Dreaming Amon-Gorloth

These Deep Halls or Where to Start

Spread out over seven different depths, these caves, chambers and twisting passages provide an immense dungeon for exploration. So immense that I haven’t even considered how I would stock it.

Which is why I’m giving it to you.

This massive dungeon level is yours—released under a free commercial use or personal use license. Fill it up, stock it, throw adventurers at it until the floors are littered with their dead. Then do it again.

Dyson Logos

Providing a 179-room dungeon map and a one-paragraph description of The Deep Halls, Dyson Logos then invites us to stock it. In “Dreaming Amon-Gorloth,” we explore the dungeon to figure out how to determine its contents using a random method.

Notably, the Flying Dungeon Stocking Table is derived from guidelines given in the Holmes edition of Basic D&D with the supplements Monster & Treasure Assortments and Dungeon Geomorphs. Further, in “A ‘Monty Haul’ Dungeon,” we develop various methods to determine treasure size. Each method is abbreviated in a “treasure sequence” and not all are “Monty Haul.” We then expand the treasure sequence under the “Twisted and Nightmarish” umbrella topic, where we adjust for larger and smaller parties, consider awarding more XP for treasure, and examine how to further adjust the treasure sequence to suit different dungeon configurations.

Yet within its “convoluted mausoleums” there remains much room for a DM to make these Deep Halls his or her own. Whether stocking randomly or selecting contents according to strict criteria or a combination of both, the following articles may provide further inspiration.

Reading Map

Now we’re ready to roll characters and put them in the order of march.

The Deep Halls of Amon-Gorloth - Dyson Logos
“The Deep Halls of Amon-Gorloth,” Hand-Drawn Map by Dyson Logos.
Follow the image link to Dyson’s blog post to download the high-resolution image in four versions: color and black-and-white, with and without grid lines.

“A Dagger For Protection”

Magic-users — humans who elect to become magic-users must not wear armor and can carry only a dagger for protection” (Holmes, 6).

Reading Holmes on a Sunday morning—as one does—gave me an idea for a magic item.

Though we might say one carries a weapon “for protection,” it really doesn’t protect us so much as it should harm an aggressor. I thought, what if…?

New Magic Item

Dagger of Protection — as a dagger +1 in combat. It is paired with a steel sheath. Only while sheathed does the dagger protect the carrier, adding +1 to armor class and saving throws. Also called a “mageblade.”


The Thing About a Dyson Logos Dungeon Map

Watching one of Dyson Logos’s time-lapse videos is mesmerizing. Finger tips squeeze close to nib. Black ink trails as the pen glides along straight lines, jerks through hatch marks. Parallel lines become a long corridor, a protruding rectangle a door frame. Rubble strews across the floor.

Then the hatching. Short, quick strokes: one, two, three—one, two, three… That’s when we know: this guy’s wired different.

There’s a thing about a Dyson Logos dungeon map. By the hatching we recognize the style, because we’ve been admiring his work for more than a decade. But it ain’t the hatching.

The thing is the design.

To make the point, I chose a Dyson Logos map without hatching. Tunnels of the Shrouded Emperor is an example rare and fine.

Tunnels of the Shrouded Emperor
Tunnels of the Shrouded Emperor, Map by Dyson Logos.

The tripartite doorways either side of the entry hall, middle north, a blind stairway landing just south of it, rounded triangular daises in an octagonal room, a balcony overlooking half a chamber, stairs to the side, the generous use of dungeon furnishings—these catch the eye and draw us in.

But there’s more. Charting an imagined course through the dungeon, we follow branches, turn around at dead ends, weave one way or another along parallel routes, until we progress, via a wide thoroughfare, into the southern caverns.

This long trench reminds of a dry watercourse, perhaps a former Darkling tributary, which leads us to the dungeon’s end, where we find only stones and dry bones and lurking creatures. For we’ve missed the diamond-shaped central chambers where its priests work to repair “The Shrouded Emperor.”

That’s the thing about a Dyson Logos dungeon map.


