Introducing the PrinceofNothingPresents No-Artpunk Contest!

Hey you! Do you like DnD? Are you tired of Artpunk? Are your eyes still bleeding from funky font choices and garish layout nonsense while all you want to do is kill goblins in a beautifully jaqueyed dungeon? Do you want your children to be safe? Well so am I! Everyone is always talking about Artpunk, but no one does something about it. Today that changes!

It is with immense pride, conviction, confidence and other emotions that I present to you the official, PrinceofNothing NoArtpunk Contest, where we drive back the dirty Artpunk hordes by making modules that exemplify the craftsmanship, finesse, and resistance to change that the OSR stands for. And for that I need YOU!

The Only Rule is that there are NO RULES.

No wait that’s not actually true.  Okay. Here’s what I need from you. Send me your dungeon adventures. These are the rules:

 – Must be for a traditional system (AD&D, Basic or OD&D) or one of its near derivatives (ACKS, Labyrinth Lord, OSE, OSRIC, Swords & Wizardy etc.). 2e is allowed but no funky settings (Planescape, Spelljammer et. al). 

– Must involve a dungeon adventure, about 20-30 rooms, stocked with book items and book monsters (that means DMG, MM, Fiend Folio, MM2 & Creature Compendium). You are allowed A SINGLE NEW MAGIC ITEM, MAGIC SPELL and a SINGLE NEW MONSTER of your own invention. Wilderness area is allowed as long as it does not exceed in length the Dungeon component of the adventure.

– For purposes of this adventure, Dungeon can also mean a Ruined Keep, Building, Cavern complex, Tomb, crashed Starship, Earthen Pit, Oversized Latrine, Petrified Elasmosaurus or anything that has rooms with interconnecting passageways. 

– Despite this restriction, it must be exciting, fantastic, and fun! 

– Level range is whatever you can think you can fit in a dungeon of 23-30 rooms. If you are a beginner at Oldschool D&D, its probably a good idea to go with a lower level range but that’s up to you.

– Number of pages is up to you, don’t go too overboard. 5-20 pages + maps is a good benchmark.

– Presentation and layout should be whatever you want. Worddoc, Plain text or Paint. Homemade maps, terrible self-drawn paint art, is all welcome. 

– Send the end result to


Update: I just checked with Aaron and it turns out Merciless Merchants HQ does not have ONE MILLION DOLLARS in prize money, but it does have A DELUXE EDITION COPY OF PALACE OF UNQUIET REPOSE, FEATURING THE BONUS ADVENTURE THE SCREAMING CAVERNS. The best entry wins a free print + PDF copy (excluding. Printing + shipping costs). The second best entry wins a free PDF copy of the same.  

Duration and Procedure: Contest duration is until the end of August. At the end of these month the Judge, Myself, will gather the 8 most worthy entries and bundle them together in a single publication, entitled Not Artpunk, to be made available as PWYW on Drivethru by The Merciless Merchants, with the dozens of dollars generated from this venture going entirely over to the Autism Research Institute non-profit organization[1]. If fewer than 8 entries are handed in, all of them will be published, unless they are of such wretched quality that they are unworthy even of PWYW publication, in which case I will throw up my hands and burn down this whole project in disgust. 


Still not convinced? People are suffering from Artpunk every day. These are their stories:

“It’s terrible. I went out to buy a module but all I got was a .jpg of a dead bird with a cigarette put out in it. I think I am going to be sick.”
– Anonymous, Artpunk survivor

“They sit there in their creepy club houses, making that infernal racket. What do they do up there? It’s the Mark of the Beast I tell you.”
– Miss Gertrude Schoenmaker, Homeless Cat Lady

“I can’t hold a job. I am estranged from my family. My health has degraded. Artpunk and Drug addiction has ruined my life.”
– Venger Satanis, Za’akier

“I did a search for Mörk Börg on Who would do such a thing? Not just once, but again and again, endlessly, atrocity piled upon atrocity. What happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?!?”
– Anonymous, Artpunk survivor

“I attended a session of Patrick Stuart’s at Gencon. He just sat there for 8 hours, motionless, staring at my groin. He never said a word. Or maybe that was a dream I had. Huh.”
-PrinceofNothing, Artpunk expert

“I think I read one once. What’s wrong with these people? I’m afraid to leave the house. I don’t feel safe anymore.”
– Kathy, brave young woman (fictional)

“…I Have A Dream…”
– Martin Luther King

All joking Aside; Too many OSR adventures are coming out that focus on layout, artstyle, or off-the-wall ideas. Surface level pyrotechnics. No staying power or depth. Not enough adventures focus on content, craftsmanship, good maps, player agency and emergent gameplay. This contest is meant to force you to innovate under pressure, discover what makes DnD tick and produce something memorable and fun within those confines. ART FROM ADVERSITY.

