Mar 31, 2011

One Page Dungeon 2011 - Wilderlands of Dire Omen

Well, here's a link to my submission for this year's One Page Dungeon contest: the Wilderlands of Dire Omen. NOTE: This is the updated version that fixes the problems I had with formatting the PDF. This is what I had intended to submit to the 1PD website!

Here's the map without all of the text - for GMs who want to give it to the players without giving the game away. The map is also released under the Creative Commons v3 Attribution Share-alike license.



Last year, I got to thinking about what I would make as a One Page Dungeon. My favorite and most-used supplements as a young gamer were always a certain kind of setting material. The best example is probably the classic Judge's Guild supplement Wilderlands of High Fantasy, which was essentially several huge poster maps of fantasy terrain with minimal markup, with an accompanying gazetteer booklet that had one- to three-sentence encounter seeds keyed to certain hexes of the map. Many of them were deeply evocative; I knew that, for my submission, I wanted to paint a vivid picture with the same broad strokes.

I also thought that, with an overall setting as a starting point, I would have a springboard for later submissions. If I wanted to make a fantasy-themed One Page Dungeon for a later contest, I could start with one of the keyed encounters of the Wilderlands of Dire Omen, and work from there. That way, gradually, the entire setting gets slightly fleshed out, with the One Page Dungeon format constraining me from putting in so much detail that it bogs down the creative process of anybody who might use the maps.

Anyway, the map was the hard part. I found Hexographer through Lord Kilgore's Heart of Darkness adventure for the 2010 contest; it's a fantastic resource for any GM who uses hex-based mapping, and they have a really generous license. I had a lot of fun designing simple yet evocative encounter seeds to be keyed on the map. All told, I'm pretty happy with it, even if it doesn't win. In fact, I'm going to get started on next year's entry -- I've enough good ideas that I hope to rock their socks next time.

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