Dyson Logos has been creating hand-drawn maps for fantasy role-playing games since 2009. You can support the creator on Patreon.


Dreaming Amon-Gorloth

Urgent cries in distant dark. Dying echoes, fading into empty space. A spark—a flash of light, flickering orange. Columns rise high above, stabbing gloomy shade. Tunnels twisting out of sight.

Stumbling, lost, behind lumbering figures, purple-cloaked. Under arch, stepping down. Between close walls, beneath heavy vault, cauldrons crouch on red coals. Chanting priests raise green goblets to a shadowed image. All eyes are closed…

Many are troubled by such nightmares. Some wake, seeking respite. Some lie yet in fitful sleep.

Scale: 10’
Dungeon Levels: Seven Levels Deep
Treasure Sequence: The Full Monty Squared
Contents: Flying Tables by Dungeon Geomorphs
Rules: Bluebook D&D

What I’m Doing

In “Dungeon Levels and Treasures,” I present several combinations of scale, dungeon level configuration, and treasure sequence. With the choice of rules and room contents determination method, there are myriad ways to run a Deep Halls campaign.

I want to try a few of them. I’m starting with the most deadly dungeon level configuration and an overly generous treasure sequence to see if it’s possible that player characters might survive to reach 2nd level. If it doesn’t work, it won’t take long.

First Delve into the Deep Halls
First Delve into the Deep Halls.

The Full Monty Squared

10-5-1(2)^1-1-1{44:10}[4,763 XP, 2,255 g.p., 3]

Using this Squared variant of the Full Monty treasure sequence, we award 2 XP per gold piece. While, in a 50-room Level 1 dungeon, there are more than four times the XP required to gain a level, in the seven level configuration of the Deep Halls, Level 1 has only four rooms. Worse, our neophyte adventurers enter on Level 2, which has only 15 rooms. Even these are not contiguous. Nor is Level 3. The 1st-level party must venture to Level 4 before any characters level-up.

So far in Dreaming Amon-Gorloth, Melqart and his companions are seven turns into their first adventure. The party rests beneath a harpy’s nest on Level 3. They have yet found no treasure.


The Full Monty

Not the film, we’re still talking about the game show. Sometimes experienced players grow weary of the low-level slog. We’d like to “rocket through the levels” for a change (Holmes, 22). Just for fun—and isn’t that why we play—use the base sequence from “A ‘Monty Haul’ Dungeon” with a generous increase in treasures per additional character.

What Means the String of Numbers Below?

This is a follow-up article to “Dungeon Levels and Treasures.” See also Notation in “More XP for Treasures.”

Treasure Sequence: The Full Monty

10-5-1^1-1-1{23:10}[2,508 XP, 2,255 g.p. 3]

Experience and wealth yet decrease with more player characters. The party of six acquires five magic items.

Five rolls on the treasure tables for a single treasure—this is the give away show. We were warned. Now the pressure is on the DM to maintain the thrill of adventure through a combination of insidious traps, imaginative hiding places, and clever wealth reduction strategies (see Wealth Extraction in “Running the Campaign”).

You know what you’re doing.


The Importance of Wandering Monsters and Tracking Turns

Wandering monsters are a DM’s best friend. They are indispensable to old-school D&D game play. By draining the party’s resources without hope of a treasure reward, the possibility of such a random encounter keeps the characters moving, keeps the players on their toes. It raises the tension in a way a DM can only hope some planned story will do.

Keeping track of turns is a basic task a DM must learn. Not only wandering monsters, but light sources, party rest, and spell durations all depend on time keeping. It’s a habit that isn’t so difficult to pick up.

I make a simple four-by-six grid in the corner of the map or, as in this case, in the adventure log. That’s four torches or a lantern’s worth of turns. In one square of six, the party must rest or suffer fatigue, and every third turn (Holmes Bluebook) brings a dice roll for a wandering monster. Durations measured in turns are noted in the appropriate square. The turn a spell is cast, for example, is marked, as is the turn in which the party rests.

