Thursday, December 6, 2012

Skullcap Dungeon

Illustration of the entrance to Skullcap dungeon by Keith Parkinson

     I'd never looked at DL3 Dragons of Hope (1984, Tracy Hickman) before yesterday, so I didn't know that it contained a dungeon similar to the "Skull Mountain" dungeon in the Basic rulebook. Over on the Dungeon Fantastic blog, Peter has been reviewing the Dragonlance series, looking for the good bits that could be used elsewhere ("Salvaging Dragonlance"). It's interesting to me since I only had DL1 back-in-the-day, and never read any of the other modules. I knew from DL1 that some of them at least had cool maps. So after Peter mentioned the Skullcap dungeon I dug up a copy and took a look, and sure enough Skullcap is another one with an interesting map. Skullcap was once the mountain fortress of the wizard Fistandantilus, but "was blasted until only the shattered and glazed form a giant skull remain". Below is the cross-section map of Skullcap from the front inside cover of the module; cartography is credited to Dennis Kauth and Elizabeth Riedel. Much like the Holmes cross-section, the dungeon can be entered through the eyes (Area 47) or the mouth (Area 48) of the skull. As in Skull Mountain, the mouth of Skullcap leads directly to Level One of the dungeon, which is given a separate map. Then there's the large crater at the top (Area 49), which descends through a vertical shaft to the bottom of the dungeon, somewhat like "The Pit" in the Holmes cross-section. I won't give away what's found in the bottom of Skullcap, but it's certainly not for Basic level characters!

Addendum: So the question is, was Tracy Hickman influenced by the Holmes Basic cross-section, or is this coincidence?

1 comment:

  1. Intersting ! I guess Tracy Hickman, who published his firts module - with Laura Hickman - in 1979 - was ffully aware of Holmes and may have ben impressed by the Skull mountain.