From the Ashes, Campaign Book, p. 45, under 'Blackthorn' wrote:
A priest of an orcish deity has traveled from the Pomarj to recruit the humanoids to the service of Turrosh Mak, bringing magical items as a reward. PCs must prevent him from getting to his unknown destination (he has been seen by spies from Narwell or Safeton).
Out of curiosity, where did you get that bit about the dwarven kingdom below the Griffs? I'm doing the same thing in my campaign but I can't remember where I first read about it. Iuz the Evil? From the Ashes?
There was an orcish city in Howl From the North, but I don't remember a dwarven kingdom.
Incidently, has anyone ever done anything with the references to a dwarven kingdom in the, ah, mountains north of Sunndi?
There is a small settlement of dwarves outside the orcish city of Garel Enkdal in Five Shall Be One, but not a whole dwarven kingdom. However, hobgoblins lair in caverns adjacent to Garel Enkdal which do lead to the Underdark, so that is our canon reference for the existence of such a place beneath the Griffs. I've not read it myself, but I believe Return to the Tomb of Horrors includes information on the dwarven kingdom in the Glorioles (north of Sunndi).
[I've not read it myself, but I believe Return to the Tomb of Horrors includes information on the dwarven kingdom in the Glorioles (north of Sunndi).
I have it, but not handy. Will check on it tomorrow.
GVD - I haven't written up anything extra yet; been busy setting up my new summertimr campaign and hoping GLH really does remember the whole wiki business. I hope to get back to the Underdark in a week or two.
Yes, it would be nice, and would compliment our project very well, should be all get over the summertime blues. I actually have a Side Trek for the GM project that takes place in the Lortmils and its caverns I hope to post soon.
"The mountain dwarves who still live within the Rakers have tended to retreat into deeper and deeper subterranean realms with the passage of time, settling in caverns of extraordinary beauty and complexity above the underdark lands, which can be accessed in only a handful of places below the peaks."
"Greysmere also includes underground fisheries and- fungus farms, and passages leading to the Underdark over which the dwarves maintain strict watches."
"Just as in Greysmere, there are passages [in Karakast] to the Underdark that must be watched at all times. Nests of skulks are discovered from time to time in newly-excavated chambers, which the dwarves ascribe to a great prehistoric subterranean battle thev have not yet located (but they have found three magical swords so far, and are confident of their assessment). Xorn are a common pest here. as are oozes. iellies, and slimes..."
"Dwarves believe that derro beneath it [the Doomgrinder], so they avoid the place."
"ECHO CRYPT: This series of catacombs stretches some six miles below the mountains of the Abbor-Alz, and is fiendishly hard to explore... Great cave lizards, semi-transparent ropers, gelatinous cubes, and other monsters lurk in the farthest recesses."
"The Diirinken are a derro clan, some 400-500 strong in total, whose deep, underground warrens are a marvel in themselves."
"The Lake of Ebon: This subterranean lake is said to lie a full three miles underground and to be of great size: twenty leagues long, and 12 miles wide at its broadest point. Great stalagmitic islands dot the lake, and both the waters and what lies upon these outcrops offer magical rewards to the delver. The islands are said to contain the calcified remains of an ancient Suloise cave-dwelling people, whose wizards specialized in evocation and conjuration magics. Of course, the lake has its dangers. Great aquatic albino worms lurk below the waters (treat as purple worms), and aboleth lurk in its deepest recesses. Piercers, lurkers above, and great oozes many times larger than the norm have been reported also. Worst of all, mage-spectres of the long-dead Suloise flit about the water’s surface..."
Greyhawk Ruins, page 16: "Three thick lines seem to appear from nowhere: one at Greyhawk Ruins, one at the edge of the Gnarley Forest, and one in the Mistmarsh. Obviously, these three are the exit points of the underworlders to the surface."
Dragon #298: "A family of landless nobles from a lost city beneath the Pomarj, the Vae have long worked as slave-travelers traveling with their attendant merchant clans... they and their merchant followers were worshipers of the goddess Kiaransali (as they named her), the traditions of their cult allowed them to give deference to the Queen of Spiders..."
Adventure card #3 in City of Greyhawk: "This shrine, which is regularly visited by evil denizens of the Underdark, is guarded by a small outpost of dark elves... This cavern is used as a shrine to elemental earth forces by the drow." The drow cleric has several fire-related spells, however.