Turns and Order of March
Turns and Order of March: Melqart (M) Leads Penlod (P) and Hathor-Ra (H) into the Deep Halls.
“Ps” marks Penlod’s scouting position. Also shown are the order of opening doors and order of attacks by dexterity score (Holmes).

Adventure Log Excerpt

The photo above is from Dreaming Amon-Gorloth’s adventure log.

First Turn: At the rubble-strewn entry, Melqart lights a torch (“t”). The party enters. Penlod notices a secret door, and the group inspects the contents of the room beyond: a dozen skulls set into wall niches.

Second Turn: Entering the grand entry hall, the group encounters scarab beetles at the north door. The giant insects scurry. A burst of three explosions shakes the vault as jets of acid shoot from their nether parts. Melqart, stunned by the noise (“St”), slumps in a puddle of sizzling acid. Penlod throws a spell, and the insects collapse unconscious.

Third Turn: Penlod carries Melqart toward the entrance, while Hathor-Ra, carrying the torch, guards the withdraw. Among the rubble, the two are halted by an enchanting song emanating from within. The explosions attracted a harpy.

Fourth Turn: Turning, Penlod lets the magic-user slide from his shoulder. He and Hathor-Ra move toward the harpy’s lovely voice. The harpy puts a hand on each of their shoulders.

Fifth Turn: Now charmed, Penlod and Hathor-Ra follow the harpy down the grand hall, descending stairs, as Melqart comes to his senses. Lighting another torch (“t”) from his pack, Melqart follows the harpy song.

Sixth Turn: The harpy makes room in her nest. Just as the she descends to fetch the waiting Hathor-Ra, Melqart arrives at the top of the stairs. He casts charm person on the harpy.1

Seventh Turn: The party rests (“R”) while debating what to do with their new friend…


Notes

1 Holmes on Charm Person: “This spell applies to all two legged, generally mammalian humanoids of approximately man size…” (14). We could argue that a harpy, being only half mammalian, is not subject to charm person. A counterargument is that her mammalian half is very much so.


Optional Rules for Steep Stairs

In “Vertical Scale,” we consider stairs which incline at angles greater than 45 degrees. At the DM’s disgression, such steepness impacts movement and melee combat.

Movement

At vertical rises of 15 and 20 feet over ten horizontal feet, the distance traveled is 18 and 22 feet. For either, we round to 20 feet of movement.

Considering also the extra effort to step up and, in the 20-foot case, a vertiginous decent, we justify halving the explorer’s move rate. So, moving up or down stairs—a ten-foot square on the map—costs 40 feet of movement.

Moving faster, an explorer must roll his or her dexterity score or less on a twenty-sided dice or tumble to the bottom of the stairs, taking d6 damage for each ten feet fallen.

Melee

Higher Ground

If your chosen rules do not address the issue, add 1 to attack rolls for melee combatants on higher ground.

Falling

When a melee combatant suffers a violent blow (i.e. takes damage), he or she must roll against dexterity or fall and suffer damage as above.


Vertical Scale: How Deep the Deep Halls?

Grand Entry Hall - Front Elevation
Grand Entry Hall — Front Elevation.

In “Channeling Amon-Gorloth,” we defined a “hall” as “any space two or more squares wide and at least twice as long.” Now, we consider the three-dimensional space, notably, ceiling heights, the incline of stairways, and how to handle intruding upper levels.

The following discussion considers only the built dungeon areas. The priests may or may not have given similar treatment to the natural caverns. We assume the horizontal scale is ten feet to the square.

The Deep Halls of Amon-Gorloth - Dyson Logos
“The Deep Halls of Amon-Gorloth” by Dyson Logos.

How High the Ceilings?

General rules are easy to remember and give us varying heights by how we define the space as well as its width. A particular space may vary from the rules.

Definitions

For the purpose of determining ceiling heights, we define the following spaces:

Hall: Any area at least 20 feet wide and at least twice as long as its width.
Chamber: Any area at least 20 feet wide and less than twice as long as its width.
Corridor: Any area less than 20 feet wide.

