A Stone Giant needs your help. His clan was slaughtered by a mad wizard who now lairs among its bones. He wants revenge. Can you survive the warrens beneath Fogbreath Peak?
This is a one-page dungeon assault of a mostly linear 12-ish room cave/dungeon. It’s got some nicely tight writing in places, with the more generic parts standing out in contrast.
I find myself questioning myself about the one page dungeon. The focus required to produce something viable on one page is admirable. The artificial constraint forces the designer to really focus on the core elements of evocative creativity. As a tool to hone one’s skills in design I think they are great. As a DM I can also appreciate the ease of use they provide. one page. Map on the same page. Everything on one page. Easy to grasp rooms (If it’s designed correctly, that is …) It harkens back to the days of just a map and some notes on a paper for running the game. IE: the way I like to imagine most people run their home games. What I can’t get past is the artificial constraint it imposes and the thought that it’s more of a gimmick. Stonehell got by this by providing support materials but keeping the “running the game” portion to the one page concept.
The opening of this is pretty good and is a great example of tight writing. It’s two sentences long. You’ve been hired by a Stone Giant, Jarl Drago, and in exchange for five large diamonds you are to return with the severed head of the blood-traitor Ironbones. It reminds me of the very short intro to Against the Giants. Specificity is the soul of storytelling and that specificity comes through. With just those few sentences you should be able to run a nice background encounter with the Jarl. The flavor comes through.
Similarly, a skeleton holding a sign saying “go away or stay for dinner”, a nice stone statue, and orgres and trolls who can be bribed combine with static ghostly images to provide decent flavor blasts to the adventure. There’s another nice little puzzle that has a clue earlier in the dungeon, something I wish more adventures with puzzles would do. A nice trapped chest (web blasts with a monster then showing up) is great, as is an evil book that is one of the primary treasures. “Ogre ‘Joey’ is in charge of security for Ironbones. It can be bribed at the LL’s discretion.” is a great example of adding colour while not droning on.
And then there’s the +1 shield and some simple “2 monsters in a room” encounters. These detract. A boring wandering table of just monsters on a page (“10 Morlocks” should instead be “10 Morlocks bringing tribute” or something like that.) The troll doesn’t have a nice or much or a personality, in contrast to Joey the ogre who comes with JUST barely enough to run him as a full person.
I like this adventure. I want to like this adventure? it reminds me of the things I like. it’s probably fine for printing out and running a decent little adventure at a con or as a last minute game night fill in. I’m not sure it’s a GO TO adventure, but certainly if it were included in a book of one-pagers it would be a stand out and i’d be happy-ish with it.
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