] My apologies friends, we were originally going to provide an enchaned version of Meckwick's Revenge, but the real world caught up with us and both started new jobs recently. Hopefully, we will be able to return to this project when time permits.
In march of 2011, I was reading one of my favourite blogs by James Maliszewski, Grognardia
when he alerted his readers to the One Page Dungeon Contest
. I pondered a couple ideas for entry, and kept coming back to one that I thought had the most novelty/unique approach.
I contacted an old friend of mine who has a similar interest in old games. He was keen on collaberating on the project so we set to work on making a top quality one page dungeon. I knew Aaron could produce top quality artwork and bring a keen eye on design to the process, as well as provide good creative ideas.
Hopefully, this page will soon relay the creative process we went through to produce the adventure. And provide additional content that can supplement the entry that we just couldn't squeeze into one page.
I knew I wanted the dungeon to have three entrances, and for there to be multiple ways to get to the goal of the dungeon. My original idea was to have a sort of pyramid design with the various paths collapsing down into one end point. If I had sketched out the dungeon, it would have looked something like this...
I would have prettied it up and made it like the old modules B1 In Search of the Unknown and B2 Keep of the Borderlands. Light blue, with some old school map keys.
I mentioned to Aaron it should have three entrances and left it up to him to make the map as he has a sharp eye for textures and artistic layouts. I think everyone will agree that the final map is far superior to my original design.
Aaron came up with an approach where the three entrances are at the west, north, and east edges; which is something that never would have occurred to me. Then the dungeon had a circle route, with one entrance leading into a central chamber area. He had also worked up a small wilderness map and filled in some mock text to give a sense of the layout.
Unfortunately, it became apparent that there just wasn't enough room to be able to do a dungeon and a wilderness area. And put in all the nifty encounters we wanted to show. And to have the font still be legible. I felt the dungeon map also needed to be tweaked so that there were more chances to go through rooms instead of somehow bypassing them.
The main idea of the adventure was to reverse the traditional role of dungeon master and player. The player's would get to stock a dungeon and play a couple of monsters and the dungeon master would play a party of adventurers. This idea, in turn, sparked two ideas which did not make it to the final version.
Aaron was the first to expand upon the idea by having a wilderness area. What if the player's had to go and capture monsters to stock the dungeon? We quickly came up with a few mythical creatures and a small wilderness map. But the map and descriptions took up valuable real estate and in the end, we nixed the idea.
The second idea was to have the party cloned in some fashion, so that the invading party would be exact duplicates of the players. This would reduce dungeon master prep time. It felt a little too heavy handed though and maybe just a little bit hokey. So we nixed that idea as well.
One of the things that emerged as we worked on various denizens to stock the dungeon, was a slight humourous, whimsical touch to things. It was unexpected and just sort of grew out of brainstorming. When we realized "Slobolins" and "Bonk the golem with no arms" started a trend, we just went with it. I decided the adventure should have some word play in the spirit of Gary Gygax. I immediately thought of McGuffin, and Aaron expounded on the idea by having the main treasure of the adventure be the "Mace of McGuffin and the Scarlett Herring".