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1PDC Feed The One Page Dungeon Contest (1PDC) was first announced on Musings of the Chatty DM, Chgowiz's Old Guy RPG Blog, Sham's Grog'n Blog, The Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope, and Critical Hits in April 2009. If you’re looking for some background, check out Dave’s One Page Dungeons retrospective. If you’re looking for a project that really dug into the concept early on, check out Mike’s Stonehell.

2014-04-07 One Page Dungeon Contest

I’ve been trying to think of an entry for One Page Dungeon Contest and I keep coming up empty. I think I need to simply prep an upcoming adventure for my ongoing campaign and put it all on one page. How do you come up with your submission?



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2014-01-02 Bryce Likes My Adventure

About two months ago, I submitted an adventure to Bryce Lynch’s Adventure Design Contest. And the results are in!

Bryce has nothing but kind words for my submission as far as I can tell:

This one page adventure packs the full punch that one would expect from Alex. Great NPC’s, great little encounters, all delivered in the “expanded crib notes” format that a one-page dungeon provides for. Good outline of a good adventure.
– Bryce Lynch, Contest Winners! Bryce’s 2013 Adventure Design Contest is OVER!


I’m particularly proud of the way I tried to make every word count. I wanted to keep things short and I think I succeeded when Bryce writes “Alex has a knack for coming up with exactly the right words to use to bring a maximum amount of flavor in a minimal number of words”. Yay!

Bryce also points out the major weakness of my submission: it’s very linear. I stripped some items from my original notes: two more NPCs from Uncaged: Faces of Sigil, a false lead to Hopeless, the Gatetown to the Grey Waste, … but even if I had made it a two page adventure, it wouldn’t have changed a thing because this adventure is “essentially, just the notes that many DM’s will write up before an adventure. A rough outline.”

If you ever use it, let me know. I’d love to hear about it!

Unfortunately the contest dropped off the radar pretty quickly. There weren’t too many entries, as far as I can tell. I had the same problem with the One Page Dungeon Contest in recent years. I don’t know what to do about it. When I keep blowing that trumpet, it feels like spam.

See how I subtly provided myself with the opportunity to repeat something that has been on my mind, lately? I’m not planning on running the One Page Dungeon Contest 2014. I’m looking for somebody to take over. Interested? Let me know!

I should ask Bryce to just run the 1PDC and skip the sponsors and prizes.

Update: Random Wizard has offered to run the One Page Dungeon Contest 2014!


Comments on 2014-01-02 Bryce Likes My Adventure

Woot, congrats!

Tim Shorts 2014-01-03 04:29 UTC

Thanks, Tim!

AlexSchroeder 2014-01-03 10:09 UTC

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2013-11-26 Licenses and Followup Projects

Today I was asked via email whether the author of a One Page Dungeon released under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license could revisit the adventure and release a different (longer?) version using a different license. Here’s what I replied, slightly edited.

You can release everything you ever wrote under as many licenses as you want. Thus, you can work on your previous One Page Dungeon Contest entry, with the same map or a different map, the same or a different text and release it under a proprietary license, a Creative Commons license, or whatever other license you like. The situation is different if you’re building on somebody else’s work: somebody else’s map, somebody else’s monsters, etc. This is true for any other of your One Page Dungeons. You wrote it, you get to change it and release it anyway you want. The only thing you cannot do is prevent other people from building on those old One Page Dungeons that you released under a CC license. But that covers only that particular map, that particular text and doesn’t affect anything else you care to publish.

You’re good to go! :)


Feel free to send me any other licensing questions. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve been thinking about licensing issues for a long time. 8-)


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2013-11-16 How To Run A Contest

I’ve recently received an email by somebody who wondered whether I’d be willing to spread the word of his contest and whether I knew anybody willing to sponsor prizes. When I started running the One Page Dungeon Contest I decided that I’d document my “process” and make this information public so that anybody who is willing to put in the hours can kickstart their own process.

