Sunday, November 4, 2012

D&D Coloring Book

In 1979 an official Dungeons and Dragons coloring book was released. The illustration was done by Greg Irons. In addition to some wonderfully evocative illustrations there were also descriptions of various creatures and a write-up of a quick adventure that you could play. Over at Monster Brains Aeron Alfrey uploaded scans of the book. I've gone and downloaded the scans and made a single PDF file out of them using the free software Image to PDF Converter. Counting the cover and the back page the pdf file is 32 pages long. I'd love to see people scanning in their coloring and giving them to me so I can upload and share with others. Here's a link the pdf.

Here are some sample pages.


The Inn

The Great Serpent

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Twenty Scenes for an Urban Dungeon

For a long time I was of the mindset that dungeon crawls were boring. "Who wants go open up another prison door and face some more skeletons?", I'd ask. Some time ago I had an epiphany of sorts and realized that regarding all dungeons as simple underground prisons was being very short sighted of me. These days I look at just about any underground structure as a "dungeon", whether it's a vast cave complex, a sewer system, a train station, or anything else really. Part of what I like doing in this blog is presenting different aspects of dungeons, and as you all know I'm of the opinion that the best fantasy is reality. 

As such I present 20 (well really 21, but who's counting) scenes that you could use in your next urban dungeon crawl. 


Which one do you take?

You know this excursion isn't off to a good start. 

Abandoned bunker? Arms depot? Secret experimental lab?

Space station or space ship entrance?


Down or up?

You didn't think it was going to be as easy as stairs did you? Only way up or down is climbing the pole. 

I'm sure these stairs are completely stable and reliable. 

Hello claustrophobia. 

This has a very sci-fi feel to me. 

No stairs? No ladder? Guess you'll have to make do with an abandoned elevator shaft

Partially destroyed landing. Poisonous mold on the walls--don't touch if you value your life. 


Clearly some sort of secret installation housing horrible things. 

Brief glimpses of light make this one spooky. 

Industrial tunnel with blood spattered walls. 

You do not want to know what's in the water.

Sci-fi/cyberpunk environment.


Lots of places for bad things to hide

What did this machinery control?

Sci-fi control room or observation room. 

This room is not safe. Too many corridors and tunnels converge on it. 

Store room? Bunk beds? Shelves?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Alice in Wonderland as a classic dungeon adventure

I was watching Alice in Wonderland the other day and I realized partway through it that it's really a classic dungeon delve with some cool and interesting twists. Wikipedia calls it a prime example of the "literary nonsense" genre. The only connecting thread between all the various chapters is simply Alice, who is exploring Wonderland. That's not unlike many adventures and campaigns that try to have a unifying theme but end up being disjointed.


--down the rabbit hole is just a euphemism for entering the dungeon via whatever dungeon entrance there might be (or in some cases going to a different reality, e.g. "Follow the white rabbit" from Matrix)

Does this not look like an entrance to an underground lair?

--the movie version has a prophecy of Alice being the savior of Wonderland. Rather a cliche for fantasy rpgs, but it happens often enough. 

--ambushes from weird and ferocious creatures happen almost immediately. 

Jubjub Bird by David Elliot (from Carrol's Hunting of the Snark)


Either of those could be interesting monsters to fight. 

--there are magical potions aplenty, though in one case it's actually disguised as a cake.

--there are magical items (fans, swords, potions, hats, timepieces)

--weird magic (time stopping still during the Mad Tea Party for example)

--magical swords (The Vorpal Blade)

--nasty monsters to defeat at the end of the campaign (the Jabberwocky)

Jabberwocky vs The Vorpal Blade

I'm a big fan of the end fight sequence in the movie.

I think it's an interesting thought experiment to re-invent or re-tell stories in a new genre or look at them in a new way. I especially think it's interesting to change the story almost completely based on changing viewpoints, or mood.