G1A – Steading of the Hill Giant Chief Lower Caverns

Hey all!

Remember how I was talking a few months ago about the lower cavern level that existed beneath the published module G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief ? Well, I went and wrote it up, complete with a map. In the process of doing research on it, I did come across a reference in Against the Giants, the Liberation of Geoff that basically wrote them off as not worth visiting, but I thought it was still more fun to put some interesting stuff in there. And if a party ever did make it there, they’d have the chance of uncovering some useful information about the later encounters with the drow, Lolth, and the Elder Elemental God, but nothing overly expository. Just enough to put another link in the chain, should they be in a position to puzzle out some of the intricacies of the whole series of adventures.

And I even managed to include a new monster!

I tried to make it as faithful to the original in terms of layout as I could, so you could just print it out and stick it in your copy of G1 and work with it. I’m very pleased with the way it worked out, and I hope you’ll like it, too.

You can download my extra level for G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief here.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

4 thoughts on “G1A – Steading of the Hill Giant Chief Lower Caverns

  1. Terrific job on this, and it does full justice to Gary Gygax’s work!

    I admit the temple beneath the Steading is somewhat of a conundrum for me. I always assumed that Eclavdra recruited Snurre Iron Belly for her plan first. I see Snurre as being as dumb as the rocks that make up his palace, but matching the likes of Hitler or Napoleon for charisma, making him the perfect figurehead for Eclalvdra to rally an army of giants and humanoids to attack the human lands. It also doesn’t hurt that the caves from Erelhei-Cinlu lead right into Snurre’s basement. The much more elaborate temple in Snurre’s hall was thus built first, and the frost and hill giants were recruited later, ostensibly under Snurre’s aegis but taking their orders from Eclavdra.

    I considered that the Steading’s temple might be dedicated to the Elder Elemental God, but I ultimate thought it couldn’t be, based on the reasoning I mentioned above. In fact, I wondered whether it might be a temple to Dread Tharizdun-and the temples to both the Elder Elemental God and the Dark Lord have some striking similarities! Or, it could have been a temple to any number of other depraved entities from Orcus on out…

    Who are the ram-headed figure and the dragon depicted on the murals in area #3? I would imagine that the ram-headed creature is Orcus, but that still raises the question of who the dragon is. Would it be Asmodeus?

    And are the demons and devils in the mural banishing the more Lovecraftian Elder Elemental God and his minions so they don’t have to compete with the latter? I’m intrigued by what’s going on here, but I don’t know what to make of it.

    And once again, bravo for your fine work. Mr. Gygax would no doubt be very proud.

  2. The text in the original G1 makes it clear that the “Weird Abandoned Temple”, like most of the dungeon level, pre-dates the Hill Giant Steading. I chose to make it dedicated to the EEG rather than Tharizdun because of its insanity-provoking effects, as well as the tentacled vision seen if one gazes into the altar, which is very similar to what’s described in the Temple of the Eye.
    The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun lacks the connection with insanity, as well as being somewhat different from the iconography of the amorphous tentacled “thing”. Despite the later conflation (in Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil), they’re really very different beings.
    As for the murals, there’s a definite method to the madness (heh) but I don’t want to lay things out too clearly. Leaving some mystery that a DM can extrapolate for his own game is also something that’s Gygaxian…

  3. Not that the comments are back up for this, I want to thank you for saving this wonderful piece of work. It takes me back in time in the most wonderful way.

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