The page Comments on One Page Dungeon Contest 2012 is a good place to start. It has a checklist with all the things you need to think of. It has copies of all the announcements I wrote (click Edit this page at the bottom to get the bbCode format which you can then easily adapt and paste into you own announcements on most forums); it has copies of the postings themselves (effectively listing all the forums I posted to); it also has links to the Twitter account, Facebook page and Google+ page I used to spread the word; it also has copies of the emails I wrote to past and new sponsors. If you want to build a list of sponsors, I think your best bet is to just write to as many publishers as you can think of and post an open call for sponsors in your announcement. It takes time, but the lists of past sponsors gives you a head start.

All of the sponsors I contacted were super nice. The worst that ever happened was that a person I contacted did not reply. No harm done! One prospective sponsor also wanted me to sign a contract I found unacceptable, but the people I was in touch with were all extremely friendly. So, my conclusion is that it never hurts to ask nicely.

I even kept my todo list online. I guess there is not much interesting to learn from that. It was mostly stuff I wanted to write down in the months preceding the official announcement in order to not forget anything. Sponsors that contacted me ahead of time. Judges who volunteered ahead of time.

There are similar pages for 2010, 2011 and 2013. You also need to figure out how to distribute prizes. Back in 2011 I wrote bout the tricky balance of privacy and transparency. You will also need to think about licensing issues. People will discuss it online. No matter how obvious you think it is, there will always be people who don’t understand how it works and who feel entitled to be as rude as they want. You’ll need to be able to handle this, too.

Anyway. Take a look at the notes I wrote in 2012. Anybody can do it. The question is… Do you want to run the One Page Dungeon Contest 2014?

For now, take a look at these two upcoming contests:

ok :)

Case in point, today Stuart’s announcement says “All entries will be collected into one PDF released under the creative commons license.” Given my past interactions with angry dudes on the Internet makes me wonder: Which CC license? And will participants understand that depending on the exact license anybody can take the PDF and release a print product, and ask money for it? I recommend being as precise as possible. ;)

Read Choose a License on the Creative Comons web site.

Allow modifications of your work?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes, as long as others share alike

Allow commercial uses of your work?

  • Yes
  • No

To answer the last question, you might want to read Defining Noncommercial on the Creative Commons website. Consider this sentence in the executive summary, for example: “Both creators and users generally consider uses that earn users money or involve online advertising to be commercial”. Remember how many websites that might offer the PDF for download also involve online advertising.

And then there’s Other criticism of the non-commercial license on Wikipedia to consider…

I also recommend reading Free Culture. :)

The importance of Unprofessionalism.


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2013-10-21 1PDC in print

1PDC 2013 After announcing it on Facebook and on Google+ and on Twitter I guess I should announce it here as well: The One Page Dungeon Contest 2013 is available in print!

Woohoo, Brett Bernstein has done it again. Thanks!

The CC Share Alike license makes it possible. This is great. Somewhere in the store you can also get the 2012 book, if you’d like that.

The yearly PDFs with all the entries remains freely available. I’m assuming you know what you’re buying if you’re ordering the book. :)

The main reason I feel the need to post it here, however, is this angry rant.

Here’s a FAQ compiled by -C of Hack & Slash, the result of a discussion on Google+:

Isn’t the content of this book available for free? Yes. The contest is available here.

Are the authors receiving any of the money from the PDF? No, but that is due to the terms under which they released their work, the Creative Commons Share-Alike License.

Is this legal? Yes. It is allowed under the terms of the license. You have the same option to do this as anyone else.

Do the contest managers know? Yes, this work was done with their knowledge and by request.

Can’t I do this at Lulu? Yes, the cost for a 116 page full color softcover book will run you 28.96$. Other complexities due to the nature of the contest make printing this book not easy, due to possible font embedding, transparency, and file size issues.

Is there any new art or content? No, it is the entries from 2013 along with the winners from 2010 and 2011.

