Sunday, 10 October 2010


I've just recently begun reading through StoneHell Dungeon, looking at it as a possible alternative lay-out for the OSRIC-Harn campaign's mega-dungeon, Elkall-Anuz. Up till know I've been working on the assumption that I would be using the Ruins of Greyhawk to represent the possible birthplace of orc-kind of Harn, but viewing repeated articles on Stone Hell Dungeon persuaded me to drop a few quid and have a look.

Obviously, I'm very impressed. Else I wouldn't be considering simply abandoning all the work I've been doing converting the Ruins of Greyhawk to Harn. Stone Hell only has the first 6 dungeon levels unleashed so far, whereas Ruins has nearly thirty. More than I could likely ever need. Since I have a good few months yet before the campaign gets off the ground, I have plenty of time to think through my options.

In his introduction to StoneHell, Michael Curtis writes that, “While concepts like dungeon ecology and realism are not completely ignored in Stonehell Dungeon, neither are they acquiesced to if they stand in the way of a good time”. That said though, he's clearly put a little thought into it. The dungeon has everything from a magical coolant system to a magical air-circulatory system.

You can read the authors blog here: The Society of Torch, Pole and Rope.

By the way, spoiler warning. You might not want to read the rest of this article if you plan on playing the Dungeon. The spoilers won't ruin the play experience for you, but they do unravel one or two minor mysteries.

The magical air conditioning consists of a series of “Wind Obelisks”, scattered throughout the dungeon. Each serves as a teleportation portal, but, unlike most such portal, permits only the entry of fresh air and the egress of bad. A particularly important concept, as anyone who has ever been down a mine will tell you.

The coolant system is apparently connected to some sort of arcane device found in the later dungeon levels (the ones to be dealt with in a later supplement) but works on the same principle as the Obelisks. One magical item teleports hot water out of the dungeon, it's counterpart teleports cold water back in.

Nice simple concepts for a magical dungeon ecology. Both of which will work well with my magical “store-room” idea, regardless of which mega-dungeon I eventually decide to use. I'm not yet sure what sort of arcane device I'll hook the water system up to. It might be related to the arrival (or creation) of the Harnish Orc, but that seems a little too obvious. Too neat. I may have to think of something else.

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