The World of Ark

Friday, January 1, 2016

Where did simple go?

"This adventure is going to be the best one ever made! It is going to be epic! Everyone is going to want to adventure here..."

It is true that I love Epic adventures...but where did the simple dungeon go? Do we have to remake the Forgotten Realms or destroy the world if the adventurers fail?

I've spent a lot of time lately thinking on this. The answer I came to was rather sad really.

I think the primary problem in adventures today is that so many "market tests" show that people want instant gratification. Yes, I'm talking about things like:
  • Demons pouring out of the Abyss into the Underdark and then to the surface...
  • Dragons so thick in the skies that the birds have no room to fly...

Yes, sometimes too much is just too much! For whatever reason, the "powers that be" seem to think the solution is to one up everything that came before...they have taken "Jumping the Shark" to entirely new levels unfortunately.

Then you come across a resurgence of awesome new things. Ever hear of The Hobby Shop Dungeon? THAT is the kind of stuff that the hobby needs.

I feel that the best thing for me to do is to make a simple dungeon for people to enjoy; thus the new line I've started thinking about:

The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stories)...yeah, the name is a work in progress to be sure! LOL

I think people would love to have quick and easy adventures that they can sit down and play in a single session if they wanted (two at most). Simple cover art, decent map, interior that doesn't include just random monsters, and a price that is easy to deal with...not everyone likes one "Epic Ride!" for $39.95. How about $5 for a single adventure your party will love and will save you hours of prep time?

As a first example, The Black Pit of Darkflame. An old (not ancient, not from a Forgotten Time, not the stronghold of some ancient power, etc.) reliquary disguised even in its heyday as a charnel house where the poor (beggars, criminals, etc.) were sent when they died for their remains to be properly disposed of by whatever religion you wish.

Secretly, the pit where the bodies were thrown into reached deep into the earth to feed denizens (not detailed in this first adventure) that were growing in number. When the "Good Guys" found out, they sealed The Black Pit, not knowing they had sealed in the secret priesthood as well. I won't give all the details of this one, but like I said: it is simple, it will be fun, and most of all it will be easy for anyone to use.

That is what I think people really want...I think those ad-guys just got it wrong!

So, here is to KISS adventures! Hell, if I'm cost less than a Happy Meal...


  1. Yes, simple adventures that can be run in 5 or 6 hours instead of 5 or 6 gaming sessions are important. That's why I've often reverted to writing my own adventures, even though new ideas and cool pics and diagrams and problems for the adventurers to solve are desirable.

  2. I think this is one reason Dungeon Crawl Classics has been so successful.

  3. Great read. We need more short games that can be played in a one shot fashion. Especially as we get older with more responsibilities.

    1. I couldn't agree more! When we might get to play only once every couple of months, it is hard to even remember what was going on the last time!

  4. Well you got me all excited, and I don't see it for sale yet. :P

    1. Very soon! The adventure is done; just waiting on art ;)