Using the entry way as an example (map above): From the outside, a corridor, part caved in, leads 30 feet into a hall. Through the door on the right, another corridor leads to a few chambers.

Halls and Chambers

As these halls are “used by the priests to some devotional purpose, including entombment” (“Channeling Amon-Gorloth”), I imagine impressive ceiling heights.

Halls and rectangular chambers are barrel vaulted, peaking at five feet higher than their width. Square chambers are groin vaulted, also five feet higher than wide.

Chamber - Groin Vault
Chamber — Groin Vault.

Corridors

Corridors are barrel vaulted at only ten feet high. This makes for a cramped space—a contrast to the halls and chambers.

Halls  Chambers  Corridors
Halls, Chambers, Corridors.

How Steep the Stairs?

Ever since I’ve had the imagination for such things, I assumed dungeon stairs go up and down at a 45° angle. Ten horizontal feet on the dungeon map means ten vertical feet. This makes imagining the dungeon in three dimensions simpler.

We see though, in our explorations, that these halls are not simple but “twisted and nightmarish.” The dreaming priests, in their oneiric interpretations, were forced to devise other solutions.

Typical stairs in our residential world step up at a 37° angle, rising 7.75 feet for every ten horizontal feet. According to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, standard stairs incline from 30° to 50° from horizontal.1 Up to 70° is considered steep. More steep is a ladder. Less than 30° is a slope.2

Slopes  Stairs  and Ladders
Slopes, Stairs, and Ladders.
Angles for vertical rises of 5-30 feet over ten horizontal feet.

Reaching into our backpack, we pull out a slide rule or a Pythagorean theorem calculator.3 In the table below, a is a stair’s vertical rise over a ten-foot horizontal distance (b), c is the distance traveled up or down, and α is the incline from the horizontal plane.

Table of Slopes, Stairs, and Ladders
a c α Term
35′ 36′ 74° Ladder
30′ 32′ 72°
25′ 27′ 68° Steep Stairs
20′ 22′ 63°
15′ 18′ 56°
10′ 14′ 45° Standard Stairs
5′ 11′ 26° Ramp or Slope

In our cartographic interpretations, we have considerable leeway between 30 and 70 degrees. The immediate impact of the incline is the height limitation on any space directly below another space, i.e., the distance between levels. For in the “convoluted mausoleums,” the halls and corridors of one level pass over and under those of other levels.

We find a good example in the entry hall, where we pass beneath a corner of an upper chamber.

Ten Feet, 45 Degrees: At 45 degrees, the stairs to Level 1, which occupy a ten-foot square, go up only ten feet. The lower the angle, the lower a level’s height. I would put 45 at the minimum angle. No matter the stair height, the upper level intrudes the entry. We could make it work at ten feet high, but deeper seems more appropriate in The Deep Halls.

Stairs and Steep Stairs
Stairs and Steep Stairs.

Twenty Feet, 63 Degrees: Rising 20 feet over ten horizontal, the incline is 63 degrees, approaching but not quite ladder steep. The precarious angle may well impact movement and melee (see “Optional Rules for Steep Stairs”) and might give explorers a moment of vertigo.

Upper Level Intrusions

Now that we have the ceiling height and the upper room’s position above the entryway floor, we can look at how to handle the inevitable intrusion. Here, we deal with the entryway. Other instances, encountered further on, might be handled in similar fashion.

The challenge is to respect the map. That is, we cannot add columns, walls, or other features. The best way I’ve come up with is modified groin vaulted ceilings of differing heights, side by side.

Entry Detail
Entry Detail, Showing Side-by-Side Groin Vaults Between the Second and Third Columns of the Grand Entry Hall.

I am not certain this structure would stand. A groin vault is normally square. The cartographer’s column placement imposes a length longer than the width. To accommodate the rectangular space, I dropped the long arch’s base a few feet below that of the shorter arch.

The right vault rises to 35 feet above the floor. The left peaks at 20 feet. The upper room is supported by the vault below it.


