Dungeon (magazine)

Dungeon (magazine)
Dungeon Adventures
The red dragon Flame strikes a menacing pose while standing guard over a substantial treasure hoard in his cavern lair.
"Into the Fire" by Keith Parkinson
Cover of Dungeon Adventures Issue 1
Dated September 1986
Categories Role-playing game
Frequency Print
 Bimonthly (1–97)
 Monthly (98–150)
 Bimonthly (151–154)[1]
 Monthly (155–current)
Total circulation
(October 2005 –
September 2006
First issue September 1986
Final issue
— Number
September 2007
150 (Vol 21 No 9)
Company TSR (1–62)
WotC (63–93, 151–current)
Paizo (94–150)
Country United States
Based in Lake Geneva, WI (TSR)
Renton, WA (WotC)
Bellevue, WA (Paizo)
Language English
ISSN 0890-7102

Dungeon Adventures, or simply Dungeon, was a magazine targeting consumers of role-playing games, particularly Dungeons & Dragons. It was first published by TSR, Inc. in 1986 as a bimonthly periodical.[3] It went monthly in May 2003 and ceased print publication altogether in September 2007 with Issue 150.[4][5][6] Its sister publication was the more widely read Dragon. Both magazines are now published by Wizards of the Coast in an online format.

Each issue featured a variety of self-contained, pre-scripted, playtested game scenarios, often called "modules" (now more commonly referred to as "adventures" or "scenarios"). Gamemasters could either enact these adventures with their respective player groups as written or adapt them to their own campaign settings. By providing a full complement of ideas, hooks, plots, adversaries, creatures, illustrations, maps, hand-outs, and character dialogue, Dungeon aimed to save gamemasters a great deal of time and effort in preparing game sessions for their players. Plus, as a resource containing several modules per issue, it was significantly cheaper than standard-format modules, which perhaps explains its enduring popularity.



Dungeon Adventures first received mention in the editor's column of Dragon Issue 107 (March 1986). Lacking a title at that point, it was described as "a new magazine filled entirely with modules" made available "by subscription only" that would debut "in the late Summer or early Fall" of 1986 and "come out once every two months."[7]

The publication's original editor, Roger E. Moore, later elaborated upon this basic outline:

Dungeon Adventures is a new periodical from TSR, Inc., in which you, the readers, may share your own adventures and scenarios from AD&D and D&D gaming with the legions of other fantasy gamers. Each issue offers a number of fairly short (but often quite complicated and long-playing) modules, selected from the best we receive.
What kind of adventures do you want to see? We're going to offer as broad a spectrum of material as possible: dungeon crawls, wilderness camp-outs, Oriental Adventures modules, solo quests, tournament designs, Battlesystem scenarios, and more.[8]

The premiere issue of Dungeon: Adventures for TSR Role-Playing Games was undated, but "November/December 1986" appears on the cover of the subsequent issue, and Moore stated that it had been released prior to the November issue of Dragon.[9] The magazine's format consisted of 64 pages of short D&D and AD&D game adventures of various lengths, themes, and tones, written by both amateur and professional fantasy role-playing writers.

In conjunction with the debut of Dungeon Adventures, Ken Rolston included a brief review in Issue 125 (September 1987) of Dragon. Regarding the modules themselves, he called them "[c]heap and cheerful, full of the basic fun of D&D games", and said that they reminded him of "the selection of game sessions you find at gaming conventions or in old-fashioned modules." Rolston further commented on the anthology format, which allowed writers to "publish fine little bits" and provided "great training grounds for new writers" that offered "an opportunity to experiment with offbeat themes and tones". Rolston concluded that "sophisticated gamers will find a lot to snicker at here, but there are some cute ideas", and added that the "writing ranges from young and enthusiastic to polished, and when compared with some of TSR's current modules...the quality of the layout and graphics is quite decent."[10]

The Paizo/Polyhedron Era

In late 2002, Paizo Publishing acquired publishing rights to both Dungeon and Dragon as part of a move by Wizards of the Coast to divest business ventures not related to its core business.

Beginning with Issue 90 (January 2002) and lasting until Issue 111 (June 2004), Polyhedron, the monthly membership publication of the Role-Playing Game Association, was combined with Dungeon into a single magazine.[11] Many of the Polyhedron sections presented complete mini-games for the d20 system in genres other than fantasy.

