The “waterfall room” was one of the first locations I imagined when I started work on Escape from White Cliff. The adventure begins with the characters arriving at the White Cliff university and after a short wait outside, a crotchety old professor meets them and introduces himself as their guide. White Cliff is teeming with extravagances.

This is most apparent when the characters enter at the bottom of a cool, cavernous room full of mist, and are buffeted by the roar of flanking waterfalls. They ascend several flights of stairs (one of the first hazards of the university, and one that helps to discourage outsiders from visiting, or students from leaving) to a suspended platform that serves to bridge the east and west wings of the school.

The entrance to each wing has a modestly-sized door set in the middle of an enormous stained-glass window. As the grumpy professor mumbles in explanation: the west wing, which leads to the student dormitories, the main kitchens and mess halls, and any servants’ quarters, or other living/socializing areas (plus three of the school’s seven libraries), are represented by complex geometric shapes that spell out “unlearned.”

The east wing, which holds the classrooms, all the important laboratories and storage areas, the tower with the teachers’ quarters, the other four libraries, are represented by geometric shapes that spell out “knowledge.” He mentions that apart from other “service” stairways, the massive stairway is one of the only stairways that sees anything resembling regular traffic. Other transportation between floors use “levitation chambers.”

The characters can see three large, open-top aqueducts running the length of the room, transporting water from one wing to the other and back. The professor mentions that the architects magically rerouted a river through the building through a series of portals to provide an advanced plumbing system. He notes that the school’s waste is carried away with the river and ends up in a different dimension somewhere.