Step Through Ultan's Door


Go through Ultan's door in this inaugural issue into the Ruins of the Inquisitor's Theater, a 30 room dungeon for characters levels 1-2 for Advanced Labyrinth Lord, broadly compatible with any older edition of D&D or retro clone. This dungeon is replete with oneiric puddings, delicate shadow puppets, giggling white swine, and much more. This zine contains everything you need to launch a D&D campaign in the Zyan, flying city of the dreamlands. The issue is printed on deluxe paper, and comes with a detachable cover that has a map printed on the interior by Gus L., and a separate card for encounters. Brought to life with stunning art of Huargo and brilliant layout of Matt Hildebrand, it is an object that may itself have come from beyond the veil of sleep!


Go through Ultan's door in this second issue into the Catacombs of the Fleishcguild, a 31 room dungeon for a party of 3-5 characters of 2-3 levels in Advanced Labyrinth Lord or any older edition of D&D. The Catacombs are replete with the fiendish traps of butcher priests, blood demons, muscle jellies, flayed heretics, and much more. This 36 page zine also has articles on house rules for playing in slumberland, on the undead of Wishery, and ib new spells and magic items. Brought to life with a gorgeous map by Gus L and lavish art by Huargo, Gus, Jeremy Duncan, Orphicss, and Matt Hildebrandt. It may very well have come from beyond the veil of sleep!

You may purchase print and pdf copies of Through Ultan's door at my store on Big Cartel by clicking here. You may also purchase pdf copies through DriveThruRPG [Note: the zine is currently out of print. It will be printed again when issue 3 becomes available. Until then you can buy the PDF at DriveThruRPG.]


"This is almost the platonic ideal of the Artisan Zine. It could only be the product of an intelligent, well-resourced, careful individual with good taste who took a long time and much research, invention and playtesting to produce it. It's particular, from its dungeon treasures all the way to the paper chosen and folded by hand to make it. Even the form and the way the paper is arranged is an elegant arrangement of information and aesthetics that could only be made easily by one mind who both comprehended and *physically created* the whole thing as one."

"This forty page 'zine' contains a thirty page dungeon and the supporting monsters, spells, etc. Lush, rich prose, the ruins of a decadent empire, and heavy opium clouds bring the OD&D HARD. Digest format is as digest format does. It's good...The descriptions are lush and rich with great imagery...Which is exactly what I'm looking for. I want to be excited. Ben jabbed an idea into my head and I can fill in the rest effortlessly because of his ability to communicate the seed to me, the DM."

Bryce Lynch, Ten Foot Pole

"The city of Zyan feels like something out of Clark Ashton Smith, Lord Dunsany, William Hope Hodgson, or even H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands. There's a lush--even cruel--decadence to the place, described in a surreal, almost psychedelic way. Laurence's writing is remarkably effective in establishing a mood and I often found myself luxuriating in the prose. That's a rare thing in game writing, particularly when it comes to detailing what is, when all is said and done, a dungeon...It's a truly wonderful book and I cannot recommend Through Ultan's Door Enough."

James Maliszewski, Grognardia 
"This book is gorgeous...It really does look like something that could have come from beyond the veil of sleep as advertised...On ease of use, the book bends over backward to help you use it as easily as possible...As for creativity, this is a dazzingly original book. The idea of exploring a dreamscape is not new but the nature of this particular setting is incredibly creative."

"This is a thing of quality. It is also a thing I will use...What I like are things that are beautiful but not naive, honest instead of being caricatures, aware of the darkness, but also aware that not everything is secretely dark. Through Ultan's Door concerns itself with Zyan, the cursed city of the dreamlands, flying pearl of Wishery and it is a place I very much like."

"This is a lethal little creation that runs into the warped reaches of the author's mind...This isn't the dreamlands of H.P. Lovecraft, although it could be; instead this is an acid-trip combination of William Hope Hodgson's influence mixed with a hash fueled round of Lord Dunsany trapped in the madness of Edgar Allan Poe's dream cycle. The artwork is also top notch..."

Eric Fabiaschi, Swords and Stitchery

"Go buy this zine. REally. Just go buy a copy. Reading it is a far better use of your time than reading the reviews that talk about it. Buy it, read it, use it, or collect it; whatever you decide to do with it, this is great stuff."


This mini-dungeon rewards careful exploration, inventive problem solving, and shrewd negotiation; its traps and challenges are inventive and require out-of-the-box thinking to best; and it is heavy on well-integrated, interesting secrets...It's good D&D in an exotic setting in the way Empire of the Petal Throne is good D&D in an exotic setting."

Gabor Lux, Beyond Fomalhaut

 "Like all the things I've seen from Ben Laurence so far, there is an incredible sense of taste to the design of all of this. There's beautiful layout, and he works with a couple of different artists to create this very coherent style: this very decadent, baroque, almost body-horror feel to all of the art. It works together beautifully. It's some of the best art I've seen in a zine for Dungeons & Dragons, that's for sure."

The Submerged Spire 

of Sarpedon The Shaper

My underwater adventure, The Submerged Spire of Sarpedon the Shaper can be found in this free zine From the Vats, edited by Gavin Norman. Get it here. Necrotic Gnome will be publishing a deluxe, streamlined, revised, beautiful version at some point in the not too distant future. But for now get it FREE here on RPGNow.

Here are some kind things said about it by Bryce, one of the toughest critics out there, at Ten Foot Pole:

"This thing is great! I’m fond of saying that most underwater adventures don’t FEEL like underwater adventures. This is by far the closest I’ve seen. It feels like a different environment, with the descriptions and encounters to match. Easily a keeper, even if it DOES deserve a second edition to take care of the formatting issues. It’s included as a part of the From the Vats zine/thing. It’s $0 on DriveThru, which means you would be a FOOL to not pick it up."

Note that the otherwise gorgeous map included above has one crucial error: there should be spiral staircases connecting all levels on each of the intact side towers. 


  1. I've been looking everywhere for a print copy of this, but I think they're all lovingly guarded. Any chance of a reprint?

    1. Leviticus, I will be reprinting Issue 1 along with Issue 2. I hope to have them on sale by the end of April. I have a mailing list you can sign up for. Check it out here:

  2. Hi Ben, I purchased both issues from you on the Big Cartel website when they were released. During this Decameron LARP session, I want to try running it on Roll20 and would find the PDF very useful. Is there a way I can download this from BigCartel?

    1. Brian, I'll send you the PDFs. Email me through big cartel and I'll reply with them.