One Page Dungeon

I recently discovered a new (to me) concept: the One Page Dungeon. It’s exactly as it sounds–a complete dungeon (notes and all) that appears on a single sheet of paper.

Is it really all that new? I’ve loved the board game HeroQuest since it came out in the 90s and it was my first introduction to fantasy role-playing games. Too bad I couldn’t find a regular group of friends to game with. I didn’t let that stop me from designing quests and campaigns for it, and I even released a few online at the Ye Olde Inn. Each quest was a single page with a map on top, parchment text meant to be read aloud to the players, and notes for each room explaining what would happen.

What’s new is applying the One Page Concept to a complete Dungeons & Dragons adventure, which is typically contained within a 32-page book.

I have, however, found it to be possible and quite an enjoyable challenge.

My first attempt can be dropped into any campaign. I’ve purposely made the hook vague so that a Dungeon Master can use it as he or she sees fit. It ends with a note of finality, but there are a couple of unanswered questions. What is that list of names? Who are the cultists? What deity is that shrine dedicated to?

The entire linked series (about 6 parts) comes out of an idea I had as I looked at the fantastic Shrines Map Pack from Paizo Publishing. Deities draw their power from their worshipers. So what happens when a god is forgotten? Does it cease to exist? I should think not; it is divine.

In the real world, gods like Set or Osiris have no more mortal worshipers. If they were ever real, what became of them? Did they lose power? Cease to exist? If they still exist, could they stage a comeback?

These are the kinds of questions that skeptics ask you and think are defeaters to your faith in God when you decide to do philosophy of religion on an amateur basis. When you give that up and start focusing on writing fiction, you can answer those questions in a series of interlinked One Page Dungeons.