Dwimmermount - My Approach

As I’ve noted on the Kickstarter comments, I’ve taken the reins on completing Dwimmermount. I wanted to share some initial thoughts on how I intend to resolve some of the dungeon’s dilemmas.

I’ll assume for purposes of this forum that you have read the current draft and are familiar with the dungeon’s background. If you intend to PLAY Dwimmermount, stop reading here because there are SPOILERS AHEAD.

  1. Why did the Great Ancients create the Gods?
    Because the cosmic energies of Law are too powerful for mortals to directly channel. While devotion and training can allow a man to be a Paladin of Law, it is impossible to be a Cleric of Law itself. Creating the Gods enabled the Great Ancients to channel divine power through the intermediaries they created.

  2. Why did the Gods create the Eld, if this was against Law?
    They didn’t - or rather, most of them didn’t. Termagant went renegade and turned to Chaos. His creation of the Eld led to his deactivation (leaving him as The Sleeping God). The Great Ancients who accepted Termagant’s gift and became Eld were transported to the Red Planet and the portals sealed behind them. There they furthered their descent into Chaos and bred with demons, becoming the Red Elves, waiting for revenge.

  3. Why did the Gods turn away from the Great Ancients?
    As old age and death began to take the Great Ancients, they began to feel they had erred in rejecting the gift of immortality that Termagant had offered. Over the warnings of the Gods they re-opened the sealed portals to Aeron in order to re-open contact with their brethren there. This enabled the Red Elves to invade Telluria. The Gods did not help the Great Ancients in the fight against the Red Elves because they did not trust the Ancient’s motives anymore. This in turn left the Ancients bitter towards the Gods, believing they could not be trusted.

  4. Who was Sarana?
    She was a descendant of the Great Ancients. The Great Ancients were revolted that the Thulians had imposed a theocracy that enslaved man to the servitors they had created. She left the City at the height of Thulian power in order to free man from the yoke of the [artificial/fake] Gods and evangelize the true faith of Law. Turms was her first disciple but he mischaracterized her teachings.

  5. Where did Sarana go?
    After heartbrokenly realizing that Turms was grossly misinterpreting her teachings, she departed for the East, eventually founding the Order of Paladins there. These same Paladins later were Sarana’s tools to undo the harm she had done by inflicting Turms on the world.

  6. How did Hu-Pan and the Paladins get past Dwimmermount’s sealed barriers and lure Turms into the Prison?
    They were accompanied by their leader - Sarana! She used her ancient knowledge to get them in. Hu-Pan volunteered to be disguised as Sarana (alter self) and used Turms’ lingering feelings for her to lure him to the trap while Sarana herself used her ancient knowledge to take control of the Great Machine, trap Turms, and seal off Dwimmermount. None of the Termaxians had the know-how to undo her Great Ancient-level programming.

  7. Why does being immortal correlate to never having sex in the world of Telluria? Why is the the heroic figure who attempts apotheosis castrated in the most horrific way possible? Why does everyone who aspires to achievement end up maimed, trapped, imprisoned, or otherwise come to a bad end? … It’s all explained in Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals.

There are a few other open issues as yet unresolved but the above seems to account for most of it.

This sounds good, except that I would not invoke Nietzsche. Fiction unfolds according to the will of the author, and the author deserves all credit for any genius or madness therein.

As a more general comment, Autarch’s dedication to fleshing out the original author’s campaign is exceptional, but I wonder how many Judges will run this adventure in Telluria? Personally, although I like Dwimmermount, I do not find Telluria particularly compelling. As a matter of convenience, my Dwimmermount play-by-post is set in the Known World/Mystara. However, I believe this worked out very well, as Dwimmermount is as “wahoo” of an old-school mega-dungeon as I am aware of and fits well in Mystara, I think.

The Nietzsche reference was an inside joke for a friend. :wink:

My sense is that a Judge can easily adapt a fleshed-out setting to his own campaign world by substituting characters and civilizations where appropriate. However, it’s much harder to adapt when the hard questions are unanswered and the apparent answers are inconsistent. That is, at least, my view, but I am a notorious systematizer.