Is this printed using lightning source or a local printer? The publisher has no comment on internal logistics.

Are the authors aware of this project? Some of them, those that have been contacted [by Brett] were supportive.

Will this be available in stores? Yes, retailers can order it through Ingram. Hobby stores that don’t use Ingram will also be able to order through Indie Press Revolution in the next few weeks.

Why doesn’t Amazon mention any of this? They take text from various lookups, which don’t always contain the latest information. Changes can be suggested, but that doesn’t mean they will be made.

Brett also said: “I make enough per book at amazon just to cover printing costs. I did this as a service for the RPG hobby, so people who do not have access to printing services could get this at a reasonable price.” (in the comments of the same Google+ thread)

As for me personally, the CC license is fundamental. I absolutely want people to copy and distribute the resulting dungeons. I want people to be able to host them on their websites even if they (or Google) are making money off of it. I want people to be able to print them even if they (or Lulu) are making money off of it. As far as I am concerned, creating One Page Dungeons for everybody to use and spread as they see fit and without having to ask for a permission is the entire point of the contest. Not everybody needs to share this point of view, of course, but that’s why I run this contest in particular.

If you’re an author, and you still feel disappointed or hoodwinked… I don’t know what to say. I honestly felt that it was obvious enough. Here’s how the instructions to the One Page Dungeon Contest 2013 start:

Submissions: Here’s how to submit your entry.

  1. Create a One Page Dungeon.
  2. Submitting a dungeon to the contest releases it under the Creative Common Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license with credit to the contest participant.
  3. The submission must have a name, an author, and a link to the license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).

On the One Page Dungeon there is another section that doesn’t mince words:

License: The PDF doesn’t need an actual clickable link to the Creative Common Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The URL just has to be readable when printed so that people can look it up if they need to. The license basically says that anybody can copy, change, and distribute your submission, as long as other people can take the new copy and do the same, and as long as they list all the contributing authors. As the author you can distribute copies using a different license, but you cannot revoke the Creative Commons license. Thus you cannot sell “exclusive rights” to somebody else at a later date. See the license itself for more information. :)

“The license basically says that anybody can copy, change, and distribute your submission, as long as other people can take the new copy and do the same, and as long as they list all the contributing authors.” It seems pretty straight forward to me. If you have a suggestion regarding the wording, feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly.

I remember reading Justin Alexander’s One-Page Rip-Off post in 2010 where he said anybody could upload the free PDF to Lulu and buy their own copy. Please do it! You are free to do it. That’s what’s so great about it. There is no need to ask. Unfortunately, nobody stepped forward in 2010 and 2011 to actually do it. Or perhaps they did it and never offered it to anybody else. In 2012, Brett stepped forward and actually made it happen: The 1PDC in print, for those of us who’d like to have it without feeling like doing it ourselves. And he did it again in 2013. Thanks! :)


Comments on 2013-10-21 1PDC in print

Thank you, Alex, for addressing the issues I asked about in my “angry rant”.

I think contest entrants need to know that the license allows someone to SELL their work without notification or payment to the original creator. You don’t make that clear in any of the material for the contest, although the license link itself does indicate that others may make commercial use of the material. “anybody can copy, change, and distribute,” is not the same as “anybody can copy, change, distribute, or sell”.

Could you please make that clear for next year’s entrants?

mwschmeer 2013-10-21 13:13 UTC

As someone without a Google+ account, I can’t access the discussion thread you link to where these issues are discussed. Could someone please post the contents of that thread somewhere?

mwschmeer 2013-10-21 13:27 UTC

Contact -C.

AlexSchroeder 2013-10-21 13:41 UTC

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2013-05-25 One Page Dungeon Contest Winners

We have the winners of the One Page Dungeon Contest 2013. Download the PDF!