Do you have anywhere to begin?
You might want to check out the old Judges Guild Modules Caverns of Thracia, TSR’s GDQ series, Strabonus, Hyqueous Vaults or adventures by Albie Fiorie or Rob Kuntz.

Any other Questions?
Can be mailed to


And spread the word. I have heard it said that people on r/OSR and the OSR Discord really love contests.

UPDATE: The first submission is already in, you absolute madlads.

UPDATE2: There’s been some questions regarding copyright. I don’t actually own your work, but by submitting it to me you are giving me the right to publish it for this contest under the No Artpunk title. This means that you retain ownership of any submissions you send in, you are free to republish them elsewhere and I will not be using them outside of the context of this competition.

UPDATE3: I screwed up my email. It’s Apologies.

UPDATE 4 (8-8-2021); Some good contributions so far, with some mouth-watering news of more on the way. A little more then half a month to go. Looks like we are going to make that minimum contribution threshold quite comfortably.



61 thoughts on “Introducing the PrinceofNothingPresents No-Artpunk Contest!

  1. I think this might be the kick in the ass that I needed. I had started writing a adventure specifically for osric awhile ago, with the intention of making it look and play very 1e. It was an abandoned city underground thing. Ill start gathering ideas.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. For those of us who do love the old school stuff, is it possible to use 5e rules for this? I know 5E pretty damn well but *OSR* and all it’s variations leave me scratching on certain rules.

    If we CAN use 5E, yes I know what the rules said. I’d be happy to submit a module, I already have one in mind of a Tomb of the Rat King.

    If it’s ONLY 1E/BX/*SR* I can still submit a module but it’ll be utterly puzzling only balance.


    1. Hey, I’m going to be playtesting mine with my Knave group, just writing the B/X stats after. What’s the worst that happens, Prince is mean about our conversions?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. 1. Love your User Name. I almost used that one.
    2. We may get Strongly Worded Emails if we don’t give him what he wants.

    I’ll use S&W as that appears to be on the list and it looks fairly easy to work around.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Only 5 days to go in the Pretentious-Moi Kickstarter: all the top class art is drawn, and full details of the new zombie/cyborg/heavy metal guitarist class are ready, special feat playing the Godzilla theme for 4d6 atomic damage. Stretch goals are actual encounters.
    Help us OSR authors, you are the last remaining hope.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ugh. What am I thinking?! I don’t have the time to do this.

        Though I admire your ideas and it looks like there’s a number of designers in the ring already. I’ll stand down until the 2nd Annual…


      2. I highly doubt everyone who said they would make a module will do so and even then others wont make the cut due to one reason or another. Create your adventure and send it in yours could be better than the rest.


  5. I’ve got an idea for this. Something I sketched out but never got around to actually writing a couple years ago. I almost certainly won’t actually get it done now either but maybe the contest aspect will give me enough motivation to at least draw the map and make some more notes before I inevitably run out of steam.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LL doesn’t technically have Paladins unless you use the Advanced Edition companion, which changes it into a sort of semi-AD&D. It says there the Paladin can never commit evil acts, and must atone if he commits a chaotic one, so its a judgement call I think. I’d say a Paladin that loses his faith would definetely lose his benefits, but maybe a Paladin that retreats into seclusion would be able to keep them?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. There is a pair of NPCs in White Dwarf 19 (Jun/Jul 80), pg 25, bottom right. Marte and Roban. Marte is the one you’re after. Interesting brief exploration of what you’re asking.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. How firm is the room limit? I have a 55 room dungeon that’s been kicking around since January, floor plan is finished but I only have about half of it properly keyed. Some of the fat could certainly be trimmed down, maybe to around 40.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have the first level of a 5E dungeon I could adapt to Basic/Advanced. It gives me the opportunity to work on it again after all these years.

    As far as settings go, does it have to be traditional with elves/dwarves/halflings?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does not have to be traditional, but you DO have to use monsters from the MM (and the other listed tomes), items from the DMG/Unearthed Arcana with the exception of a SINGLE entry. You are not obligated to use anything within that boundary, just prohibited from using anything outside of it (except for the single entry). And it STILL has to be creative and fun and good.


      1. Does that me we can use 5E based content but only from monsters that are in the MM? Does the SRD count? I take it you don’t want players having to look for monsters that aren’t easily referenced?