Unconfirmed rumor in City of Greyhawk: "There is a fabulous city under the city, deep in the bowels of the earth beneath Greyhawk. It is connected to the city's sewer system, and is a marvelous and magical place full of iridescent enchanted fungus and wondrous creatures of peaceful nature. The fungus lights the place nearly as bright as daylight, casting reflections off the gold and silver rooftops of the many tall, slender buildings."
Slavers: The humanoids of Blackthorn in the Gnarley have "deep-dwelling duergar allies..." "The river ["possibly an underground daughter of the Velverdyva."] continues to the southeast for many miles, going deeper until finally reaching a great underground lake, the far side of which is rumored (according to the duergar) to have a kuo-toan civilization."
Dead Gods, page 86: "A race of neutral gnomes called the svirneblin live near the Vault of the Drow, and they know of a vortex to the Elemental Plane of Earth..." "A portal to the Elemental Plane of Water (specifically the realm of the power Blibdoolpoolp) lies in a cavern many miles distant, in a shrine erected to the deity by her servants the kuo-toa." These sound very much like similar vortices detailed in The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide.
Underdark creatures in the Monster Manual IV: Avatars of elemental evil (great for the drow shrine mentioned above), balhannoth, bloodhulk giant (in the Wormcrawl Fissure?), corrupture, dwarf ancestor, drow, craa'ghoran giants, githyanki, lodestone marauders, Lolth-touched creatures, mageripper swarms, greathorn minotaurs, necrosis carnexes, spawn of Tiamat, tomb spiders (in Carashast's Caves of Sleep), zerns.
Anyways, as this project seems to have gotten off to a very slow start (seeing as it started WAY back in CF's ancient past, people might want to check out a cooperative project on Dragonsfoot to detail the remaining areas on the D3 tunnels map in the same style as the old D1-3 encounter areas. Links to both the DF thread and a pdf compilation of the project as-it-goes can be found on my very embryonic (just a map at this point) contribution at http://melkot.com/locations/underdark/underdark.html (I'll be adding to that page in the coming weeks). Other CF regulars contributing to that project in the past include grodog and cwslyclgh. We might consider a similar work-plan for the various ongoing CF projects as well, so I encourage people to check it out even if you're not interested in the topic of the project.
Anyways, as this project seems to have gotten off to a very slow start (seeing as it started WAY back in CF's ancient past,
I'm not sure Dec 25, 2004 is "WAY back" -- I tend to alot that time period to the AOL boards -- but it has been a little while.
Someone (Gary, I guess) finally set up the groundwork for a wiki here on CF, but it's not amenable to this project; it's apparently meant for canon and quasi-canon material only, not fan contributions or heretical material.
So, since I've actually had my own wiki for some time now, I finally made a basic intelligence check and set up a new free wiki for this thing, and dumped my notes there. I'd like to go through and clean them up a little before publicizing the address, just to give people an idea how to organize things, but multiple views and such will be more than welcome.
I'm not trying to develop one "official" view of the Underdark; I'm just trying to bring all the Underdark related references, notes, and scribblings together in one place, so people at least know what has been established, theorized, and written (by fans and pros both), and can take what they want out of it.
Hopefully I'll be able to open it up by the end of the week.
Proper Name: The Dwur Kingdom of Glorvardum
Ruler: Thane Esdrogan, Lord of the Glittering Hills (LG, male dwur Ftr13)
Important Persons: Mairha “Firebreath” Samryntar (LG, female dwur Clr15 – Moradin), Gwarr Ironbeard (NG, male dwur Rog12), and the remaining 6 clan elders, Runa Olsamman (LG, female dwur Wiz12), Olglander (LG, female old adult gold dragon).
Capital: Kroonburzh (pop. 5,600)
Major Towns: Kroonburzh (pop. 5,600), Parentarr (pop. 2,300)
Resources: Silver, gold, gems
Coinage: Battleaxe (gp), Warhammer (sp).