Author Dungeon Name Category
Andrew and Heleen Durston Only Acrobats Need Apply Best Swashbuckling
bygrinstow Arena of Blood Most Macabre
Caelum Roberts Iron Cloud Best Sci-Fi
Daniel O’Donnell Down Among the Dead Men Best Undead
Gus L.The Brittlestone Parapets Best Wizard Duel
Jens Thuresson The Giant’s Dollhouse Best Fairy-Tale
Jobe Bittman Into The Demon Idol Best Homage
Josh Burnett The Burial Mound of Gilliard Wolfclan Best One Shot
Kaylee Thumann Girly Girl Dungeon Most Original
LSF A Stolen Spring Best Fantasy Mystery
Matthew W. Schmeer Wizard in the Woods Best Non-Traditional Map
Misha Favorov Court of the King of No Men Best Beastmen
Ramsey Hong Something Happened At The Temple Near Glourm Best Map
Rob S Citadel of the Severed Hand Best Myconids
Roger SG Sorolla Devil’s Acre Best Single Location
S. J. Harris The Baleful Spring Best Tower
Simon Forster Church of Consumption Best Religion


Comments on 2013-05-25 One Page Dungeon Contest Winners

Simon Forster
Wow! I won something :)

Simon Forster 2013-05-25 21:28 UTC

I just sent out the email to all the winners. Choose wisely. Or unwisely. :)

AlexSchroeder 2013-05-25 22:06 UTC

11 of the 17 winners have already sent me their wishlist…

AlexSchroeder 2013-05-27 08:09 UTC

Only one wish list is missing…

AlexSchroeder 2013-05-29 10:49 UTC

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2013-05-23 One Page Dungeon Contest Status Update

Google Spreadsheet is my friend…

We’ve been tallying the nominations, looking at our favorites and comparing notes for the One Page Dungeon Contest 2013. It looks like we’re going to have 17 winners this year. This looks about right, compared to previous years. In 2009 there were a lot of honorable mentions and runner-ups but only three winners. I personally like to spread prizes around and celebrate the sheer variety of submissions we get every year. It’s a win for everyone.

Year Entries Winners

I hope we’ll be able to finalize the list soon enough!

What will happen next:

  1. assemble a PDF with the winners
  2. publish the list of winners and link to the PDF
  3. celebrate!
  4. notify winners by email and ask them to create a wish-list based on the prizes donated by our sponsors
  5. try and maximize happiness using another spreadsheet
  6. notify sponsors and winners and have sponsors send their prizes directly to the winners (except for the cash prize; I’ll handle that one since the sponsor wants to remain anonymous)
  7. celebrate again! :)

Hopefully my work is done before June 8, because that’s when I’ll leave for a two week vacation to Sardinia. Yay!


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2013-05-13 Other Favorite Entries


I just posted my nominations for the One Page Dungeon Contest 2013. I also liked the following entries.

I saw Roger the GS’ recommendations the other day. What about your favorites?


Comments on 2013-05-13 Other Favorite Entries

Paul Gorman
Your link to your nominations points to the Edit page.

Paul Gorman 2013-05-13 19:32 UTC

Oops, fixed. Thanks!

AlexSchroeder 2013-05-13 21:15 UTC

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2013-05-13 My One Page Dungeon Contest Nominations


I’ve finished reading the submissions to the One Page Dungeon Contest 2013. As always, an interesting mix of styles. Less tombs than in previous years. The ever popular “get into the dungeon and trigger a trap” is there. Bandits, undead, but no pirates! This year’s popular rare monster must have been the gibbernig mouther. It showed up in three submissions. :)

Gibbering Mouthers:

I wanted to comment on my nominations for the contest winners. I’ve done this before (2010, 2011, 2012). Writing it all down helps me think it through.

