The Womb Bog and The Bowl

The Womb Bog

Womb Bog

I’m having fun playing with Hex Kit.

I was futzing with the randomly generated maps, where you can put different hex-types at different elevations and see what happens and got this one with a bog right in the middle. It made me want to play a game with lizard-folk, bullywugs and maybe dragonborn. Lizard-folk vampires from the Bonegrove steal your warmth by grappling with you.

Clerics of single elements, all elements in balance or two combined.

I want a demi-god called the Froghemoth and a primordial world being put together out of the broken pieces of dead worlds (hence, elf lake). I added in rivers and lakes and named some stuff.

Fun toy.

Old World Markers

(If one isn’t enough for you, roll 2 and combine them)

  1. Dead Gods’ Rib
  2. Broken Shrine
  3. Infernal Amber (Frozen Piece of Hell)
  4. Statue’s Limb
  5. Stone Tentacle
  6. Boundary Marker designating the edge of a long-dead empire
  7. Cyclopean Cog (Broken Piece of Heaven)
  8. Golem Cemetery
  9. Dead Tree Deity
  10. Cathedral-sized heart, slowly rotting
  11. Dead Mushroom Deity
  12. Tower-sized Sword embedded in ground
  13. Blasted Wizard-God’s tower
  14. Crucified Paladin-God
  15. Crow’s cage containing the rotting Thief-God
  16. Broken Skyship Gate
  17. Crashed Capital Skyship
  18. Chains running from deep in the earth into the sky
  19. Lich-god’s crystal skull
  20. Broken siege engine meant to wage war on other-planar fortifications

The Bowl

And we’ve got the Bowl, rivers running towards the cold void at the center of a broken shard of a world, turning into frozen crystal waterfalls as their water spills into the uncaring stars.

The Bowl

Why do Sky Fortresses guard the void?

What blasted the old towers along the rim?

Who decides the path of the free-floating Sky Pyramid?

What is the relationship between the Black Monoliths and the Glyph Rocks?

Will the Mushroom Grove engulf the entire Bowl some day, as foretold?

What is the source of the river’s waters?

 

When giants and dragons made war…

I’m a few dozen pages into Volo’s Guide to Monsters and I’m digging it.

volo

I’m thinking about a world where humans are young and have not yet made their first city; the only city is in this world the giants’ city, Ostoria. Elves are tourists from alien Fey realms and Dwarves are in their glory, profiting hand over fist as the giants and dragons make war and they play both sides against the middle. The Thousand Years War between the giants and the dragons is about to begin.

Humans don’t have gods yet. If players level up, they are the first humans to reach those heights. They’ll meet NPC’s like the inquisitive and young Vecna and his best friend, the hardy warrior, Khaz – maybe a young Raven Queen.

Alignment

Alignment, I’m taking a cue from Court of Swords. Alignment and morality is based on giants and dragons, the foremost powers in the world.

Bahamut: Justice, Wealth and Leadership

Tiamat: Lore, Collecting and Sorcery

Annam: Strength, Breeding and Order

Othea: Building, Defense and Teaching

Sigil: Adapting, Balance and Learning

Bahamut and Tiamat are draconic deities.

Anna and Othea are the all-father and all-mother of the giants.

Sigil is an idyllic nexus where all elements and ideas meet in a beautiful oasis filled with hidden doorways.

 

Rachel E.S. Walton and Playing Thieves at the Gaming Table

Rachel E.S. Walton is one of my favorite people I’ve met through role-playing games. When I ask some friends if they had a good gaming convention, some have said, “Well, I got to game at the same table as Rachel 3 times, so yeah, it was a good con.”

You can find her on G+ or see an example of her work here, where she made our campaign an amazing movie poster.

We got talking about 2nd edition D&D and playing thieves and then this interview happened.

Tell me about playing a thief in Quest for Glory, please!