        What about traps? Can those be unique or do they have to be from the DMG?


      2. Haha I’ll explain in more detail:

        You can only use monsters that appear in the Original (that is to say, 1st edition) Monster Manual, Monster Manual 2, Fiend Folio, Deities & Demigods and the Basic/BX Creature Catalog. The original game didn’t have standard traps so traps are one area where you can actually do a lot of meaningful innovation. Sentient Traps. Talking Doors. Areas of the Dungeon that sink lower or open if you hit touch plates. Weird Forcefield Doors whatever. If you are using a retroclone like Labyrinth Lord or OSE, it’s 95% certain the monsters therein are from the original game too, so feel free to use them.

        Of the top of my head, even the 5E MM overlaps very well with the original MM and its sequels so you have a high chance of it working out if you just use that and convert to an oldschool system (although converting between the two is swingy).

        There’s a good list of tricks and traps that is described in Gary Gygax’s little brown books for the original Dungeon Master campaign if you are looking for inspiration.

        As long as a creature appears in the 1e monster manual, monster manual 2, Fiend Folio, B/X Creature Catalog, the BECMI immortals set or Deities & Demigods you are good. Any new monster you make up you have to statt yourself.

        The goal of the exercise is to stimulate people to learn what makes a good adventure BESIDES creative new monsters and items.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Do monsters that are slightly changed, like given unique names and appearances, count as new things? Or have slightly tweaked behaviors, like “it enjoys such and such” allowed?


  9. Hmmm. I wrote an adventure called The Ice Box that’s a bit of an OD&D/Fiend Folio mash-up. It should be easy enough to convert to a single system by August.

    My third “God-Killer” post is up, by the way.
    ; )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hells yeah. That was a fine post btw. I’ll do a reply to your post but in the third part you really managed to nail what gods in D&D are supposed to be about in the classic sense and the example sounds amazing. Huso is one I keep wanting to check out because he is excellent but I hesitated covering him because my power-level was not high enough. Now though it’s damn time.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oof, I don’t know it that well. Discretionary I guess? Monsters, treasure, and classes have to be by the book sans 1 exception. If WWN is enough like B/X or D&D that you think it works, go for it. If I don’t like it I’ll let you know.


  10. Hey Prince,

    What are the rules for monsters with slightly changed *statistics*? Additional equipment, some new abilities or a few more HD here and there… do they count as new monsters or not?

    Also: can we have hostile NPC’s? If so, do we have to abide by the rules regarding class and level restrictions and such?

    Ty! (And congrats, i really like the idea of this contest. :))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chomy, welcome to AoD.

      To answer your questions;
      1) Additional equipment is fine.
      2) Some new abilities…maaaaybe. If you go too far you might turn it into a new monster, and that takes up your slot. If you come up with a Gnoll chieftain that can throw two darts at the same time or uses a three section staff thats fine or maybe some human fighter that has a knife in his shoe as a weapon of choice thats cool. Giving all the gnolls in your dungeon the spelllike ability to cast Phantasmal Force 1/day is effectively creating a new type of humanoid. An extra HD here or there is fine.
      3) Hostile NPCs ARE ENCOURAGED. THE MORE THE MERRIER. And yes, you should ideally abide by the rules regarding level restrictions, ability scores, alignment restrictions etc. etc. with the exception of your SINGLE CHOICE. If you make a new class, the Spellfondler, a combination between a Stage Magician and Kratos from God of War, that class counts as your monster.

      I’m glad you like it. Look forward to rating your entry. I’m probably going to attach a sort of mini review to every entry I publish in the final document. Good luck pilots!


    1. Everyone keeps the copyrights to their own work, I’ll add it to the post. I will publish it as part of the charity, but I will not have the right to publish it elsewhere, and you are free to try and use it as you will, possibly gaining tens of dollars in the process.


  11. Greetings, Your Highness. Are additional abilities/flaws acquirable by players allowed? By that I mean blessings, curses, mutations etc. achievable by means of interacting with terminals such as traps and magic riddle devices.

    If so, what about the retaining effects of next level of significance such as class change, race shift? What are the restrictions on the custom abilities handed out to players by these means?


  12. Ugh. I don’t think “The Ice Box” is going to work for this. Several magic items and monsters are slight variations on book standards (“snow bats,” shriekers activated by heat instead of light, cold blades that make you vulnerable to fire or berserker blades that fight on after HPs zero out, etc.). Plus, I am just having a hard time converting the thing to AD&D when it was written for OD&D (and if I DON’T then several FF monsters become excluded based on the rules).

    Maybe I’ll write some high level death pit instead….


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