With the 88th Map of the Week we continue in the borderlands town of Ëinn's House in the Kingdom of Slovania. This week we take a look at the exit area and Great Gate of the subterranean Dwarven Highwy extension.
Key to the exit area and the Great Gate (Highway Location No. 10)
This area isn't so much a mystery to the Northern Circle as it is a hurdle. The circle has followed the Ëinn's Fortress extension of the Dwarven Highway this far, but it's been unable to get beyond the gate in the eastern wall of this chamber. The eastern gate is massive oakwood, adorned with four glowing runic radicals, two other non-glowing symbols and an embedded axe with a head made of misilfur. The western entry from the tunnel has a similar oaken gate, but it has no runes, symbols or axe. The 40 x 40 foot/12 x 12 m chamber between the two gates is absolutely empty. What is beyond the eastern door with the runes is unknown to the Northern Circle or anyone else in this part of the world except the game master. He or she knows that the door with the runes and the axe opens onto the main branch of the Dwarven Highway that connect Midsilver Deep in the southeastern part of the j÷r with the halls of Niavellir in the north. This part of the highway is relatively young as far as dwarven construction is concerned. It was built by the dwarves who follow thane Thorin Eikinskjaldi in Midsilver Deep.
The key adventure element in this area is the Great Gate, as the Northern Circle calls it. This is the eastern gate with the axe, runes and symbols. The circle's high seers have determined that the axe and the four radicals build some type of powerful magic, one that they assume is deadly. Even the most powerful spellcasters in Ëinn's Fortress have been unable to neutralize this magic temporarily, as they have done with the other runic traps that the dwarves made. For that reason, the circle has not opened or even touched the gate. However, the game master needs to know what this dwarven magic does. What is present here was created by a trio of runecutters and a great smith. There is an element of this magic that the bare eye cannot see. Therefore, the Northern Circle is unaware of it. On the rear side of the axe's midsilver head, embedded into the oakwood of the gate's right door and in direct contact with the wood, is the runic stave Sameint÷frvernd. Very few dwarves ever have been able to cut and stain such a stave. In choosing Samein, the dwarves put it to a highly unusual if not unique use. Samein is the melding radical. It usually is employed to let two objects occupy the same space at the same time. However, in the stave that was cut and stained on the other side of the axe head, it is used to meld its own other two radicals with the four glowing radicals that are cut into the Great Gate.
The two, non-glowing symbols in the gate's left door are non-runic and insignificant. The top character is the dwarven symbol for midsilver, and the lower symbol stands for deep or the depths. Together they mean simply Midsilver Deep, identifying the clan that constructed the gate and this part of the Dwarven Highway. Such symbols are common among dwarven construction. One should mention that it is not difficult to open this runic gate. It has no lock. But the stave in the axe's head will trigger its magic if an intruder does not utter the correct password before opening the gate or touching the embedded axe. This complex combination of stave, external radicals and magical axe of midsilver will slay any creature that opens the gate or touches the axe without saying the password or without being within 20 feet/6 m of another person who utters the correct password. The password is dvergarvinur, which is Aldmßl for dwarf friend. The deadly effects of the stave are absolute. There are no checks, saving throws or other possibilities to avoid death. Anyone who opens the gate or touches the axe without the password's protection will die immediately.
The floor plan of the exit chamber:
1. Dwarven Highway Extension.
2. Western gate. This gate is identical to the eastern gate except that there is no axe and there are no runic radicals or symbols.
3. The exit chamber. The ceiling is 20 feet/6 m high. The room is absolutely empty.
4. The Great Gate as already described.
You can get this scenario in two versions:
1. The Fractal Mapper (TM) 8 versions in FMP format, fully editable, from our J÷rgar web page (2.2 MB).
2. As JPG flat maps of 2500 Pixels x 2500 Pixels and 3000 x 2000 Pixels (total 3.8 MB), available with the hyperlink below.
Both versions are released for personal and commercial use under the Open Game License Version 1.0a, which you can read on the J÷rgar website at:
The Jrgar World
Next week: Slovania - the East Fortress