Okay, so I’m going back 20-some years here, but Quest for Glory was my first memorable experience playing a thief in a game and one that forever cemented my love for the character type. At the time, playing a computer game was still pretty new and exciting, so it’s hard to separate the game itself from that world-opening experience. But the graphics were really good for the time, and the MIDI atmospheric sound was excellent. I can still feel my gut clench up a bit at the foreboding music of the “pick your hero type” screen and hear the tap-tap-tap sound of distant villagers going about their business in the background. The sound is so cheesy now, but they really knew how to work it.

What I remember the most was practicing abilities over and over to improve them and getting to see them actually improve. Like climbing. At first the hero is slow, but after practicing a bunch, he’d be zipping up and down the rope or gate with comical speed. After dragging myself away from a frustrating encounter, it felt pretty great to practice a bunch and then go out again and overcome that thing. And while that had moments of tedium, overall the game was just fun. Different sorts of puzzles and quests. Talking to people, helping them, and getting clues. Sneaking around. The scary thrill of going through the world at night. Dorky puns and a built-in sense of humor. (Pro tip: do not drink the Dragon’s Breath ale.)

I don’t think playing a thief was spectacularly different from playing a fighter or magic user in the game, but this was a game and character that stood out from any of the other games and characters I had played on my brother’s Nintendo. It was a character type that rewarded preparation, planning, puzzling things out, caution, and a bold move at just the right moment – a manifestation of my personality type like I hadn’t experienced in a game before.

Dungeons and Dragons was still a taboo gateway-to-darkness in my mind, not even really on my horizon yet. But this game! This game was all fun and adventure.

Clearly, we will have to play this for the rest of the interview.

When you describe the way skills go up and planning and puzzling things out, it almost sounds like Burning Wheel! That said, I feel like when we talk, Burning Wheel is always looming in the background when we geek out together.

Did you play every game in the Quest for Glory series?

Were there more steps on the transitional road between Quest for Glory and D&D?

I am listening to it right now. I am mildly horrified that I can enjoy a MIDI soundtrack, but this still has power.

And yes – what you just mentioned is part of why I found Burning Wheel so appealing. With D&D I never liked that advancements did not correspond with what happened fictionally. It broke continuity to go up a level and improve a skill never used or to suddenly have access to complex spells. It always felt like we were leaving out an interesting and important piece of fiction – and this was years before I ever heard of story games.

But going back to Quest of Glory, no – I never played another. As much as I loved various pieces of geeky media, I wasn’t really part of nerd culture in the way a lot of folks seemed to be. I had moments of obsession and did a few intensely nerdy things (nerdiest thing ever: AOL Nintendo summer camp on the internet), but sometimes my love encircled a thing and found contentment and satiety. Quest for Glory was one of those things. And I didn’t find another roguish game I loved as much until the much more recent Dishonored.

As for what came after Quest for Glory, Betrayal at Krondor was another dearly-loved computer game that prepped me for tabletop gaming. But it was a few years before I ever played D&D.

D&D was not something I had heard anything good about growing up. As part of a conservative Christian family and community, I had heard the urban legends. I was a pretty sensible kid and had little interest in opening a gateway to the occult. But then our family became friends with another Christian family and they were awesome. They also happened to be democrats, which was weird for us, and their son, who was my age, ran D&D. He talked about it and it sounded like the kind of stuff we were already into, but more social. So my parents said okay. Softies! And suddenly there were four of us, exploring the Grand Duchy of Karameikos in my room while our parents met for Bible study downstairs.

I played a thief of course! Disappointingly, I remember exactly zero about that character. I think I only played them for a few sessions and it wasn’t particularly memorable. I remember two things keenly though. One, was lovingly pouring over the AD&D Complete Thief’s Handbook. Especially the equipment lists that evoked that most amazing possibilities for carefully planned adventures…caltrops and poisons and oh no! – encumbrance. I’d have to plan my pack carefully…an annoyance I secretly delighted in. But these sneaky adventures never came.

