Thunderspire Mountain lies amid a wilderness of pine forest and rocky hills. The mountain’s pinnacle is usually wreathd in gray, foreboding clouds, but on rare clear days, it can be seen from a great distance.
The trade Road, an old dwarf-made highway, passes near the mountain. It links the human town of Fallcrest (about a two-day journey west of the mountain on food) with the dwarf stronghold of Hammerfast (three days east of the mountain by foot). In years past, travelers and caravans urried past Thunderspire to avoid attacks form monsters lurking in the ruined minotaur city. Today, this part of the Trade Road is reasonably safe thanks to the presense of the Mages of Saruun.
From the Trade Road, a steep cobbled path called the Vale Road turns north and then cuts into the mountain. The road rises through a valley with sparse vegetation and ends at Thunderspire’s base. Mall waterfalls and brooks wash down from the rocks above. A few shepherds, woodcutters, and trappers live in the vale. Their humble houses are made of turf and fieldstone and are fitted with stout doors to repel predators, including bears, wyvens, and griffons.
The ruins of Saruun Khel boyond the Seven-Pillared Hall are collectively called the Labyrinth. The ancient minotaur city consisted of a vast maze of natural caverns, gaping chasms, hewn chambers, steep stairs, and twisting passageways. Most of the these features remain to this day. The Seven-Pillared Hall and its adjoining chambers form a small part of Saruun Khel. Much of the Labyrinth remains dangerous and unexplored.
The Labyrinth covers nearly a square mile with hundreds of chambers and passageways. The labyrinth is too convoluted to be completely mapped.
1. The Minotaur Gate
The Vale Road meets the Minotaur Gate about 4 miles from the Trade Road. This was the grand entrance to Saruun Khel. The road enters a 50-foot-tall stone archway hewn out of the mountainside. A towering minotaur stature stands on each side of the entrance, glowering down at the travelers.
2. The Road of Lanterns
Beyond the Minotaur Gate, the Road of Lanterns slopes into the mountain. Green light from copper lanterns dimly illuminates the road, which leads about half a mile into the mountain, sloping steadily downward over several switchbacks.
3. The Seven-PIllared Hall
The heart of Thunderspire’s upper level is the Seven-Pillared Hall. Dozens of lanterns hang from the walls of the thick pillars of this great chamber. The chamber walls have been fashioned into building facades, so the Hall appears more like a city square than an underground cavern. Merchants conduct business in the Hall, at the behest and with the permission of the Mages of Saruun.
4. Fallen Dagger Hideout
This chamber off one of the passages was occupied by a small team of Fallen Dagger that were keeping an eye on activities in the Hall.
5. The Deep Stair
This passage descends sharply from the Seven-Pillared Hall into the lower levels of the Labyrinth. From here, explorers can reach the Houses of Silence the Well of Demons, various cisterns, and passages leading off into the Underdark itself. Many side chambers have been carved from the Deep Stair’s landings.
6. The Road of Shadows
Leading eastward from the Seven-Pillared Hall, the Road of Shadows wends through rubble-filled halls and a confusing maze of passages and storerooms. The Road of Shadows skirts a massive chasm and eentually intersects a tunnel that leads to the mines of the Grimmerzhul duergar, 30 miles away. Passageways frequently branch off the road, including one that leads south to the Horned Hold.
7. The Shining Road
This path leads north from the Seven-Pillared Hall into some of the more magnificent ruins of ancient Saruun Khel, including the Avenue of Glory. Like the Road of Shadows, this road leads through a maze of ruined chambers and passages in the Labyrinth. In the north part of Saruun Khel, it widens and leads 40 miles to the Silvershiled Hold, home of the Silvershield dwarves.
8. Avenue of Glory
The Avenue of Glory is 50 feet wide and 80 feet tall, running north and east for about a third of a mile. More than one hundred mighty statues depicting minotaur heroes, fearsome monsters, and great demons line the avenue. Some have fallen and lie broken on the ground and have been defaced and damaged, yet the Avenue of Glory remains an impressive sight. Most of the Seven-Pillared Hall’s residents avoid the avenue, for it is frequented by wandering monsters.
9. The Chamber of Eyes
This area features a ruined shrine. It is located about half a mile east of the Seven-Pillared Hall.
10. The Horned Hold
Formerly a defensive keep to gaurd the southeastern approaches to Saruun Khel, the Horned Hold now serves as a stronghold and slave pit for the Grimmerzhul duergar. It is build above a massive chasm that runs north to south at the limits of the ruins of Saruun Khel.
11. The Well of Demons
A set of chambers sacred to the demon lord Baphomet, the Well of Demons was once a place for the warriors of Saruun Khel to prove their prowess.
Below the ruined city lie three great subterranean lakes. These lakes once supplied Saruun Khel with drinking water. Lizardfolk, troglodytes, and grells now infest the lakes and struggle for supremacy on the levels beneath the ruins of the city.
13. Hall of the Broken Dragon
A colossal statue of a dragon lies in fragments on the floor of this great hall. Kobolds, drakes, and gricks lurk in the passages nearby, and many of the kobolds look upon the broken statue as a religious relic.
14. Houses of Silence
Crypts of minotaur nobles fill this multichambered area to the far west of the Seven-Pillared Hall. Many of these crypts are guarded by deadly traps, demonic summoning circles, an hateful undead.
15. Palace of Zaamdul
Once the home of Saruun Khel’s ruling high priest, the palace suffered heavily during the city’s final war. Today, demons and undead creatures occupy its ruined walls. A few minotaurs also frequent the area, searching for ancestral treasures and relics of power that might help return them to their former glory.
16. Tower of Thunder
A long stairway climbs up to an old watchtower that stands on the surface, near the pinnacle of the mountainside. Most of the time, the tower rises into the ever-present clouds and lightning flashs, its very foundation shaking with the continuous rumble of thunder.