“Well, Peggy, this is a hellmouth. You don’t want to leave this open, not with a baby in the house.”

The Mad Meg post a while back included a bit about how she was literally going into the jaws of Hell, and I meant to write more about that, because the very idea is just awesome. Apart from the mythic nature of such a “dungeon” (are you actually chewed and digested by Hell? Can Hell be killed? Do you just slip in past the chompers and explore from there?) the jaws of Hell/Hell-mouths recall Mayan architecture (the portals to important buildings are mouths, as are the portals between worlds) and, to go from the sublime to whatever, there was also a great SNL sketch about Bob Villa rehabbing a haunted house, which is where the post title comes from (transcript here).

So, here are some more images of Hell-mouths I found online:

This was identified as set design (?) for a theater.

A fairly simple woodcut.

Another woodcut.

Note the porcine Hell mouth on the left.

A colored version of one of the woodcuts above; I found this at Monster Brains. Table for three in the Hell Mouth. People are just dying to get in.

Not sure if this a really weird archeological find or some kind of art installation or what.

Nom nom nom.

Thy flesh consumed

I’m not terribly familiar with the canon of old, or even recent, D&D modules since we very rarely used them in my gaming groups. But I do recall a user-created level for the computer game Doom which, when mapped, was clearly the alimentary canal of … something, with a tangled labyrinth representing intestines and so on. You can guess what the exit was. I was hoping I correctly recalled the name of the level as “Fistula” but no, that was another Doom level that was not biological at all. Now I kind of wish I’d kept some of my old Doom books for the maps. There’s bunch online, like this hand.

Squidman did a neat dungeon based on his inner ear. Any other dungeons based on anatomy? Hmm. Like Fantastic voyage, but into Hell.

I smell a project for my potential DMing debut…

Word to the wise: It is probably best NOT to Google “anatomical dungeon” at work. Likewise “alimentary map” and suchlike.

But I did find some interesting things at home, like this, this, and this. Then again it’s hard to beat this.

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Published in: on May 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The colored table for three androgenous hellmouth creature with its foot in a bucket makes a horrific image for a tarot deck. It is, of course, The Devil.

  2. […] dragon dungeon sounds a lot like a pet idea I have, described towards the end of this post. I’ve gone as far as sketching a map and thinking about the encounters a little.  I was […]

  3. […] reasons I can’t begin to fathom, my post about hellmouths has been getting absolutely slammed with spam comments…like twenty or more a day.  […]

  4. Isn’t it annoying, when you’ve got a bunch of people having lunch in your mouth, and there’s some bugger frying fish on top of your head, and then you get your foot stuck in a bucket?

    I hate it when that happens.

    …these are some seriously peculiar and evocative images. Thank you.

  5. There was an AD&D 2nd edition module called Nightmare Keep (under the Forgotten Realms logo) where the main dungeon was inside a weird enlarged body of a lich deep under a castle or something. Lots of imaginative areas for different parts of the body, and a very strange full color map of the dungeon.


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