Creeper’s Rift
“Some call the Rift the black vault of Porphyra, other say it’s the last bulwark against the Underdeep. I call it home.” -Garret Undershaw, mine owner and merchant

Capital: Argentum
Settlements: Argentum (11,500)
Ruler: The Council of Argentum
Government: Oligarchy
Races: Dwarf, Gnome, Human, Kripar
Faiths: Ferrakus, Linium, Veiloaria
Resources: Gemstones, metals (adamantine, copper, gold, iron, mithral, silver)
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Gnome, Kripar, Undercommon
Border Conditions: Restricted (intermittent within the rift allows access to the Underdeep)

History
In the time of the Elemental Lords, Creeper’s Rift was little more than a crack in the northern Simooni Desert, from which dark things would scurry. It was in the early days of the NewGod Wars that the Rift took on its present form. The flaw on the face of the world became Ferrakus’ practical demonstration of how, with enough power and precision, anything can be sundered. Myriad
bits of Ferrakus’ dimensional domains were attracted into this hole in reality before it eventually stabilized. Many devoted gnomes came through the planar rift, to live in the new physical realm. The crack became a hundred mile long, ten mile wide, five mile deep chasm that sent two of the Elemental Lords’ strongholds to the bowels of Porphyra.

For centuries, the Rift and the surrounding lands were considered cursed, and only the gnomes and the odd crook-backed kripars would travel from there to other cities. This isolation came to an abrupt end when an especially reckless gnome, Halugalom (Hal) Undercrunch struck mithril on the eastern cliff, bragged of his claim in nearby Junt, and the Rift Rush was on. Thousands flocked to the Rift to plunder the treasures the rock had to offer. What they found, in most cases, was death.

Adding to the danger of mining itself were attacks from dark folk, morlocks, rogue kripar, shadows, and vilstrak, not to mention fouler beings of the depths. Worse still was the internal conflict, claim jumping, and outright robbery. Through all the bloodletting and wildcat strikes, Hal Undercrunch’s wealth grew. Within a year of his first strike, he found a massive vein of gold. His original mining camp became a gnomish boom town which Hal named Argentum, after his eldest daughter. He hired others to take the risks of the cliff and started selling supplies and other mercantile goods to the other miners, which made him one of the richest men in all of Porphyra.

Others, following Hal’s example, found wealth and power along the Rift. Each of the oligarchs employed thousands of miners, and raised private mercenary armies to keep the horrors, the miners, and their competitors where the belonged. This was the way of things, until the Day of the Black Sunrise.

The Day of the Black Sunrise was a mass attack from the Underdeep against the surface dwellers of the Rift that coincided with an eclipse. It was led by a shadow called the Left Hand of Midnight. The attack took the miners by surprise, but the hordes of the Left Hand were equally surprised by the fierceness of the miners and mercenaries.

Of all the battles that day, none was as brutal as that for the city of Argentum. A half-orc mercenary named Aloysius Blackthorn led a ragtag army of mercenaries, paladins, miners, xia, and priests in a counter-offensive now known as Blackthorn’s Stand. Blackthorn himself fought the Left Hand of Midnight, and sent the monster screeching into the depths of the Rift cursing the house of Blackthorn and swearing revenge.

It has been ten years since the Day of the Black Sunrise, and new mining camps and towns have replaced those that fell, but the scars of that day are etched forever into the cliffs of the Rift.

Current Events
Creeper’s Rift is a hard place. It is populated by miners either working for one of the major mining companies, or trying to strike it rich-striving to duplicate Hal Undercrunch’s luck. The Rift is rich in mineral wealth, and lacking in everything else. Almost all the sources of clean water are owned by the oligarchs, and temperatures on the surface can reach one hundred and twenty degrees in the day, and minus twenty at night. Water and shelter are power in the rift, but so is will. The Miners United guild controls production in all the mines, and this creates a level of tension rarely seen in the rest of the world. It is Blackthorn’s Irregulars that keep the peace. The Irregulars support the oligarchs as long as the miners are treated fairly. It is a precarious peace, but it has worked for the last ten years. If everyone keeps acting in their best interests, the peace should last.

Settlement
The major settlement of Creeper’s Rift is:

  • Argentum is the only city of note on Creeper’s Rift. It is built on mining, vice, and battle. It is, in truth, two cities; Topside, and Low Town.
    • Topside is the home of the city’s elite. Its polished red walls beckon travelers and traders to visit and leave their goods and money. It is dotted with fine inns and mercantile stores offering the finest of what Porphyra has to offer, sent by way of the Consortium. The Grand Exchange, which sits in the city’s center, is the largest market for rare metals, gems, and precious minerals on the surface of the planet. Towering above the Exchange is Argentum’s Council Hall where business and the city is controlled by the large mine owners and their representatives referred to as the Oligarchs. The only building in town larger than the Council Hall is the Ordered House of Linium, that also serves as the city’s courthouse.
    • Low Town is the home of the miners, soldiers, criminals and priests that keep the city running and safe. Low town is carved into the cliff face, extending nearly a mile into the chasm. It too is surrounded by a red brick wall, marked with the words, “Here and No Further” in Common and Undercommon. It has been a warning that the things below have learned to take seriously. The main wall serves as both main line of defense, and as a Flower and Compass wayhouse for Veiloaria. The other major chapel in Low Town is dedicated to Ferrakus, erstwhile creator and patron of the Rift and the miners within. The largest compound in Low Town that isn’t a tavern or casino belongs to Blackthorn’s Irregulars, who act as Argentum’s police force and miltary.

Intrigues

  • A recent adamantine strike near Low Town has brought an influx of dwarves, much to the chagrin of the slum-dwelling goblinoids of the city. The Irregulars are looking for fresh recruits to add to stepped-up patrols.
  • Captain Blackthorn has announced his retirement in the coming year, leaving his children to compete for position of leader of the Irregulars. The PCs must pick a faction: that of Garfield, xia of Veiloraria, Meranda, aberrant sorcerer, and William, de facto darling of the local Thieves Guild. Then, the fun will start…
  • A lone survivor of a deep survey crew is brought up to Low Town babbling of horrors in the dark, and the reclaiming of fallen strongholds by things that should not be. He claims their scout is the Left Hand of Midnight, and he and his minions are looking for something, a treasure of the Elemental Lords. The one thing that gives credence to his mad words is his now useless eyes are black as pitch.

See Also