The Dwarven Halls is a dangerous area located around D:13 in the Caverns of Chaos. The level above it will contain two staircases, one of which will lead to the Dwarven Halls, the other to the Animated Forest. Players wishing to complete Thrundarr's second quest are advised to take the quest before descending either staircase, since entering the Animated Forest will nullify the quest (entering DH:1 appears to be okay — it is not clear at what point crossing the Dwarven Halls will deactivate the quest).
The Dwarven Halls consist of two random levels which connect them to the next level of the CoC. The most notable feature of the Dwarven Halls is their incredibly high danger level relative to the surrounding area: the danger level of both levels of the Dwarven Halls are comparable to that of the Earth Temple, deep within the CoC. This means that players crossing the halls can expect to see dangerous monsters such as greater molochs, quickling queens, black unicorns, ancient red dragons, lich kings, to name a few. Furthermore, the background corruption rate is comparable to those depths, so spending inordinate amounts of time here is not advisable. Most dungeon features, notably altars, seem to be forbidden in the Dwarven Halls, with the exception of tension rooms and threat rooms, which seem unusually common. Low level players wishing to cross the Dwarven Halls are advised to do so as quickly as possible, given the noted risks of the area.
Strategies for Crossing the Dwarven Halls
The easiest way to cross the Dwarven Halls is using blessed scrolls of magic mapping and teleportation to explore the entire level and immediately descend the stairs. Unfortunately, most PCs at this level are unlikely to have several scrolls of magic mapping, since these tend to be fairly rare. For players lacking these, the following are items that will minimize the dangers as much as possible.
- Scroll or wand of monster detection are essential. Use one of these items upon entering each level of the Dwarven Halls. This will allow you to immediately identify any dangerous creatures, and make a judgment about whether or not the level is remotely safe to explore. Furthermore, this will allow you to identify and avoid tension rooms. A level with an intact tension room will essentially pacify the floor, and allow the PC to move through the level with relative safety. Monsters that are probably too dangerous to tolerate include: balors, greater daemons, black unicorns, white unicorns. These monsters are all capable of teleporting to the PC and can see in invisible and in darkness and are thus nearly impossible to avoid. Other monsters to be wary of include lich kings, emperor lichs, chaos wizards, quickling queens, diamond golems, ancient dragons of any colour and titans. Vortices spawned in DH can also do immense amounts damage and must be dealt with carefully.
- Invisibility. This will allow the PC to safely travel passed many monsters in the Halls. In particular, the PC can avoid killing low level monsters such as goblins, which may reduce the likelihood of stronger ones being spawned in their place.
- Teleportation with control. If the PC encounters a monster too dangerous to handle, teleportation of either the PC or the monster should be used to make a quick escape.
- Seven league boots or high speed. Not essential, but very desirable to avoid some monsters of middling difficulty.
The difficulty of crossing will depend heavily on the kindness of the RNG. If the stairs are close together and the monster difficulty is not too severe, the Dwarven Halls can be crossed with relative ease; however, if the stairs are distant and the monsters dangerous, it is probably advisable to abandon the Dwarven Halls entirely and simply cross the Animated Forest. The Halls are an area that can lead to many unpleasant PC deaths.
Various monsters of unusually high danger level