One Page Dungeon 2021 Reviews (1-31)

This year, I will be again reviewing every single entry in the 2021 One Page Dungeon Contest. I’m thinking I will be splitting the 154 entries into four parts this year. Rather than continue the same methodology from last year, I will instead be giving each entry a short paragraph review, trying to paraphrase the entry, talk about what I liked, what I didn’t like, and where I could see myself using the entry. The more open style makes it much easier and thereby quicker to do.

Any entry that has a url to a website on their entry has that link embedded in their title. Message me or comment below to get one added.

If I get something wrong, miss a key detail, or you want to shoot me a link to an improved or modified version of your entry, comment below and I’d be happy to include it (or own up to a mistake).

Adam Chafe – The Cursed Brewery of Brickbeard the Brilliant…………………………….. 1

Brewery haunted by a (rolls d4) husk of its former master. It’s foes attack the adventurer’s sobriety rather than hit points, which can trip players up or allow alternative strategies to shine. With the main thrust of the dungeon being randomized, the flavor of the place does suffer as the rooms cannot be specifically tied to any specific brew master’s fate, treasure, or treasure location. This could work as a repeatable one-shot or introductory game that happens to include some players that have seen it before.

Adam C. Hawkins – The Cheese Thugs…………………………………………………………2

These bandits have set themselves up with a stinky hideout and think themselves undefeatable. As a combat encounter, this sets up some unusual barriers for players to overcome without being so overpowering that they can’t brute force it when a plan fails. Many possible avenues of success are listed, although I would have liked a listing of where Chagon could be located, as players will likely go see him about his old shop. A slightly silly entry that could fill out a random encounter table or small town bounty board. 

Adam Lee – The Lost Ship of Barotok …………………………………………………………. 3

A lost ship bearing an ill-fated wedding party is uncovered by the adventurers. Chilling room descriptions lay out the breadcrumbs for the players to discover what took place here. It is unclear how the bride has survived this long and the description railroads the encounter to be frustrating to curious or explorative players. Something creepy to uncover on a shoreline. 

Alan Kitchen – Orrery of Percipience …………………………………………………………..4

Esoteric and interpretive outer planes reflect their strengths and weaknesses onto the players exploring them, all randomly determined. Exploring this place comes with risks of damaging the adventurer permanently, for the nebulous benefits possible here. The rewards are narrow and weak, even the listed treasures have fairly steep drawbacks for minor benefits, but the players won’t even know what they risk or what they can gain. Could work as an effects table for any number of magically unstable places as penalties for staying too long. 

Alex Damaceno – The Archon Mines …………………………………………………………… 5

Quick adventure around two paths to the bottom of a seemingly cursed mine. The unstated value of being able to create your own candlemen is intriguing, but the entry doesn’t give any sense of how these candlemen might compare in fighting or other skills to something the DM might be familiar with. I could see this as a place to drop hints at just part of the BBEG’s plans, perhaps this one just one of many failed paths to power that they never bothered to clean up.

Alex Macey, John Armstrong, and Matt Gapen – D20 To Life ……………………………….6

A Law and Order parody for criminal adventurers. The courtroom adds just enough complexity to be engaging to players without needing to drag on. I enjoy having all that background room information even if the main event means the players will avoid it if at all able, useful in the case of needing to do a prison break or sneak in evidence. I disliked that the benefits or uses of a recess aren’t stated, and this could have been an avenue to restrict table-talk unless the players have a recess or don’t mind the jury overhearing the gist of their conversations. Useful for pulling fines and crimes into a gameable encounter.

Alex Welk – Heroes and Minions ………………………………………………………………. 7

Skipping this one, it is my own entry.

Amina Omari and Ken Christopher Hill – Escape the Prison Airship! ……………………..8

Prison break but from an airship jail. Complex mechanisms keep the prison running and the players can get access to any of them, given time, with many doubling as escape routes too. The air barriers being impenetrable make me hesitant to make a player fail a lock pick as that is almost certain doom. Also, they should allow for clever ideas to bypass them. Perhaps usable as a place to put captured players instead of killing them or maybe a way to introduce an unjust kingdom. 

