One page dungeon 2016

I very rarely get a jump on the One Page Dungeon contest and finish an entry more than a couple of days before the deadline, but this year I have so many other things I ought to be focusing on that I found a nice relief taking a few hours over the weekend to pull an entry together. I am, as my previous OPDs demonstrate, pretty bad at drawing decent maps, so this year I found a public domain image to annotate. Writing it up went surprisingly fast. I am not expecting to win anything with this one, since the level of competition has really gotten steep in the OPD contest (maybe it’s time to introduce a master’s class or something so people who’ve won in the past aren’t competing with newbies?). Still, I enjoy the challenge of creating a usable adventure that fits on one page, and I think my “dungeon” is  something that hasn’t been done before. So apart from the execution, I think I have pretty good entry. 🙂

The principal inspirations for the design are two things: one, the concept of the “Bridge of dread” mentioned in Lyke Wake Dirge, and two, the surprisingly developed and fortified bridges of the middle ages (old London Bridge, a sketch of which I used for my “map,” being an extreme example). Bridges had defenses like gate houses and towers, and being high-traffic spots attracted peddlers and shopkeepers. Because upkeep for them was expensive and not provided by the crown, some collected tolls (or tribute or bribes, if occupied by bandits) and some even had attractions like shrines and chapels, the offerings gathered at them helping pay for upkeep as well. The folks who earned a living via bridge traffic, officials who were responsible for it, and merchants even built their homes on the bridges, creating miniature cities. It’s not such a wonder that old London Bridge eventually fell down.

Below is the original sketch (after a 1616 engraving by Claes Van Visscher) I used for my OPD, taken from a nineteenth century book scanned by the New York Public library for the Internet Archive.

bridge-ill-onlyI also cribbed an image from Wikimedia Commons, for a close up of one spot.

I’ll post the finished PDF in my files area once the contest is closed.


Bonus: viewing the text of this book at Project Gutenberg, I saw a transcription of the “advertisement” page for other books in the series, and one that jumped out at me was “Famous frosts and frost friars”. I was intrigued by the idea of a “Frost Friar” (which evokes Bellairs’ “The face in the frost”) but sadly it was just a typo, and the book is about frost FAIRS — festivals held when a river ices over.

Frost Friar

HD: 4; AC: leather; MV: 12” walking, 24” on ice; attacks: by weapon or special; SV: Cleric 4

Frost friars are evil spirits that emerge from the depths of the earth in or around winter. They look like mendicant friars, except that their skin is pallid white and their clothes are dusted with ice. They gather at rivers (the number appearing will depend on the river, generally d6 per 20’ breadth) and freeze it over, interrupting commerce and travel, and often inspiring the local populace to hold “frost fairs,” taking advantage of the unusual conditions. However their goal is to lure unsuspecting mortals onto thin ice, for those who die of exposure or drowning in icy waters become their slaves of the frost friars in the underworld. Frost friars can cast cold and ice-related spells (or reversed fire-related spells) as if they were 5th level magic users. They often hoard the valuables of their victims in caches buried in river banks.

Published in: on March 1, 2016 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Wayne's Books

Game Gallery ~ Photo Blog

Ann's Immaterium

Mostly physical culture but also writing, gaming, and other dark procrastinations


Collecting, modelling, painting and wargaming in 28mm

Dragons Never Forget

What were we talking about again?

This Stuff is REALLY Cool

Young scholars enthusiastic to tell you about COOL RESEARCH STUFF

Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds

Hey Did You Know I Write Books

Save Vs. Dragon

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut


Old School Roleplaying and related musings

Hobgoblin Orange

My return to the world of miniature figure painting and RPGs

The Book Reviews You Can Trust!

Dawn of the Lead

Miniature wargaming and the occasional zombie News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.


Miniature Motivation

Take On Rules

Jeremy Friesen - a poor soul consumed by gaming.

Age of Dusk

A blog that only kills animals.

Roll to Disbelieve

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

A Book of Creatures

A Complete Guide to Entities of Myth, Legend, and Folklore

Making the Past

Diary of an apprentice swordsmith

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming

Using De Bellis Antiquitatis, with the odd diversion...

Riffing Religion

Prophets should be mocked. I'm doing my part.


Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense

2 Warps to Neptune

Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek

Dagger and Brush

Miniature painting, wargaming terrain tutorials, reviews, interviews and painting guides


A lair for gaming, sci-fi, comics, and other geekish pursuits.

I bought these adventure and review them so you don't have to.

9th Key Press

Maps, supplements, and inspiration for roleplaying games.

The Rambling Roleplayer Archives

This site is no longer being updated. Check out the new site at

The History Blog

History fetish? What history fetish?

Sheppard's Crook

The occasional blog of a closet would -be wargamer and modeller


A catch all of books, games, and sundry other interests

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time

%d bloggers like this: