Underdeep
“This one has seen that which is the surface; seas, skies, trees. None of it all can compare with one single psi-infested porphyrite mega-stalactite in a single hive, in a single commune…” - T’rn E’r, dromite chronicler

Capital: Varies by kingdom
Settlements: N’ndS’r (100,000, dromite), Morn Dunmar (duergar, 6,000), Valenstae and Turgannal
(5,000+, ophiduan)
Rulers: M’dln C’tk, GeneArchivist Ascendant of N’ndS’r (dromite), Lord Break-more (duergar), Clan Chiefs Seratt M’ar and Lem’csstra Tol (ophiduan)
Government: Varies by Kingdom
Races: Dromite, Drow, Duergar, Kripar, Ophiduan, Troglodyte
Faiths: Ferrakus, Linium, Nemyth Vaar, Shade, Shankhil
Resources: Gems, godmetals (all), metals (all), porphyrite
Languages: Draconic, Kripar, Terran, Undercommon
Border Conditions: Unpredictable (Porphyrite pockets exist and move seemingly at random in the Underdeep)
Major Access Points: Creeper’s Rift, Mount Xoa, Nor-Du-Mag, Purple Mountain, the Pinnacle Lands, assorted islands in the Sea of Karkoon

History
The Underdeep is a vast collection of titanic caverns and a threaded morass of tunnels that spiderweb beneath the kingdoms of the surface world. Much of the Underdeep is naturally occuring formations, lava tubes, underground waterways and tunnels cut from the bowels of the world by tunneling creatures and races. Those haunts of the common races have been carved by design over milennia, and those places are fiercely competed over, as valuable as life itself.

It is said, though, carved in the Stone Scrolls of Scraper the duergar scribe, that the existence of the Underdeep is the result of a far more apocalyptic design. The myths say that the entirety of the Land Below is a prison; that a being exists from long before The Calling, from before the rule of the Elemental Lords, from a time immemorial, who must never wake. For if That Which Sleeps Beneath should rouse from its god-sleep, the world will suffer cataclysm that would make the Breaking of Nor-Du-Mag look like a landing of a butterfly.

The terrible Codex of Mar’dis hints that in some far channel of the Underdeep is enscribed the name of The Sleeper, and to speak this name aloud would wake the slumbering Entropy - or so say the ravings of the madmen who have translated the text before taking their own lives. Furthermore, in the biogum crystalline walls of the dromite hive libraries, there lay, dormant, memory - shards of the One Who Calls Now and Forever. To share these memories is a heretical crime, punishable by termination of the hive’s gene-heritage, and if any seeds of the heresy occur again, the eradication of the hivememory until non-contamination can be assured.

Current Events
There are a handful of cataloged ways into the Underdeep, other than those in Creeper’s Rift, but where once only a few rogue fissures the Land Below existed, unmapped, after The Calling and the landing of the alien, porphyrite-bordered countries, a myriad of shifting paths now lay open. As with any portal, though, they function both ways, and as entrance to the Underdeep has been gained, so has the Underdeep’s grasp reached the surface of Porphyra.

The Underdeep holds almost as many nations as that of the world it exists beneath, complete with its share of fallen kingdoms, and ruins of ancient origin. Of these nations, a few warrant note:

  • The dromite hive cities are some of the most spectacular creations a mortal can behold. Towering geometric constructions of luminescent biogum arcologies are home to millions of dromites. Their caverns mostly dominate the northwest quadrant of the globe.
  • There are the vast caverns of the Serpent Kingdoms, ruled by the ophiduan clan houses. One must take care when crossing clan cavernland, in the vicinity of the surface equator, to avoid being caught up in the House Wars.
  • Duergar feudal holds span miles upon miles of the deep caves of the sub-southern hemisphere. If one can keep from becoming chained to a deepforge bellows, it is said that they hold wonders crafted from the exotic ores of the deep.

A constant hazard of the deep realms are the roving hordes of troglodytes, unpredictable in their level of devolution and savagery. Though primitive, they are said to harvest porphyrite and shape it into weapons, following the living veins of the precious mineral through the flesh of the world.

Rare but near unequaled in danger are the kripar hunting lodges. The crook-backed hunters are as proud as they are skilled, and fueled by a constant need to find the most dangerous prey. They sometimes hire members of other races as porters on grand hunts into the vast dark, and it is said that a single successful hunt could yield enough return to retire to a king’s life on the surface. The kripar have no regard for weakness or failure, and one of their employees could very easily find themselves playing the part of bait. They have of late declared themselves self-appointed ambassadors to Creeper’s Rift, and many of the larger lodges are found near there.

As for the long-vanished elder races of the underworld, and the all-too present ruins and works they left behind, beyond the Dark Sea of Ur, to the sealed lands beneath The Great Green, are great pyramids of pearl, towers of the jeweled walls of cities that yet bask in the light of a perfect diamond moon. Only the most intrepid underdwellers dare to roam there, as remnants of strange allies to the elementalists dwell here, and hide, having paid the price for trusting their dying
power to the losers of the New-God Wars.

Settlements
The major settlements of the Underdeep are:

  • Morn Dunmar is gray and solid, like the duergar themselves, and resonant with concentric chants and odes to their weird patrons. They are said to trade in dire arcane weaponry to the highest bidders of the under- or overworld. It is closest to the isle of Sharira, but technically under the south Lost Sea.
  • N’ndS’r, the largest of the myriad dromite hive-cities, is said to house a library of knowledge that would take a lifetime of lifetimes to catalog, and that the Archivists offer its use to those strangers willing to offer lore in return, and that can become accustomed to the taste of the biogum volumes and neurospeech. N’ndS’r is located halfway between Nor-Du-Mag and Purple Mountain.
  • Valenstae and Turgannal are fiercely competitive ophiduan cities, and relatively open to outsiders, especially if there are interested in mercenary work. The clan-houses are at turns verging on civil war and joining in some new psionic fad or discipline, “for the good of the race.” These cities are in the approximate area of the Land of Steam.

Intrigues

  • A recent rumor tells of a dromite hive city that destroyed itself - perhaps the secret behind it’s self destruction can be found in its remains.
  • A group of explorers have returned from a deep delve with a device heretofore unknown. It bears symbols of an unrecorded race and hints of dire power. What does it do and where did it come from?
  • A duergar ambassador has gone missing in the depths of a vast northern cavern. He held information vital to the prevention of a holy war among the gray ones that would doubtless spill into the upper world.

See Also