Hub 1: Winnowing Hall
|Castle of Grief|
|Deathkings of the Dark Citadel|
|Map name: MAP01
Cheat code: visit01
The Winnowing Hall is the first level in Hexen. It was designed by Brian Raffel. It serves as a prologue and a tutorial. Although it is part of the Seven Portals hub, you cannot return to it once you have left.
Among the first places set upon by Korax's minions, the chapels bell sounds as a death knell for the doom about to befall the rest of Hexen.
You start off in front of a chapel. Entering the door, you'll find yourself in a large room with a barred teleporter. Beware of the two traps here. The Korax icons along the south wall will activate if you get near, shooting fireballs for several seconds. If you step on the central platform where the teleporter is, the four surrounding chambers open to unleash ettins.
There are many stained glass windows in the chapel, some of which conceal items. In the western alcove, you can smash the righthand window to reveal a hidden stairway. At the bottom, you'll find an ettin or two, health, and a bullhead switch - pressing this will open the gates. Behind the next door is a narrow area where walls will lower to surround you with ettins. Near the stained glass windows on the far end of the room is another bullhead switch - pull it to lower the pillar with the emerald key. As soon as you take it, the gates start opening and closing. They can crush you if you're not careful, so your best bet is to dash through.
Now that you have the Emerald Key, you can open the locked gate outside. To find it, leave the chapel veranda and turn left. Once it's unlocked, you'll be confronted with more ettins. Near the second wooden gate is a sun/moon switch - press it to open the stone door on the right. The stairs lead up to a rampart with more ettins, and another sun/moon switch that rises up. Press this to open the second gate. Before you head back down, you can climb up the southern wall for a platinum helm.
The second gate opens to a courtyard with a belfry, more ettins, and afrits. The belfry is locked, so you'll have to enter the cave, located to the west and covered by trees. There may be more ettins here if you haven't killed them already. The path will lead you straight to the silver key. Once you take it, the crushers in the cave activate - they grind open and shut at varying speeds, so proceed with caution. With the silver key you can open the door to the belfry and climb up. Hit the bell to ring it, which solves the puzzle. You can either climb back down, or jump down using the ledges with statues (done properly, you won't take fall damage). You can either go back the way you came in, or through the cave if the crushers have stopped (the stalagmite barrier will have disappeared). Back at the chapel, there will be more enemies, including afrits. You'll find that the teleporter inside is now unbarred, and it sends you to a room with a portal. A passage opens to the right, giving you one more chance to explore the level, as there is no way to return. Enter the red portal to proceed to the Seven Portals.
- In the emerald key room, when playing deathmatch, there is a hidden room behind the south-west brass wall. The room contains a teleporter that leads outside.
- Just after using the emerald key and ascending the steps, there are stone ledges against the wall that can be jumped up. There is a platinum helm hidden at the top.
- The Mage can ring the bell without acquiring the silver key or entering the tower by using the Sapphire Wand.
- If the player stands in the northeast corner of the room beyond the emerald door and looks towards the bell tower at a certain angle, a HOM effect can appear on the far wall of the outdoor area. This is caused by a drawsegs limit.
- On hard difficulty, an ettin inside the bell tower is stuck to the wall.
- Missing textures:
- On the ceiling near -1088,1152, which makes the ceiling in front of the entrance look slightly off.
- Surrounding the teleport near -1122, 2014, but the resulting flaw is barely visible.
- All of the stained glass windows in this level can be broken, and several of them conceal items. The breakable stained glass depicts the three character classes. Some have an extra unbreakable pane above them that depicts the ultimate weapon of that class. This is the only official level in Hexen to feature double panel windows, both depicting the same character class and both simultaneously broken if one panel is smashed.
- If the player is using the Mage class, they do not need to get the silver key in order to complete the level. At the area with the bell tower, aim at the bell through the window and shoot it with the Sapphire Wand to lower the teleporter in the other room.
- In the first indoor room, once the ettins are released, they can be killed by triggering the Korax heads and running outside.
- The player can also hide inside the small rooms that they are held in; there is a switch on the other side of the head so that they will not be trapped.
- The tall bushes near the clock tower can be burned down with fire-based attacks (Fighter and Mage fléchettes, Hammer of Retribution, Firestorm, Bloodscourge, and Afrit fireballs). Same goes for the dead tree by the cave.
- This map has various structural debris:
- A triangle, which has its linedefs facing outward (rather than inward like a normal sector).
- Two sectors south of the four-door trap.
- A pair of linedefs just north-west of the four-door trap, which if viewed with the map cheat, gives a false impression of a connecting segment. (One of these linedefs completes a square for overhead viewing.)
- A linedef connecting the starting area and bell tower area, west of the second door leading to the bell tower. It is associated with a single sector that contains lava.
Areas / screenshots
This level contains eight spawn points:
- facing east. (thing 178)
- facing west. (thing 179)
- facing north-east. (thing 298)
- facing north-east. (thing 299)
- facing north-east. (thing 300)
- facing north-east. (thing 301)
- facing north-east. (thing 302)
- facing north-east. (thing 303)
Inspiration and development
A pre-release screenshot from two months before the game's release reveals that this level previously had dark bishops present as enemies. This might either indicate that the level originally occurred much later in the game's progression (possibly as part of the third hub where dark bishops normally occur), or that dark bishops originally occurred as early as the first level of the game. In addition, the architecture differs in the center of the room from what is present in the final level.
- "Winnowing" means "to eliminate that which is inferior". In particular, it refers to the process of separating wheat from chaff in agriculture.
- Script 253 in this map makes three things (with TID 36) emit an owl song every nine-to-twenty seconds. Two of them are map spots near healthy trees in the starting courtyard (the one closest to the west wall in the passage to the stalactite-barred cave with the silver key and the one in the middle of the eastern part of the courtyard); but the third is the pottery right in front of the player start.
- Inky (13 March 2021). "Brian Raffel interviewed by Inky." Inky's Hexen II Mapping Corner. Retrieved 10 August 2021.