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. 


  1. Have you checked out Dungeonland EX1 and The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror EX2 by Gary Gygax?

    1. I've had Dungeonland recommended to me, but I haven't read it. My gaming interests kind of straddle the line between old school philosophies and new school (whatever that is). I got into D&D with 3.5, and though I've played the older versions I'm not too familiar with most of the modules and adventures.

  2. Or just Wonderland No More, a nice little Savage Worlds setting...

    1. Haven't heard of this one at all, but I'll definitely check it out.