Notes

1 1926.1052 - Stairways, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
2 Standard Stair Angle: Typical Pitch Of A Staircase Slope By Use Case, Lapeyre Stair Blog.
3 Pythagorean Theorem Calculator, Calculator.net. 


Download Flying Tables

Preparing to use them at the table, I compiled the three Flying Tables into a PDF. Each table—by the Bluebook, for Basic and Lower Dungeons, and for Caves and Caverns—fits on its own 5½″ × 8½″ page.

For hard copy, print two pages per sheet on both sides. Then fold the page with the desired tables on the outside. A footer contains links to the Contents and to each Flying Table for quick on-screen navigation. I also made a smaller version at 2¼″ × 4″ for the small screen.

Download

Also available on the Downloads page.

Flying Dungeon Stocking Tables for Phone Flying Dungeon Stocking Tables for Print
Flying Dungeon Stocking Tables for Phone and Print.

Flying Table by Dungeon Geomorphs Sets

“Brief instructions below the ENCOUNTER KEY EXAMPLE in Set One: Basic Dungeons gives ‘Approximately 25%’ as the monster probability… While the instructions in Set Three: Lower Dungeons are the same, those in Set Two differ in one respect: In Caves and Caverns, we encounter a monster in half the rooms.”—from “Flying Dungeon Stocking Table by the Bluebook

While sussing the Flying Table, I mentioned my surprise at the discovery that there are more monsters in caves than in dungeons. We know from the Map God’s description that the Deep Halls were “constructed and adapted from existing caverns following their dreams channeled from Amon-Gorloth itself.”

I am, therefore, determined to make the distinction between the Halls’ built dungeons and its existing caves. Below are two tables, one to match instructions from Sets One and Three and another for Set Two.

Download the Flying Dungeon Stocking Tables for Print or Phone from the Downloads page.

Compared to the Flying Table by the Bluebook

Holmes gives 33% as the chance a room contains a monster (40). The difference from the Bluebook is made up by reducing the chance for an “interesting variation” to only 3% in caves and increasing the number of empty rooms from 22% to 30% in dungeons. In both cases, the proportion of monsters with versus without treasures is the same, as is the chance for traps, which remains 20%.

For details on how and whence the tables are derived, see “Flying Dungeon Stocking Table by the Bluebook.”

Flying Dungeon Stocking Table for Basic and Lower Dungeons

d100 Result
1-4 Monsters, double treasures (special)
5-8 Monsters, double treasures (selected)
9-14 Monsters, single treasure (selected)
15-20 Monsters, single treasure (random)
21-25 Monsters, no treasure
26-30 Treasure (hidden, trapped; room appears empty)
31 Trap: transports to deeper level
32-35 Trap: scything melee weapon
36-37 Trap: falling block
38-41 Trap: spring-loaded missile
42-46 Trap: trapdoor in floor, pit “relatively shallow”
47-49 Trap: trapdoor in floor, pit 10’ deep
50 Trap: trapdoor in floor, pit 20’ deep
51-70 Interesting variation
71-100 Appears to be empty…

Flying Dungeon Stocking Table for Caves and Caverns

d100 Result
1-8 Monsters, double treasures (special)
9-16 Monsters, double treasures (selected)
17-24 Monsters, single treasure (selected)
25-40 Monsters, single treasure (random)
41-50 Monsters, no treasure
51-55 Treasure (hidden, trapped; room appears empty)
56 Trap: transports to deeper level
57-60 Trap: scything melee weapon
61-62 Trap: falling block
63-66 Trap: spring-loaded missile
67-71 Trap: trapdoor in floor, pit “relatively shallow”
72-74 Trap: trapdoor in floor, pit 10’ deep
75 Trap: trapdoor in floor, pit 20’ deep
76-78 Interesting variation
79-100 Appears to be empty…

 


Opening The Deep Halls

The initial impetus, to run an impromptu pick-up game or a solo game in The Deep Halls, prompted me to make two conceits: One, we use random methods to stock the dungeon, thereby avoiding any preparation. Two, it is a “closed” dungeon campaign. That is, one in which we haven’t need to explore outside the dungeon, as all the experience points necessary to gain levels and meet the dungeon’s challenges can be found within it.

