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    Canonfire :: View topic - Underoerth Map!
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    Underoerth Map!
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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 12, 2001
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    Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:19 pm  
    Underoerth Map!

    It's a jpg right now. Tomorrow I'll try for a few regional scribblings, a few more names, and putting it together into a pdf.

    Please note that the outlines here are merely crude surface area, and do not convey depth or density of accessible passageways or caverns.

    http://home.comcast.net/~nellisir/ghunderdark1.jpg

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Mon Feb 21, 2005 11:43 pm  

    I like this concept! Reading over the other Underdark posts, this makes sense overall, and gives a rough sense of connectivity to the various vaults and areas mentioned.

    But I do have a question. The Lortmils are occupied by dwarves and gnomes, and basically surrounded by Ulek and Celene. While a sort of "freeway" north from the Pomarj makes sense, do you think that the residents in/around the Lortmils would allow an Underdark connection "in their backyard"?

    Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like the Lortmil area should be isolated somehow from the rest of the Underdark connections. Else the deep-digging dwarves in the mountains would have run into the Drow (and others) earlier. They would have spread this news to their (near) surface brothers in Ulek. Which would have passed to the Ulek elves and on to the Celene elves.

    Surface elves with Drow living under them? Heh, not for long. Someone is getting evicted.

    Otherwise it looks rock solid.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 12:21 am  

    Happy This is shaping up nicely Nell! You got me thinking hard now on Ull's connection to all this. I guess its touching on the Helldark. Hmm, good stuff!
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 4:33 am  

    Thanks for the reply, FirePower!

    FirePower wrote:
    But I do have a question. The Lortmils are occupied by dwarves and gnomes, and basically surrounded by Ulek and Celene. While a sort of "freeway" north from the Pomarj makes sense, do you think that the residents in/around the Lortmils would allow an Underdark connection "in their backyard"?


    It's less a case of being "allowed" than a natural feature they can't do much about (except fortify the heck out of it). Large swathes of the underdark under the Lormils are fortified, siolated, and guarded --- but the connectivity is still there (and control isn't complete). Even if all the tunnels were collapsed, it's still easier to reopen those areas than excavate new tunnels.

    Finally, I think under Celene is the BEST place for drow. Doesn't the bogeyman always live in the basement?

    Wink
    Nell.
    Kobold Pinata

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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 5:08 am  

    Nellisir wrote:
    It's less a case of being "allowed" than a natural feature they can't do much about (except fortify the heck out of it).

    Can't do much about? In a magical world, the most powerful elven kingdom in the land, can't do anything about a drow stronghold underneath it in over two-thousand years of known history?

    Sorry dude, but that's just lame. It goes against all reason and known canon. There would, by now, have been either conflict between them, or the elves just wouldn't have settled there. There has been neither.

    For a home campaign idea, it's cool and all, but I couldn't use it because it would take too much modification to make it make sense. Unfortunately, to do so, you DO have to reverse engineer things to fit with what is already known rather than just take the high-ground and say, "Yeah, but that's just how it is 'cause of, like, the mountains and stuff."

    Also, is there a legend? Having not read the other threads that were mentioned, I'm assuming the map makes more sense to those who have.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 7:56 am  

    Delglath wrote:
    Also, is there a legend? Having not read the other threads that were mentioned, I'm assuming the map makes more sense to those who have.


    If by "legend" you mean a little thing indicating what the various symbols mean, no. The only symbols are mountains. The various "darks" are my rough locations of the various underdarks beneath the Flanaess.

    Delglath wrote:
    Nellisir wrote:
    It's less a case of being "allowed" than a natural feature they can't do much about (except fortify the heck out of it).

    Can't do much about? In a magical world, the most powerful elven kingdom in the land, can't do anything about a drow stronghold underneath it in over two-thousand years of known history?


    Whoa there, Delglath! I didn't say ANYTHING about there being a drow outpost beneath Celene for two-thousand years!!! I said I think it's the best place for them, and I do -- cancer in your heart is a hell of alot more interesting and compelling than cancer in your little toe -- but I didn't say there ARE drow. I'm pretty certain I haven't posted my thoughts about the genesis of the drow yet, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

    The map outlines the various regions of the Underoerth. The Underoerth is not one cavern. It's not one settlement of drow. It's an underground feature, comparable perhaps to a mountain range. It's an area of the Oerth where caverns, tunnels, passages, and rifts are more frequent than everywhere else.

    Also, as I noted in the first post, the map does NOT CONVEY DEPTH, and nor does it convey frequency of surface connections. The presence of an underdark beneath a region does not mean a portal to the Sunless Sea in every basement.

    Also also, the drow have the advantage underground.

    Quote:
    just take the high-ground and say, "Yeah, but that's just how it is 'cause of, like, the mountains and stuff."


    [sigh]
    Isn't that what I did? The question was, "why do the dwarves allow an Underdark connection in their backyard?" My answer was: "It's a natural feature they can't do much about, except fortify the heck out of it." "It" refers to the Underdark. The Underdark is a natural feature, "...like, the mountains and stuff."

    I don't equate the Underdark with hordes and hordes of drow. If you do, then, well, that's your POV, and yes, the map and my threads would need alot of adapting. I'm pretty certain nothing conflicts really hard with canon, though -- I try and aim for the really big empty spots (in canon lore, not the map). I don't always hit them, but I'm willing to edit too.

    OK, sometimes I get a bit too shorthanded in my replies. So.

    Quote:
    it seems like the Lortmil area should be isolated somehow from the rest of the Underdark connections.

    Yes, but not totally. Large swathes of the Wilddark are artificially isolated from the remainder by dwarven & gnomish fortifications. The sheer size of the Underdark prohibits any wholesale destructive "isolating", plus doing so cuts off the dwarves knowledge of what their enemies are doing, and allows said enemies greater freedom to work. Also, the deeper dwarves rely on the underdark connections to travel and transport goods, and destroying those would force them to rely on surface dwarves and humans (since humans control most of the surface). I think everyone agrees that would be pretty darned undesirable to the dwarves.

    Quote:
    Else the deep-digging dwarves in the mountains would have run into the Drow (and others) earlier.


    Drow, IMO, originate near the Helldark/Lostdark region. Dwarves in the Helldark have indeed been aware of the drow for millenia, but the two races generally live at different depths and conflict is sporadic rather than prolonged.

    The sections of the Wilddark not held by dwarves, gnomes, or other good races are filled with goblinoids and orcs, the after-effects of the genocidal war the demihumans waged in the Lortmils. Ulek has Wilddark connections, but not nearly as frequent as those in the Lortmils, and not nearly as deep -- there are passages far beneath Ulek that the Ulek dwarves do not currently have access to, and it is these passages that carry traffic between the Helldark and the Wilddark, and thence to the Nyrdark (a bit of a backwoods place), or the Sundark (truly the pit of corruption and abomination in the Underoerth...there ARE drow beneath Sunndi, but I'll get into that later).

    Largescale settlement of the Wilddark by the drow has generally not been a goal or feasible.

    Quote:
    They would have spread this news to their (near) surface brothers in Ulek. Which would have passed to the Ulek elves and on to the Celene elves.


    I think the dwarves are far too close-mouthed for this, in general. A full-on, large scale invasion? Maybe. A few spats and light battles? Nothing to share. Life is gold, but knowledge is silver, and a dwarf won't easily be parted from either.

    I tend to assume that Good vs Evil, and "lets gang up on the humans" affairs aside, the dwarves and the elves aren't real friendly.

    I hope that explains things a little better.

    Cheers
    Nell.

    PS - I'll see about altering the map tonight. I might be able to swing the Helldark-Wilddark link a bit south/east, and make the connection more Pomarj than Uleks. I don't think it makes a difference, but I realize it's not clear visually.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:16 am  
    The Underdark

    OK, Nell, I want to start by saying that I am very excited and impressed by this whole project. Great work!!

    I was wondering, does anyone know where the term "Underdark," came from?

    I like everything you have done, but I have two suggestions:

    1) I don't like the "darks," as in Wilddark. I think a different term would differentiate the project from FR better. Maybe the Wild Deeps, or the Wild Depths, or the Nyrdeep. Thoughts? I wouldnt suggest changing it until we come up with something better, but I have this ticklish feeling in my head that we can.

    2) I do not envision the Darks/Deeps/Depths as interconnected as it "seems," you have drawn them. Am i misunderstanding this? I like the ideas of vaults seperated by hundreds of miles of tiny tunnels, dead ends and small pits. Or, are you envisioning a large interconnected underground network that extends all over the place. I am going to sketch on your map and send it PM as i have no place to host a map.

    Thanks for all your work.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:49 am  

    I would also place the drow originating in that area... if you take the High History of the Flanaess as canon, the drow were driven underground a little over 5000 years ago after the battle on the Plains of Pesh in what is now Keoland... I assume this would mean the majority of the "dark elf" (at this time I would consider them just evil elves, and would not yet have been dark skinned) survivors would have fled west towards the Crystalmists and Hellfurnaces in Geoff, Sterich, and Yeomanry. After centuries underground, scratching for survival, they would have assumed their current physical appearance, and would have pushed into caverns beneath the Sulhaut range and the Suel Imperium proper (which wasn't destroyed until ~4000 years later, or ~1000 years ago). I imagine the Suel would have enlisted the drow quite often to fight against the Bakluni in the early "conventional" stage of their conflict in guarding the passes through the Sulhaut.


    Nellisir wrote:

    Drow, IMO, originate near the Helldark/Lostdark region. Dwarves in the Helldark have indeed been aware of the drow for millenia, but the two races generally live at different depths and conflict is sporadic rather than prolonged.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 10:35 am  

    Nell,

    I think you got the general feel of my post correct. And your explanation of the dwarves being "tight-lipped" about a (in their opinion) minor skirmish or two makes sense.

    I hadn't thought about the goblin and orc decendants from the Hateful Wars... That's perfect! I could see the Lortmil area of the Wilddark as being very deep, but main "causeways" have been sealed by the dwarves to keep the humanoids at bay. Therefore they would have plenty of information on goblins and orcs, but almost none on the other inhabitants of the Underdark.

    I think that you've come up with a good "fix" for the logic of Underdark under the Lortmils/Celene. I just wasn't looking at all of the pieces, I guess.

    Again, I like what you've done here. You're giving me all kinds of evil ideas to spring on my players...
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:46 pm  
    Re: The Underdark

    Anced_Math wrote:
    OK, Nell, I want to start by saying that I am very excited and impressed by this whole project. Great work!!


    Thanks! Happy
    Quote:
    I was wondering, does anyone know where the term "Underdark," came from?

    EGG and the D-series, I think, but it could be earlier.

    Quote:
    1) I don't like the "darks," as in Wilddark. I think a different term would differentiate the project from FR better. Maybe the Wild Deeps, or the Wild Depths, or the Nyrdeep.

    To be honest, I expected this alot earlier. Wink
    I'm leery of the names for the same reason -- I rather like them, but I knew someone would see it as a FR ripoff/pastiche/or over-similarity. I'm very open to different names, but they have to fit a few requirements: 1) the term "deep" could be confused with watery depths, so I've stayed away from it; 2) they should be simple & memorable -- I could call the Helldark "Iaria'ghlin-wi", but that's not simple; 3) the names should have a clear and obvious connection to the region/environment. I believe complexity should be reserved for things that need to be complex.

    That said, I'm all up for new names! Wink

    Quote:
    2) I do not envision the Darks/Deeps/Depths as interconnected as it "seems," you have drawn them. Am i misunderstanding this? I like the ideas of vaults seperated by hundreds of miles of tiny tunnels, dead ends and small pits.


    I think a list of terms will be the next thing I work on. The FR Underdark book is very good about this. (Not all of what follows is directed at you -- I'm trying to be clear and not shorthand stuff, and save myself some work later tonight).

    An "underdark" (lowercase)is a broad region where there are a large number of underground features at least 1 mile below the surface. The Underoerth (uppercase) is the name of the shebang, all of the underdarks together. (One could localize it a bit and call it the name of all the Flanaess underdarks, but that'd be weird.)

    As a VERY rough guess, if you gave solid stone a "feature" rating of 0 (solid rock, all the way down, very boring) and the surface a rating of 100 (there's -something- everywhere you look), normal ground would have a .5 or so, and the definition of an underdark would be anything above a 5. Most would range from a 5 (the Frostdark) to a 15 (the Helldark), tops). That's on a 0-100 scale.

    When I say "vault" (lowercase), I mean a single large cavern. It's a geological feature, not a region, even though the local area might be called "The Vault of X". Compared to the scale of the GH map, a vault is a tiny little thing -- it'd be like only have Greyhawk, Dyvers, Niole Dra, Rauxes, and Dorakaa on the GH map. So if you mean "vault" in that way, then no, not really. The vaults are one feature, but not the defining feature, in each underdark. A vault by itself wouldn't rate more than a 1, and it would be tiny -- probably no more than 100 square miles. That's a pinprick on the map.

    If you consider vaults to be a local region, then your description is fairly accurate. There are populated areas within each underdark centered on a vault, tunnel labyrinth, or cavern series, and the underdark between those centers is generally a maze of tunnels (some tiny, some not), dead ends, pits, and chimneys (relative terms, or course). These features are "frequent", however, only in comparison to non-underdark areas where they are, for all practical purposes, nonexistent.

    Because of the scale of the map, the connections between the underdarks look more impressive than they really are. The Wilddark/Sundark passage, for instance, probably scales up to be 50 miles wide. That's not what I imagine. That particular traverse is very very deep (lower underdark range), and actually resembles a woven string -- several long, relatively linear, tunnels that twist around each other with few or no side passages, caverns, or branches. Interconnectivity between the tunnels is high enough to consider the passages as one unit, even though each connection may be 20 or 30 miles apart. The lowest portion of the passage is the most travelled, and the higher passages are "wilder". The aboleth control the passage, but don't usually exert themselves to actively constrict travel.

    I don't think that quite answers your question, though.

    Answered another way -- local maps will have a better indication of feature density, and I'll probably do a few other large-scale maps to highlight different aspects of the Underoerth. I'd like to do something that shows depth, for instance -- maybe a simple graph chart. Does anyone know the heights of any mountain ranges? I know the Crystalmists are the tallest in the Flanaess, and the Lortmils are weathered, but any further details would be cool.

    Quote:
    Or, are you envisioning a large interconnected underground network that extends all over the place.


    Not really, but it varies. There aren't a thousand passageways from the Helldark to the Wilddark, even though what I outlined is big enough for it. The various underdarks are generally interconnected within themselves (not all the tunnels are dead ends), but much of it has been augmented by thousands of years of tunnelling. I'm not sure where they put all the diggings, but I'm working on it. Maybe delvers have a gate to the plane of Air in their intestine.

    You can get from the Helldark to the Wilddark, though, and from there to the Nyrdark or the Sundark. It's just a case of who or what you have to go through to get there. The Frostdark and Witchdark are not accessible, though for different reasons.

    Quote:
    I am going to sketch on your map and send it PM as i have no place to host a map.

    Cool! I'll put it up when I get it. The more viewpoints I get, the better I hope things will turn out.

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:21 pm  
    Microcosm

    Well, that did and did not answer my question, but I gathered that you expected that. So, I have a suggestion... though it involves work on all our parts.

    I and a group of others are working on a Gran March Project. Though not previously envisioned, why not add a detailed description so of the underdark under and around Gran March/Lortmils. You could provide the Macro for the Flaness, and we will help detaiil this small portion. This could give a baseline for the scale. If it is an area with more features than the Lortmils, we can reference the Lortmils underdark on CF and compare.

    Thoughts?

    Ugh, everytime I turn around I am adding stuff to this project.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:34 pm  
    Re: Microcosm

    Anced_Math wrote:
    Well, that did and did not answer my question, but I gathered that you expected that.


    If you want to try asking it another way, I might be able to get closer to an answer.

    Between each named realm/domain/underdark, the connections are tenious and rare, but present.

    Within each named realm/domain/underdark, connections are more abundant, but still less than swiss cheese.

    I believe there ought to be connections under the surface that cross most of the Flanaess -- partially for versimilitude, and partially for metagame reasons. Those connections need not be common or easy, and the exact nature of them may change as passages open and close, but the essence of the connection remains. Doing otherwise takes this even further away from canon than I like -- I'm already skirting the thin edge by leaving out the GK, the Jotuns, and not linking up the Yatils.

    I can't quantify it anymore than I have, since I've got no frame of reference and no definition a majority of people will agree on.

    The only other thing I can add is a rough calculation, that to get from point A to point B in the Underoerth is probably X number of miles times 5 or so, X being the horizontal miles between the two points in a straight line. So to travel 50 miles, you actually have to traverse at least 250 miles of tunnel. Points are connected, just not in a straight line.

    Later,
    Nell.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:41 pm  
    Re: Microcosm

    Anced_Math wrote:
    I and a group of others are working on a Gran March Project. Though not previously envisioned, why not add a detailed description so of the underdark under and around Gran March/Lortmils. You could provide the Macro for the Flaness, and we will help detaiil this small portion. This could give a baseline for the scale. If it is an area with more features than the Lortmils, we can reference the Lortmils underdark on CF and compare.


    The biggest problem I forsee is diversity. I don't envision the area under the Gran March as particularly diverse, but to lay that out deprives Gran March players and DMs of choice in their game. Obviously they can always add stuff back in, but then what's the point? Dwarves are probably a force in the area. Ditto gnomes of some kind. Probably orcs & goblins. Maybe duergar. But not, IMO, illithid, or aboleths, or derro, or drow. People always want drow. (they also always want an underdark, which is why this project of mine will never catch on big time. It isolates too much of the Flanaess.)

    That's the metagame reason for having connections. It gives options.

    I've got absolutely no problem if you want to use my stuff as a starting point, but my stuff is going to be pretty rough and sporadic at best. So consider yourself forwarned.

    Cheers,
    Nell.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:42 pm  

    Nellisir wrote:
    If by "legend" you mean a little thing indicating what the various symbols mean, no.

    No, I meant legend as in, "Where are all the dots representing the Conan's and Barbarella's of the Underoerth?"...

    Nellisir wrote:
    Whoa there, Delglath! I didn't say ANYTHING about there being a drow outpost beneath Celene for two-thousand years!!! I said I think it's the best place for them, and I do -- cancer in your heart is a hell of alot more interesting and compelling than cancer in your little toe -- but I didn't say there ARE drow. I'm pretty certain I haven't posted my thoughts about the genesis of the drow yet, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Ok, I used the wrong word. 'Stronghold' indicates an active drow presence. But the argument still holds water. It seems odd that a race with such prodigious knowledge of magic and their environment, as well as having historically made many forays into the underdark in order to ferret out their cousins, not to mention the four-thousand years of time they've had to get to know the area, wouldn't have extant knowledge of such areas beneath their own forest.

    And since it has never been mentioned before, or even hinted at, I just find it hard to convince myself that said region would be so out of reach of their influence, not to mention the fact that they wouldn't have settled there in the first place, had they known, and given their almost innate connection to the natural environment, and their curious natures, I find it difficult to reconcile that they're only just now learning of this extensive threat to their existance, whether there be a drow stronghold nearby or not.

    Nellisir wrote:
    Quote:
    just take the high-ground and say, "Yeah, but that's just how it is 'cause of, like, the mountains and stuff."


    Isn't that what I did? The question was, "why do the dwarves allow an Underdark connection in their backyard?" My answer was: "It's a natural feature they can't do much about, except fortify the heck out of it." "It" refers to the Underdark. The Underdark is a natural feature, "...like, the mountains and stuff."


    Umm... yes... you did... and I was saying that it SHOULDN'T be that way. That you have to reverse engineer things like this based on the settings established lore (unless for your own campaign in which you can do whatever the hell you want, but if you want it to be accepted by the masses...), and the current way you've done it, IMO, clashes with canon because there have been no recorded events, sightings, or anything in over 4,000 years of pre-history.

    So although you might look at the map of the Flanaess and say, "This is where an underdark would most logically be due to the terrain," I believe you also have to take into account the settings established lore and cross off areas that would logically conflict with this lore, such as having an extensive underdark area underneath Celene.

    Part of the reason this also clashes with me is the fact that it was already done in FR. In Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, a dark elf (not a drow) enlists the aid of the drow to enter an elven city through the underdark which is directly over the damn city. To me, that just struck me as totally lame, as it does now in your version.

    I don't mean to be mean, I'm just being frank (that's little case frank, not big case Frank, in which case it doesn't make me Frank :D ).
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 6:58 pm  

    I think this is a job well done. I'm surprised this has not been done before. Greyhawk needs more of an underdark, it does not have to be like the Forgotten Realms, I think the path you are taking is fine, its new and full of fresh and different ideas. Keep up the good work Nellisir. Happy
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 7:15 pm  
    Easy

    Well, Nell, my questions were not easy, in that a complete answer would require a fairly detailed map/concept, product, and you are just beginning this little ordeal. As popular as it appears to be, you will be justly tormented for months to come I think.

    The last section of your last post really addressed what I was hoping for in this project. It takes roughly 5x as long to travel underground as it does on the surface.

    That is one of my complaints with the perception of the Underdark in the Realms. Now, understand that this comment is based on reading the fiction and playing 15 years ago in the FR. However, it seems in FR that if you want to go from one end of the continent to another, well, its almost as fast or faster underground. This may make for a good story, but it would pose many problems for even a fantasy campaign.

    It also creates the FR underdark as nearly a seperate setting, a campaign world of its own. And I think you have eliminated some if not all of that concern with this project. Your setup, so far, creates an underdark that is intergrally laced with the upper world. The cavern systems can become an intergral extension of the Gran March, or Nyrond, or where ever. But unless you want to take 5 times as long in monster infested caves to get anywhere, you will have to interact with the kingdoms above. Only deep races who abhor sunlight would not, and even then, travelling at night has to have some appeal due to its speed.

    This would give strong reason for the drow to come up occasionally, if only to go to vault B, over in the Yatils or the Rakers or wherever. With the drow aversion to sunlight, i cannot see them ever coming up and making a grab for the upper kingdoms. Why would they?

    So, thanks. I would like to address the Underdark in the Lortmils, but such treatment would be cursory at best, more to try and add a flavor to Gran March than completely detail the Underoerth.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:29 pm  

    Delglath wrote:
    [So although you might look at the map of the Flanaess and say, "This is where an underdark would most logically be due to the terrain," I believe you also have to take into account the settings established lore and cross off areas that would logically conflict with this lore, such as having an extensive underdark area underneath Celene.


    I'll probably get back to this at a later date, but my basic reasoning is this: there are clear and relatively clear links to the Underdark in Greyhawk & the surrounding areas, the Gnarley, the Pomarj, and the Lortmils. Celene is in the middle. Excluding Celene is less logical than including Celene.

    It's possible the elves have a reason for being there -- mithril?

    Can you give me your source on this elven lore? I wasn't aware that all 4,000 years had been recorded, but I'm keen to read it.

    Since we're being frank, I think you're making alot of unsupported assumptions, especially if you haven't read the related threads. They might not change your mind, but we might be a little closer to a common language. I'm spending alot of time defining terms so we all know what the heck we're talking about (exactly what vaults are is a great example).

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:33 pm  

    In the words of Monty Burns, "Ehhhhxcellent." Thanks, Nell, that's exactly the sort of initial broad brush stroke I was looking for. I hope people don't get too geeked out about detail, especially at such a formitive stage; I'd much prefer you to throw ideas at the wall, and those that stick, stick (obviously that'd be different things for different people).

    I'd like to hear more of your vision for the various 'darks', especially the Sundark, and what makes it impossible to travel from the Nyrdark to the Frostdark. That little slip of a passage under the Sea of Gearnat? Cool, plenty of potential there.

    A stupid question - what are those bubbles in the Lostdark and Wilddark/Nyrdark? Areas where no Underdark exists?

    As to the names, let's not get hung up on that too much - but I still think Lostdark, Helldark, and Frostdark are pretty strong. Renaming the rest and having a blend of 'darks' and other, random names (Witchdark = Iggwilv's Cradle?, etc...) sounds like a winner to me.

    Finally, Delglath, in the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka, "Lighten up, Francis." We're brainstorming here, and what works for some will be different than others. If you got anything cool on your brain vis a vis the Underdark of the Flanaess, there's never been a better time to spit it out. I'm pretty sure the rest of us won't jump down your throat, even if it would be unworkable in our campaigns, or even makes no rational sense. If all you've got is bile, however, go ahead and move on to whatever other posts interest you. We'll be OK here without your critiques.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:33 pm  

    No new maps tonight, BTW. I'm tuckered out. Y'all are just going to have to continue raking this one over the coals.

    Wink
    Nell.

    PS - And thanks for the support. I know even those of you who have questions or criticisms are doing so out of the good, kind, gentle natures of your insidiously diabolical hearts.

    Wink
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:35 pm  

    Thanks Nell for taking on this challenging task, looks promising indeed.

    I am glad you cleared up the misunderstanding of the content of the various “darks”, I hope the complicated politics of the regions aren’t simply, Surface vs Dark or Good vs Evil races, given the harsher environment and paranoia there should be plenty of internal rivalry and conflict.

    I tend too agree with the dissenters, Canon wise a major underdark settlement under the Demi-human rich Uleks especially Celene after the Hateful wars just seems terribly contrived, the shift southward toward the Pomarj makes sense canon wise too, that is where the humanoid survivors of the lortmils fled. Hopefully you also don’t place large numbers of humanoid survivors near the lortmils, it should be a major stronghold of the Dwarves and Gnomes except maybe a pitiful humanoid scattering dreaming unrealistic dreams of grandeur, a large humanoid presence given the hateful wars is unlikely.

    Finally the drow, I know I am becoming a pest but the CSL drow vault article fits sooo nicely into your map and views, with hardly any effort the entire GH drow presence is outlined for you:

    Helldark Region: Erelhei-Cinlu (Hellfurnaces) and Erelhei-Tabbanta (Sulhauts)
    Wildark Region: Erelhei-Kinestan (Drachensgrabs)
    Sundark Region: Erelhei-Roban (Hestmark Highlands)
    Frostdark Region: Erelhei-Gwynne (Corusk Mountains) and Erelhei-Sikhen (Bluff Hills)

    It even follows your view of the decline of drow power as the drow vaults are located farther from the Helldark region.

    I eagerly look forward too seeing the Underdark as it is refined and your project becomes clearer. Wink
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:44 pm  

    btgrover wrote:
    I'd like to hear more of your vision for the various 'darks', especially the Sundark,


    My favorite 'dark right now. Delglath is going to spin, I think.

    Quote:
    and what makes it impossible to travel from the Nyrdark to the Frostdark.


    The Rift Canyon and the Sons of Kyuss.

    Quote:
    A stupid question - what are those bubbles in the Lostdark and Wilddark/Nyrdark? Areas where no Underdark exists?


    Yes. Just anti-darks. Visually they helped define the various regions. I was going to use patterns, but couldn't get them to work right.

    Quote:
    As to the names, let's not get hung up on that too much - but I still think Lostdark, Helldark, and Frostdark are pretty strong. Renaming the rest and having a blend of 'darks' and other, random names (Witchdark = Iggwilv's Cradle?, etc...) sounds like a winner to me.


    Iggwilv's Cradle is pretty cool. Having a number of variant names is cool. Personally, I like the Nyrdark/Neardark play on words. I'm least fond of the Wilddark (but Lortdark, Poordark, Orcdark, and "The Big Mess Of Tunnels Under the Lortmils" were all worse).

    Much tired. Shower, then sleep.
    Nell.
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    Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:17 pm  

    Aw, c'mon! What's wrong with "The Big Old Mess of Tunnels Under the Lortmils"? Laughing

    Hell, make it an acronym. TBOMOTUTL. Throw an apostrophe or two in at an odd place... T'BOMO'TUTL. And viola! Weird name for underdark region.

    Alright, I'm kidding. It's a silly name. Smile
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:44 am  

    EDITED

    Lets try to keep it positive please folks.

    Edited by Dethand 03:14 February 24, 2005
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    Kobold Pinata

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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:56 am  

    Nellisir wrote:
    My favorite 'dark right now. Delglath is going to spin, I think.


    EDITED



    Please see above

    P.S. I like the 'Dark' naming convention.
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:46 am  

    But, to clarify, it's not literally (geographically) impossible to pass from the Nyrdark to the Frostdark, it would just be a Herculean task to battle your way through, unless you were a Son of Kyuss yourself, right?

    How long have the 'Sons' held those passages? Since before the Rift was a canyon? How broadly does their area of control extend? The way I'm reading it, they appear to be a more powerful undead force than the White Kingdom, no? OK, enough questions for one day; please elaborate on your thoughts as time allows.
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 6:35 am  

    I like the names:

    Frostdark
    Witchdark
    Lostdark
    Helldark

    Frostdark, Witchdark and Lostdark do not make reference to surface features in their names but still sound atmospheric.

    Helldark does refer to a surface feature but "hell" is a sufficiently "loaded" term that the association is, IMO, at least as much to "hell" as "Hellfurnaces."

    I do not like the names:

    Nyrdark
    Sundark
    Wilddark.

    Each of these makes reference to a surface feature and is, I think, less atmospheric for all that. I think a descriptive in front of "dark" would work better.

    Nyrdark sounds too much like Near Dark. Sundark sounds like a nonsequiter, a bright or "sunny" darkness. Wilddark just sounds dumb to me and undercuts the idea of the "dark" being beneath the Lortmils, as described in the original conception of a deep retreat of humanoids driven far underground during the Hateful Wars.

    The map suggests a more broad underdark that the original "antfarm"
    concept, as well. I thought the "darks" would be more self contained and isolated. Only the Witchdark seems really self-contained.

    The Rift Canyon's role also seems to have been downgraded. Maybe changing name of the "dark" to reflect something of it might help. "Fallen," "Riven," "Sundered," "Shattered" - dark? Something like that? The Rift Canyon as a former drow vault is, I think, too cool a concept to see it slip away or be absorbed in a "Nyrdark" etc.

    My six cents.
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 7:37 am  

    Quote:
    Frostdark, Witchdark and Lostdark do not make reference to surface features in their names but still sound atmospheric.


    I was fairly sure Witchdark was an obvious reference to Iggwilv, being that it's location is generally under Perrenland and Frostdark is under the freezing lands of the Rhizia.

    Quote:
    Sundark sounds like a nonsequiter, a bright or "sunny" darkness


    Heh, I agree. Kind of like "Sunless Sea," but I like the term Sundark anyway...

    All the names seemed creative enough to me. Wilddark is prolly on the lower end of my tastes as well, but I'm down.
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:21 pm  

    Any thought of putting a cell underneath the Bone March and Troll Fens areas? Maybe call it the FallenDark to signify its lesser importance.

    Also the LostDark could also be called Ashendark if you'd like.

    Just a few ideas and suggestions.
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:20 pm  

    Note: I'm just adding my reasoning in here, not debating or arguing.

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Nyrdark sounds too much like Near Dark.


    That's deliberate, actually. I like the play on words. (Homophones? Is that the right word?) Also, I don't intend to give a depth to the Nyr Dyv. It's a significant underdark feature --- possibly more significant than on the surface (where square area is more important than cubic area. I think the latter will matter more in the underdark. But we'll see if I can carry it off.)

    Quote:
    Sundark sounds like a nonsequiter, a bright or "sunny" darkness.


    I'm not wild about the obvious correlation to Sunndi, but since it's one of the two most foul underdarks, it works as irony, at least for me.

    Im not so wild about "Helldark" for exactly that reason. One, it's regionally specific, and two, it's cliched. But it's pretty popular, and the regionality makes it easy to identify & place for -players-, so it stays for now.

    Quote:
    Wilddark just sounds dumb to me and undercuts the idea of the "dark" being beneath the Lortmils, as described in the original conception of a deep retreat of humanoids driven far underground during the Hateful Wars.


    I agree. I'm all for a better name. Sadly, T'BMOT'UTL is looking pretty good, especially considering GH's history of convoluted acronyms -- RttToEE, anyone?

    Quote:
    The map suggests a more broad underdark that the original "antfarm"concept, as well. I thought the "darks" would be more self contained and isolated.


    [sigh] The map conveys neither depth nor density of tunnels, merely crude surface area. Remember that the Underoerth can be miles deep, and is generally sorted into layers. Each one of those connections only exists on one layer. Furthermore, for my sanitys sake the uppermost level of the Underoerth has reach at least 1 mile below the surface. The Helldark/Wilddark connection, for instance, is in the middle layer, which is anywhere from 3 - 8 (or 10, I forget) miles below the surface.

    Quote:
    Only the Witchdark seems really self-contained.


    Yup. As they say around these parts (New England), "you can't get theah from heah..."

    If you look at my earliest posts, there wasn't even a Witchdark. Just a vault under the Yatils. But there seemed to me to be alot of use for one there, so....

    Quote:
    The Rift Canyon's role also seems to have been downgraded. Maybe changing name of the "dark" to reflect something of it might help. "Fallen," "Riven," "Sundered," "Shattered" - dark? Something like that? The Rift Canyon as a former drow vault is, I think, too cool a concept to see it slip away or be absorbed in a "Nyrdark" etc.


    The Rift was a vault, and important, but not the entirety of the region. The Nyrdark has to cover alot of ground, geographically, to come anywhere close to meshing with canon. That said, I'm still working on that area.

    I'm not enthralled with the idea of it being a drow vault, incidently. I don't think all vaults have to be drow-held; it's a long ways from the drow "center" (IMO, but I have theories around that); and it would've had to have been drow a HECK of a long time ago.

    Quote:
    My six cents.


    And every penny is appreciated, believe me.

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:30 pm  

    btgrover wrote:
    But, to clarify, it's not literally (geographically) impossible to pass from the Nyrdark to the Frostdark, it would just be a Herculean task to battle your way through, unless you were a Son of Kyuss yourself, right?


    Welll....to split hairs, you can't do it wholly in the Underoerth, because the Rift Canyon is in the way. A portion of the journey has to be over the Rift floor, which is uncovered and thus part of the surface. It's a technical point. Wink

    Otherwise, yes.

    Quote:
    How long have the 'Sons' held those passages?

    How long has Kyuss been a god?

    Quote:
    Since before the Rift was a canyon?

    Possibly. Depends on the answer above, which I haven't gotten around to researching yet.

    Quote:
    How broadly does their area of control extend?

    the Underoerth east of the Rift Canyon, until it dwindles down to just about nothing & the meager connection to the Frostdark. The Kyussians were definately there when the dwarves were in the Frostdark, so that connection is pretty well sealed. It's not destroyed, but it's seriously sealed.

    Quote:
    The way I'm reading it, they appear to be a more powerful undead force than the White Kingdom, no?

    Probably. Not as ambitious, though. General lack of purpose and clear leadership. The White Kingdom has a centralized structure. The Wyrmcrawl has several power centers that don't interact very well, and tend to get caught up in really long thoughts for decades. One of the problems with being a non-consuming undead, I think -- your sense of urgency dwindles.

    Now, if only Iuz could strike a bargain and replace his fiends....

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 2:33 pm  

    Just a thought here, Nell.

    Since the "Wilddark" is roughly in the center of the continent, what about a name that somewhat reflects this. Such as:

    Middledark
    Darkcore
    Darkheart

    I like Darkheart because it immediately conjures an image to mind; the WRONG image. Heh heh heh...

