The Mystery Map Adventure Design Contest

Attention all reavers, cut-pursues, heathen-slayers, and warlocks!

The baneful stars have once again aligned in the abyssal heavens and the Dark Master seeks those willing to sacrifice their creative forces for the benefit of his hellish gambits. To all those believing themselves worthy of the challenge, let the word go forth—The 2022 Mystery Map Adventure Design Contest has begun!

Read the full details of the 2022 Mystery Map Adventure Design Contest right here, a little further down you will see our FAQs, contact info, and the Map itself.

Mystery Map Adventure Design Contest

Win $1,000 and have your adventure published!

Goodman Games is looking for authors steeped in the lore of classic sword-and-sorcery to help usher in the next wave of Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG adventures. We are asking that you put your knowledge of Appendix N and associated authors to good use in creating an adventure designed around the Mystery Map shown here. A panel of experienced dungeon designers will judge all submissions. The best submission will be commissioned as a 5,000-word adventure to be published by Goodman Games, at a payment rate of $1,000. The adventure will be released as a printed, published offering in the DCC line, to be enjoyed by thousands of other gamers. There is only one winner, but strong second-place submissions may also be commissioned for separate publication, at the discretion of the judges.

The basic idea: We would like you to finish drawing the Mystery Map shown here, then outline an adventure based on your completed map. This adventure should evoke the works of one of the Appendix N authors or one of the writers who inspired them. Your completed map must use the rooms that are already designated, and should be continued by your own design into the open space. Your final map must be only one page in size. You should provide a digital copy of your final map. Finally, your adventure should make use of the weird statue in the lower corner of the Mystery Map (the pointing figure with a cavity in its chest – whatever it might be).

What are we looking for? We are looking for an exciting, playable, well-written fantasy adventure that embodies the voice of DCC RPG. DCC RPG is a game of pre-D&D fantasy, based on the pre-genre adventure literature of Appendix N and the writers that inspired those authors. DCC RPG adheres to several basic principles whose goals are to conjure forth the sense of wonder we all experienced when first introduced to role-playing games. First, all monsters and encounters are unique, never “from the book.” Second, magic feels magical and highly unpredictable. Third, there is a noticeable lack of the constraints of genre-based fiction. Fourth, adventures feature strong visual elements in every scene that give the players a constant sense of immersion. Finally, the scope of adventures crosses planes, dimensions, space, and time wherever appropriate. Read DCC RPG and its published adventure modules to get an even better sense of the game.

Consult the Appendix N for a list of authors to use as inspiration for you adventure. Writers covered as part of the Goodman Games’ website “Appendix N Archeology” articles or have been covered in similar website essays (such as C.L. Moore, Harold Lamb, Charles Saunders, and Milton Davis) are also acceptable sources of adventure inspiration, as is Clark Ashton Smith. Visit the Adventures in Fiction page on the Goodman Games web site for a full list.

How to submit: E-mail your submission, adhering to the rules outlined below, to mysterymap@goodman-games.com.

Deadline: All submissions must be received electronically by January 31, 2022.

Submission rules: Please adhere to the following rules in your submission.

  • Send your submission in an email. The body of the email should outline your submission. The email should have only one attachment, which should be the completed Mystery Map.
  • Your submission should be an outline of your adventure. Include a brief summary of the plot and the encounters. Provide more detailed information on the key encounters. Describe the properties, using game mechanics when applicable, of the weird statue. Tell us how your adventure embodies the voice of DCC RPG and Appendix N. Include the name of the author whose works you drew upon for inspiration. Tell us how your adventure is memorable to the players.
  • Your submission should be no more than 1,000 words in length.
  • You must include your name, mailing address, e-mail address and phone number.
  • Finally, you must include and agree to the following sentence in your submission (and it counts toward the 1,000 words): “I acknowledge that the ideas I have submitted may be identical or similar to the theme, plot, idea, format, or other element of material that Goodman Games has independently developed, or that has or may come to Goodman Games from other sources, and I shall not be entitled to any compensation by reason of the use by Goodman Games of such similar or identical material.”

Send in your submission now. May the best adventure win!

2022 Mystery Map Adventure Design Contest FAQ

Can you submit multiple entries?

Yes, but we recommend you focus on a single entry and make it the best possible submission you can. Submitting a single, strong example of your adventure design skills is more likely to improve your chances of winning than turning in multiple average quality adventure outlines.

Why do I have to write an adventure based on an Appendix N story?

You don’t. We’re not looking for adventures that are clones of another work of fiction, but rather evidence you have a familiarity with of the types of adventures DCC RPG produces. Dungeon Crawl Classics releases adventures that draw inspiration from the Appendix N writers and demonstrating that you’re familiar with these writers, as well as how to emulate those types of adventures, is something we’re looking for. Don’t simply rewrite “Red Nails” or “Jewels in the Forest,” but create an adventure that you could see Conan or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser experiencing as an all new story in those series.

Can I use licensed characters and settings in my adventure?

We’d prefer you didn’t. Cugel the Clever shouldn’t appear in your adventure despite the fact we’re producing DCC Dying Earth, for example. Instead, focus on original characters, settings, and monsters that feel like they belong in an Appendix N tale.

When is the exact deadline?

Entries will be accepted until 12 AM (Midnight) Pacific Standard Time on January 31, 2022. That is right up until February 1, 2022 PST (8 AM GMT, 1 February 2022).

The Mystery Map Itself – Fill it in for a chance to win!

(Click Map to save a copy)