Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Proof Copy Arrived. Print Edition of 2016 Compendium Coming Soon!

The proof copy of the 2016 One Page Dungeon Compendium arrived yesterday! The entries look great, and despite my fears all the text is clear and legible!  I made some minor adjustments to the file and cover, and resubmitted the files. Now I just wait to order a second proof copy. I believe it will be "good to go" once it arrives, and the Product will be available for eleven bucks on DriveThru/ RPGNOW.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

hack vs exploit vs innovation

In the process of setting up the dungeon contest website, I have spent a lot of time looking at One Page Dungeon Contest entries spanning the eight years the contest has been running.

From its inception to the latest iteration (OPDC 2016) I have noticed some trends through the years which have been driven by the creators and the judges' selections.

The contest began with (a comparatively) rigid format, and included templates for both dungeon and hex crawl wilderness maps. Creators soon began to create dungeons that captured the spirit and intent of the templates, but in their own unique format and style.  The templates that were, in part, the impetus for the contest are all but forgotten now.

Creators have shaped and re-shaped the One Page Dungeon format each year, and there have been some truly inspiring layouts and design choices.

One development that I find a bit problematic, perhaps in part due to my 45 year old eyes, is the drastic reduction in font size. Some one page dungeons have managed to cram two or three dungeons worth of content into a single page, and despite attempts by organizers to deter small font sizes, have done well with the judges.

This is conflicting, as technically entries that use very small font sizes for their text have not done anything that is restricted by the contest, and are simply taking advantage of a clever innovation to make a dungeon or adventure more "fleshed out" and content rich.

Unofficially, the "tiny font method" circumvents the design challenge set forth by the contest which is by my estimation the most frustrating and rewarding part of the whole process.

From a practical standpoint, it makes for PDFs that are difficult to read without extensive zooming and panning, and some of the original entry PDFs are sadly unreadable. Random Wizard mentioned to me that there was some demand for print copies, and the problems presented by tiny fonts are further exacerbated in hard copy, although I suppose the old school zoom ( a magnifying glass) could help. Looking over past entries, I can honestly say that I don't think a print version will be possible for every year without omitting entries, or being comfortable with unreadable pages that are the equivalent of a preview jpeg.

I am thinking of a few ways around this. Some of my ideas include establishing a minimum font size as a rule rather than a suggestion, limiting the format options a bit, incorporating a point system into the judging process that penalizes smaller font sizes to a degree that offsets the benefit of gaining a bunch of extra space for content (how the hell do I begin to quantify that?), or imposing a minimum font size but allowing a Double Sided Dungeon format so that a One Page Dungeon technically lives on one page, but makes full use of both sides.

While this last suggestion seems a bit like a concession as I type it, I don't want to limit creativity or innovation, but I do want something that is readable. Entries will be used to create compendiums that are sold online. This is no secret. If entries are unreadable, or the formats are so varied that combining them together in a book leaves oceans of white space and results in further reduction to images (and font size) then who would want them?

The double sided dungeon format would not replace the classic 'single sided" dungeon format, but would offer a second option, and a second category, to the contest. By this line of thinking, I don't feel it would be fair to judge the two formats against one another. Creating a one sided, one page dungeon with the set minimum (readable) font size is less of a design challenge than creating a two sided, one page dungeon with the same minimum font size.


Monday, June 20, 2016

One Page Dungeon Compendium 2015 Edition is also here!

The One Page Dungeon Compendium 2015 edition is available at  RPGNOW.

This edition was previously released by Random Wizard, but I have reworked it from scratch.

The orientation of the entries has been preserved, and entries are bookmarked.

All profit from the PDF goes towards the next One Page Dungeon Contest.

It is available for "Pay what you want" pricing, and all profit from the PDF goes towards the next One Page Dungeon.

