map" free of numbering, lettering, or other identifiers that could detract from the splendid brutality of the image.

Nice Work Johan!

Cross Over: "Clash of the Titans Part II". If Karkrazh is resurrected at the end of this adventure, how would he fair against a party of adventurers manning the gnome-titan from "The Green Colossus", or the animated giant corpse from "The Eye of the Storm Giant", or both!. If Kharkrazh is controlled by the player characters (which is possible), What dragon or other titanic beast could withstand the collective might of this unlikely trio of character controlled juggernauts?

Saturday, May 12, 2018

One Thing: "The Eye of the Storm Giant"

One thing I love about Cooper Graetz's "The Eye of the Storm Giant" is the premise of using the animated corpse of a giant as an "organic mech", complete with a gaping wound the giant can pull carefully prepared explosives out of and hurl at would-be attackers.  And it seems as though the undead giant automaton has made plenty of enemies. Speaking of enemies, I wonder what the mysterious "Kevin" did to invoke the wrath of the three wizards, or pehaps even Graetz?

The giant has a number of defenses, although the effectiveness of each seems to vary, with the most powerful being the storm device that seems to shroud the giant in hurricane force winds.

Approaching the giant storm on horseback against blackened skies, while contending with elementals, boulders, and other hazards swirling about it could make for a very cinematic beginning!

Nice work Cooper!

Cross Over: Play this adventure after completing Pasquale Camuso's "Green Colossus", and allow the player characters to use the salvaged giant gnome-titan to battle the undead storm giant and its crew!

Friday, May 11, 2018

One Thing: "The Abbey of Saint Wilk"

One thing I love about Christian SahlĂ©n's "The Abbey of Saint Wilk" is the unexpected nature of the adventure's main villain.  When reading this one page dungeon, I expected a minor or diminished demon to be lurking near its conclusion, and did not see the Grand Duke of Hell coming at all, and your players probably won't either.

What is so special about this place, that warrants such a high profile foes attention? Well there are two clues given in the adventure. The first is in the description of the grand duke himself, stating that he seeks to increase his knowledge of things, and considering a lowly knight rose from the dead to smite him some 66 years prior to the adventure, this could definitely be something he wished to understand.

 The other motivation is simply revenge.  He seeks to punish those connected to, and around the abby after his resounding defeat in the past.  His own flying steed, a formidable foe in its own right, even feels as if this is all a needless distraction and is frustrated by the whole affair, perhaps even to Eligos's peril.

Nice work Christian!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

One Thing: "Wastes of the Rhinofolk"

One of the things I love about MonkeyBlood Design's "Wastes of the Rhinofolk" is the the overall "feel" it evokes. From the artwork to the world-building around this wasted region, It leaves a wind-swept and desolate impression on the reader/ player. The Rhinofolk live in careful balance with the harsh environment here, hunting sandworms and establishing elaborate rituals to give meaning to their otherwise unenviable lives.

Despite their brutal nature, I found my loyalty lies with the Rhinofolk. Any characters that wish to loot the great Blackhoof Tower probably deserve whatever cruel fate awaits them, but that might just be my Anthropology degree getting in the way.

Characters will face the threat of dehydration (and having once trudged through several kilometers of the Sahara with no water remaining, I can attest that this is no fun at all), poisonous sandworms, and of course the mighty Rhinofolk themselves if they wish to plunder this brutal, yet I dare say majestic, group of beings.

Nice work Glenn! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

One Thing: Into the Lair of the Slobbertooth Kobolds"

One thing I love about Luke E. Dodd's "Into the Lair of the Slobbertooth Kobolds" is the challenges it presents to a party of low level characters, for whom it is designed. Even one of the implied hooks (recovering barrels of oil) seems "low-stakes", just the sort of thing a group of unknown adventurers might be trusted to handle.

 There are opportunities to use stealth to avoid enemies, although the prospect of destroying the crumbling watchtower and the kobolds within at the start of the adventure seems very tempting.

There are multiple entrances, avoidable traps that can spell doom for low level characters, a hidden room with more than one opportunity to discover it, and the kobolds themselves who employ a variety of tactics (stealth/ barricades/ taking cover/ flaming oil flasks) which encourage the characters to do the same.

Nice work Luke!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

One Thing: "The Green Colossus"

One thing I love about Pasquale Camuso's "Green Colossus" is the potential to use the environment, and by environment, I mean the steam and magic fueled titan, to eliminate potentially dozens of kobolds. This has a cinematic feel, especially considering these actions will likely take place by accident, and have a "pure dumb luck" feel to them when confronted with the large tribe of kobolds guarding the colossus.

Turn the wrong lever, and flood the chamber with scalding vapor, as the titan, a remnant from a great battle, is severely damaged.  Turn another lever, or crank, or wheel, and cause a half buried arm to rise, destroying kobold structures built atop it.

Twist the wrong (or right) knob and unleash torrents of flame from the titans bearded mouth, roasting kobolds and possibly setting the entire forest ablaze!  If I know my players (and I do) they would find themselves trapped in the head of the titan (colossus) in a final confrontation with the kobold chieftain and his honor guard as a massive forest fire threatened to end them all, and probably the nearest human settlement!

Nice work Pasquale!

One Thing: "Creation:Infected"

One thing I love about Markus Linderum's "Creation:Infected" one page dungeon are the little things that can be discovered to aid the characters.  A crude gas mask can be found on the corpse of a dead adventurer, which will help to ward off toxic gas effects. There is also the opportunity to discover the "spawning point" of  Dire Tapeworms, which will prevent them from appearing later in the dungeon to attack the characters.

Not all of the discoverables are helpful, and characters may find themselves struggling to climb out of a toxic cesspit, only to discover that some of their party members have been mutated into bile golems!

