Thursday, April 22, 2010

One Page Dungeon Codex 2009

No matter how creative and hardworking a DM may be, we could all use a little help from time to time when it comes to putting together that week’s adventure. I know that, personally, sometimes I just don’t have the time over the week to put together exactly what I want. Actual, non fantasy life does get in the way. It usually works out well, but in an effort to alleviate some of the pre D&D stress that occasionally comes along I went looking for some DM resources that I could plug into an existing game. I was delighted to come across The One Page Dungeon Codex 2009. What an interesting and well executed concept. It is a free collection of system neutral dungeons that can pretty easily be plugged into most campaigns. The common theme is that they all follow a one page format that contains both a map and a description of everything in it.

One important thing to note is that these adventures still require work from the DM. Since they are system neutral the DM, if nothing else, still needs to have stats for the monsters, place some treasure, work it into their world, etc…The thing that I like most about it is that the map is already made. I am not a dungeon map making type of guy so it is nice to have the most cumbersome aspect of adventure making taken care of for me. But really none of this is the interesting aspect of the One Page Dungeon Codex. The whole project came about as a collaborative effort from a couple of RPG blogs who developed the format and then had an open contest asking for submissions from readers. Judging ensued and then the best entries were put together into the Codex. It has three overall winners, but all together 21 entries are included. Some of them are great, others I don’t have much use for but overall it is a pretty nifty resource. It’s also nice to see people coming together to workshop and promote one another’s stuff.

The Best Overall Dungeon is called Secrets of the Old City by Simon Bull and it is put together very nicely. It is not ultra imaginative, it details an abandoned city underneath a city that is inhabited by a small thieves den and an ogre. But it is nicely done and can easily be slid into just about any urban setting. I am also a fan of The Grey Goblin Warrens, winner in the Best Hack and Slash category. It is a huge sprawling cave complex filled with goblins and many other nasties. I must say that I am extremely impressed with the amount of content that has fit into a single page. It is almost overwhelming. My favorite though is Arendt’s Old Peculiar. Taking the prize in the category of Best Pub, it is the story of a band of goblins that have taken over and reopened a semi famous but now in ruin bar. To be honest I don’t entirely see the adventure in it, it does not have a clear structure for the PC’s to follow. But not every adventure needs to be so linear and so apparent. The point is that it is a fun establishment and any worthwhile PC’s can have themselves a night in this place.

The file comes in at 54 pages, so it is substantial. The entire opening section is a sometimes tedious description of how the project came together. I enjoyed it, it’s always interesting to see how these projects come together. The adventures themselves remind me of the short adventures contained in the Greyhawk boxed set. Which is a good thing. At some point some of these adventures will wind up on our table. I’ll let you know how it goes.


noburo said...

Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad you liked Arendt's, and you were absolutely right about the lack of plot – but that was intentional! I aimed to make an open 'playground' for the PCs to interact with as they wish. They could enter the place as customers, spies, burglars, treasure hunters or just your everyday looters and still find something worthy of their attention. There are a few plot hooks hidden away in the descriptions for the DM to turn into the focus of the adventure, if needed.

If you're in the mood for some more, here are the entries for this year's contest:


Nick said...

Just read through it, very imaginative, often very deadly