This is the fourth year that the annual One Page Dungeon Contest has been held online, and it’s well worth checking out.

The idea behind one-page dungeons is that…wait for it…they have to fit on one page. It might not sound like you could get much dungeon on a single page, but you can. Like any limitation, the format forces you to be creative within its constraints, and that’s fertile ground.

There are two reasons why I think you’ll be interested in this contest. The first is that entering it is a cool way to give back to the gaming community while having a shot at winning a prize from their embarrassingly long list of sponsors.

The second is that even if you don’t want to enter, the outcome of the contest will be a free PDF containing all of the winning dungeons (and, I believe, another containing ALL submissions). That’s a lot of dungeons!

Contest info and free dungeons

Useful links, if you’re interested:

My favorite expanded version of this concept

You may have been wondering why there’s a picture of the cover of Stonehell in this article — here’s why. Stonehell is the coolest dungeon I’ve ever seen. It’s a megadungeon with a plausible premise, fascinating and fun rooms and adversaries, and a great presentation — and at $13 print/$6.50 PDF, it’s an amazing deal. Easily one of the best gaming purchases I’ve made in the past 25 years. You should go buy it right this minute — it’s that good.

And you know what powers Stonehell’s concise, yet informative, descriptions of each of its awesome levels (over 700 rooms in total!)? An expanded version of the one page dungeon template!

Each quadrant of the dungeon gets a two-page spread that includes a complete keyed map, special rules, and descriptions of every room. To make that double-size version of the template work for a megadungeon, Stonehell also provides additional pages of background and monsters for each quadrant — but the amount of usable info on those two pages is impressive.

So not only is the contest neat, and not only are the resulting one page dungeons a great GMing resource, but you can take this concept and put it to your own uses, Stonehell being my favorite example of that. Good stuff.