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April 27, 2018

One Page Dungeon Contest Week 3: Encounters

One Page Dungeon Contest 2018

Last week I showcased the map I made for my 2018 submission for the One Page Dungeon Contest. I’m proud to say that I’ve finished it in time and will be submitting it Saturday after look through it a few more times. This week I formatted it and created all of the encounters for the dungeon.

Before I delve into my encounters feel free to download my one page dungeon, Just Desserts!

Design Intentions

I set out intending to have a well-balanced low level game that could be finished in a single play session. I believe I’ve checked all of those boxes with Just Desserts! It’s only 5 total encounters. Outside of room 2, each encounter has either a unique element, or can be played differently depending on the players’ choices.

Outside of a very basic description of some of the rooms and the scene the DM or GM is able to fill in the adventure with their own lore and role-play. This is really a product of the dungeon’s environment. It didn’t make sense for me to fluff out a big story when I only have a single page. Instead I used that space to design the real meat of the dungeon.

The only thing it’s missing is some sort of trap. I opted-out of including a trap due to space constrictions as well as not having a logical reason for there to be a one present. It’s difficult for me to justify the Fish-People they are chasing not revealing the location of a hidden trap.

One Page Dungeon 2018 Map

Here’s the map in case you don’t have the map open!

Encounters

I created this dungeon with a low-level party of 4 players in mind. The contest being system neutral did make it a bit more challenging to create because I am so ingrained in D&D 5e. However, I was still able to keep the encounters simple and unique. This is to help challenge the players to use different play-styles and also allow the DM or GM to tweak the encounter easily.

The floor of the entire dungeon has a layer of slippery mud impairing the party’s movement. It also helps to push the narrative of chasing the Fish-People whose webbed feet can run on the muddy floor without any issues.

Room 1 – Riddle Puzzle

I wanted to include a puzzle in this dungeon, but I also want the dungeon to be quick and simple. Riddles are great puzzles and a simple one such as this does the trick. I went with a riddle about food because it fit the theme, but any riddle or simple puzzle can fit in here.

Having a puzzle this early into the adventure helps to set the tone too. Not everything has to be solved by hacking and slashing your way through!

Room 2 – 6 Fish-People

This is just a simple combat encounter. The party is slightly outnumbered so they will have to try and use their best tactics to get through this encounter! There are a few small rocks that players may be able to utilize during the fight as well.

There is also a secret entrance here that the players may be able to discover. This was originally supposed to be a hallway, but one of my friends thought it would make more sense to be a slide that goes straight to room 4. If the players take this slide they’ll get ahead of the 2 Fish-People that have their dinner!

Room 3 – 3 Sleeping Fish-People

There are 3 sleeping Fish-People that were supposed to be guarding this room full of stolen goods. Why sleeping? Well, the party can find a creative way to sneak past, incapacitate, or kill the Fish-People. This dungeon is all about showing the players they have different options.

This room is completely optional, but if the players explore it they’ll earn a few lesser magical items and coins!

Room 4 – 4-6 Fish-People

This room is particularly fun. Depending on how the party arrives, they may have to fight either 4 or 6 Fish-People. Should they enter the normal way they’ll be on the opposite side of the room of the 4 Fish-People. This grants a benefit to ranged characters. They’ll also have plenty of room to spread out and use the large rocks as cover. I recently wrote a post about the D&D 5e cover rules and I incorporated that into this dungeon to make the combat a bit more interesting.

However, there are advantages to taking the slide. First of all, the players will start the combat behind a large rock that they can use for cover. Even though they’ll now be forced to fight 6 Fish-People instead of 4, they will now not have to fight the 2 additional Fish-People during the boss encounter.

Room 5 – 1 Lesser Devil and 0-2 Fish-People

Boss from my one page dungeon contest submission

Something small and weak, but still powerful enough to terrorize the poor Fish-People.

Depending on the outcome of Room 4, the party will have to fight either a single Lesser Devil or the Lesser Devil and 2 Fish-People. I had an Imp in my head when I originally wrote this, but I left it open-ended enough that really any devil or even demon could work. There are cages and other scenery that the Lesser Devil and/or Fish-People can use to their advantage during the fight.

There is also a cauldron filled with boiling liquid that is below the human merchants that are being hung by a rope. The merchants are still alive, and will reward the party for saving them.

The story around this is that some weak devil was able to overpower these Fish-People and has driven them to committing evil acts. The story is open-ended and can be inserted and tweaked to fit whatever campaign the DM or GM is running.

Conclusions

And there it is! Regardless of the outcome, I’m really proud of what I made. Earlier this month I had never made a one page dungeon and had never heard of this contest. While my dungeon is pretty simplistic, I’ve learned so much because I jumped right into it. I’d be shocked if I even came up as a honorable mention. However, my intention was never to win, it was to learn and have fun. With that in mind, this was a total success, and I can’t wait to show how much I’ve improved in next year’s contest!

Shout-out to my friends Damon and Derek for looking over the submission and giving me critiques and corrections!

I did say in the first post that there would only be three entries for this series. However, I may write one more for this year’s contest after the contest is over. I’d like to go over how I felt I did and what improvements I’d like to make for next year. Regardless of the outcome I’m really proud of what I made.

The Rest of the Series

Week 1 – Brainstorming and Outlining

Week 2 – The Map

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