In September 2004, starting with Issue 114, editor Erik Mona changed the format, discontinuing the Polyhedron component and focusing solely on Dungeons & Dragons.[12] In addition to 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 any features other than modules). Following the adventures and articles, many issues also included the three-page "Dungeoncraft" column, at the time written by Monte Cook, as well as a handful of shorter articles on various subjects, collectively titled the "Campaign Workbook".

On April 18, 2007, Wizards of the Coast announced that Paizo would cease publication of Dungeon in September of that year.[5][6] 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."[4]

Dungeon Online

Coinciding with the release of the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons in June 2008, Wizards of the Coast launched a website that included online versions of Dungeon and Dragon magazines for subscribers. In this new format, Dungeon retained its mandate to deliver adventures of varying lengths and levels as well as articles with information and advice for dungeon masters (DMs). Mainstay columns such as "Dungeoncraft" (now written by James Wyatt) were retained, and DM-focused articles that formerly appeared in Dragon magazine (like "Save My Game") were incorporated into Dungeon, making it a "one-stop shop" for DMs. The magazine also shifted to a landscape format with the intent of making the articles and adventures more readable onscreen, and content is released daily and gathered into PDF compilations on a monthly basis. As of May 2011 Wizards of the Coast has stopped compiling the issues every month and instead decided to leave them in single article format.

Adventure Paths

A notable feature of Dungeon magazine from 2003 to the present day has been its use of episodic, multipart adventures, referred to as "Adventure Paths", which are designed to take a group of player characters from the very beginning of their adventuring careers (1st level) up through epic levels (20th and above). Four such serials – Shackled City, Age of Worms, Savage Tide, and Scales of War – have been published.[13] In addition, several shorter campaign arcs (typically consisting of three parts) and various sporadic, open-ended series and side treks figured in these later issues. The Shackled City Adventure Path was later collected into a hardcover edition (August 2005) with various revisions and corrections, new background information, and a bonus adventure meant to fill a gap near the beginning of the series.



  • 1990: Origins Award for Best Professional Adventure Gaming Magazine of 1989[14][15]
  • 1991: Origins Award for Best Professional Adventure Gaming Magazine of 1990[14][16]
  • 2002: ENnie Award for Best Aid or Accessory[17]
  • 2005: ENnie Awards for Best Cartography ("World Map of Greyhawk", Issues 118–121), Best Adventure (Maure Castle, Issue 112), Best Aid or Accessory (Dungeon magazine), and Best Free Product or Web Enhancement (Maps and handouts, Issues 114–122)[18][19]
  • 2006: ENnie Awards for Best Cartography, Best Adventure, and Best Campaign Setting/Setting Supplement (Shackled City Adventure Path); and Best Free Product or Web Enhancement (Age of Worms Overload)[20]
  • 2007: Origins Award for Best Fiction Publication of the Year 2006[14]
  • 2007: ENnie Award for Best Free Product (Savage Tide Player’s Guide)[21]


  • 2006: Origins Award for Best Role-Playing Game Supplement of the Year 2005 (Shackled City hardcover)
  • 2006: ENnie Award for Best Production Values, Best d20/d20 OGL Product, and Best Product (Shackled City Adventure Path)[20]
  • 2007: Origins Award for Best Fiction Publication of the Year 2006[22]
  • 2007: ENnie Award for Best Adventure (Age of Worms Adventure Path)[21]


