Mark L. Chance has written an excellent adventure featuring one of my hand drawn maps. “The Tombs of the Whispering Worms” is a descent into madness for Swords & Wizardry or other old school fantasy games. The adventure was recently featured on TSRs blogsite Multiverse, and is available as a free pdf download.
Here’s an image of page 1 (linked to the pdf) and a high resolution unnumbered image of the original map. Hope you enjoy the whispering worms!
The new Dungeon Solitaire game, Labyrinth of Souls is funded and in production. And as another step to bringing the new game into the world, I am releasing an updated, revised edition of the original Dungeon Solitaire: Tomb of Four Kings! It’s available here as a free download.
There are no changes to the rules, but I clarified a couple rules, corrected typos, improved phrasing, and added suit symbols. Additionally, this new Tomb of Four Kings includes the winning game walkthrough, improved images, and a mention of Labyrinth of Souls in the back.
I will not be deleting the old pdfs, at least not immediately, since other websites may link to them directly. However, if you have links to the Tomb of Four Kings rules, please update those links to the newly revised rules. Or better yet, just link to this post, or to matthewlowes.com/games.
I hope you enjoy the new rules packet. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about the rules. Send me your high score, especially if you get a perfect game (4/100). As far as I know, nobody has done it yet. It may be highly improbable, but it should be possible.
Free PDF Download
Dungeon Solitaire: Tomb of Four Kings
Absolutely amazing! The Labyrinth of Souls Kickstarter has been a monumental success, with a total of 638 backers from all over the world and $23,363 in funding. And what an incredible result. Every stretch goal was fulfilled, adding a ton of additional content to the game and some extras as well. I am already looking forward to all the creative work to put everything together, and to shipping out rewards.
Thanks so much to all our backers, and to everyone who helped spread the word about Dungeon Solitaire. They really made this project possible. They made this funding campaign a huge success, and made the Labyrinth of Souls a reality!
I’ll be taking a short break for the holiday, and then will be diving into the process of putting the rulebook and card deck together. I have a draft of the core rules written, and Josephe has created a handful of cards already, but there is still a lot of work to do. All backers will get a fulfillment survey in the new year, and I’ll be sending out Kickstarter updates every few weeks to keep backers apprised of the process right up until rewards are shipped out.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the Labyrinth of Souls. You can reach me through Kickstarter, through the Contact Page on this website, or through social media.
Many thanks to Andrey Makarov for creating a Russian language version of my reference sheets for dungeon and terrain map symbols. He went beyond a mere translation, enhancing the backgrounds, smoothing out the line work, adding color to the terrain symbols, and making a few small modifications of his own. The results are pretty awesome, and I’m excited to have this work reaching out to Russian speaking map makers and game players. Below you will find images of both and links the printable pdf files.
You can visit Andrey Makarov’s website at pnprpg.ru, and you can find my original English language reference sheets here (dungeons) and here (terrain).
Dungeons / Print Ready PDF
Terrain / Print Ready PDF
“A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.”
— Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph and Other Stories
pdf version – click here
I draw maps for working out the details of my fiction, for games, and for the sheer pleasure of creating imaginary places. A while back I posted a legend for my dungeon maps, and since then I’ve been working on this simplified set of terrain symbols for area and wilderness maps.
Maps excite the imagination. That’s why so many fantasy novels contains maps of their fictional worlds. The map itself is a link, translating the reality of a world into the imagination of the reader.
Above you will find my own key to my simplified symbol set. Below are few of my own recent maps, using this symbol set and a few variations. I’ve been working on a grid based layout, but these symbols will work equally well on a hex based map. Many more of my maps are posted on Google+.
A few people have asked for a walkthrough of a game of Dungeon Solitaire, Tomb of Four Kings. Below you will find a linked pdf of a walkthrough of a winning game with some epic battles and dicey encounters. You can even stack a deck and play along if you want. Once I’ve got this better edited I will probably add it to the official rules, but until then it stands on its own as a supplement.