If awarding four times the treasure or experience points—or a combination thereof, turns your grognard stomach, you may of course abandon the second conceit and open the campaign.

In an open dungeon campaign, we are not obliged to chock The Deep Halls so full of treasure. We can use the default treasure sequence from the Flying Dungeon Stocking Table without fear of falling. Characters lacking XP for the next deeper level can find them in neighboring dungeons or in the surrounding wilderness.

In keeping with the campaign’s first conceit (random generation, minimum preparation), we assemble geomorphs as the party explores these other dungeons, and for the wilderness in which they are set, we use the original map board suggested for “off-hand adventures in the wilderness” (OD&D Vol. 3, 15).

Reading Map

Focus on The Deep Halls

While rumors and legends lead to other dungeons in the wilderness environment, the dreaming priests and their machinations in The Deep Halls remain central to the campaign. To accomplish that, we might adhere, however loosely, to the following guidelines:

  • Secondary adventure sites are small. Outside The Deep Halls, the party explores one-, two-, or rarely three-level dungeons. They follow up on the rumor or retrieve the MacGuffin and get back into the primary venue.
  • Most secondary adventures are tied to the campaign thread. The party might indulge in occasional adventures outside the focus for any number of reasons, to break the monotony not the least. Most often though, the adventurers achieve some goal related to Amon-Gorloth or fail in the endeavor.
  • The surrounding wilderness is not vast. By limiting the area, we keep the party within a few days’ travel back to the primary adventure site.
  • There are consequences to neglect. The dreaming priests are relentless in pursuit of their goal. If the player characters ignore them, the priests succeed.

One Deep Dungeon

What attracts me about opening The Halls is that we can stretch them back out to the seven levels as the cartographer conceived. We are, furthermore, not bound to Levels 1 to 7. Depending on party advancement as the campaign unfolds, we might skip levels. Monster & Treasure Assortments provide tables down to Level 9.

Geomorphs

Dungeon Geomorphs

The original “geomorphic dungeon levels,” Holmes notes, “contain many suggestions and will prove very useful” (39). Dungeon Geomorphs Sets One, Two, and Three (TSR Hobbies, 1976-77) provide tiles for Basic and Lower Dungeons as well as Caves & Caverns. Room density and lack of embellishment render the tiles unattractive to my eye. Yet these geomorphs have a particular feel to them1 unlike anything I myself would come up with and much different from The Deep Halls.

By my rough count of a few tiles, I get the following average numbers of rooms by set.

Set Subtitle Rooms per Tile
One Basic Dungeon 40
Two Caves & Caverns 10
Three Lower Dungeons 20

Using the Flying Table made for Holmes (33% of rooms contain monsters) and the Strict (per the sources) treasure sequence: 2-1-0 (where there is no chance for treasure in an empty room) on a dungeon level of 80 rooms (two Basic Dungeon tiles), the Deadly Dungeon Ratio is exactly 1:1. By “exactly,” I mean only 10 XP more than a 1st-level party of three needs to gain 2nd-level.

In the case where one purpose of a secondary dungeon is to earn experience, we may adjust the number of tiles, keeping in mind 80 rooms per character level.

Other Dungeon Generation Options

Walled City Geomorphs: For town and city adventures, consider also Outdoor Geomorphs Set One: Walled City (TSR Hobbies, 1977).

Dyson’s Geomorphs: The map god himself did a monstrous set of dungeon geomorphs. Available from Dyson’s blog, the PDF contains 102 ten-by-ten-square geomorphs. The size accommodates the smaller secondary dungeons, and the hand-drawn tiles have a delightful old-school feel.