Population: 10,000 – Mountain Dwur 96%, Noniz 3%, Hobniz 1%
Languages: Dwur, Common
Alignments: LG*, LN
Religions: Moradin, Clangeddin Silverbeard
Allies: Kingdom of Sunndi
Enemies: United Kingdom of Ahlissa, tribal groups of ogres and giants
History: Millennia ago, giants and ogres infested the lower slopes and foothills of the Glorioles Mountains in great numbers, preying with impunity upon the Flan dwelling on the plains below. At this time, hobniz and noniz did not yet make their homes amid the forested hills, but the dwur had already come to the high crags and peaks. Eventually, the dwur and ogres with their giantish leaders drifted into conflict that quickly escalated into a genocidal war that raged throughout the Glorioles.
The dwur were doughty but were not skilled at fighting in the confines of the forests, while for their part, the giants and ogres were simply too large to invade the cunningly crafted holds and citadels of the dwur. So the war dragged on; decades of conflict served only to bleed the dwur and giantkin white. Thousands died until the war simply petered out. Typically, both sides claimed victory. The dwur interred their honoured dead in the Crypts of Iron Souls. Here, loremasters and the high priests of the Soul Forger (Moradin) and the Father of Battle (Clangeddin Silverbeard) sang the death eddas of the fallen and symbolically interred a warrior’s slain enemies with him.
The balance of power however, had irrevocably changed in the region. The old order had been swept away in a tide of violence and quickly the vacuum formed by the blood-letting was filled. Migrating noniz and hobniz found the mostly uninhabited forests and valleys of the lower slopes to their liking and established settlements along the breadth of the range, avoiding only the still-dangerous interior.
As the turmoil of the Great Migrations reshaped the political landscape of the Flamni Basin, some Flan tribes fled into the mountains. Claiming large swaths as their own, they hunted the upper slopes driving to virtual extinction the great cats of the interior and aggressively warring with the giants and their ogre vassals. Inevitably, squabbles over the limited resources of the range broke out, resulting in several minor skirmishes between rival clans. During this time, at least one Flan chieftain sought to carve out a nation for himself amongst the peaks of the Glorioles but rivals threw him down. The only remnant of these times are the oral traditions of the settlers and the occasional grassy, tree-topped burial mound that can still be found dotted throughout the range.
In the centuries that followed, small numbers of Oeridians also settled the region, intermixing with the Flan. Although in close proximity to the Great Kingdom of Aerdy, imperial forces never made any serious attempt to conquer the interior of the range and the settlers have remained fiercely independent.
The bloodshed and instability sparked by the Turmoil Between Crowns affected the mountains little. Dwur nobles of Glorvardum stood alongside representatives of the dwur of the Iron Hills and Hestmark Highlands when Irongate, Onnwal, Idee, Sunndi and the Lordship of the Isles declared their independence from the Great Kingdom in the Free City of Irongate. They were again present when Irongate, Onnwal and Idee founded the Iron League, late in 447 CY. Only when imperial troops attempted to force their way through the Pass of Anbek to deal with the recalcitrant province of Sunndi in 455 CY, did the dwur of Glorvardum stir from their high halls. A few survivors of the Aerdi host struggled back to Kalstrand to bring tidings of the wrath of the Glorioles. The dwur of Glorvardum had helped preserve Sunndi’s independence and this battle formed the basis of the alliance between these two nations that has endured ever since.
Glorvardum again came to the aid of their Sunndian allies when the Greyhawk Wars erupted throughout the Flanaess. Secure in their mountain fastness, the dwur repelled imperial assaults on their sacred mountain home. Such was the weight of the assaults however, that the passes could not be held and Sunndi fell to the mad aggression of the Overkings.
Rulership and Law: The north-eastern reaches of the Glorioles are claimed by the dwur of Glorvardum. Their realm is centred on the peaks and high places of Kilvangath and Bolwhurgirn. Both peaks are riddled with mines, holds and citadels and warded by strong fortifications – a legacy of the ancient dwur/giant wars. The delvings have bored deep into the very roots of the mountains, ever questing for the rich veins of silver that once ran here. Now all but exhausted, these mines and workings lie silent and, in the main, abandoned.
Barely numbering 10,000, the dwur are a dwindling people, still clinging to their independence. While closely allied with Sunndi, they do not actively participate in defending the rest of the range except when an enemy force is attempting to force the passes. The scattering of noniz, hobniz, and human settlements in the lower portions of the range are wholly independent of Glorvardum although some trade is carried on between them in the summer months. A few hundred noniz and hobniz dwell amongst the dwur, acting as intermediaries, negotiators, mercenaries, scouts or in other specialist roles. Although on friendly terms with the humans, the dwur avoid contact with them in the main and no humans dwell on the high mountains. Glorvardum holds a seat on Sunndi’s Congress of Lords but does not often participate in council sessions except in times of war.
