Exile: Escape from the Pit

Back in the day I played a shareware Spiderweb Software title called Exile: Escape from the Pit. Later the programmer made sequels, and even later he updated them all with better graphics and so forth. The name changed to Avernum instead of Exile. They’re substantially similar.

The game started with your party of criminals having just been exiled through a one-way portal to the depths of a cave system below the Empire. That Empire exiled anyone, really, including political dissidents and homosexuals, so it’s not like your characters needed to be actual criminals. Point is, you’re down in this cave and there’s no escape to the surface.

You arrive in a town that the exiles have built, one of many, on the eastern edge of this huge cavern. It’s basically an overland map. There are lakes and river systems, you can ride boats around, you can see wandering monsters coming from far away. It’s really a pretty decent game.

The setting interests me for D&D purposes. It works as a source material for Underworld adventure, not really for the flavor of the game which was actually sort of bland, but for the whole structure. It’s nice to see a finished, working frame and build from that.

From there, research deep cave systems and cave exploration. The danger and variety present in real-life caves are pretty astonishing. Incorporate those ideas into the Exile campaign. Come up with a few new Big Ideas that aren’t present in Exile and probably remove the one that was there. Map up the whole main cave system and add the towns and adventure sites. Note some side cave systems that connect to multiple places in the “overland” main cave. Detail the first town and the nearest few things, and work your way outward from there week to week as play continues.

I think because the game world is so well-bordered, even if not linear, it’s like playing on an archipelago of islands with harsh currents between that make travel among them difficult.

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2 Responses to “Exile: Escape from the Pit”

  1. Taetra Says:

    I’m actually using the exile area as a DnD campaign right now. It’s interesting, and really absolutely treacherous to lower level adventurers, even in the safer areas. 🙂

  2. 1d30 Says:

    I think it depends on how tough you make certain monster races. Like the Sliths could be standard 2 HD lizard men, the Nephilim could be the 1 HD orc-types, and the Aranea could be … dunno, LG Giant Spiders?

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