I’ve recently been inducted into the wonderful world of the One Page Dungeon, though I admit it shouldn’t be a “new” concept to me. One Page Dungeons are easier to design and with my short attention span where creative projects are concerned, time is often of the essence.
This is why I can’t say enough nice things about the One Page Dungeon Generator by itch.io user Oleg Dolya. Log into it, and it generates dungeons with a simple backstory and notes on encounters within its walls.
Unlike most dungeon generators, the output doesn’t appear to be a crossword puzzle. It looks like a human may have drawn it. There aren’t weird, random dead ends or strange twisty corridors right in the middle for no apparent reason.
If you need something fast on game night, this is definitely it.
Let’s take a look at the Lost Chambers of the Void Prince, my randomly generated dungeon, then see what we can do with it:
I love the name more than the dungeon layout. Who is the Void Prince? I wanted to know, so I free-wrote some background material:
The Void Prince is the wayward son of a once-powerful king. The king was a mighty wizard who tracked down an extremely powerful artifact. The king used mage’s disjunction to render the artifact impotent, but it destroyed all of the king’s spellcasting abilities.
Seeking a way to restore his father’s spells, the Void Prince embarked on his own study of magic focused on spells of magical disruption. He hoped that if he could understand the disjunctive effects then he could find a way to “fix” his father.
His studies consumed him, and he disappeared some time ago. The king died of a broken heart not long after. Rumors abound of lost magical chambers containing arcane research rich with disruptive magic.
What really happened? The prince made a deal with Anclagon, the dark lord of the Red Dragons in the East. Ancalgon allowed the Void Prince an audience with his private seer, an aboleth as old as the great wyrm. The aboleth showed the prince an ancient ritual that would create a flowing fountain of perfectly still water that would wash all magic off anything it touches.
The prince wasted no time in building the fountain, but it did little to further his studies. He disappeared not long after, and no one yet knows where he might have went.
The new king, brother to the Void Prince, has kept one manorhouse as an untouchable shrine, never abandoning hope that his brother will return. The property was recently taken over by a band of goblins who are using it as a base to send out raiding parties.
This background suggests a few hooks for the adventure:
- The new king hires the PCs to clear the goblins from his missing brother’s manor
- The PCs try to track a band of goblin raiders back to their unknown base, which happens to be the manor
- The PCs are jumped by the goblin raiders while on an unrelated mission, defeat them, then track them back to the manor
However the PCs jump in, once they’re at the manor the fun begins. Let them find a secret passage that leads to the lost chambers.
The goblins barred the iron door from the inside.
Iron Double Door: 2 in. thick; hardness 10; hp 60; barred (with iron) DC 30.
Large Chamber (EL varies)
This room is slightly colder than anywhere else in the dungeon. There are two exits to the left: The northern exit is barred with a wooden portcullis that has given rise to a patch of brown mold; the southern exit leads to an otherwise unremarkable corridor.
Creatures (EL 2): A few goblins await the PCs.
Goblin, 1st-level fighter: CR 1; Small humaniod (goblinoid); HD 1d10+1; hp 5; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+1 size, +1 Dex, +2 leather armor, +1 light shield), touch 12, flat-footed 14; Atk +3 melee (1d6, morningstar) or +3 ranged (1d4, javelin); SQ darkvision 60 ft.; AL NE; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will -1; Str 11, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 6.
Languages: Common, Goblin.
Skills and Feats: Hide +5, Listen +2, Move Silently +5, Ride +4, Spot +2; Alertness, Weapon Finesse (morningstar).
Goblins, 1st-level warriors (3): MM p. 133; hp 8, 6, 9.
Tactics: The goblins will try to shove the PCs back toward the brown mold, knowing the cold might knock them unconscious. Should that happen, they won’t hesitate to beat the PCs to death the rest of the way.
Brown Mold (CR 2): Remember, approaching within 30 ft. of the portcullis deals 3d6 of nonlethal cold damage.
Wooden Portcullis: 3 in. thick; hardness 5; hp 30; Lift DC 30.
Ad-hoc XP Adjustment: Award 120% of the experience points since the goblins can and will use the mold to their advantage.
Room 2 (EL 1)
Creatures: A cadre of goblins await the PCs in this chamber.
Goblins, 1st-level warriors (3): MM p. 133; hp 7, 9, 5.
Treasure: An ornate axe, a scarf, and a glaive are hidden in a crevice. The axe and the glaive can be used as the weapons in the Player’s Handbook.
Room 3 (EL 1)
A secret door opens from the corridor into this room.
Creature: While attempting to loot the manor, Baldo was interrupted by the goblins and forced to flee to this secret room. The halfling has holed up in here for days and has run out of water and rations. He’s in pretty bad shape; barely conscious, suffering from starvation, and exhausted. He has 1 hp left.
Baldo, Male Halfling Rogue: CR 1; Small humaniod (halfling); HD 1d8+1; hp 9; Spd 20 ft.; AC 16 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +2 leather armor), touch 14, flat-footed 13; Atk +3 melee (1d4+2, rapier) or +3 melee (1d3+2, dagger) or +4 ranged (1d3+3, dagger); SA sneak attack +1d6; SQ trapfinding; AL NG; SV* Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +0; Str 15, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 5.
