Stonehell Dungeon Supplement #2: Buried Secrets (OSR)
The second optional expansion for the massive Stonehell mega-dungeon clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The Stonehell dungeon books were donated by one of my patreon supporters for my edification, with the note that I can review them, if I’d like to. Since I am a bit OCD, I have decided to cover the supplements as well. So here we go!
This book contains two optional dungeons that are presented in a more classic manner, as well as a new sub-level for Stonehell. Said sub-level may be accessed from e.g. level 1C, and is depicted in the same one-page-dungeon-inspired manner as Stonehell. All are intended for low level parties, though their challenge can be considered to be ranging in the upper echelons. Where the uppermost levels of Stonehell tended to be a bit more forgiving (as far as old-school mega-dungeons are concerned, that is…), the material herein is clearly designed to pose a serious challenge. As before, a minimum of a party of 4 PCs, which should be well-rounded regarding abilities, is highly recommended, with 6 or more being better for PC survivability. I’ll provide suggested level-ranges for the complexes below.
All right, as always, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.
Okay, only referees around? Great!
So, the first complex herein would be Modnar’s Cellar, intended for 4 – 6 characters level 1 – 3. The dungeon covers 31 rooms, and depicts all that remains of the mage’s tower of Modnar and his disciples – they manages to incinerate the surrounding countryside, to never been seen again. As such, the complex features a variety of vermin and remnants of magical experimentation, including training dummy constructs. The angle is about hunting down a fugitive, but the most interesting aspect for the referee would be the fact that Modnar and his brethren did create magical Jules Vernes-ian rockets. As such, it may well be possible that he returns at one point – or that a judge thus can get an angle to have the PCs go to the moon! Fun, low-level offering!
The second dungeon would be the Nest of Otrogg, intended for 3-6 level 2-3 characters. Otrogg is the king of pests, and as such, the vile vermin-themed cult at one point fought a battle against Stonehell’s Children of Yg. The dungeon contains 17 rooms, and features plenty of creepy-crawly dressing. Deadly beetles and the chance to be trampled to death by a horde of ambulatory mushrooms. (Which, if your players have humor, is certainly worthy of featuring in the annals of awesome PC deaths…) Also a fun dungeon.
Thirdly, the Stonehell sublevel, hidden, as mentioned before, in level 1C, and represents the hidden shrine of the sisters of Chthonia Trimorphia. This sub-level covers 15 rooms, and now, only the corrupted high-priestess Klydessia remains – perverted by the darkness below into an Abide, a horrible lich-like undead. This notwithstanding, Klydessia remains utterly devoted to her task of providing shelter and succor from the rigors of the dungeon. Okay, she may be a bit insane. And dangerous. And undead…but few beings in the upper 5 levels of Stonehell will be willing to invade her sanctuary…
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules language level. Layout adheres to the 2-column/1-column b/w-standard you know from the main Stonehell book. The pdf has no artworks, but does come with c/w-cartography in the same, functional, detailed style we’ve come to expect. The pdf does not come with unlabeled player-friendly maps, and it doesn’t have bookmarks, which represents a comfort detriment.
Michael Curtis’ three expansions for Stonehell and surroundings are well-crafted dungeons, offer fun environments, and have strong themes. The challenges posed are nice, and the material presented offers some cool angles to pursue. Considering the more than fair price-point, this is certainly worth getting. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.
You can get this expansion for a paltry $2.99 here on lulu!