Just a few sessions in, Christmas came around, and my GM handed me a present. He was practically wiggling with excitement about it. So I opened it and was a bit confused – it was the AD&D Complete Psionic’s Handbook (no, my GM was not John Stavropoulos). “This is for you to play!” he blurted out. He was a friend and super excited, and I still didn’t know my way around the game yet, so I said, “Cool, thanks,” while trying to hide my disappointment. I figured I’d give it a go because maybe it actually would be cool. But the psionic proved ill-suited to the world and fun proved elusive. womp womp

On the plus side, even as a tabletop newb, I understood the faux pas and determined to do better when the opportunity arose to GM D&D in college. I never did get a chance to do a D&D rogue justice except with an NPC – it was hard to pass off the mantle of GM! By the time I finally had the chance to play in someone else’s ongoing game, I was deep into the world of indie games and D&D was history I felt more frustration over than nostalgia for.

If you had mentioned any of this before we started our current (and wonderful) BW campaign, that game would have had a very different pitch!

Well then I’m glad I didn’t mention it, because I love our current game a lot. 😉 But I would LOVE to do a rogue-ish Burning Wheel game with you sometime – or try the same setting from a different angle. And as much as I love them, I often don’t play rogues! They’re something of a genre unto themselves, so some of the really good stuff – the sneaking around, the underdog or outcast status, the fraught back-stories, the clever problem-solving, the undermining of the political system, the fun equipment, the mix of undesirable and charming, etc. – these things don’t fit into every game well, nor should they. Not that all of these pieces have to be present to play a proper rogue, but they do suggest things about what the world is like, what the character’s place is in it, and what kind of challenges might happen, or what the game needs to support.

When coming to the table, unless I’ve been asked to, I try not to come with strong preconceived notions about what I want to play. Because more than a black-leather-clad sneak with some lock picks, I want to play a character that fits with what the game does well, feels like a part of the setting (even if they defy it somehow), and works with what other players are trying to do. If I try to force my preconceived idea into what’s going on, it’s rarely satisfying to me or anyone else.

The image of kids exploring Grand Duchy of Karameikos while their parents were studying the bible is delicious! Do you have any particular nostalgia for the Gazeteers or Mystara?

None at all! My memory of that campaign is a handful of fuzzy moments and little else. The pleasure of hosting my friends in my room, the old briefcase the GM kept the books and papers in, the sound of scribbling pencils, the desserts we scarfed afterward when the adults were done – those memories are much more palpable.

Dishonored is a game I’ve heard many of my friends talk about. Is there a common thread between Dishonored and Quest for Glory?

Switching to this soundtrack now. 😉 
The common threads between the two games are just a few basics. They’re both rogue adventure games, although Dishonored is much darker and grittier. And most notably for me: they’re both finite. They have main objectives and side quests and you can decide on approach, but they both head toward an end game. I like sandbox games, but I avoid them because they’re bad for me – I have a hard time stopping! I may blow week on Dishonored, but then it’s done. A sandbox game just keeps going. Of course, it’s different for a sandbox tabletop game – everyone meets for a couple of hours or so and then puts it aside until next time. Much healthier! 🙂

Dishonored though. I have not loved a video game more than this one. It has some problematic content – I won’t deny that, but the setting is rich, and the game play is phenomenal. I have reached such levels of frustration playing games with awkward or highly complex controls. In fact, I used to say I hated first-person shooters for this reason. But I can’t say that anymore because but the controls in Dishonored are intuitive and super-smooth, and if you have a hard time doing a thing, there are other possible approaches – it doesn’t punish you if you can’t master the drop-from-above & stab motion, for example – you can try another way. In fact, you don’t have to stab at all! It’s a violent game no matter what, but you can play the entire thing non-lethally and that influences the game world in subtle but cool ways.

To me, these parts make a huge difference in playing an amazing rogue game! It goes beyond rogue-in-name and takes it to rogue-as-an-experience. Smooth game play means I get to feel like I’m really controlling a badass with physical prowess, not like some other games where there’s a disconnect like, “sorry dude, I know you’re awesome, but I can’t perfect this awkward 6-button forward-up-aim-shoot motion on the controller.” And having options in how I approach a problem or finding another way also feels very rogue-ish to me. I can be straightforward, stealthy, murderous, merciful, resourceful – whatever suits me and the situation and keeps the evil rats away. I’ve played it through twice and I can’t wait to play through it again, but I’m waiting until I finish a big project.

