Today I decided to check back in on the One Page Dungeon contest webpage to see how many entries had been submitted. I was very surprised to see a total of 63 entires were accepted, and there is one late entry mentioned as well. That is a lot of dungeon action! I then downloaded the packet that contains all the entries and began browsing. Let me say this, the judges have their hands full! Not only are there a ton of entries in this year's contest, but there are a ton of good entries in this year's contest!
It is amazing to see the variety of what was submitted. That is one of the cool things about the One Page Dungeon (OPD) concept -- everyone has their own interpretation as to what epitomizes an OPD. Just browsing through the various submissions it was interesting to see just how radically different so many of them were.
Personally, when I decided I wanted to design an OPD and enter it into the contest I came up with a short list of goals to help guide me along the way. I knew I wanted to capture the spirit of Swords Against the Outer Dark with my entry -- a dark fantasy adventure that contained strong Lovecraftian elements while at the same time maintaining a real traditional old school fantasy gaming approach. As such, I decided that this OPD would work best as a small sandbox, and only supply the framework required to run the adventure. The replayability factor had to be high, and I did my best to leave some loose ends that would allow for open ended play. To help root it in a traditional fantasy gaming mindset I chose monsters from Dungeons & Dragons to populate this adventure that have obvious Lovecraftian overtones (a gibbering mouther to stand-in for a shoggoth, a grick in place of a chthonian, etc.). Charts for rumors and random encounters round off the old school approach. The map was purposely kept simple and straight forward, and the outside area was left unmapped to allow for open interpretation.
All in all I feel I achieved what I set out to do. Will I win the contest? I hope so -- the prize list is very sweet! I think I have a strong entry, and I have received some good feedback from those around me. Who knows? Only time will tell who will be on the winner's list this year. As I stated earlier, there are so many good entries I do not envy anyone on the judges committee their job...