  1. ^ "Dungeon Magazine Information". RPGnet. http://index.rpg.net/display-generalinfo.phtml?key=magazine&value=Dungeon. Retrieved January 18, 2011.  Following their resumption of control over Dungeon in September 2007, Wizards of the Coast published Issues 151–154 as "a series of free web pages" before committing to a regular monthly release schedule and the use of PDF files starting with Issue 155 (June 2008). These four issues have since become unavailable, and a promised compilation has not yet materialized.
  2. ^ Jacobs, J., ed (January 2007). "Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation". Dungeon Adventures (Bellevue, WA: Paizo) (142): 82. ISSN 0890-7102.  This represented a decline of 35.9% from an average total distribution of 49,076 copies during the period October 2002 – November 2003, which was, in terms of circulation, the high point in the magazine's print publication history (Issue 107, p. 72). Data for the period October 2006 – September 2007, which would have likely been released in the January 2008 issue of Dungeon, are not available.
  3. ^ "Dungeons & Dragons Archives - The History of TSR: 1966-1999". Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast. 2003. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.wizards.com/dnd/DnDArchives_History.asp&date=2008-10-04. Retrieved August 20, 2005. 
  4. ^ a b "Paizo Publishing to Cease Publication of DRAGON and DUNGEON". Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast. April 19, 2007. http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/news/20070419a. Retrieved March 23, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Jacobs, J., ed (July 2007). "All Good Things". Dungeon Adventures (Bellevue, WA: Paizo) (148): 6. ISSN 0890-7102. 
  6. ^ a b Mona, E. (August 2007). Jacobs, J. ed. "Statement from the Publisher". Dungeon Adventures (Bellevue, WA: Paizo) (149): 7. ISSN 0890-7102. 
  7. ^ Mohan, K., ed (March 1986). "Coming Soon: A Magazine Full of Modules". Dragon (Lake Geneva, WI: TSR) (107): 3. ISSN 0279-6848. 
  8. ^ Moore, R. E., ed (September/October 1986). "Out of the Dungeon, into the Fire". Dungeon Adventures (Lake Geneva, WI: TSR) (1): 1. ISSN 0890-7102. 
  9. ^ Moore, R. E., ed (November 1986). "Hello, Hello". Dragon (Lake Geneva, WI: TSR) (115): 3. ISSN 0279-6848.  As the newly installed editor of both Dragon and Dungeon, Moore himself appeared in the "TSR Profiles" feature on page 82 of this issue.
  10. ^ Rolston, K. (September 1987). Moore, R. E. ed. "Role-Playing Reviews". Dragon (Lake Geneva, WI: TSR) (125): 80. ISSN 0279-6848. 
  11. ^ As is standard practice when a periodical undergoes a major title change, Dungeon was assigned a different ISSN during this period: 1526-6391.
  12. ^ Mona, E., ed (September 2004). "Building a Better Dungeon". Dungeon Adventures (Bellevue, WA: Paizo) (114): 6–7. ISSN 0890-7102. 
  13. ^ Shackled City: Issues 97 (March 2003), 98 (May 2003), 102 (September 2003), 104 (November 2003), 107 (February 2004), 109 (April 2004), 111 (June 2004), and 113 (August 2004) – 116 (November 2004); Age of Worms: Issues 124 (July 2005) – 135 (June 2006); Savage Tide: Issues 139 (October 2006) – 150 (September 2007); Scales of War: Issues 156 (July 2008) – 168 (July 2009) and 170 (September 2009) – 175 (February 2010).
  14. ^ a b c Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. "Origins Game Fair Awards Archive 1974–2007". Columbus, OH: Game Manufacturers Association. Archived from the original on June 4, 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20090604130545/http://www.originsgamefair.com/aagad/awards/archive. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  15. ^ Young, B. G., ed (September 1990). "The More Things Change...". Dungeon Adventures (Lake Geneva, WI: TSR) (25): 1. ISSN 0890-7102. 
  16. ^ Young, B. G., ed (November 1991). "Go Ahead—Make My Day". Dungeon Adventures (Lake Geneva, WI: TSR) (32): 3. ISSN 0890-7102. 
  17. ^ "2002 Nominees and Winners". ENnie Awards: History of Winners. Seattle, WA: Gen Con. http://www.ennie-awards.com/blog/?page_id=1353. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  18. ^ "2005 Nominees and Winners". ENnie Awards: History of Winners. Seattle, WA: Gen Con. http://www.ennie-awards.com/blog/?page_id=1359. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Paizo Publishing Wins Five ENnies!". Paizo News. Bellevue, WA: Paizo. August 20, 2005. http://paizo.com/paizo/v5748eaic9k0f. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  20. ^ a b "2006 Nominees and Winners". ENnie Awards: History of Winners. Seattle, WA: Gen Con. http://www.ennie-awards.com/blog/?page_id=1371. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  21. ^ a b "2007 Nominees and Winners". ENnie Awards: History of Winners. Seattle, WA: Gen Con. http://www.ennie-awards.com/blog/?page_id=1373. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  22. ^ Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design. "Origins Game Fair 33rd Annual Awards Nominees". Columbus, OH: Game Manufacturers Association. Archived from the original on June 4, 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20090609155428/http://www.originsgamefair.com/aagad/awards/nominees. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 

External links

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