I read somewhere that you started GMing in college. Did you give any special attention to the thieves and rogues in the group you DMed?

I had a big group, so I tried to provide a variety of plot hooks to appeal to different players, but I mostly tried to make interesting situations that didn’t require a single solution. If wanted to see what they would come up with, whether they were a rogue or a barbarian. AD&D gets a lot of flack, but I actually preferred it to 3rd edition because it had suggestions for giving characters XP for doing things that defined them – rogues doing thiefy things, wizards casting spells, etc. Once we converted to 3rd edition, there was really only XP support for killing stuff, if I remember correctly. I worked around it, but I felt much more on my own. It was my first big realization that the system really didn’t support the fun we were trying to have.

Anyway, there were a couple of rogues that cycled through that game – I mostly remember how much trouble they got into because they had poor impulse control. 🙂 And I got a little bit of a rogue fix with an NPC who had a lock racket. He would make and sell master locks and break into homes that didn’t have them. I used him as a bit of a guide in their early days, and he ended up pretty well loved so he was a useful plot device too. When I started a new D&D game some years later, he came with me like a well-worn jacket and he survived our conversion to Burning Wheel. He was mostly a friendly face in the village by that point, but it was nice to have him around.

Any other fond memories of 2E, system AP, whatever comes to mind?

oh! How about I confess my worst GMing sin?

Even early on in my GMing days, I knew it was important to not hold so tightly to my vision that I shut down players, so I was pretty good at working in oddball stuff. BUT I also didn’t have a strong sense of when to say no and what certain imbalances could do to the game. Mostly this was not a problem – my friends were all amiable and interested in having a good time together. But then there was this one guy. He built a Drow or half-Drow and because we used a stat system where you could spend two points from one stat to increase another by one point, he ended up with this monster with 3 Charisma and 21 Strength. We’re like, “that’s ridiculous – you know you have the Charisma of a skeleton and people will run screaming from you, right?” And he was okay with that and the group said okay too. Ugh! But the worst part was, he was also playing Chaotic Neutral and in order to play that up, he made his character start acting increasingly erratic and lashing out. And with 21 Strength, you don’t lash out without huge consequences. He got into a fight with another PC and almost killed them and he threatened the others “because that’s what my character would do.” The other players were pretty upset. They didn’t feel like they could say or do anything to steer his behavior in-character and worried that even if they ganged up to exile, capture, or attack his PC, he would likely kill a couple of their PCs in the process.

Obviously this was something to be addressed out of character. Obviously. But we were worried that confronting the player would only lead to a temporary improvement and we were SO over this character. But rather than handle this like adults anyway, and talk to him, laying out some parameters if he wanted to keep playing with us, a few of us gathered in the dimmed florescence of the cafeteria after hours and plotted his PCs assassination.

We sat there discussing resources and pros and cons of different methods. My above-mentioned NPC had on him a vial of powerful acid for dissolving stubborn locks. Someone else had silencing Boots of Elvenkind. I offered to have my NPC carry out the act so the burden of responsibility would be on my shoulders (how noble of me).

So…the terrible day arrived and we started playing as usual. But I didn’t draw it out too long. I narrated it being at night when everyone was resting. Every moment of this felt heavy. The group was unnaturally silent because they knew what was coming. I made a successful roll to stealthily sneak into the ill-fated PC’s tent. And then I described the awful pain of acid being poured onto his face and the fade to black. The absolute worst part of all of this is that the player didn’t yet understand what happened and he picked up his dice and had this really eager look on his face – he thought it was yet another challenge to overcome because he trusted me. “Okay, what do I roll?!” “Nothing. There’s no saving throw here. The assassin didn’t make a sound and he poured powerful acid on your face…you’re dead.” This one of the most uncomfortable moments in my life. None of us were happy – we were all squirming with discomfort.

