So not only did I sponsor a prize for the One Page Dungeon Contest 2011, but I also entered as a contestant (for my second time.)
The map entry I created was inspired by my Kaidan: a Japanese Ghost Story setting. It’s called the Emperor’s Playground. All monster encounters featured in the map are monsters or monster races that is or will be included in Curse of the Golden Spear: Parts 1 – 3, and a possible Obake Bestiary: monsters of Kaidan book I intend to publish as well.
The Emperor’s Playground is the birthday gift to the boy-emperor of Kaidan, Antoku. Like most of the nobles of Kaidan, Antoku is a yurei ghost. In his case he is a 714 year old Goryo (noble yurei ghost) trapped in the mind and body of a five year old in mostly corporeal form. On his 500th birthday, his grandfather, Taira no Kiyomori, Shogun of Kaidan commissioned the construction of a dungeon complex beneath the Imperial Palace in Fukuhara-kyo to serve as the emperor’s personal playground. It features all the special places and activities the ‘young’ emperor loves.
Guests are invited to an official audience to the Imperial throne. When they arrive, they are told the emperor is currently indisposed on matters of state, and are asked to spend the night in an imperial guest house, outside the palace itself. Once the guests are asleep, they are instantly teleported to an identical guest house located at the start of the dungeon (top right of map). They are now the emperors ‘playmates’. Should the guests survive their treacherous ordeal through the dungeon, the exit takes them to waiting quarters outside the imperial court itself. They are then given their official audience with the emperor who will shower them with gifts. Of course the party has to survive their ordeal in order to receive them. The entire imperial court watches through scrying mirrors, like a perverse sporting event.
For a 3x/Pathfinder game, the dungeon is set for a party of four 9th level adventurers – a fairly high level dungeon. While all monsters will be eventually published for Kaidan, GMs are free to use Oriental Adventures 1e or 3x, as well as any other sources for other game systems as appropriate.
This map only took me a single day for most of the work, though today I finished the map with 7 additional illustration insets in the key of the map.
Good luck to all contestants!
Michael K. Tumey
Link to full sized JPG: Emperor’s Playground map full sized