We Love Dinky Dungeons
A wandering dragon gathers no gold.
 
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The year was 1985. The San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl, Tears For Fears hit number one with "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", and Uncle Morty Productions released the most amazing roleplaying game ever written. I first discovered Dinky Dungeons at a DunDraCon gaming convention in Oakland, California. Back then, I thought that Dungeons & Dragons was the best RPG in the world. Champions was fairly new, Dragon Magazine won the Origins award for Best Professional Roleplaying Magazine, and White Wolf's World of Darkness was still five years away.

In those days, I was the classical young gamer - broke, living at home and playing with friends after school. I had to save money to go to the Con every year. My meager spare cash was spent in the dealer's room only after much deliberation. I noticed the Dinky Dungeons book sitting on a table and thumbed through it. A small rulebook, two mice dice and a protective baggy for one dollar? I had to give it a try. I sat down with my high school RPG group and ran three games, back to back. We were hooked! I burned down the rest of my spending money on the entire series of Dinky books. By the end of the convention, we'd played through every module the dealer had for sale.

We quickly discovered the simple joy of roleplaying with a system that didn't get in the way. It took five minutes or less to create a character. The adventures were detailed enough to tell a simple story, usually a humorous one. Combat was quick and painless. The real magic of Dinky Dungeons was that everyone had twenty-four hours of fun for one dollar. It was thirty pages of pure awesome.


About Dinky Dungeons
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Dinky Dungeons was published in 1985 by "Doc's Games - an Uncle Morty Production". The stamp on the back of the 2.5"x3.5" book declared it "another one of Doc's money making schemes". Inside the cover, the book promises "a complete fantasy role playing game". The game was sold in a small, tight-fitting baggie that contained the core book, an errata sheet, a GM-screen, two character sheets, and adventure with map (Goblin Cave), two mice (5mm) dice, and a tiny slip of paper with an address to send away for a "free catalog of amazing products".

The game was designed by Denton R. Elliott and edited by Phil Morrissey. The cover art, a warrior confronting the front of a giant's boot, was drawn by Jeff Swadley. The very simple, charming interior art was drawn by Elliott and Morrissey. They were joined by Tim Jones and John Criswell for playtesting. The book contains character creation, classes, races, weapons, armor, gear prices, two magic systems, spells, action resolution, saving throws, combat and experience rules, and a listing of creatures with stats. The errata sheet includes missing monster notes, combat details, healing rules, alternate experience rules, and the legendary picture of a whining FuzzyWinker. A comment on the slip of paper promised that Dinky Dungeons was guaranteed to become valuable some day. Uncle Morty was true to his word - I sold an entire set of Doc's games on eBay for over twenty times their original price.

Uncle Morty also produced several other miniature RPG books. Dinky Kingdom is a fantasy world setting including six maps, a description of the city of Dink, new creatures, and the Creepy Caverns module. Berzerko Tower and Doc's Maze, a pair of modules, were printed on opposite ends of the same tiny book. The Blades of Boardum module included a new race, the Boar Men. Siegewheel of the Blue Goblins was a popular, often fatal module. Troll Canyon was the only solo module. Players who enjoy science fiction could play Small Space, which includes all the rules of the fantasy game, plus a new initiative system, space ship creation, futuristic weapons, gadget invention, alien races, planet generation and more. Fans of post-apocalyptic settings could play Freaks and Friendlies, which introduced psionic powers, more magic, new creatures and weapons. A non-RPG game book was also produced, Robots and Reptiles, which required a normal chess board and pieces to play.

 
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