I continue to work on transferring all of the downloads and assets from, and the original PDF files will be available soon directly from


Saturday, June 18, 2016

One Page Dungeon Compendium 2016 "Print On Demand" Progress

"Cover Spread" screenshot for the print edition.
Cover work for a print version of the One Page Dungeon Compendium 2016 is nearly complete.

All of the entries have been entered into Indesign, and I only have a few more pages of credits and Intro text to complete for the interior.

I will be uploading and sending of for a proof copy very soon.
(Update: Files have been uploaded and approved, and I have ordered a proof copy.)

The PDF version of the 2015 One Page Dungeon Compendium is still sitting in limbo at RPGNOW, waiting to be approved before it can be placed on the marketplace.

This will be the case with any titles released in the near future, as my status as a publisher is unverified and I cannot freely make titles public.

I tried to work around this by releasing the compendium on Lulu, but they do not support PDFs with different page orientations, so that was a no go.  For now I will just have to wait until the title is "green-lit" on their end.


Monday, June 13, 2016

One Page Dungeon Contest 2016 and Beyond

As weeks go, this one has been a bit surreal. It started with a conversation with Random Wizard while working on the 2016 One Page Dungeon Compendium, where I shared some ideas for the 2017 One Page Dungeon Contest. As the conversation continued, he suggested that I run the contest outright.  I was humbled by the suggestion, but I have to say that I was pretty excited about the prospect as well.

I was first introduced to the contest in 2010 when Random asked me to work on an entry with him, and have been involved ever since as either a participant or by supporting the contest behind the scenes. I am thrilled to take on the role of organizer for the next contest (which may come sooner than April 2017).

My thanks go out to ChattyDM, Chgowiz, Amityville Mike, and Sham for creating and organizing the first contest in 2009, as well as Alex Schroeder and Random Wizard for organizing, expanding, and building a community around the contest over the last seven years!

The following link is for the original 2009 contest announcement by ChattyDM:

New Grand Contest: The One-Page Dungeon!

The contest has a rich tradition of fantastic judges who have dedicated their time pouring over hundreds upon hundreds of entries, and an impressive assortment of sponsors who have helped make the contest (and prizes) possible.

I have been busy completing the 2016 Compendium (as well as the 2015 Compendium) and setting up the website.  I am working with Random Wizard to move all of the resources (images, contest details) over to the new site, and this is definitely a "work in progress".

Once this is complete, I will begin working on setting up the next contest, which I would like to see happen sooner than April 2017.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

One Page Dungeon Compendium is Here!

The One Page Dungeon Compendium 2016 edition is complete and now available at Drivethru and RPGNow.

I worked on this with Random Wizard, and did my best to keep the style similar to the previous editions, including a cover image by Michael Richards.

One major change to the format is the orientation of the entries within the compendium. Entries that were submitted in a landscape format are now presented this way in the PDF, as opposed to being turned on their sides.

The PDF is bookmarked for ease of navigation, and the winners who submitted links to their blogs or websites to will find these links have been included in the compendium.

I think that many of the submissions have set a new record for minuscule font sizes. I created the PDF in Indesign using 300 dpi .tif files rendered from the submitted PDF entry files. This has resulted in a rather large file size, but I have optimized a version using Acrobat that weighs in at around 25 megabytes.

The compendium is now on sale at Drivethrurpg and Rpgnow following the "pay what you want" price point as established by Random Wizard with the past compendiums.

All profit from the PDF version of the Compendium will also continue to be used to provide prizes for the next One Page Dungeon Contest, another great tradition started by Random Wizard which has helped the contest become self-sustaining in addition to generous support from the sponsors. 

As much as I hate hearing this phrase at work, "feedback is a gift". I was surprised to discover that only three people posted comments/reviews concerning all of the previous editions of the One Page Dungeon Compendium.  However limited this feedback was, I feel that it has helped make this version more user friendly. It is my sincere hope that I receive more feedback for this edition so that the compendiums can continue to improve and evolve.

- Pike