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One Page Dungeon 2021 Reviews 51-60

51 Tomb of Treasures By John J. Earegood

Don’t touch anything! Almost everything in this tomb either is or releases a trap or monster when disturbed. While I like the idea of keeping players on their toes, hammering in the pattern like this just slows play to a crawl as they investigate everything ad nauseum or they simply ignore everything. There needs to be more rewards and more tempting risks to keep players invested, with a fair source of time pressure to keep things moving. My biggest problem though is that they didn’t seem to keep to the 8.5×11 size, and if their page was shrunk down to the appropriate size it would be impossible to read.

52 Dungeon of the Ape By David Stucker

The remains of an old tomb or lair of a lost necromancer. The room descriptors are great and evocative, but could use just a bit more to put them over the top: they need details and clues that tie them together into a cohesive narrative. That story just underneath is what really entices a DM, gives them ideas to invent their own twists, and makes the dungeon memorable for the players. The main place that could use this attention would be the lackluster treasures found here. Maybe turn the rumor table into clues that can be found about this place. From the player perspective, knowing the story of a place is also helpful to deciphering its secrets and getting the jump on its dangers.

53 Fangs Under the Earth By Austin Rode

Haunting in its straightforward simplicity, this tomb holds an unending parade of death should the players not figure out its source. The dungeon entry does suffer from a lack of things to do in it, I would have liked to see maybe an escalating number of undead pressuring the players or perhaps the grinding combat of any undead that leave their site returning to fight again. As it stands, returning once each moon is so slow that players likely will never experience it, why would they come back after looting everything? 

54 The Frozen Mirror By Kelsie McEntire

That’ll teach them to play god. An old mirror shunts the players to a world destroyed by the machine they used to control the weather. If they can’t figure it out in time, they’ll freeze too. The problem is that there really isn’t much to go on for the players. Sure there are frozen people, but the fact that their protection necklaces didn’t save them is a huge red herring and the difficulty of chipping off ice to access them means they likely won’t even find the keys on the king and queen. Using the levers as improvised tongs without having any chance to even try moving the orbs themselves (due to the instant, if prolonged, death) seems like it would make it quite difficult for players to problem solve what is going on or how to fix it.

55 Shooting Star By Dani Costa

This dungeon entry holds a crashing ship of fleeing creatures that are taking an “any means necessary” approach to continuing their flight, even if it ropes in or harms the villagers they are mind controlling. I would have liked to see a bit more nuance, perhaps with the aliens intending to leave behind treasure and maybe healing the ones they landed on, but without that ambiguity it is really just a race to try and save the villagers from the mind controlling slugs. There aren’t any clues to have the players investigate why the aliens are here or that they are themselves fleeing another evil, they just seem like cruel invaders that need to be destroyed.

56 The Volcanic Vault of the Forge Father By Scott Jarvis

Adventurers must race against time to loot this active volcano dungeon before it melts itself, the treasure inside, and possibly them as well. Each room has nice theming, but could use a bit more to tie it to an overall narrative of the history of the place. How does the Undine fit with the original creator of the dungeon? Giving her a bit of backstory or some clues there would help players understand the dungeon and the artifact at the bottom. I would have also liked to see clear markings of depth on the hallways connecting the rooms so it can easily be guaged by the DM how long it is supposed to take before various rooms are submerged. The submerging mechanic is fun, but would be better if some optional rooms and pathways were lost instead of the final treasure being the first room to go. Perhaps an easier path would be one of the ways lost first, forcing players to take a dangerous alternate route back now that the lava has risen higher while they were exploring? 

57 The Mire of Regret By P. Aaron Potter

A sad story is told in parts as the players explore both the mire and the mansion at its center. There are some competing factions that get some attention, but they seem to fall off when it comes to the actual manor. They could be included in random encounters or room descriptions to keep the workload off of the DM to remember to introduce them (and figure out what they are doing without affecting the dungeon design as written too much). The other notable item missing is the totality of the symbols on the padlock other than the correct symbols, a quick graphic in the margins would make the puzzle clearer for the DM to run. 

58 Taleisins Tower By Wanderer Bill

The bones of a solid story are here in this entry, but I feel that it does fall off on the details. I like the conflict of factions and the hidden villain aspect with the cleric accidentally causing the problems here, but there aren’t any damages other than spookiness that should be causing the villagers to worry so much about the fey. Perhaps a rumor of multiple dragons swirling would spark such haste? I would also liked to have seen clues the players could discover about the priest’s involvement, the good nature of the elf mage (so they know to try diplomacy rather than fight to the death), and reasons to look for the priest’s hideout to the south. The players have no reason to head south to find the other dragon or cleric unless they are ignoring this quest anyway. This could be a second hook, maybe the red dragon could offer to hire the adventurers on a raid, being clever enough to phrase it as the source of fey attacks?

59 The Grim Greenhouse By Stephanie Yang

This quick greenhouse rescue mission hosts a bunch of plant-based traps and threats for the players to overcome in order to find the eccentric owner. The entry is a bit bare-bones, not much in the way of clues or descriptions of the rooms, but the challenges are well-laid out and straightforward to understand. 

60 The Tower of Golden Sands By Apostolos Spiliotopoulos

I always enjoy a dungeon with just a bit of mystery that has enough clues to decipher what happened. In this case, the time witch should have trained her magical pet better not to jump across the hourglass at the same time she does (my dogs make similar attempts on my life at the top of the stairs). There isn’t much of a challenge for players here, but it is a fun magical base for them to take control of if that is what the DM wants to offer them.

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