Splitpaw used to be the home of the Splitpaw clan of gnolls. Now their tribal home has been overrun by another more powerful clan of gnolls, intent on their own political agenda, who use the Splitpaw clan any way that they can. Splitpaw is the site where in gnoll legend, their god set his foot upon the earth, and the surface markings are his footprint. Nobody knows if this is true, but hunters in Southern Karana know the three talons rising from the ground that mark the entrance to the lair.
This is a dungeon for middle level characters, and the difficulty of the dungeon scales relatively slowly from the entrance to the deeper parts of the dungeon. The front entrance has gnolls of around 25th and slightly higher level, and as you move further in, you will encounter gnolls that are much more powerful the deeper you move in.
The main danger in this dungeon, as in Blackburrow, is training. The trains here are not huge Blackburrow trains, but little mini-trains where the local gnolls decide to help out their buddies. Starting at the entrance, almost all of the gnolls are with a partner at least, and so you have to be able to take on two 30th level gnolls if you even want to walk in the front door. Gnolls, like all the half-sentient evil humanoids, have a tendency to flee. Since they have a fair number of hit points and are really chickens, they can make it quite far while fleeing, which makes it so that you have more gnolls joining in than you care to have. Snaring or rooting is required in this dungeon, since having several more jump in, or worse, start healing, when a gnoll is fleeing away could mean your end.
There is also a problem because in certain areas you will be attacking gnolls thinking there is nobody nearby, and some gnoll will come running around the corner. This is a "feature" of EQ where creatures can tell you are attacking their buddy despite walls being between you and them. This is of special importance at the small room on the other side of the first bridge. There are usually a few gnolls here, and are relatively easy to take (if you've made it this far, you can take them). The danger is that around the corner and through a gate lies two more gnolls, who will come running if he is close enough, and are tougher. Basically, if you hear the chains rattling, turn and run.
The other problem comes because the gnolls have a heirarchy of classes that is shared only with Solusek's Eye in all of Norrath. Basically, they have members from every class within their ranks, which can make for some interesting battles. You have warriors (Tesch), which are typical monsters, but then you have rogues (Lteth) who will backstab you if you aren't careful. The casters (Rosch) come from all different classes and include mages, enchanters, and necromancers, and the "healers" (Nisch) are both clerics or shamans. Few monster races can boast such a broad range of ways in which to kill you, and this makes strategy and tactics for taking them on challenging.
The prison cells are dangerous if you step inside, because when the door shuts you are without access to the lever, and you better hope someone comes and helps you out. The main prison hall does not have this "feature" however, so you can go through that door and escape easily.
There aren't really any other unique dangers to Splitpaw. If you know group monster management and how not to train, then you can get by well. The only other problem with the zone is that it's a long walk from Qeynos or Highhold Pass. If you can get bound in Arena, that would help.
Splitpaw dungeon is, still, one of the least busy dungeon zones in the game. This means that you can make good experience and money, as well as some unique treasure, without having to worry about stepping on anyone's toes while hunting there. This is, in my opinion, it's main benefit.
The other main benefit in the dungeon is that the rare spawns are split off into their own little areas which you can hunt while not being worried about wandering gnolls. There are very few areas where there are wanderers, and they are only one at most, so you can easily learn their routine and account for them. Also, some of the best monsters to hunt are located near the "front" of the dungeon, and people can drop down from the front bridge to the level below and access them. Getting out isn't quite as easy, however...
Travelling To and From Splitpaw
There is only one way to get to Splitpaw, and that is by entering Southern Plains of Karana and travelling to the center. When you see the three bloody claws sticking up from the earth, pass in between them. In what would be the center of the paw, there is a small dark hole facing the claws that is the entrance to Splitpaw. This is easy to miss if you've never seen in before (and the first time I mapped Southern Karana in the beta, I walked over this and never saw it), so keep your eyes peeled, it's there somewhere.
Nostalgia from 1999-2003 EQ Atlas Web Site