A quick walkthrough on how to find unamrked location of an Dernholm Pits exit. Dernholm Pits can be enter as part of the main quest but if you want go go there before it, you can use backdoor. It is a hidden passage outside of town, quite hard to find so let me introduce you to some quick countryside trip.
Guide to Find Secret Dernholm Dungeon
There is a secret dungeon in Dernholm. It is named The Dernholm Pits and it is main high security prison for the Kingdom of Cumbria.
It is also a part of a main quest – if you are evil and want to join Dark Elves you will be sent on a mission to Dernholm to liberate certain murderous halfling from the dungeon who may become one of your companions and a guide into the Vendigroth Wastes.
However – if you play as a good character and become ally of good Elves and Nasrudin, you may never even know that there is another entrance to the Dernholm Pits and miss some XP for enemies and some magical equpment.
Dernholm Pits have another entrance, a backdoor if you will, that is located outside of town and can be use to plunder the dungeon if Pits guards are unwilling to sent you there the normal route, by the prison main gates (that hole in the ground, a weird arena-like area behind the Praetor’s castle).
It is kinda hard to find if you do not know where to look or you play game the very first time. In some of the online walkthroughs and Arcanum’s forums it is sometimes mentioned that you should fallow NW direction outside Dernholm outskirts, behind the river but it is wery vague instruction that will lead you into wilderness and into middle of nowhere if you do not know where you have to start precisely.
Because of that I will now show you step-by-step where to start and where to go to find the backdoor.
The Proper Way
First you have to go behind Dolan Store, near the entrance of the Dernholm. Try to align you character in the middle of the symmetry axis of that building, similar to what I did in the picture number one:
Now – you should follow staight line in the direction of North-West, more or less into your upper left corner of a screen but try to stay in the lane of alignment from your start. If You stray to much from that patch you will probably still find the passage to the dungeon by you will be off the chart. If You find nothing – return to the beggining and try again strictly staying on the NW path.
When you travel in the North-West direction – first you should encounter a normal looking stone on the right side and some schrubs and tall grass pack and the left:
This mean you are on the right path. Please follow further in the same NW direction. After a while you should spot another grass-and-schrubs formation. This time they are farther apart from one another. Try to place yourselve in the middle of a clearing between them.
You are almost there! All you have to do is to go some more steps in a general North-West direction and you will sooner than later find a group of three trees and a stone stairs in the ground that leads into Derholm Pits. That means You are at the right place.
If You don’t find the passage on you first trial – try go back to Dernholm by world map fast travel and try again from the beggining at the back of a Dolan General Store.
Be carefull – some people are saying that if you will enter the Dernholm Pits before the mission to rescue halfling criminal from prison – it will mees up the scripting of the quest and you may have some troubles with finishing it.
So go into the backdoor of the dungeon only if you do not want to join Dark Elves or if you are fully aware that you might end up with corrupted quest line. Halfling from the dungeon is not necessary to finish the game but you have been warned.
Inside the prison there are some angry prisoners that will attack on sight so be prepare to fight. It is a challanging fight for 20 lvl character – however I was playing as a non-combat diplomat/marchant so my main character was heavily relaying on fighting skills of the rest of the party. If You play as a warrior, DPS warlock with high magic affinity and lots of endurance or if you have team of sesoned fighters with You – the combat may be not as challenging.
Finally – it is impossible to leave the dungeon by the way of the arena behind a castle. If you enter through the secret passage and explored the entire prison – you will find and passage-like barred dors in the wall that are locked. This is the entrance to the arena area and You will be unable to go there. Don’t waste your time picking the lock or blowing them with explosives. Just turn back the way you came.