Thirteen Tombs of the Brilliant Dynasty

Xmas 2022 Jam late entry. Medieval dark fantasy castle in frozen lands with haunted crypt. Tangibly harder than vanilla, but searching for secrets would make things drastically easier. NOTICE: It's recommended to play it first on Normal. Hard is intended for more challenging replay, when you know encounters setup and preferably already learned where the secrets are

REQUIREMENTS: latest Arcane Dimensions



Arcane Dimensions Mod by Simon "Sock" O'Callaghan & Team
Textures by Ben "Makkon" Hale
Music by BouncyTEM

THANKS to creators of TrenchBroom, QS / QSS / IW / VK engines, Compiler & GUI for Compiler, ModelViewer, TexMex. THANKS to Dumptruck, Markie, Fairweather & Yoder for their video tutorials & level design commentaries. THANKS to all Quake mappers for help & inspiration. THANKS to Quake creators for the game & the engine

SPECIAL THANKS to Sock for help & advices
SPECIAL THANKS to Dooplon, Makkon & SewerHrehorowicz for visual suggestions
SPECIAL THANKS to (in alphabetical order) DragonsForLunch, flecked, Mopey bloke, Raton, spootnik, sze & tyfighter for testing & invaluable comments
Submitted by
alexUnder Ros
Release date
Jan 6, 2023
First uploaded
Last update
4.15 star(s) 20 ratings

Latest updates

  1. 1.04

    - Made slime/pendilums area simpler (added planks) - Added 1 more secret; everyone is trying to...
  2. 1.01

    Very important update! I forgot to add that "object" while I aimed to do that "thing" initially

Latest reviews

Beautifully done map both aesthetically and combat/puzzle wise. The fights were interesting and engaging, I loved the fact that you gave the player the appropriate weapons to deal with the big baddies. The use of not so frequent monsters like judicators and the red death knight/prince was really cool. I feel like you could've also placed a boglord down in the swamp/crypt area, but the vor/brood mother area was really cool in itself. I loved the use of different color lights, the purple mushrooms/ the green crystals, the ambient sound effects. Everything was really well thought and put together. It reminded me of Leptis Magna (ad_magna).

Overall the map is a masterpiece and deserves a solid 5/5 stars.
Had a good time here!

I didn't have many complaints with the combat or movement, maybe not best-in-class but OK by me. The sense of place and exploration, use of color/lighting, and a bit of the routefinding early in the map were all really nice.

It's interesting to see some discussion of the "slime tunnel" in the reviews here since yeah that was one of the things I immediately thought I would mention in a review. One the one hand, probably annoying if you don't find the enviro-suit. On the other hand, that's what made finding the enviro-suit feel great. Hmm!

The way that the crypt area was set up as "do these three separate paths to unlock the exit" was slightly a letdown maybe? I think it would have felt like just a neat part of the journey if it had then led you back into the castle, maybe to a spot you had seen before but been unable to reach. As it stands though, it kind of feels like the end of the map has reduced ambitions.

Anyway, very good altogether. It seems like an alexUnder map has a distinct look-n-feel which works for me.
I really enjoyed this map. Big fan of the setting and the dungeon crawling aspects. All the different environments meshed together as an organic whole and the lighting was lovely. Combat on Nightmare/evil difficulty was sufficiently brutal and claustrophobic. You're really fighting for space in the initial stages of the map with very good use of elevated crossbow archers and ogres to complicate matters. Ambushes, traps and environmental hazards combined with the somewhat limited health and armour give the map a hostile and oppressive atmosphere that doesn't let up.

The final fight is great fun and to go against the grain somewhat, I actually appreciated how awkward and cramped it was to navigate. You're given the opportunity to inspect the arena before triggering the battle and the placement of the inactive stone knights gives a very good idea as to what is going to happen, so an observant player can choose to smash the pots and clear a path for when it all kicks off. You have to be deliberate with any rocket shots to avoid self damage and decide when to switch back to the widowmaker. There's a nice tension between wanting to clear out the big flail wielding knights quickly with the rocket launcher and fearing a stone knight suddenly blocking a rocket at point blank.

The one weakness for me is that the secrets are probably too powerful: The early blast belt is extremely strong because it negates the damage from the gargoyle projectiles in the outer courtyard, allows for some aggressive skips and mitigates a lot of the risk from self-damage in the final arena. Similarly, the platforming section in the crypt is very tense and precarious in normal play, but the entire section can be bypassed with the secret enviro-suit at the start. There seems to be a secret for every major obstacle that really lets you overcome it without any strings attached. Personally, I prefer it when there's some sort of adverse reaction or cost involved with grabbing a high value powerup. That, or a need to think carefully about when and how best to use it.

I was also surprised that there was no payoff or acknowledgment after killing the boss in the secret area, though the fight itself was reward in itself and well worth the effort in finding. The guy just seems to be hanging out there for no real reason.

Quibbles aside, this was a lovely map. You've made a great map for copper, alkaline and now AD. I'm looking forward to future releases.
I pretty much agree with fw's assessment, though I think it's worth 4. I actually think it could have done with being a bit shorter, I didn't really get a feeling of exploration and the was a fair amount of very linear combat, which made me wish that the whole thing was a bit more compact.
The fact that all encounters are very dynamic and fun on one hand and completely skippable on the other makes for a great nonlinear exploration once you got the rocketlauncher and blast belt, which happened on like first quarter of my playthrough. With them and explosive barrels you can skip or fast forward to any section you like, or skip/speedrun the level altogether. I like this open-ended approach to level design. Didn't had this much fun with exploration in quake for a long time.
There is no armor in any non secrets until 20 minutes into the map combat is a slog up until about half way in but then you get to a bunch of cramped areas with detailing that serves no other purpose but to block you, it's challenging but in a way that only serves to frustrate you by lack of mobility.
I absolutely loved this map. I literally had just three issues: the 3-vore room gave me a really hard time for a minute, until I found more health. The room with the spiral staircase and a bunch of statues was tricky to maneuver when enemies started coming at me (bumping into so many statues got me killed). And the blood key area is easily accessible without the key (maybe intentional?).
Otherwise, this hits all the right notes of an AlexUnder map for me. Amazing lighting, cool architecture, challenging and clever encounters, fun traps, and a little creepy at times. Especially had me on edge with all the mini-vores. And I appreciate the moments where you avoided adding enemies in favor of setting the tone for a new area.

Easily my favorite map from you. So far. :)
Masterpiece. Big map. The nice dynamic of playing. Must play it.
Verdict: Beautiful visuals and a neat adventure give way to tedious combat and labyrinthine level design.

The first bit of the map is pretty fun, circling around the large castle structure is a great time. The combat might be a bit plain for some but I thought it did it's job. And once you get into that all-out war at the outskirts of the castle it's a very fun spectacle of a time.

The second half of the experience (The Crypt) seems to be designed to make you frustrated. Cramped areas, a confusing layout, wonky geometry to make you slip into swinging axe traps or slime, tiny nuisance enemies... it's just not my speed at all. The visuals however stay really well done, some of this stuff feels straight out of an early 2000s 3D adventure game. Like a bit of Morrowind got shoved into my Quake- it's really nice.

This is certainly the higher end of 3 stars. THANKS.
Blows all other tcj maps out of the water easily, the only one which comes close is probably Mazu's one.