In a perfect tabletop world, every session of your favorite dungeon-crawling RPG would feature an intricately crafted 3-D map with all the with scenery, traps, and monsters your 28mm avatars can shake a +1 sword at. What if you have an eager group coming over, you’re short on time/money/crafting skillz, and you still want to give your players an immersive experience?
Enter writer/game designer Justin Sirois of Dungeon Dealer, an Etsy shop that’s just given us a brand new, low-impact way to create billions of adventures. Using a 54-card deck of regular playing-size cards and a d20 mechanic for encounters, and it’s a satisfying streamlined experience.
We asked Justin a few questions about his creative process behind the project.
What was the inspiration behind your decks?
Justin: I really wanted to make a dungeon map making system that surprised players every time. When I started researching what was out on the market, I couldn’t find anything that provided nearly limitless options for making a dungeon maze with a deck of cards… Adding the d20 = north, east, south, or west orientation of the card (pieces of maze) turned the variables up even more. So the Dungeon Dealer maze decks are just that—an almost unlimited variable maze that you can play solo or with a group. They’re a utility more than a ‘game.’ Any GM can use them in a campaign.
Any plans for mass release or do you want to keep it small batch?
Justin: For now, small batch. I’m going to release an RPG book/campaign soon and Kickstarter seems to be the right fit for the projects I’m working on. I also love interacting directly with my fans. Instagram is a blast and the community I’ve met is one of the most friendly and loyal.
How long have you been gaming?
Justin: A while, really… I was obsessed with Final Fantasy, Zelda, and Ultima. Then Phantasy Star and other Sega Genesis titles. I’ve always loved RPGs. I was also reviewing games and gaming culture for a local indie newspaper for a while. Having written a handful of novels (So Say the Waiters which is optioned for TV, Falcons on the Floor, and The Last Book of Baghdad), I know that creating tabletop games is the next step for me, creatively. [You can find more of Justin’s writing here.]
Any tips for small game designers?
Justin: Keep it simple. Find that one hook or emotional piece that makes the story or game shine. You can write a bunch of convoluted rules and jam them into a cliché storyline, but you’ll get a crappy game every time. Just create what people care about and what people need. With Dungeon Dealer, the card decks at lease, I found a need and filled it. It also happens to be really fun.”
There are also plans for an Outdoor Terrain deck in the works, but check out Justin’s DungeonDealer Etsy Page to pre-order your Dungeon and Chamber Decks TODAY!
Got a favorite terrain #hack you want to share with your fellow gamers? Post it below!