The dwur are led by their thane who is elected for life by an advisory council comprising of the seven clan-elders. Six of these clans are powerful and influential families specialized in a specific trade. The most influential of these clans are the Ironbeards, the merchants and diplomats of the kingdom. The seventh clan is not actually a clan in the strictest definition of the term. The Samryntar (“The Favoured”) is the religious caste of Glorvardum, and a member of this group cannot be a member of another. For most, it is the only way to leave one’s clan of birth without leaving Glorvardum forever. Even members of the Samryntar are expected to remain in touch with their old clan, because their children (if any) are returned to be brought up by their kin.
Besides the seven clans, there are two other powerful groups within Glorvardum. While neither have a seat at the clan council, no thane ignores their leaders lightly. The most important and influential is the Barakadar [BAH-rahk-adahr]. The Barakadar is the army. Any able dwur has to serve five years in the army during their prime and train two weeks per year in the militia afterward. To maintain the unity of the kingdom, the dwur serve in units with members of other clans and during this time, they are expected to treat the Barakadar as their clan. A few dwur remain in the Barakadar permanently, again as a way to leave their old clan. The second group is a relatively new addition to the kingdom known as the Olsamman (literally, “Magic Shield-brother”). With the rise of the Ivids, the need for an organized magical defence became apparent and the thane decided to unite all elementalists and artificers under one banner.
The sigil of Glorvardum depicts a battleaxe crossed with a warhammer and can be found on way markers, fortifications and mine entrances throughout the Glorioles.
Trade and Commerce: The deep places and mines of Glorvardum have been worked for centuries by the industrious dwur and much wealth has been brought to the surface. While literally hundreds of miles of passages and chambers exist under the mountains, there is still wealth to be found in the depths of the Oerth. Careful dwur mining yet brings considerable amounts of gold, silver and gemstones to the surface. Blue and white stripped banded agate, mottled deep blue azurites and grey-black hematite can all still be found here in quantity. Much rarer though are the fiery orange jacinths and star rubies now found only in the deeper mines. Iron ore is also mined here in modest quantities. Traded almost exclusively with Sunndi now in decades past merchants travelled from Idee, Onnwal and Nyrond to bid for the gemstones of Glorvardum.
The noniz and hobniz of the lower slopes trade with Glorvardum, exchanging wood, foodstuffs and well-made cloth for iron, steel, precious metals and gems. Few dwur merchants now walk the sunlit lands of Sunndi. The dwur of Glorvardumkn are increasingly an insular people, only stirred from their mountain halls by the clarion call of war.
Intrigues and Whispers: A nameless adventurer staggered into Kallstrand in late 593 CY proclaiming that he had discovered one of the legendary Crypts of Iron Souls. The only proof he could provide was a battered but plainly magical battleaxe and shield both bearing the sigil of Glorvardum. The veracity of this individual’s account cannot be verified as he promptly disappeared. Several dwur and the authorities are known to be interested in his whereabouts.
Attacks by ogres and their hill giant masters against the lowlanders are growing in frequency of late. Several villages were attacked and cattle and other goods taken. What this portends is not known. Several small forays were made into Ahlissa itself. Ahlissan forces are thought to be massing along the foothills to counter any further raids. What would happen if imperial forces were to follow retreating giants into the hills in strength is the topic of much debate in Kalstrand. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
Though this deviates widely from current discussion, I included a sort of UnderOerth below southern Keoland. Less of an underdark and more of an Undersea, it is the root of the Hool Marsh and it connects to the ocean.
In my campaign a whole slew of horrible things happened to Saltmarsh from this concept, such as the town eventually being swallowed up in a giant sinkhole as an aspect of wastri and an army of his twisted minions did dastardly things.
I got this idea from a Discovery Channel program I saw where many swamps on earth actually have large aquifers operating beneath them beneath a layer of less-viscous soil. As the hool marshes are pretty damned big, I figured it would stand to reason that perhaps they extend as far east as Salinmoor.
If nothing else, this could inspire someone else to do something with the concept.
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