Dave’s Mapper: Other interesting links on Dyson’s page above include Dave Millar’s Morph Mapper. Dungeons, caverns, dungeons and caverns, villages, cities, everything—Dave’s Mapper draws from a selectable database of geomorphs from a diverse array of map artists, including Dyson Logos, to create a whole dungeon level in a couple clicks.

AD&D DMG Appendix A: First published under the title “Solo Dungeon Adventures” in The Strategic Review, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1975), these tables (contemporary with our sources) provide the solo explorer a means to generate a map on the fly. The system involves quite a lot of dice rolling, however—not advised when running a group.

Draw As You Go: This solo explorer has had much success making it up as he goes along. Draw the entrance and the first room, add doors and pose the question: “What do you do?”

Outdoor Survival Map Board

La pièce de résistance—Having a chance to use this old-school icon, one does not hesitate. Outdoor Survival, designed by Jim Dunnigan and published by Avalon Hill for Stockpole Books (1972) included a six-panel board depicting a map of a wilderness area with a hexagon-grid overlay.

In his “Campaign Map Notes,” D&D co-creator Dave Arneson writes that, after the “old bunch” was exiled from Blackmoor, “the game moved south and we then used the Outdoor Survival map for this phase of the campaign…” (First Fantasy Campaign, Judges Guild, 1977). The game’s usefulness warranted its mention under the heading RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT in D&D’s original edition (Vol. 1, 5).

Legend

As per the co-creators’ suggestions, “catch basins are castles, buildings [bases] are towns, and the balance of the terrain is as indicated” (OD&D Vol. 3, 15). I would add that food hexes (animal symbols) are monster lairs.

Scale

While Outdoor Survival’s five basic scenarios specify a scale of five kilometers or three miles, OD&D suggests five miles to the hex. At this scale, which matches OD&D movement rates, bases might be small towns. We have license to play with the scale. An obvious adjustment is to make hexes six miles across if you’re using movement rates in multiples of six, as in B/X.

If you’d like larger towns and a city or two, you might up the scale to 12 miles per hex. Careful that the area doesn’t lose its “wilderness” feel.

At 24 miles per hex the area covered approaches that of the corner of the continent presented in Dungeon Module X1 The Isle of Dread. The bases may well be capital cities. This scale is appropriate if you imagine The Deep Halls as only the beginning of a series of campaigns in the same setting.

At any scale, especially those above six miles, trails (through woods, mountains, and swamps) might be roads, and fords become bridges in various states of repair. We might assume other tracks through clear terrain to connect settlements via the depicted mountain passes, swampland causeways, forest trails, and fords. Note, not all settlements need be connected by a single road network. Further, I see Base No. 5 (center), surrounded by woods, is not accessible by any thoroughfare and, therefore, must be long abandoned…

Portown

Using Holmes Basic, we might imagine the Northern Sea off the board’s upper side and assign Base No. 8 as the “busy city linking the caravan routes from the south…” (41). In that case, the campaign might begin beneath the ruins of Zenopus’s tower. A scale of 12 miles per hex is suggested unless you scale down the settlement to town-size.

The Curious Array of Settlements

It might bother some of us that the towns are arrayed in symmetrical fashion around the map’s center. If so, generate your own version of the map or, more simply, ignore it and assume the settlements are positioned on the map in a schematic relationship to each other. Alternatively, you might create some reason why the settlements are so aligned—best if the reason has to do with Amon-Gorloth.

Place the Dungeon and the Base Town

Between the two options for “the convoluted mausoleums,” I would chose the middle desert for the location where “Amon-Gorloth sleeps and dreams.” Placing The Deep Halls in any hex at the southern edge of the northern mountains puts it within a couple hours walk from Base No. 2, which becomes Base Town.


Notes

1 Compare a couple tiles from the cover of Set One: Basic Dungeon to a level of Gary Gygax’s Castle Greyhawk.

A 1st- to 9th-Level Campaign
A 1st- to 9th-Level Campaign Using Holmes Basic, Monster & Treasure Assortments, Dungeon Geomorphs, the Outdoor Survival Map Board, and The Deep Halls.