As the point of entry is variable, it is possible that the character's will bypass some of these features before encountering the boss villain "Patogenus"(its very name a play on "infectious"). I like the random nature of this setup, ensuring that two run-throughs could look entirely different.

Nice work Markus!

Monday, May 7, 2018

One Thing: "Mount Zorgoth"

One thing I love about Nate Treme's "Mount Zorgoth" are the side quests that will send the characters back down the mountain chain to complete. While these quests are optional, they add a lot to the "whimsical post-apocalyptic" feel this one page dungeon is dripping with, which is paired perfectly with the artwork and layout.

After breaching the permacloud, the player characters might plan to run straight to the top to confront Zorgoth directly, but it is hard to resist the pull of rescuing a sentient goldfish from a lost city of bat-folk along the way! And who wouldn't trek back down the mountains to gain a free luck point after defeating the Fuego Fiend of the Blue Volcano?

Nice work Nate!

One Thing: "Rampaging Robot"

One thing I love about +Karl Stjernberg 's "Rampaging Robot" is his take on the "Post-Apocalypse". Throughout the entry, there are tons of humorous references to things and even Non Player characters as seen through the perspective of dog-food eating, "stop sign" armor wearing simple folk trying to survive after the "final war".

Mox, an Npc that was either once a mechanic or engineer (or has access to this sacred knowledge) is referred to as a "Tech Whisperer".  Grenades are "boom spheres", a hologram projector is "the ghost machine". The fearsome machine gun mounted to the rampaging robot is known as "the death spitter". These clever takes on mundane and even futuristic items can be found throughout the entire One Page Dungeon.

 Fans of Karl's "The Rad Hack" will love running this adventure, and although it fits nicely into the world Karl has created there, Karl has left out system specifics to make the adventure playable across virtually any rules system. This is the part where I don't talk about how it would work well with mine too!

Nice work Karl!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

One Thing: "Abandoned Quarry"

Once upon a time, in what feels like a lifetime ago after the past couple of weeks, I posted a series of posts on my "wastedthegame" blog where I highlighted one thing that I loved about One Page Dungeons submitted to previous contests.  It's not easy to pick just one thing to love about these entries, and maybe sometimes I blurred that line, but I will be at it again starting with the 2018 submissions. Remember that I am not a judge, and so these opinions are strictly my own....

One thing I love about Daniel OHare's "Abandoned Quarry Turned Dwarf Raiding Camp" is the clever use of the environment as a "security feature".  A slight slope leading to the entry of the "fortress in progress" is scattered with loose gravel, and unwitting player characters can easily disturb the small stones, sending them rolling towards the entrance.  This of course, alerts the guards and increases the difficulty level of the adventure quite a bit, forcing the characters to take the more perilous option to gain entry.

This simple "alarm trap" is well thought out, and adds consequences to the actions of the players. It is avoidable, as the dwarven raiders have cleared out a small path that can be noticed by dwarven characters, or other observant or cautious "ten foo pole" types.  Nice work Daniel!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Your Work is Done, But Ours Has Just Begun.

The judges are pouring through the entries, even as I type (well, it is late now, so I hope that is not true).  I have begun to upload entry images to a 2018 gallery page on the website, and will continue to add more each day, in the order they were submitted to the contest.

I have completed the layout for the 2018 One Page Dungeon Compendium, I have added all the entries and linked every one (*that had a link supplied) by hand, like some sort of old world crafts-person with a computer and Photoshop and InDesign...

The point is the book is basically done now. All I need to do is add the pages that feature the winning entries, and reorder some of the pages after that! This was the largest book I have tackled by far, and with the help of all the fantastic entries inside, it looks good!

"Underpaint Study" by Michael Richards/ CC BY 3.0
(the image has been cropped and enlarged from the original)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What A Ride! 162 Entries in the 2018 One Page Dungeon Contest!!!

The 2018 One Page Dungeon Contest submission period has drawn to a close in what proved to be, for some including myself, rather dramatic fashion!

My wife left me high and dry tonight, of all nights, to work on her Doctoral Dissertation (I have to admit that is a good reason). The kids were taking advantage of my situation (trying desperately to keep up with incoming entries while tweeting and Facebook Posting  and updating the website) by binge-watching "Walk the Prank" on YouTube.  The dog was barking non-stop through the window at a rabbit that stood defiantly in the front yard.  I had to make dinner, I had to help my daughter with her math homework. I needed to share the entries with the judges, all the while the dog kept barking and barking...with the deadline only minutes away.

I ran upstairs, chased the rabbit out of the yard, threw two yogurts at the kids, turned off the TV and got my daughter started on her homework and sent my son to take a bath, ran back downstairs, and was able to enjoy the final moments of the contest. I managed to cook dinner, get all homework done and checked, and get both kids in bed reading for twenty minutes. I am not 100% certain, but I think I just leveled up and look forward to choosing a new ability once this day is over.

In all seriousness, I am blown away by the amount of participation and hard work that went into this contest by the creators! I won't lie, just a few days ago I was feeling a bit deflated as we were sitting on around 38 entries, and it looked like this year's contest might have the lowest participation ever.

I thought it would take nothing short of a miracle to match last year's number of entries, let alone the "pie in the sky" number of 100 entries...

We now have 162 entries!!!!
This number could even increase as I comb through the contest email account to ensure all entries have been uploaded to the judges, as well as the website email account that also received several entries by mistake.

I feel for the judges! A Herculean task awaits them reviewing all of these entries, most of which came in within the last three days.

The judging period was originally envisioned as roughly two weeks, but with more than double the expected number of entries, it might take a bit longer to complete.

I will keep you up to date on the progress and the latest developments in here, and via twitter and Facebook.

Thanks again to everyone for making the tenth anniversary of the One Page Dungeon Contest the biggest contest year to date!