  • Daniel O'Donnell, Down Among the Dead Men: beautiful map; lovely visuals such as a well surmounted by the jaws of a giant shark or acolytes on stilts “tending” the undead in the water. It’s gruesome. It stands on its own and can be placed in my campaign.
  • Gus L., The Brittlestone Parapets: a lovely amalgam of trench warfare, undead soldiers, Beowulf, D&D as an implied post-apocalyptic setting; and it comes with an inspiring map, an interesting list of random encounters, the witch comes with the list of spells prepared, one faction can be hired for a few weeks. It’s fascinating. It stands on its own and can be placed in my campaign.
  • Jobe Bittman, Into The Demon Idol: an iconic image, a beautiful map, the giant grab pincer. Best of all: the option of reanimating it! A potential long-term change for your campaign. It’s tempting. It stands on its own and can be placed in my campaign.
  • Misha Favorov, Court of the King of No Men: a map that allows multiple approaches; the most important notes are on the map itself. That’s what I love! The two simple magic items are interesting without being overengineered: a sword dealing wounds that heal within 24h, a hammer that can be thrown once a day, a rod that allows you to control the movement of an opponent (but nothing else). It’s sylvan. It stands on its own and can be placed in my campaign.
  • Paul Gorman, Faery Ring to Alpha Ari: not the only adventure using myconids and various fungus effects, but what I liked in particular was the strange mix of fantasy and present day space exploration; the observatory and the tiny island on the one hand and a map that looks appropriate for a Mars colony. I also like how enemies come in all sizes from pixies to giant. I’m not sure it would simply fit into my campaign.
  • Ramsey Hong, Something Happened At The Temple Near Glourm: a beautiful map with village and five dungeon levels; multiple stairs and entrances; notes on the map itself. This dungeon is beautiful. It’s terrifying. It stands on its own and can be placed in my campaign.
  • Rob S, Citadel of the Severed Hand: another beautiful map with notes on the map itself; it also features myconids and “shroom effects”. The part I like is the tragic figure of the orc boss with his staghelm who hates the torturer demon because she has his son in her power. The entire setup with the two slaves is genious. It’s evil. It stands on its own and can be placed in my campaign.
  • Roger SG Sorolla, Devil's Acre: when I first read about it on the author’s blog I thought that it was an interesting take on the complex of sin, vigil, prayer, temptation, saint and devils, and all of that in a D&D context. My campaign hasn’t featured these topics, however, so I’m not sure how well it would work for me.
  • S. J. Harris, The Baleful Spring: a small tower always comes in handy. This one has a tower with an evil master and a ship with a neutral captain. I like the framing story: two diplomats trying to secure a peace accord have gone missing. It’s nothing fancy with a functional map. It’s useful. It stands on its own and can be placed in my campaign.
  • Simon Forster, Church of Consumption: a beatiful map; another cult trying to raise a demon. Unfortunately it’s very linear. Strangely enough it appears to be open on both ends with major treasure sitting right next to one of the two entrances. But… it’s so beautiful. And I love the imagery of the cultists eating their dead god, the meat grinder, the ghouls dreaming about eating the same dead god, one day… It’s gruesome. It stands on its own and can be placed in my campaign.

The One Page Dungeon Contest is just so damn useful it amazes me every year.


Comments on 2013-05-13 My One Page Dungeon Contest Nominations

B. Pace
The Demon Idol is my favorite - although I’m a bit biased since that is my favorite old school book cover :)

B. Pace 2013-05-16 03:16 UTC

Having painted the Otherworld Miniatures demon idol, I concur! Best old school cover. :)

AlexSchroeder 2013-05-16 08:17 UTC

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2013-05-01 One Page Dungeon Contest Submissions

1PDC The One Page Dungeon Contest 2013 is now officially closed. No more late submissions. This year I found two submissions in my spam folder. If you can’t find your submission on the contest page, let me know. This year I also got four late submissions, which is about average, I’d say. I asked the other judges and we decided to accept the ones I received. I have to draw the line somewhere, though… So this is it. Closed. :)

Here’s how to get all the files:

72 Submissions! :D ok star

Number of submissions112647110772


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