One Page Dungeon 2021 Reviews 21-30

21 The Well of Blood By Rook

Plenty is going on in this vampire trap turned vampire lair. The monsters and encounters are both evocative and engaging; reading it, I couldn’t help but think how an adventurer might use or trick the monsters. The entry itself is designed to change in response to player actions and the treasures are on theme as well as useful. Do the players try to clear the place themselves to keep the anti-undead spellbomb or trigger it for an easy win?

22 Nothing But The Tooth By Dan Bronson-Lowe

The navigation of the dragon’s cave must be made in lieu of the tooth fairy, to prevent a powerful tooth from falling into the wrong hands. Players must wander its cave, hoping to find their way to the bedroom before waking the dragon. The system sounds fun, but the randomness factor is a large problem, it should have randomness to negate the obvious (and boring!) route of going super slowly, but most of the trackers should be the result of player choices. Maybe add in outcomes and choices to the encounters that trade off against one or the other tracker? Fighting through servants gets you higher on the “find the tooth” tracker but also costs you more “wake the dragon” tracker. Retreating or rerouting through hazards to let the dragon settle back down. 

23 Time Loop Castle By Marshall

Simple time loop magic of unknown origin keeps all the people in this keep unknowingly locked in an endless repeat. Only the condemned seems to know anything, but can the players navigate through and stop the magic? There are plenty of ways to navigate the map and outsmart the guards locking the place down, especially as the players themselves don’t reset every 30 minutes. The main thing missing in this is a hook for why the players should be interested in this time loop and a reason for the time loop to be happening. Even a throw-away line about the condemned being important or related to someone that started the magic would give this some ability to tie into larger events rather than be a one-off fluke.

24 Ernie Wyver’s Museum of Oddities By Simone Matteo Santini

Poor Ernie became bitter and turned is museum into a death trap when people stopped coming to hear stories of his adventures. The traps are lots of fun, well themed to the various rooms of items Ernie has taken during his adventuring days and the seemingly innocent ghost guide is an excellent touch. I would have liked it if the traps seemed more inadvertent or the result of curses/magic gone haywire to keep the charade going longer. 

25 City of Amber By Patryk Ofat

Broken dwarves and monsters inhabit this cave, each trying to scrabble back a bit of the power they once had, but since they are at cross-purposes, none of been able to make much of themselves. The cave is densely packed with encounters, information, and treasure. The influx of new names and terminology does make it a bit difficult to follow what is going on, but overall, this entry is jam-packed with things for players to explore and interact with, provided they are willing to risk the dangers.

26 Barrow of the Two Brothers By L. Shaffrey

This entry tells a short tale of warring brothers in its succinct but engaging dungeon. The things like salt lines make for simple but evocative magical effects that hint at a deeper story that could easily be tied into current events (perhaps of current royal claims) for any game you want to slot this tomb into.

27 Mirror Show By D.F. from Team Chimaera

Twisting mirror magic has caused the deaths of performers and the players have been called in to investigate. The mirror swapped version of the NPC’s and the attempt at betrayal is fun, but I would have liked at least the possibility of the players saving one or more performers if they recognized what was happening early enough. The creepy vibes can really be dialed up, especially if this map is expanded a bit instead of being a single corridor house, taking the same encounters but spread over many hallways and empty rooms for ambiance would be a great way to upgrade this outside the limitations of a one page dungeon.

28 The Singing CavesKen By Moore

These caves are the ongoing lock on a large magical beast of significant power. The trial to open the door, for wahtever ungodly reason the players decide they want to just to fight the thing imprisoned here, is more time-consuming than arduous. The main penalties for taking risks or moving fast are that the creature will be roused before they get inside, so it could theoretically ambush them when they open the door. While I like the concept, I don’t know why the players would have incentive to open up this prison or if they are coming after someone else did, could figure out how to put it back inside. 

29 Live and Let Dice By Brandon Dingess

The graphical layout nicely fits the spy theme, but I do find it annoying to read flipped and rotated text digitally in the pdf. As a template for one-shots, it can work to have the randomized and vague scenarios mean that less detail can be put in any one of them. The dungeon really suffers that the various rooms aren’t given any detail, which means that DM will have to prepare all the encounters and challenges themselves. 

30 Avalanche Caldera By Alex Welk

This one is mine, but I’d love to hear your opinions on what you liked and disliked about it!

2 thoughts on “One Page Dungeon 2021 Reviews 21-30

  1. Although there were about half the contestants this year, the overall quality of submissions were far better this year. I give Avalanche Caldera a thumbs up – a worthy submission/ contender in the contest. Liked the otherworldly-type setting most of all about it. Flail snails are generally comical to me, but could be used more seriously here if the DM chooses. (BTW: Why are snails so popular in these submissions? Snails strike no fear in me whatsoever, and if they are dangerous [like with poison secretions maybe] then they likely are easily avoided, and if the DM speeds them up, they become ridiculous).

    Like

    1. Thanks for the thumbs up! At least for me, I wanted to use the snails here because I wanted a looming threat that couldn’t pursue much onto the islands, so I made them huge with long reach, but slow speed and armor of a snail. If the players want to risk crossing directly or have a plan, it isn’t a hard blockage against it, but it does impose costs and risks. In my opinion they work best not as a direct threat, but as an obstacle to be routed around rather than confronted head on, and low speed is essential to that function. Players should only be getting hit by giant snail attacks if they have poor positioning or they judge the risk worth whatever they are trying to do.

      I think people like them since they are one of the iconic (due to the inherent silliness) creatures of old D&D editions as well as notorious creatures in old tapestries. Knights riding or fighting snails is weirdly common.

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