Section 66

room type: large hall
exits: ahead, left
indicators: none

The Hall of Despair

(Draw once and then remove from game)
Out of the darkness you emerge into a large hall, one that extends ahead of you for some distance before disappearing into shadows beyond the reach of your illumination. What you can see brings you to a halt, for the hall is bare but for lines of tall, black obelisks that border each of the walls. It is what you feel however, that causes you to remain where you are.

The Hall is empty except for the standing stones, but there is a sense of foreboding that emanates from the walls like a sickly odour, clinging to your clothes and working at your resolve. By degrees it becomes stronger, a feeling of despair that drags at your shoulders and fills your thoughts with images of loss and grief. For a time you struggle with the emotions that flow through the chamber like a wind, but quickly you realise that there is a reason for what you are feeling, and it resides in the obelisks themselves.

These artifacts of the ancient world are common within the ruins of Arborell and you have seen these strangely shaped stones before. Used by the Ancients to smother the effects of EarthMagic they can absorb the life force of any living thing that might venture too close, and as you consider whether you should move forward you begin to feel keenly the effects of the nearest. Almost at once you begin to feel a numbing sensation spreading through your limbs, and it is strong enough that it nearly takes your legs out from under you.

Immediately you know that you are too close to the obelisk, its proximity draining away your energy even as you struggle to move away from it. These are Dark Obelisks, and it is only as you put distance between yourself and the stone that you can feel the life returning to your limbs. It is a feeling that is unsettling to say the least.

For a time you consider if there is any way that you can pass beyond these obelisks and make for the exits further down the hall. It is only as you survey the lines of stones that you realise that there may well be a path upon which you can avoid the worst of their power and find a way through.

Options: Each stone that lines the walls stands slightly offset to its brother on the other side of the hall. The power of each obelisk only extends so far, and there is a chance that if you move slowly you may be able to find the small gap between each that will allow you to move forward without succumbing to their blighted magic.

If you decide to try and get through you must test your intuition attribute twice. If you are successful on both tests you will have been able to find that path through and make for either the exit to the left or the one ahead. Turn to the Room Generation Tables to determine where your chosen exit may lead. Your success will come at a small cost however. The power of the obelisks cannot be completely avoided, and you will have to take 2 points from your endurance to account for the effects of their proximity.

If you fail any of these tests you will not be able to find a way through, and will manage only to stagger back to the entranceway and thank Providence that you were able to get out of the hall alive. If this has been your fate throw a 1d10 and take the number thrown from your endurance. If it is enough to kill you then that will be your fate as well. If you survive the reduction you will have to turn back and find another way.

You may of course decide that there are easier ways to delve these ruins and turn around. If this is the case retrace your steps and find another way. The choice is yours to make.

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The Torchlight Text Edition is the intellectual property of the author, Wayne F Densley, and all rights are reserved by him. Any questions regarding this title, or any other book in the Chronicles of Arborell series can be answered by emailing the author at