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 Post subject: The 1-page dungeon
PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:18 pm 
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In one of the GMing tips I suggested budding GMs start with creating a dungeon adventure. This is the kind of thing I mean.

I knocked this up on the fly yesterday morning, just in case Mrs Barwickian and friends wanted to try a roleplaying game after the card-game marathon. In the end, by the time they wanted to try D&D, it was the end of the night and I was outside sharing a shisha and a dram.

It took half an hour to complete. There's no map key - encounters are written in to the page. I'd estimate there's 2-3 hours of gameplay in it, but a well-drilled party might get through it in an hour.

It's rather old school, even down to being drawn on squared paper in pencil. It's also cliched - in the time I had to prep, I was not at all worried about originality.

The purpose of sharing this is to demonstrate some of the techniques of rapid game prep. Things to note:

1) There are no stats for the creatures. I'll grab those out of the rulebook as needed. There's an added advantage with this method - although I'd planned to use this with the 1981 Basic D&D rules, it'll work with any flavour of D&D, and even games like MERP or Rolemaster with very little modification.

2) Although there's some brief description (the cavern is noted as having a 'sandy floor', the high priest's room is noted as 'lavish', and locked or barred doors are noted), most of the description I'll add on the fly. I trust myself enough to be able to add details of 'foul carvings', eerie noises and more details of dungeons dark and caverns old. Some stuff in my head: yes, if they check for tracks in the cavern they'll find them heading to the corridor to the north - that pool is the only water source in the complex; the treasure is almost certainly in a trapped chest - poison needle, I think. I'm expecting players to have their characters to listen at doors, etc, so I've already thought about what they'll hear (something big shuffling around and the occasional low hoot for the owlbear, for instance).

3) It's a dungeon. Dungeons are like an adventure flowchart set in stone. They're pretty easy. Starships, modern building complexes, moonbases and ancient ruins are also 'dungeons', though they look and feel different to players.

4) There's an outerwork to the dungeon - a little cross-section of a ruined tower, with the way into the dungeon in the cellar. There's nothing of note there, but it acts as a focal point if I decide to begin the adventure in a village ("They do say there's something up at the old tower, bold adventurers.")

5) Mapping symbols are pretty standard for late-70s/early-80s TSR. Anyone familiar with modules of the era will be able to read them (those unfamiliar should note that the hollow rectangles are doors and two is a double door; secret doors are an S drawn over the wall).

6) I didn't originally intend there to be two ways into the dungeon, but once I'd drawn the rubble around the main doors, it was obvious the cult needed another way in and out. Hence the entrance concealed by shrubs (and guarded by a pit trap). A party that searches the area around the tower will find an easier way in...

7) Although I have the software and skills to make something like this look pretty and professional, nothing beats a pencil and paper for designing at speed. And it's fun!

Rusty came over late in the evening and got a big grin out of it, saying he could happily run a session from this one page.

If you're keen on GMing, try doing something similar. Or draw a couple of ways down to a second level on this one...


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1-page dungeon 01.jpg
1-page dungeon 01.jpg [ 1.54 MiB | Viewed 5181 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: The 1-page dungeon
PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:32 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:36 am
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I saw this 'live'. And it's brilliant. Anyone could run an adventure of this.


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