    Like I said, just a thought.
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:45 pm  

    I guess the Kyuss thing depends upon your source. If you follow the article Origins of Kyuss, which I found in the archives from this site, the Wormy One is an aincent Ur-Flan, who has been around for 1,500 years or so, by my reckoning.

    But there seem to be varying accounts; what're you using as source material, Nell?

    I think the old Fiend Folio makes them an Egyptian-type undead, following a Set-like god. In that case, they'd belong near a desert - or perhaps the Sea of Dust(?)

    I think another tale from the Canonfire archives makes Kyuss of Suel descent.

    Plenty of angles to take at the history, but nothing that says Kyuss can't return, if he takes an interest in Oerth again...OK, I know most campaigns are too overloaded with supervillains to begin with Cool
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 6:27 pm  

    btgrover wrote:
    But there seem to be varying accounts; what're you using as source material, Nell?


    Whatever works. Honestly. I haven't looked for much on Kyuss, so I don't know yet. I do know the Wyrmcrawl Fissure is located near the Rift Canyon, and it's loaded with Sons of Kyuss. Also, WotC has introduced a bunch of Kyuss-related undead in recent products. It seems a shame not to use them.

    I've got no problems with Kyuss returning, but that's something I'll leave to individual DMs. The Kyussians just seem like a good fit for an evil but stable regional power in the Underoerth.

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 6:40 pm  

    I hear you. I just know my players, and if they ever find this area, they're going to want to go poking around. If they poke too hard, something's gonna poke back. If the Sons are of this group mindset, Kyuss himself would almost HAVE to be behind the retributive strike.

    Anyway, sorry to get off-topic. Continue, please.
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    Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:46 pm  

    btgrover wrote:
    If the Sons are of this group mindset, Kyuss himself would almost HAVE to be behind the retributive strike.


    Fiend Folio (3.5 edition); Ulgurstasta:
    "The first ulgurstasta was created ages ago by Kyuss, a powerful evil cleric turned demigod. ..."

    "The one thing that Kyuss didn't count on was the fact that an ulgurstasta retains some of the memories of those it consumes. Thus, the more it ate, the more intelligent it grew. By the time Kyuss vanished, most of his ulgurstastas had become at least as intelligent as ghouls. Knowing that they would be hunted down and destroyed by Kyuss's remaining enemies, the ulgurstastas retreated deep into the wilderness. Despite their attempt at self-preservation, most of them were hunted down and slain in the coming years, until only a handful survived deep in the Wormcrawl Fissure. Recently, one or two ulgurstastas have supposedly surfaced in isolated areas far from the Wormcrawl (such as the Pomarj or the Bone March), where the local denizens regard them as gods."

    "Since they were created through powerful necromantic magic, these creatures cannot reproduce, nor do they need to breathe or eat.."

    "It is not unlikely that in some forgotten corner of the Wormcrawl , there might lurk an ulgurstasta of genius level or higher; these ulgurstastas might even have mastered the school of Necromancy themselves."

    Meet the defacto ruling class of the Wormcrawl. Happy
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    Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:27 pm  

    I don't play V3.5 (or even V3.0, for that matter), and ceased buying almost all new WoTC product years ago. I've never even heard of an 'ulgerstasta' (geez, doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?). The write up sounds like it has some promise, but I really do like the Origins of Kyuss piece I referenced before, and as mentioned, that allows for the notion that Kyuss himself is still floating around out there somewhere, still crazy after all these years, as noted bard Paul Simon would say.

    So, your players would encounter an ulgerstasta where mine encounter an aincent, crazed, undead necromancer named Kyuss. Big deal; chalk it up to the differences that all homebrew campaigns should have. Anyway, I've monopolized enough time figuring out the Kyuss angle, I think (at least the finer points of management). Feel free to turn the microscope elsewhere, as time allows.

    A note - would be helpful if you populated the rough map presented at the top of this thread with the vaults and lairs you had posted about previously (seven dwarven cities, etc...). I'm sure you've visualized this by now, yes?
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    Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:54 pm  

    btgrover wrote:
    A note - would be helpful if you populated the rough map presented at the top of this thread with the vaults and lairs you had posted about previously (seven dwarven cities, etc...). I'm sure you've visualized this by now, yes?


    Yep; it's on my short list. My primal urge is to play stuff close to the vest, but there's really no reason to do that. I've been pretty tired this week, though, and I'm going skiing tonight, so don't expect anything for at least a few days. I'm probably going to stop replying (for a little while)to these threads, too -- I end up with no time to write!

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Fri Feb 25, 2005 3:01 pm  

    Nellisir wrote:
    Fiend Folio (3.5 edition); Ulgurstasta:
    "The first ulgurstasta was created ages ago by Kyuss, a powerful evil cleric turned demigod. ..."

    The concept seems cool but god the name is stupid. What is it with writers and stupid names?

    It's like one of my creative writing teachers told me, ages ago, "If your audience doesn't understand it, then you haven't served the primary function of writing, ie. to communicate."

    To me, any writer that makes up a dumb-**** name like 'Ulgurstasta' has failed in their task as a writer.
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