The player got up and left, swearing up a storm down the hall. One of his closer buds went to check on him. I can’t remember what conversations were had after that. I think we did manage to talk more directly to him. He asked if he could play another character and of course I said yes because I felt terrible. So here’s the best/worst part: he came back with a new PC: a friendly, boisterously cheerful wizard who spoke in the most ridiculous Scottish accent. It was so obnoxious. But we let it slide. Penance, I guess.

That is a great story. I’ve totally been there.

Thank you for taking part in this interview, Rachel.

The Gatecrasher’s Song: Mapping and Naming an Absence

One of my colleagues found a planar map in the University of Sigil’s Arcane Sciences Department that was fascinating. For centuries this elven wizard charted all summonings that were licensed in Sigil. Points on the map noted where the summonings were from, as in this case, all of the summonings led to Sigil.

little circles

Centuries of summonings, thousands of spells cast, from angelic monkeys from heaven, to demon lords, to elementals of the basic elements to elementals of the quasi-planes where elements merge and react to become something new. There was a clear gap.

summoning circle

At first we thought it was Ravenloft but it was not. It turns out some murder elementals and mist demons are brought forth from the plane. For a while we wondered if we could summon a trapped mortal out from Ravenloft but none of us had the arcane acumen to begin to create such a spell.

GreatWheelMap

No, this was a hole, where nothing was summoned out.

I was unable to leave Sigil but I interviewed countless travelers who had been near the gap and here are the facts that I can corroborated by more than a few trustworthy travelers, pilgrims and petitioners.

sailors

Gods are reticent to go anywhere near this place and Clerical spells work at a deficit, even to the most favored psychopomp or saint.

Magic is weakened here. At first I thought this was just a magic null zone but this turned out to not be true. One merchant who had travelled around this zone several times to avoid Githyanki pirates, told me that magic could work just as powerfully here as anywhere. However, to allow magic to work, one had to feed it with life energies. Only wizards whose towers are right on the border of this place and whose morals are flexible have discovered this.

Psionics seems to work well and children born near it are more often born with psionic abilities. I even met one such child, a daughter of a gun born on an elven Armada ship who could pyrokinetically light candles with her mind.

Having put these pieces together I have decided that I have, in fact, discovered this place and so I will name it. There is a word in the trade tongue that means a lack, a hungry, angry lack that makes folk thirsty to the point of murder. I chose this word because it sounds very much like a word that means gateless or doorless among the Sigil street urchins.

Athas.

Athas: To be without resources or doors, thus inspiring murder and rage.

Adapted from The Gatecrasher’s Song, a planar wanderer’s journal.

gatecrasher

There are those who say he found his way to Athas and that is why he was never seen again. Among many gatecrashers who follow in his tradition, to be Athased is to be stranded in a faraway plane without sufficient resources to make your way back to Sigil or even the Outer Planes.

 

Seclusiopolis

I’ve been rereading Seclusion of Orphone of the Three Visions and now a city is in my head.

It is a filthy, fading arcane metropolis that was ruled by a senate of inhuman wizards who have faded into various stages of comatose seclusion. Their apprentices, pale imitations of their masters and mistresses wage bloody gang wars in the streets with spells, staves and pistol.

The old wizard’s senate has been officially disbanded by the Olde Sword Republic and the new government is offering the Delver’s Guild everything their intrepid members can carry out of any registered seclusium. The players can also post a flag on behalf of a sect within the city, having a say of who takes over the seclusium once it is sacked and looted.

Players can take the seclusia offered by the guild or bid on having first crack at new ones as they are uncovered and tagged by municipal workers.

I started a pinterest board collecting Delver’s Guild members.

P.S. That is not what I would call the city.

 

 

Random Encounter Tables: Big Shire

Big Shire is made up of 11 farthings, spread out along the pleasant, fertile, rolling grasslands next to the Govus River. Each Farthing has its own Shirriff and Mayor, both are elected for life or until public outcry demands that they step down.

The only element of Big Shire that is jarring against its pastoral, quaint beauty are the crow’s cages that are outside of every shirriff’s cottage and at incoming roads, major crossroads and town squares. Usually a deputy will be nearby, smoking a pipe and hucking rocks with a sling at bottles set up on a nearby fence-post. Their riding mastiffs will be watching from nearby, perhaps sipping water from a nearby pond or stream. They will both be watching newcomers carefully, friendly but cautious.

