The Ghoul’s Shrine

Well, I finished my One-Page Dungeon Contest entry and mailed it in.  It was interesting and fun, though I’m not sure that what I produced was any great shakes.  I spent a lot more time than I had planned just wrestling with the format and trying various tools.  I ended up drawing it free-hand with GIMP, using Chgowiz’s GIMP graph-paper template, mostly because that was the easiest way to guarantee that the result fit neatly into the dungeon template itself.  GIMP is far from my favorite tool for drawing, mostly because that’s not really what it’s for, it’s designed as an image manipulation tool; next time I’ll either figure out how to do what I want in Painter, or really spend some time learning either Inkscape or AutoRealm.  I fooled around with the latter two just enough today to realize that if I tried to use either I’d never have finished in time for the contest deadline.

One of the things I found interesting was just how easy and enjoyable it was to write a systemless dungeon; freedom from having to stat up anything at all let me write it for a party of completely indeterminate size, composition, and power level.  Of course, that means that whoever picks it up and tries to use it will be faced with plugging in numbers from their favorite system, but I deliberately stuck to just a few monster types to make that a little less painful.

On the other hand, it was a bit painful and frustrating to keep trimming the text to stick to a single page.  It pretty much precluded introducing any unique monster or puzzle, and drastically cut down on the flavor text.  I think that Chgowiz’s template really comes into its own when it’s used the way Amityville Mike does in Stonehell: a single page for the map, wandering monster table and notes, and a separate page or two for the key.  That’s definitely my plan for my next project, which will probably be a sample dungeon for my RPG write-up.

5 thoughts on “The Ghoul’s Shrine

  1. Chgowiz says:

    For me, using the template is more about liner notes and prompts. If I have something like a unique monster or involved puzzle, I’ll put it on a separate page. Sometimes, though, I want to wing it at game-time, so I’ll just put in a skeletal description and see what appeals to me (or I roll up) at game time.

    Thanks for entering!

    Chgowiz’s last blog post..Help a friend and his father

  2. Mike D says:

    I am rather fond of Fractal Mapper ( I use it to make base maps, then save the layers individually and import them into GIMP for gussying up.

  3. Joshua says:

    I have Fractal Mapper, but I recall finding it very clunky for dungeons instead of overland maps and towns. I’m not a very CAD kind of guy.

  4. Andreas Davour says:

    Finding the right tool for the job is an uphill battle.

    I was fooling around with some different solutions, and then became so occupied at work that I was drained of all energy to design dungeons. I barely managed to keep ahead of the players in my regular campaign.

    I was sad that I couldn’t submit anything to the contest, since it was such a cool idea.

    The template as it is don’t work very well for me, though. I even question why some people are so worked up about it. For me it’s way to limiting to do anything useful with. Perfect for a competition, though.

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