André Tavares – Dream of the Dragon …………………………………………………………9

Dream plundering adventurers must think like dragons to progress. The instability mechanic makes for a fun, real-world time limit to their dream adventuring and the treasure at the end could easily be a rumor heard by the players as a means to restore a lost friend to life. Many of the riddles and questions asked throughout aren’t given answers or any connection to the dungeon, making it unclear how the players should solve them or if they need to. A fun, roundabout way to give players a shot at entering the realm of the dead, for whatever purposes they may have to go there.

Andrey Plisko – The Shard of Eternity ………………………………………………………. 10

A tower frozen in the middle of a meteor strike has been freezing others who attempt to explore it too. The protection mechanisms serving as dual purpose puzzles to explore but also mechanics to exploit on the way out is quite fun. The wording of the warnings are a bit clunky, but better a bit clunky, than players not having the clues they need to solve this. Perfect for a curiosity to find while hexcrawling through forgotten or lost lands.

Anton L. – The Capsule From Beyond ………………………………………………………… 11

When a mysterious magical craft appears, who wouldn’t want to investigate. As a small puzzle dungeon there is lots to explore and poke at for the players, but I am not sure I like the limited number of fuel rods as a resource. If the players aren’t careful, they could end up not being able to access anything and unable to escape. Disclaimer, I haven’t done the math on how many fuel rods it will take with speedrunning strats to know how lenient the numbers are though. Suitable as player bait and possibly as an inconvenient way for players to access other planes. 

Ben Chaplin – A Very Annoying Seagull ………………………………………………………12

Climbing the giant tree is the only way to silence that darn ‘gull, oh and get back the noble’s ring I guess. The encounters while climbing up are fairly vague, not even listing what type of test the squirrels will impose upon climbers, but the various creatures in the tree are described by their motivations so the DM can likely freestyle them if needed. A sillier adventure that might suit more free-spirited games perhaps with children. 

Ben Foster – Sentient Limbs of the World, Unite! ……………………………………………13

They might be sentient and disembodied, but more than anything else it is their political ambitions that you have been hired to stop in this randomly generated labyrinth. They are a fractured bunch with many different sub-groups all at each-other’s throats for the adventurers to meet and likely fight. The structure of the dungeon is heavier on possibility and comedic elements than on concrete, playable descriptions. Perhaps usable as a sillier or ret-conned one-shot.

Ben Rosenthal – The Flooded Factory …………………………………………………………14

Magical experiment gone wrong is now being run by the very mutants it created. The keyworded room descriptions make for quick usability while still offering tons of playable hooks for players to latch on to. Their is a solid, if gross and horrific, mystery to be solved as players try to avoid mutations and pull in a bit of loot doing so. This can be nicely slotted in as a wing in a magical mishap dungeon or as a reclusive wizard’s laboratory gone wrong.

Ben Speed – Murder at Otranto Manor ……………………………………………………….15

Murder only delays the marriage demanded by an overbearing father, and the players are charged with discovering the murderer. There is just enough intrigue and cross-plots of the various characters to make the mystery engaging without going so far as to need one of those comical conspiracy boards with strings. There is an opportunity for the players to help out different NPC’s, without any explicit rewards, while still also solving the murder. The “they know this” chart is a little bit cluttered but what would help this is some indication of what motivation the NPC’s have to answer player questions or what it will take to learn what they know. Overall, a tidy murder-mystery with a twist that can easily be reskinned to involve the player’s in-game patron or local noble.

Bob Horrors and Joakim Andersson  – A Slow Walk Trough Space ………………………16

This entry is a collection of random encounters and places that a sci-fi game might take its players. It doesn’t have any cohesive narrative tying it together but could serve as a chart for space encounters on the weirder or crazier side. 