Visiting adventurers cannot walk about armed. In order to apply for a Mayoral Writ necessary for permission to carry a weapon larger than a dagger, one has to have lived in Big Shire for ten years or more. However, you can hire a local to walk with you and they might, if given proper incentive, say that your weapons are in fact their weapons and you are doing a public service by carrying the heavy things around for them.

Those caught with weapons without a writ or friendly local will be charged with inciting a riot (1d4 weeks in a crow’s cage, reserved for folks looking for trouble, or anyone who gives excessive resistance or lip to the arresting shirriff and deputies) or inciting adventure (1d6 days in a crow’s cage, can be suspended with a year’s exile or a 50GP fine if the visitor just didn’t know better).

Riot!

Fighting the law in this town is a brutal proposition. Once the hue and cry goes out, the shirriffs will begin closing in with their deputies. Big Shire is spread out over a great distance but once word goes the local law comes hard.

First 1d10 rounds = Local Fathing’s Law Patrol (Farthing’s Law Patrol = Shirriff and 3d4 deputies on riding mastiffs with slings and short swords).

Second 3d6 rounds = 1d4 Farthing’s Law Patrol.

If the fight continues or if a local is killed the stakes go up. The neighboring Shirriffs begin deputizing folks. All remaining Farthings bring a Riot Squad. 1 Shirriff + 3d4 deputies + 5d8 auxiliary deputies.

If things look really bad or someone casts a spell they will Call in the Wizard (said with the same gravity as, “Release the Kraken.”). 1 Wizard of 1d20 levels.

But that won’t happen, right?

Enjoy some pipe weed. Relax. Welome to Big Shire.

Crow Cage’s Inhabitants

1-6: Halfling thief
7: Wizard troublemaker (1-3 human, 4 elf, 5 dwarf, 6 halfling)
8: Ranger (1-3 elf, 4-5 human, 6 half-elf)
9: Dwarven adventurer
10: Tiefling Warlock/Dragonborn Fighter
11: Kobold/Goblin
12: SPECIAL

Special

1: Lycanthrope
2: Angel
3: Devil
4: Githyanki
5: Quaggoth
6: Orc
7: Drow
8: Gome
9: Elven Marine
10: Cultist
11: Kenku Assassin
12: Hobgoblin Soldier

As you enter Big Shire there signs along the road that read, “You must register your weapons and any suspected arcane relics with the law. No instigating adventure nor any trouble-making will be tolerated in Gourd Farthing. – Shirriff Cordelia Timmins”

Around the Big Shire Encounter Table

1 – Halfling Sheriff on patrol with 1d3 deputies and 1d6 watchdogs.
2 – Halfling burglars coming back from a job.
1d6 halflings, 1d4-1 dwarves
3 – Mercenaries heading to 3 Giants Dam
4 – 1d4 Wizards on sabbatical, high on weed (rolll 1d20)
1-10, lvl 1d4, 11-15, lvl 1-8, 16-19 lvl 1d12, 20 lvl 1d20
5 – 1d8 Human Bandits (on the run from a sheriff’s posse)
6 – 1d8 Orc Raiders
7 – Ululan Messenger
8 – Vault Caravan – 2d6 wagons, 1d4 guards for every wagon
9 – Roll on the the High Fell table
10 – Roll on the Corvuston table

10 Underground Cities

These cities are listed from the closest to the surface to the deepest beneath the earth.

Cities 1-3 are in the Overdark, a cold and dank area where the surface dwellers often feel the most comfortable.

Cities 4-8 are in the Underdark Proper, with tunnel highways that are home to bison-sized mushroom-beasts and heated by lava.

City 9 is in a hollow earth jungle, heated by an Illithid-made sun.

City 10 is in the Underdeep, said to be so far underground that planar travel occurs when going that deep and underworlds are easier to contact.