*+2 morale bonus vs. fear effects
Skills and Feats: Climb +9, Escape Artist +8, Hide +8, Jump +8, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +2, Listen +7, Move Silently +5, Search +3, Spot +5; Alertness.
Development: Baldo will help the PCs tackle this dungeon, as he wants revenge on the ones who almost killed him. He will thank the PCs, then take his leave to hunt down the cure to his horrid curse. He won’t talk about the curse with the PCs. He can’t be convinced to stay with the PCs once the dungeon is cleared. Baldo gains an equal share of treasure and XP if he assists the PCs in clearing the dungeon.
Room 4 (EL 2)
This room is the goblins’ treasure room. A coffin sits in the center of the room and it feels immediately chilly in here.
The wooden portcullis has given rise to a patch of black mold.
Wooden Portcullis: 3 in. thick; hardness 5; hp 30; Lift DC 30.
Brown Mold: Remember, approaching within 30 ft. of the portcullis deals 3d6 of nonlethal cold damage.
Treasure: Stolen from various victims, an everburning torch and a masterwork scimitar lie among 1900 sp strewn about as if they don’t care much about it. Which, perhaps they don’t…
If the PCs pry open the coffin in this room, they will find a jet (worth 150 gp) and a black opal (worth 1300 gp).
Throne Room (EL 3)
Creatures: Vrog Mangle awaits the PCs. He was neer the strongest nor the toughest in his tribe, but Vrog had an uncanny talent for magic and a panache that attracted followers quickly. He has spent months building this team of goblins.
Vrog Mangle: CR 3; Medium humanoid (hobgoblin); HD 2d4+3; hp 9; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (Dex), touch 11, flat-footed 10; Atk +1 melee (1d8+1, heavy mace); SA spells; SQ darkvision 60 ft.; AL ; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +2; Str 13, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 12.
Languages: Common, Goblin.
Skills and Feats: Bluff +5, Listen +2, Move Silently +5, Spot +2; Toughness.
Spells Known (cast 5/2): 0–acid splash, daze, detect magic, mage hand, message, read magic; 1st–expeditious retreat, magic missile.
Tactics: Vrog will try to soften up his targets with acid splash from a comfortable distance. If the PCs get too close for his comfort, he will daze whoever engages him, then cast expeditious retreat and withdraw from combat to fight another day. He isn’t foolish and knows he doesn’t stand a chance in hand-to-hand combat the way his larger brethren would.
Treasure: Though he can’t wield them, Vrog admires the beauty of a masterwork greatsword and a masterwork orc double axe and keeps them crossed behind his throne. Under the throne are 1200 gp.
A dwarven urgosh, now unusable, was used to impale the skeletonized halfling in the middle of the room. In the bony fingers of the halfling is an unnaturally light rapier, built for small-sized characters.
Treasure: The halfling wielded a cursed rapier, which performs well against targets in practice, but when used against an opponent in combat, it causes its wielder to take a -2 penalty on attack rolls.
All damage dealt is also reduced by 2 points, but never below a minimum of 1 point of damage on any successful hit. After one week in a character’s possession, the rapier always forces that character to employ it rather than another weapon. The rapier’s owner automatically draws it and fights with it even when she meant to draw or ready some other weapon. The rapier can be gotten rid of only by means of limited wish, wish, or miracle.
Strong evocation; CL 15th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, bestow curse, and limited wish or miracle; Price 1,500 gp.
The relief on this wall depicts the surrounding wilderness, and there is a distinct X marked in a nearby location. None of the PCs know what could be there (regardless of the result of a Knowledge (local) or (geography) check). The only way to find out will be to go there and see.
Fountain Room (EL 3)
The fountain in the middle of the room is the disjoining fountain that the aboleth seer taught the Void Prince to make. PCs who investigate the fountain and make a successful DC 20 Decipher Script check will recognize the runes as the language of the aboleths. While the goblins haven’t figured out exactly what this thing does yet, they recognize it is worthwhile to protect and have stationed their largest member, an ogre, to protect it at all costs.
Creature: Right now, the brutish ogre lives only to protect the fountain.
Ogre: MM p. 199; hp 27.
Tactics: When the PCs first enter the room, the ogre will hurl rock projectiles at them as he closes in toward them. When he gets within range, he will charge the most threatening PC and try to beat that PC down with his club. He will fight to the death and he will use a withdraw action to break combat if anyone appears to be moving close to the fountain and instead attack that person.
Development: If the PCs use the still waters of the fountain to clean a magic item, the item is affected as though hit by a successful mage’s disjunction spell. Unlike the normal operation of that spell, there is no saving throw for immersing an item in the fountain.
Concluding the Adventure
There are several possibilities for continuing this story once the PCs have cleared the dungeon:
- Find out what the X marked (Room 6)
- Help Baldo track down a cure for his curse (Baldo resists this; he’s very much a lone wolf)
- Report the lost chambers to the king (at which time the king will urge the PCs to track down what the X marked)
Unless they pay for a legend lore or similar spell, it is unlikely that the PCs are going to discover Anclagon’s involvement. Even if they do, this adventure was designed for low level (1st-3rd) PCs and they aren’t going to be able handle a great wyrm red dragon (yet).
And that’s one example of a quick dungeon that you could come up with using this great dungeon generator. All the names and NPCs were generated with the Hypertext d20 SRD Random NPC generator with a little help from the Fantasy Name Generator. Excellent tools if you, like me, have a tough time with names.