Final Piece of the Puzzle?
Updated: Oct 14, 2019
Life has been pretty relentless lately. I'm not going to unpack that here because this blog is about fun and gaming. Suffice to say, I've had too much on my mind to do much in the way of connecting w/ folks or thinking about OSR stuff.
Assuming no additional chay-os, or complications, I still plan to get to NTRPG in June (though only from Fri---Sun morning) and hopefully play and talk w/ friends I've met in the past couple years.
So, despite chay-os, I did want to introduce the concept of a thing I've now been (slowly) whittling away at for several months.
This is a dungeon from the 80's that I've re-drawn and modified in significant ways. It is a mega-dungeon in the way that most mega-dungeons are not: that is, it is mostly open space.
The rather unimaginative title, "Dead Halls of the Giant Ancients" was what I scrawled across the map in the first draft and faithfully retyped later when I had access to a computer in the 90's.
This was not a normal dungeon even back then. I'd been inspired, of course, by the G series, but I wanted this place to be truly titanic; a temple built by cloud giants whose architecture was meant to intimidate members of their own race with its awesome proportions.
Here's a better look at the scale:
I can't remember when this massive place with a lame name was found by my players back in the 80's----90's, but I do remember that their porter fell through the ceiling while the party was traveling over the "roof" of the place, through a mountain clearing. They found the entrance, descended the colossal stairs and later found him splattered on the floor.
In homage to that incident, I've left the porter's bones in my new re-write of the adventure.
This adventure is high-level. It's preparatory, in fact, for my group tackling A Fabled City of Brass; not in a direct way but as a means of gaining one or two more levels before striking out for the Inner Planes. As such, this adventure is designed for 6 or more characters of levels 9 to 13.
I've reverse-translated "Dead Halls of the Giant Ancients" into the Cloud Giant tongue as "Geir Loe Cyncrul", which I pronounce arbitrarily as Gear Low Sin-Krull. This temple also served as a royal tomb, though only for giants of kingly station. And, it housed the legendary Throne of the Gods.
If you've seen this game prop from my campaign, you know that the black book of Dream Co. had a sealed portion at the back, marked with a dire warning. Well that sealed portion was broken (by a thief of course) and doing so summoned Asmodeus himself, who then forced the party to select two of their member to return with him to Nessus as slaves...but that's a whole other story.
When they broke this seal, they also found a partial map. This gives you an idea of some of the adventure hooks for this place:
So obviously, based on this fragment, there are trolls; but, ahem, not your standard troll tribe. The Blood-Coven of Zaejin-Jojin is not standard in any way. Zaejin-Jojin, the Troll King, is himself a four-headed monstrosity with a vicious harem, elite guards and powerful pets.
But his kingdom is just a tiny corner of the map. What happens in the expanses? How hard is it to reach the Throne of the Gods?
The map is a combination keyed-dungeon-meets-hex-crawl. It's big and beautiful enough that you can use it on your Virtual Tabletop and scroll it (seemingly endlessly) in every direction. A connective tissue of random encounters fills the space between encounter locations and might pull in or at least notify nearby keyed-location-inhabitants depending on where/when they occur.
Furthermore, there is a random search/dressing table of 300 "things" to populate that great expanse of floor and rubble. No encounter or object will happen twice. You mark them off as you go and, in some cases, modify the map to note the location of the feature.
Diversity in such a big place is important. The cloud giant temple features burrows, fissures and modifications made by intelligent interlopers over the centuries. I might make the black and white version of the map available to interested parties, but the player map I plan to use for my own VT will be in color:
Point of trivia, this adventure is directly connected to the Night Wolf Inn (see p. 78----81 of my NWI setting) for a clue about what sort of craziness the Dead Halls contain. It also represents one of the last, if not THE last crucial piece of my current campaign's final arc.
Yeah, yeah, there's a dungeon in the Abyss I haven't written yet, but that's still a long ways off and I have no idea if they'll ever reach it.
So, for the time being, this is the last AD&D offering I have on deck for a near-future release. I'm thinking Summer or Fall depending on how the dust settles in my personal life.
Please comment and share as your voices brighten my day and as always,
Peace and happy gaming.