1

Culicid: a castle town ruled by a vampire, a veteran of the war and self-styled duchess. She takes blood from slaves taken from the surface, as Culicid is a major stopping point for the Drow’s slave-trade. Culicid has the largest population of free humans beneath the surface, policed by the duchess’ immortal children.

Exports: bio-luminescent mushrooms, messenger bats, goats


2

Xenosh T’allotha: In Drow this means, All-Mother’s First Rest, as it is the first place the Drow stopped to rest during the exodus from the skylands.  It is a small town, really a village built around a series of wells and underground waterfalls that has grown out into the tunnels that lead to it.

Exports: Religious artifacts, Riding spiders, Monk bodyguards


3

Anvil: The decrepit holdfast that houses the dwarves who sided with the underground armies. It is ruled by a council of petty dwarven princes who have been trying to elect a High King since the war ended. Some whisper that outside political pressure has thwarted this process.

Exports: Mead, dwarf-made weapons and armor, dwarf-cut gems


4

Titan: The Githyanki fortress city built from the buried fossil of a forgotten lizard demi-god is watched closely by the Drow matriarchs. The Githyanki were allowed to keep control of this city after their attempted coup under the watchful eye of a powerful Drow priestess, along with sending hostages to Endë-Osto and their sleeping red dragons were hidden from them.

Exports: Dream-walkers, Swords-for-hire, Warlocks-for-hire, Domesticated Umber Hulks


5

Quaggothan: More of a meeting place or a camp site than a proper city, this is the ancient site where the Quaggoth elders live out the last days of their life when they can no longer follow the mushroom herds. It is ruled by a Drow-appointed governor who oversees the trading and make sure the Quaggoth feuding never gets out of hand. Merchant caravans always stop here to trade their foods and it has become a hub of trade and news.

Exports: Mushroom bison meat, odd artifacts the Quaggoth unearth in their travels


6

Kitji-Naal: Two cities divided by an underground river and ruled by twin matriarchs who rarely meet, but communicate via magical mirrors. The city is the largest and most populated city in the underdark; its politics are a convoluted mess of ancient feuds, assassin’s knives and inter-House warfare.

Exports: Poisons, Assassins-for-hire, spider-silk, books


7

Sclera: A dank, and dangerous city ruled by feuding gangs of Beholders – each with its own Eye-cult. This is the city with the highest human population in this layer of the underdark. It also boasts the underdark’s only public temple to Asmodeus, the Devil-God.

Exports: Scrying, mirrors, spies, indentured-devils


8

Eämbar: A newly founded city that is a port, connected to the ocean by a series of complicated crystal locks that link Eämbar to the ocean’s crushing depths. All manner of undersea sentient can been seen on the city streets, sometimes in specially made tanks of water pushed by servants.

The matriarch is the youngest to ever hold the title and the most renowned swords-Drow in the underdark.

Exports: Fish, undersea crafts, spider-silk crystal


9

Endë-Osto: The deepest city of the Drow and the Drow capital, is ruled by the eldest matriarch whose throne is said to float weightless in the center of the earth. Her queensguard is made of the most cunning of the drow sword-maidens, who ride dinosaur steeds bred for battle. The city is in a hollow-earth with a bruise-purple sun, said to have been created at the height of the Illithid Empire.

Exports: vegetables, dinosaur steeds and ranger-guides


10

Svinifrilijihirim: Despite Endë-Osto being at the center of the world, this Gnomish city is still somehow deeper, due to a trick of planar geometry. The city, often called Deeptown for short, is home to a powerful ward, created to keep a Pit Fiend in the uninhabited darkest depths. The Pit Fiendwas unleashed by the skylanders into the underdark during the War, has destroyed a Drow city single-handedly.

Deeptown is home to a powerful council of wizards and it is a great city for finding tutoring or for apprenticing one’s self to any of the Schools of Magic. It does boast the underdark’s only Bard College that is home to one of the finest libraries in the underdark, rivaled only by Kitji-Naal and Endë-Osto.

Exports: Wizards-for-hire, Bards-for-hire, magic items, alien gems, gates to other worlds, spell components

And once you’re done and you want to make the place a political mess – A Web of Cities.