2020-10-13 Passage to Niflheim

The fantastic thing about writing random tables for Hex Describe is that they keep building on each other and so even if you write just a little thing, the result can be baffling.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the road to Niflheim. And then I figured, actually, I could reuse the “lair of the netherworld elves” rules as a result for the “exit to Niflheim” rule which is part of all of this... and suddenly:

A few stunted larches grow in these highlands. This is the edge of the 「Green Grove」. This fir forest is home to a pack of 17 wolves (HD 2+1 AC 7 1d6 F1 MV 18 ML 6 XP 200).

These wolves are blessed by Hel. At night, they sleep in the painted Cave of Mountain Lions, decorated with animals. At the far end of the cave is an iron gate decorated with a group of trolls. It is guarded by a chimera (HD 6 AC 5 1d6/1d6/1d10/2d10 or fire F6 MV 9 ML 10 XP 600; fire (3×/day): as much as the chimera has hp left, save vs. dragon breath for half; 「chimera blood is worth 5000gp to an alchemist」) for it leads to Niflheim

The tunnel walls drop away into a black void and all you are left with is a stone bridge spanning the emptiness until it comes to apparently endless wall. There, the tunnel continues. There are bigger caverns to cross every now and then. Bats can be heard overhead and their excrement covers the floor. This particular cave, however, also hosts a family of 10 wolf spiders (HD 4 AC 6 1d6 + paralysis F2 MV 15 ML 7 XP 400; climb).

The tunnel walls drop away into a black void and all you are left with is a stone bridge spanning the emptiness until it comes to apparently endless wall. There, the tunnel continues. Finally, the tunnels lead you to the underground Palace of Dagrail.

The entrance is protected by a chasm 100ft wide. A thin bridge without rails crosses the chasm. If you climb along the walls, this alerts the 7 giant spiders (HD 4 AC 6 1d6 + paralysis F2 MV 15 ML 7 XP 400; climb) living in the chasm itself.

The central space around which the elven mansions have been built is a fungus garden. 14 myconids tend to it (HD 3 AC 8 – F3 MV 6 ML 7 XP 300; read mind, dominate, knockout, gravity control (3d8): save vs. spells to avoid; silent message). 「3000 gold coins. 400 platinum coins.」

19 elves live here (HD 1 → 1d6 AC 5 1d6 or silk 1×/day E1 MV 12 ML 10 XP 100), led by Dringatond (level 10). The spells known are based on The Book of Weaving by Iauniel the Hidden: 1. silk, spider climb, rope command, 2. glamour, liquefy, spider senses, 3. web, observation, phase walk, 4. return, kill, network, 5. fate, transmigration. 「A potion of flying (sparkling wine colored, 1h). A scroll of moving ice (grow an ice bridge up to 30m long from existing snow or ice). A goblin assassin’s black iron crossbow +1, decorated with the seven heads of Set. A suit of dwarven plate armour +2 with dwarven runes naming the owner: Tóki Copperkeg of Thunder. A helmet of the bull, grants an extra attack when charging into a fight: on a hit, an opponent no larger than yourself is thrown to the ground such that your allies get a +4 to attack them.」

The robin egg blue gate from the eastern courtyard is decorated with many icicles. It leads to the other side, to Niflheim.

An acrid stench lies in the air. The outside world is covered in a warm, yellow fog that smells of metal, of burned flesh, of acid rain. A soft wind moves back and forth. This is the breadth of Niđhöggr, the gargantuan dragon sleeping amidst the roots of Yggdrasil somewhere down here in Niflheim, forever poisoning the world tree.

In the east, you can see a fantastic jumble of walls, gates, moat, towers with gallows jutting out over the waters, swinging cages holding the dead and the living near the bridges, ravens on every rooftop. This festering castle is Ejudnir, Hel’s hall in Niflheim, guarded by 800 trolls (HD 6+1 AC 4 1d6/1d6/1d10 F6 MV 12 ML 10 XP 600; regenerate unless burned or dissolved in acid), watched over by 30 harpies (HD 3 AC 7 1d4/1d4/1d6 F6 MV 15 ML 7 XP 300; charm song), and filled with ten thousand despairing souls of cowards and the weak, moaning.

Truly, this is hell.

I guess Hel’s hall in Niflheim can be a megadungeon... Perhaps one day, somebody will write a great dungeon generator for it. But not today, and not while filling in hexes on my mini-setting. This is already incredibly long!

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