, commonly called simply Dungeon
, is a magazine
targeting people who play role-playing games
, particularly Dungeons & Dragons
. It was first published by TSR, Inc.
in 1986, as a bi-monthly magazine. It went monthly in 2003 and ceased paper publication in September 2007, with issue 150. Its sister publication was the more widely read Dragon.
Each issue provides self-contained pre-written, playtested game scenarios, often called "modules" in early issues (it is now more common to just call them "adventures" or "scenarios"). Gamemasters can present these adventures to their players as written, or adapt them to their own campaign setting. By providing ideas, plots, villains, maps, monsters, and hooks, it can save gamemasters a great deal of time preparing a game for their players. As a magazine containing several modules per issue, it is also significantly cheaper than stand-alone modules, which perhaps explains its enduring popularity.
The Paizo/Polyhedron era
In late 2002, Paizo Publishing
acquired publishing rights to both Dungeon
as part of a move by Wizards of the Coast
to divest business ventures not related to its core business.
Starting with Issue 90 in 2002, Dungeon was combined with Polyhedron magazine into a single magazine. Many of the Polyhedron sections presented complete mini-games for the d20 system, starting with "Pulp Heroes" in issue 90.
On April 18, 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced that Paizo would cease publication of Dungeon in September of that year. Scott Rouse, Senior Brand Manager of Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast stated, "Today the internet is where people go to get this kind of information. By moving to an online model we are using a delivery system that broadens our reach to fans around the world."
The return to Dungeons & Dragons
In August 2004, starting with issue #114, editor Erik Mona
changed the format, focusing solely on Dungeons & Dragons
and discontinuing the Polyhedron
section. The new format included three adventures per issue, one each for low, medium, and high levels. A few issues each year contained another substantial article, which typically provided further details on the setting of one of the adventures in that issue. (Previously, Dungeon almost never had articles other than adventures). Following the adventures and articles, many issues contained the three-page Dungeoncraft
column, at the time written by Monte Cook
, as well as a few two-page articles on various subjects collectively called the Campaign Workbook
Wil Wheaton had a regular column called Wil Save, but Wheaton chose to discontinue it as he has been extremely busy, has had health problems and was somewhat dispirited by the mixed reception the column received.
A notable feature of Dungeon magazine's recent history has been the use of connected series of adventures; these long series are referred to as "Adventure Paths
" and take characters from the very beginning of their adventuring careers (1st level) up through Epic levels (20+). Three lengthy series, the Shackled City
(11 parts) and Age of Worms
(12 parts) and Savage Tide
(12 parts) have been completed. In addition, several shorter series (typically three parts) and a sporadic, open-ended series of Maure Castle adventures have figured in recent issues. The Shackled City
series has been reprinted as a hardcover book, with various revisions and corrections, new background information, and an additional adventure added to fill a gap near the beginning of the series.
With the return of Dungeon and its sister publication, Dragon to Wizards of the Coast, Paizo Publishing has announced a new monthly publication titled Pathfinder, which will combine the concept of the Adventure Path with the support articles which appeared in Dragon. Wizards of the Coast announced in early June 2008 the Scales of War adventure path, a sequel to their popular 3.5 adventure module Red Hand of Doom.
- 2006: Origins Awards for Best Nonfiction Publication (Dungeon magazine itself) and Best Roleplaying Game Supplement (Shackled City hardcover). Did not win in either category.