Bodie H.  – Missing in Milwood ……………………………………………………………….17

A reclusive old woman ate what she shouldn’t have and now a woodsman is asking for help figuring out why she attacked him. The clues and mystery are all nicely laid out, with the full story of what happened offered to the DM so they can improvise more clues as needed, but four is a good minimum to start with. The art style fits perfectly although I wouldn’t have minded something to give the search a bit more urgency that is known by the players, perhaps the woodsman fears for her ability to survive a night in the cold? Nicely built for the kind of thing low level adventurers might find on a bulletin board or hear through the local rumor mill.

Brendan Day – Epitaph …………………………………………………………………………18

A hexcrawl seeking a place of rest for a friend in a place haunted and cursed with many dead-themed encounters. The hexcrawl has a great deal of breadth but not much depth given to the area or to the curse that infests the land. This would be better served by giving the players more clues about the curse or perhaps more reason to explore the area. I would use this more as the backbone of a short campaign, likely norse themed, rather than a one-shot.

Brent Barnett – Razor Edge ……………………………………………………………………19

Sci-fi and music mash together in this band-building challenge. The mechanics are fairly bland, as the team accumulates total dice results with minimal influence from their choices or actions. This might work better as a launching point for a group of players if they were interested in a performing background, using their results in the challenge to decide how wealthy or famous they are.

Brian C. Rideout – Gastropodia: A Morel Dilemma ……………………………………….. 20

Shrunken to tiny size, the players must navigate a moving-city on the back of a snail to help, convince, or defeat the tiny fungal necromancers living here. Miniature mushroom encounters abound with plenty for the players to fight or navigate here, with multiple paths to pursue depending on how their characters perceive the situation. Some themed treasures would have really put this entry over the top, as I’m curious to read what the creator would have made out of the same theme as this dungeon. A quest suitable for players trying to appease a forest faerie, dryad, or queen.

Brine – A Debt for the Dead ……………………………………………………………………21

When Death’s intern messes up, the adventurers have to go through the trouble of setting things right in order to get back their own lives so carelessly taken from them. Effectively, the players must pilot undead of their choosing to evade the traps they would have if not taken early, to defeat the boss and restore their souls to living bodies. More specificity on trap layouts, another encounter to challenge the undead players, and more information on how the fallen cleric fights would really elevate this dungeon. Great for a mind-whammy adventure where the players start out dead and figure out what happened, only to realize that they didn’t mess up, someone else did.

Bruno Bord – The Caffeinated Temple ………………………………………………………. 22

A dungeon shaped like a the caffeine molecule is home to coffee themed traps, cultists, and traps. The cultists don’t take much advantage of their sleep modifying magical cup to do strange or creative things, they just fight like normal magicians with a sleep theme. The use of the molecule as the map is clever and overall the dungeon could be a quick one-shot for sleep-deprived players at a convention to giggle over.

Buddy Caperton – The Lair of the Hide-Ra …………………………………………………. 23

This entry is a collection of home-alone traps beefed up to be more lethal under the premise of the adventurers chasing a tiny hydra around a house. The trap list is extensive for many different room types but I would have liked to see a more cohesive mechanic perhaps with a set map or even just a generic chase progress tracker that players could move forwards and backwards on, trying to reach the end goal of catching the Hide-Ra but being set back by not avoiding traps. A good start for filling out a haunted house or chase scene.

Caelum Roberts – The Slime of Magi Bonvai ……………………………………………….. 24

People turning to slime, mechanical monstrosities, and a mysterious wizards tower pull this dungeon entry in many different directions. There isn’t much for the players to interact with in the mostly empty tower, and while hostile creatures and entities are listed, there isn’t much in the way of what motivates them, what could convince them to stop, or what their rough level of combat capabilities would be. This could be used as loose inspiration for an adventurer. 

