This month’s Blog Carnival is all about short dungeon adventures. I have recent experience with this exact subject, so it’s fortuitous that I recently ran a one-page dungeon myself… up until the players were eaten by a dragon.
A special Torchbearer adventure, exclusive to GenCon, happened to stumble into my hands from distant lands. Well, my brother brought it back from Indianapolis.
The entire adventure takes up a single page, and is written by Luke Crane, illustrated by Michael Prescott. The exact details are unimportant, but the heroes ventured toward a mountain said to house the Apples of Ydunn, capable of granting eternal life. After battling a troll and fleeing a band of orcs, the whole campaign ended with the two heroes harassing a group of cultists who were feeding goats to a large pit. After continuing to provoke the pit, they heard a rumbling from beneath, yet carried on throwing things into the pit and trying to figure out how to make a bother of themselves.
A black dragon spilled forth from the pit, gobbling the heroes up quite easily. I did warn them how deadly the game was, how it would require their wits and talents, but they chose to continue to think they were superheroes, untouchable.
This, of course, isn’t what this month’s carnival is about, but rather illustrates that a lot can happen in a single page. One page or short adventures can be just as epic as long ones.
The best resource I have found for one page dungeons are the gorgeous dungeons found over at Trillema. It was he who did the art for the above adventure, and he designs some really fantastic adventures. One I’ve particularly wanted to run is The Full-Dark Stone. It’s a fantastic and fascinating dungeon, with a lot of great plot hooks and interesting things to do. Also, there is no solution.
One of the great things about the Trillema adventures, is that there often isn’t any indication about how to “beat” the dungeon. It simply exists, and it’s up to the players to determine what to do. Also, the dungeons have no actual stats, so are system neutral. You can run D&D, Torchbearer, Fate, or anything else you want there. Finally, the art is gorgeous, and he often will post the maps separately, so you can show them to the heroes without worrying about giving anything away.
I highly recommend checking them out. You won’t regret it.
And that’s my entry to the carnival. I hope you enjoy. We’ll be back to participating in the carnival every month.