Castle Triskelion is in a word: MASSIVE. Spanning 14 maps of castle and 7 maps of dungeon, plus 2 exterior grounds maps, Castle Triskelion was one man’s passion project for 1905 days. In October of 2013 Tim Stypinski started posting one room a day, and would continue until December of 2018, averaging more than 1 post a day.
& Magazine compiled the first 8 areas into PDFs for easy reading. As part of MDBC we agreed to take on this behemoth in chunks, starting with the introduction and the ground floor of the outer ward.
A scant 10 pages, 8 if you skip the cover and legalese, the introduction gets straight to the point. Five paragraphs covering the commonly known information about the castle, with only a few Proper Nouns to swap out if you’re adding this dungeon to an existing setting. The hook is solid enough to get your party through the door, but leaves enough room for adjustment if needed.
The next two section covers a physical description of the castle and the approach, including a snippet that the castle is a 2 day trip to the nearest village, which is a good distance in my opinion. Costing 4 days to go back encourages the party to set up a base-camp to do multiple excursions before returning, possibly even setting up permanent structures, which might be a fun diversion from the near-infinite depth of the dungeon.
The remaining pages go over the unique monsters of the outer ward, as well as a special material and a brief overview of the currency system in place. All of the monsters are interesting and evocative, including the goblin subspecies, but none are really standout designs.
Outer Ward Ground Floor
The ground floor consists of 68 keyed areas on a fairly simple map. A random encounter table is included, but the encounter rate of 1-in-6 every 6 turns seems very low. On average you’ll get 1 random encounter every 6 hours. The rules suggest doubling the odds for the party being loud, but I would suggest going to 1-in-6 every 3 may be more appropriate. Having dungeon dressing on the table is also nice, even if the options are a bit limited in scope.
Before we get to room descriptions, I have to gush about the layout of the floor. Rooms are blocked into groups of similar kind, with logical placement of connecting doors and halls. Stairs leading up and down adjacent to the starting room, plus a feeding hallway that leads to the inner ward makes the castle feel like a place people might have actually lived in, while also simplifying return travel for future delves.
The rooms themselves are quite evocative and easy to remember, making future traversal pretty easy. There’s more treasure than I’m used to, this being an AD&D adventure rather than B/X, but with that comes a bit more encounters, most of which can be handled non-violently if desired. The Talon Goblin faction on this floor would be fun to play out, and there are several extra NPCs in various situations that would make for valuable allies if rescued.
Overall I’m really happy with this dungeon and look forward to exploring more!
Next Week: Outer Ward First Floor
Next week we’ll cover the first floor of the outer ward, which promises to be a treat!