Cardboard – Ungle-Wold’s Beach ……………………………………………………………. 25

Concise and sporadic descriptions keyworded in bold give this small dungeon a creepy-pasta feeling to match its main villain of the pale man. The recurrent theme of things that are dangerous to touch in this tiny underground sanctuary. A little more detail for the DM about the history of the place could help the DM fill in the tiny details that players inevitably ask for. Tiny little spook-dungeon that can nicely set the mood for a dangerous or decaying region.

Carlos Martins – Welcome to Dying …………………………………………………………. 26

A narrative flow chart using fantastic art and evocative scenes to roleplay a character trying to fight their way back to life. This is very rules-flexible but could be a fun way to engage a player that died in their quest to return, although I would suggest running something like this outside of the normal game so other players aren’t bored. The way it gives concrete styles of encounters to each area and links them together in a branching path gives it just enough structure to be an effective tool. Alternatively, I would use this for a party wipe or if it makes sense in game for them to be plumbing the afterlife for a specific soul.

Carlos Pascual Torres – Dwarf Fort ………………………………………………………….. 27

I assume the name derives from the computer game of similar name, but this is a tile placing game as the players dig out a fortress of their own that runs into collapsed sections of an old dungeon. The random tables are generic, so the DM running this will have to do the legwork of spinning those results into something meaningful, but if the players are looking to dig out their own base this could work as the minigame to shape that place. 

Caroline Berg – The Citadel of the Wandering Stars ………………………………………. 28

Captured stars are being held here, now scattered randomly across the complex, and the players can try to free them if they can survive. The doors are random and can lead to stars intentionally with little warning, as the entry expressly limits how many symbols can be discovered, and they do insane amounts of damage. The treasures listed here are paltry compared to the danger and difficulty of this place, and most are just boring things to be sold for money. A random dungeon like this could easily result in an impassible dungeon with too many star filled rooms blocking the way to the top. The concept could be reskinned with lower damage if the players are ever in a position to rescue or release dangerous monsters from somewhere.

Chance Dudinack – Tonight, We Kill the Beast! ……………………………………………. 29

Beauty and the beast, but from the villager’s perspective as a 0-level grinder. I would have liked an explicit call for players to roll up new villagers from the mob if they die and also a description of what strengths and weaknesses the beast has. There are tons of rooms to explore, with plenty of risks for squishy villagers, just like a good grinder should have. Usable as a kick-off adventure but perhaps also as a side-mini-game for a village the players helped or are invested in.

Cheryn Rapp and Brandon Dingess – Ex Libris Pendyl ……………………………………. 30

In the style of old illuminated books, this adventure uses the page of itself as the map for the narrative-based challenges within. The puzzles are on theme and unique, but they lack any clues or descriptions to give to the players for them to solve them using anything but brute force or luck. Useful as a setup quest for empowering a magic item with intelligence, perhaps as a prerequisite for a grander plot. 

D. A. Anderson – Effshy ………………………………………………………………………..31

Dark magic has corrupted a local clergy who has fled and now allies with fishfolk in a dark cave. Danger lurks around every corner in the winding pathways of this cave, with deranged fishfolk ready to lunge at any intruders. The page has plenty of room and the environment feels a little empty, perhaps a couple traps or a non-combat encounter would fill things out a bit more. Overall, a solid dungeon suitable for lower level adventurers that can easily tie in with any number of corrupting demons, deities, or magical influences to match a campaign.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

mishaburnett

more than one way to skin a cat

Hiverlord's Hijinks

Traveller RPG content, for the most part.

Tryep's Possibly Mythical Stories

Where Myths Are Maybe Real

Sandpaper Sunflowers

Eclectic Modern Farmhouse DIY and More

AnarchyDice

Tabletop gaming, terrain crafting, and other sundry nerdy hobbies.

The Grinning Skull

As soon as your born, your dying. tick tock... Everybody afterwards.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close