Glad to hear things are moving along. A Kickstarter update (and not just comments) would be good though. I had to kind of start hunting for news.

Sounds like you’ve got a good handle on things though and your answers (and questions!) above seem pretty good!

Yeah this should be put out on Kickstarter, talking about it here and RPGSite not ideal, I only found out because it was pointed out on RPGNet by someone who had seen it on Tenkar’s Tavern!

I think the thing is, if you actually have background like this, it reduces the usefulness of the product.

Who is going to run it set in James’s world? I’m guessing almost no one. It’s not like Greyhawk or Holmes where people obsess over every minute detail

IMHO, it would have been better to just leave it all unexplained, or remove it.

Though let me add, I’m grateful you are working on it. I just think it’s somewhat unnecessary to clean up plot holes and contradiction. Literature and movies are full of them.

Even D&D. There is no magical Elfin chain. Social status birth tables are unnecessary. Oh, here you go, a book with magic elfin chain and social status tables.

For what it’s worth, I fundamentally agree with you that a dungeon is more useful the more easily it is situated in anyone’s campaign. That’s why Keep on the Borderlands gets used repeatedly in my games, but something esoteric like Chateau D’Amber has never seen play once.

But with Dwimmermount the “ship had sailed”, so as to speak, before I ever got involved. It’s a dungeon that is deeply connected to James’ world of Telluria. The builders of the dungeon are non-standard fantasy creatures and the main antagonists are very, very non-standard.

If I can possibly do so, I will structure the writing and offer some guidance to Judges about how best to use the product in home games.

When/where can we see the drafts so we can provide feedback on the levels?

If you log into Kickstarter and check the Updates page, there is a Backer-only update with a link to download all of the files.

If you log into Kickstarter and check the Updates page, there is a Backer-only update with a link to download all of the files.

Is using a Magic-User spell to disguise himself as Turms’ ex and thereby lure Turms into a trap against a paladin’s honor code? It sounds like something a D&D party would do, but maybe not an ancient lawful knight.

I have access to the draft documents here, but not on KS. I wasn’t a backer, but I contacted Tavis and pre-paid as if I had backed at a high level. Since I was given access to the docs here (and can’t access them on KS), I would appreciate that they be posted here as well.

David, please email me at alex@autarch.co and I’ll see to it that you can get the documents.

Hey Alex,

The work you’re doing on Dwimmermount is looking great. I haven’t had a ton of time to dig too deeply but I like how you’re eyeing it for consistency and sense. While I wish the ACKS version were set in the Auran Empire with your personal take on how to make that happen, frankly I’m more interested in it finally getting in shape and out the door so you can move on to the other products in the pipeline (as I’m sure you are).

Noticed one small thing in the latest Prison release doc - Hu P’an should be Lawful in his statline, right? He’s currently Chaotic. Also, shouldn’t there be kneelers set in front of the Mirror of Zod? Or is that gilding the lily? :wink:


Good catch on Mr. Hu P’an. Fixed.

I’ve actually given thought to how Dwimmermount could fit into ACKS’s Auran Empire but it’s a difficult fit.

Just noticed a possible correction in the Introduction you recently shared: There is a mention of James dropping Death Frost Doom into his setting, but I’m not seeing where that is (I may be missing it of course). I DO see a reference to Tower of the Stargazer in the area surrounding Dwimmermount, but not Death Frost Doom specifically.

(Then again perhaps it’s simply parts that he adapted and I’m not picking up on/havn’t read those parts yet, I just noticed that Tower of the Stargazer is explicitly called out in the surrounding area).

The session report from James’ original campaign is here, and DFD continues into the next few sessions (at least up to 23). It’s very much integrated, with the Thulians taking the place of the Duvan’Ku, and the effects continue to be felt further into the campaign. The site is apparently the previous location of an elven village northeast of Smerdlap’s Crossing… no idea how much that helps.

You may have already read the thread below, but just in case you haven’t I’m pasting it as possible food for thought for you on options as to how to incorporate Dwimmermount into the Auran Empire setting. Since I only know some bits and pieces to the setting the speculation may be way off, but it might still be useful to get the thinker going.