The Hole in the Oak: Layout Preview

The other day, I posted a bit of info about the upcoming adventure The Hole in the Oak. Today, I want to share some previews of the layout, including the first piece of interior art by James West!

Note: These are previews of the 1st pass layout, so the layout and styling are not 100% final.

Table of Contents

First, just for fun, here's a preview of the table of contents.

A few notes:

  • The intro gives a bit of an overview of the history and factions in the dungeon.
  • It's a decent sized dungeon level, with 57 described areas.
  • There are two locations in the dungeon that lend themselves to expansion, where extra levels could easily be added in.
  • I'm probably going to have room for a sneaky appendix that gives a little bit of background info on the world which this adventure is set in.

Area Descriptions

Now a preview of some area descriptions.

A few notes:
  • The area descriptions use a format that's highly optimised for ease of use at the table. Descriptions are presented in a minimal format, with bolded words highlighting the main elements. More detail on possible eventualities is broken out into bullet lists.
  • Incidentally, this is same format I used in the ENnie nominated Winter's Daughter. The format was such a success that I decided to adopt it as the Necrotic Gnome "house adventure style".
  • You don't see any monster listings on this spread, but they follow the standard Old-School Essentials monster format.
  • Colour art by James West!

How to Get It?

All backers of the Old-School Essentials Kickstarter will receive a free copy of The Hole in the OakIf you missed out on the Kickstarter, you can pre-order the adventure (and loads of other goodies!) at our BackerKit pre-order store.


  1. Looks really cool - I will have to grab myself a copy of this when it comes out :)

  2. Will you continue to release 5th edition versions of your adventures like you did for Winter's Daughter?

    1. Yep, all Dolmenwood-related products will be published in old-school and 5e versions. The Hole in the Oak isn't a Dolmenwood product, though, so there's not currently a plan to do a 5e conversion of it. That might happen a little way down the line, though.

  3. Hi Gavin, I have a question about the core rules:

    Is it too late to add the optional Balancing Encounters rules from BECMI/RC? You have taken rules from AD&D game, and I feel that this optional rule set would be good for the Core rules, or at least the Advanced Rules.

    The gist is that the total levels of the party must be equal to the total Hit Dice of the monsters in a given encounter. The full rules are detailed on page 100 of the Rules Cyclopedia.

    1. Yes, it's too late to add new stuff to any of the books.

      About that specific rule you mentioned: as the Core Rules are a clone of B/X (which doesn't contain that rule) and the Advanced Fantasy books are inspired by AD&D (which also doesn't contain that rule), I don't think it's a good fit.

      Who knows, maybe there'll be a future book adding material inspired by BECMI!