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The Hole in the Oak
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The Hole in the Oak


A hole in an old oak tree leads characters down to a maze of twisting, root-riddled passageways, the chambers of an ancient wizard-complex, and the banks of an underground river where once a reptile cult built their temples.

A classic expedition into the Mythic Underworld for characters of 1st to 2nd level.

  • 60 keyed areas, rumour table, loot summary, dungeon background info, suggestions for expanding the dungeon.
  • Keyed in a quick-reference, bullet point format.
  • Statted for Old-School Essentials (B/X), usable with any vintage adventure game.
  • Unlabelled map included for VTT use.
The Hole in the Oak can be linked with The Incandescent Grottoes to form a large, 3 level dungeon with over 115 keyed encounter areas!

The Hole in the Oak was awarded the coveted "The Best" rating by Bryce Lynch of!

Print version: A deluxe, sewn-binding hardcover edition of this book (+ free PDF) is available from Exalted Funeral, along with all of the other books in the Old-School Essentials line. Note that there is no print-on-demand edition of this book.

See Questing Beast's full video review of the print edition below!

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (5)
Discussions (12)
Customer avatar
Roger P April 20, 2022 6:25 pm UTC
How many players this adventure should be run with?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G April 21, 2022 5:36 am UTC
The adventure assumes a group of around 5-6 characters (PCs and/or retainers) of 1st-2nd level.
Customer avatar
Roger P April 22, 2022 6:02 pm UTC
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Jesse S March 02, 2022 7:50 pm UTC
What is the grid size for the VTT map? I can't seem to get the grid to line up with the printed squares.
Customer avatar
Necrotic G March 03, 2022 8:40 am UTC
It's a hand drawn map, so probably the squares aren't 100% even, sorry!
Customer avatar
Zenith C December 29, 2021 2:56 am UTC
Question, how long would it take to run this on average?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G January 01, 2022 12:36 pm UTC
It's hard to say exactly as different groups tend to play through adventures at very different speeds. Probably somewhere in the range of 4-10 3-hour sessions?
Customer avatar
David W July 09, 2021 11:05 pm UTC
We wanty. Will this be in print soon?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G July 10, 2021 11:24 am UTC
It'll be available once we've sent out rewards to backers of our last Kickstarter. (By the way, you can always check out our "coming soon" page for up-to-date info on upcoming products:
Customer avatar
Michael H March 03, 2021 8:52 am UTC
Fantastic update!
Customer avatar
Rob A February 06, 2021 4:29 pm UTC
I ran two one-shots in this, and it worked very well. Good atmosphere, lots of moving parts that are easy to ad-lib from, and it's presented in a way that makes it easy to use at the table without much preparation.
Customer avatar
Michael A January 03, 2021 10:00 pm UTC
Dismissed it when I first received it with my bundle but I used it to run an impromptu swords and wizardry game and it fit the bill perfectly! I read through most of the book a few hours before our scheduled session and was able to run it on the fly for a group of osr newbies.

They had a blast and really got hooked by the atmosphere, our session ended up running long into the night. Very good balance between challenge and teaching moments. Love the concise room keys, just enough there to give the DM inspiration while playing.
Customer avatar
michael M December 17, 2020 4:01 pm UTC
Gavin - What about a print version? :) Also, would you run this or Winter's daughter first for a dolmenwood game?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G December 17, 2020 4:06 pm UTC
The print version is available from the Necrotic Gnome and Exalted Funeral websites, but is sold out right now. We'll be reprinting it soon.

For Dolmenwood, Winter's Daughter is a much better fit. Hole in the Oak isn't set in Dolmenwood and has a bit of a different tone.
Customer avatar
Tim Z October 29, 2020 7:49 pm UTC
Great module, story and map! This is a great introduction adventure to the OSR with just the right amount of challenge for beginning characters yet not too long. So much more fun and well thought-out than the my introduction to B/X..."Keep On The You-know-what". I used this to introduce my pre-teen niece and nephew to RPGs using Old School Essentials and the D&D B/X game I started with back in the 1980's...and they couldn't get enough of it. Don't let the cover and artwork fool you. This adventure is not child's play and not a fairy-tale. Players will have to show skill and quick-thinking to survive. Rash decisions will get you slaughtered and eaten. Our band of 4 (I played NPC mercenaries to help them) only survived by throwing ourselves into the underground river and going over a waterfall. I planned on adding another level of my own creation but hear a sequel (2nd level) is in the works?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G October 30, 2020 8:22 am UTC
Great to hear you've been having fun with the adventure!

We are going to be publishing a companion adventure -- The Incandescent Grottoes -- soon. (It's available for pre-order now: It expands the dungeon to the west, though, (i.e. upstream along the river), rather than east / downstream / beyond the waterfall.

(We'll also probably publish the section of the dungeon that lies beyond the waterfall at some point, though we don't have any time frame for that at the moment.)
Customer avatar
Bruce G June 05, 2020 9:57 am UTC
Dare You go into the Hole in the Oak?

"The Hole in the Oak" by Gavin Norman
Published and Distributed by Necrotic Gnome
ISBN-13: 978-3-96657-0021-3 -- 32 Pages -- Digest Sized
Introduction to the Mythic Underground

The Hole in the Oak is a starter module for Necrotic Gnome's Retro Fantasy Adventure Game.

GMs! There is a very nice two-page spread of the Dungeon that can be reached from the Hole in the Oak, as well as other entrances and exits. The color coding is a nice touch, and informs the GM what to prepare for their players in each area!

The book is indexed from the Table of Contents, which is a numerical list of the 60 places in the dungeon characters may visit. This book is for characters from beginning to 2nd level. GMs should also have the 'Core Rulebook' and the 'Classic Fantasy: Cleric and Magic-User Spells' books. The 'Monsters' and the 'Treasures' are given in the module.

There are no less than 60 different...See more
Customer avatar
Philip R September 06, 2019 10:35 pm UTC
Great module. Do you have a player facing version of the map, without the notes and highlights? Its great to use as the basis for an online tabletop.
Customer avatar
Necrotic G September 08, 2019 5:59 am UTC
I could add an unlabelled version of the map to the PDF product, though it would of course still show secret doors, furnishings, etc. Would that be useful?

Glad you're enjoying the adventure!
Customer avatar
Necrotic G September 24, 2019 6:34 am UTC
I just added two PNG files to the product: a version of the map with labels and one without. Hope that helps!
Customer avatar
Philip R September 25, 2019 10:41 pm UTC
Super, thanks!!
Customer avatar
Thomas Z August 20, 2019 8:24 am UTC
Please can we have a 5e version as well please?
Customer avatar
Necrotic G August 21, 2019 5:42 am UTC
It's not on the cards right now, but it may happen at some point.
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File Last Updated:
October 05, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on August 18, 2019.