I’ve also started a FAQ text file and will add to it as I receive and answer any questions about the rules. I’ll add both links to the original release post and the games page.
Winning Game Walkthrough
Dungeon Solitaire Rules
Dungeon Solitaire: Tomb of Four Kings, Revised Edition is now available and includes the winning game walkthrough.
Dungeon Solitaire, Tomb of Four Kings is a fantasy card game designed for a standard deck of playing cards. I’d describe it as somewhere between a traditional solitaire card game and a dungeon crawling solo roleplaying game.
Risk death and doom in a vast dungeon to search for the tomb hordes of four legendary kings. You’ll slay monsters, bypass traps, and bash in stuck doors, all for fotune and glory.
If you have any questions about the rules, don’t hesitate to contact me. Feedback, reviews, and shares on social media are always appreciated. And while you’re here check out my fiction and other games.
Dungeon Solitaire, Tomb of Four Kings
enter the dungeon …
One of my dungeon maps is now appearing in the French RPG eZine La Saltarelle thanks to editor, Fabrice P. This is a little dungeon I drew while experimenting with a stark black and white style. In this map I used gray in the lower caverns to add depth to the levels.
The map appears with a contest (pg 39). Readers can enter by writing their ideas for the history and inhabitants of this dungeon and sending them in. Top two entries will receive a copy of Temple du Dieu Néant or a paper copy of l’Étrange Manoir. I’m pretty excited to see what people come up with!
There are a couple of different ways you can check it out this eZine, and even if you don’t read French, there are some really cool illustrations to enjoy! You can read in an online reader, or download a zipped pdf.
For more information on this eZine, you can also visit the Editions La Saltarelle webiste.
“Show not what has been done, but what can be. How beautiful the world would be if there were a procedure for moving through labyrinths.”
— Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose
pdf version – click here
The labyrinth, the dungeon, and the mythic underworld are all time honored traditions in story telling and games, from Theseus and the Minotaur to the “Tomb of Horrors,” from Galouye’s Dark Universe to the mines of Dwarf Fortress. When you start thinking about underworld settings the examples are really innumerable.
Growing up I spent uncounted hours drawing dungeons and labyrinths to use in stories and games. I was always fascinated by the icons and symbols used in maps to represent various things, and symbols for dungeon maps were no exception.
I’ve continued to use my map drawing experience to sketch out settings for my stories and I recently gotten back into game maps. Above you will find my own key to various dungeon symbols for any like minded cartographers out there.
Here’s some examples of my game maps:
*Update 8/26/2015: Posted a key for my simplified symbols for area and wilderness maps.
Whether you’re creating a setting for a novel, story, or game, it’s a good idea to think about some basic geography, so things make sense … for the most part anyway. I consulted a geologist about some basic guidelines for the geography of imaginary worlds. Of course, there are always anomalies, and fantastical explanations for unusual features or even entire worlds, but if you want your world to be vaguely earth-like, these simple guidelines may help in your worldbuilding:
- Large mountains almost always occur in ranges.
- Rivers flow from mountains and hills down into bigger rivers or open bodies of water.
- Forest can occur almost anywhere there is sufficient water for trees.
- Grasslands and hills can occur almost anywhere.
- Swamps, marshes, and lakes occur in flat areas with a lot of water.
- Canyons are carved out by rivers or streams.
- Major deserts are a regional function of the trade winds, but small deserts often form inland, on the far side of mountain ranges.
- Springs and oases can occur almost anywhere.
- Volcanoes occur in chains or regions of vulcanism. This usually happens closer to coastlines or islands.
- Glaciers, like water, flow downhill, and glaciated areas tend to have broad U-shaped valleys.
- Towns and cities need a source of fresh water. Larger cities often occur on trade routes.
- If you’re looking at huge timescales and you want some billion year old ruins, the centers of continents tend to be the oldest geologic areas.