Far beneath the surface of the world lies a nation of city-states and settlements, united only in their hatred of the light of day and the denizens of the “surface world.”
“The Underground Kingdom” actually a bit of misnomer, as it is not a kingdom at all—it is a patchwork of individual settlements. Because of this, some scholars refer to the realm as “Subterranea,” but this term is not in common use.
The Underground Kingdom exists in a series of caverns and tunnels far beneath the continent of Zaldara. It’s geography has never been fully mapped, Entry into the realm can be made through Khazak-Ur or through some of the caves near the Rift.
Cities and Places of Interest
Probably the two largest known settlements in the Underground Kingdom are Ambraxaran and Almetherocc, both Drow cities. Ambraxaran lies beneath eastern Zaldara, while Almetherocc lies somewhere to the west.
In between are many smaller settlements belonging to other of the subterranean races, such as duergar, derros, and the “dark” races (creepers, etc.).
Before the Rivening, the subterranean realm was mostly occupied by aberrations and creatures more than “civilized” races. The events of that cataclysm brought the duergar and the drow into those recesses and they essentially conquered it, establishing themselves as the most dominant forces there—especially in the case of the drow.
Ambraxaran and Almetherocc are huge centers of trade within the realm. The smaller settlements often send their wares and slaves there for selling and bartering. The drow seek more territory in the central catacombs, but have yet to get a foothold there. The duergar hold off the drow for the most part, controlling most of the central continent. Some say it is only a matter of time before drow from both sides of the realm close in.
Laws and Governance
The Underground Kingdom is mostly frontier, with a settlements dotting the realm here and there. Each settlement has their own form of governance, if any.
The settlements within the realm often trade in finished goods, slaves, and precious metals and gems. Coins are minted in the drow cities and are used throughout the realm, as are coins stolen from the surface world.
Drow Money System
*CP = Copper Piece, SP = Silver Piece, GP = Gold Piece, and PP = Platinum Piece
The Underground Kingdom is made up of a variety of races and creatures. Drow, duergar, tieflings, morlocks, derros, dark creepers, and other such creatures all make their home here. Some traditionally surface-dwelling creatures, such as dwarves and goblinoids (and even humans) find their home there as well.
Undercommon is the most widespread language used in the realm.
Religious practices in the Underground Kingdom vary as much as they do on the surface, though for the dominant races (drow and duergar), these practices most often take on the form of diabolism (demon worship).
Sorcery and Wizardry
None of the settlements of the Underground Kingdom are signers of the Athanasius Pact—nor have probably heard of it.
Culture within the Underground Kingdom varies within each settlement. There is a sharp, sleek, cruelty of the drow; the blunt, broad, evil of the duergar; the chaotic, spontaneous evil of the derro; the murderous urges of the morlocks; ever-present is the notion of danger, cruelty, and self-preservation.
Food in the Underground Kingdom tends to be harvested from giant mushrooms, or the meat from various strange creatures found below. Strange herbs and spices are also said to grow in the darkness, never seeking the light of day be, nevertheless, thriving in the shadows. These are used to give the otherwise bland food a unique flavor.
Weapons and Armor
Some of the rarest metals in the world can be found in the Underground Kingdom, thus some of the most resilient and unusual armor and weapons can be found there.
The Drow system of timekeeping is widely used in underground settlements. Each hour of the day has a designated name:
||The Hour of Silence
||The Hour of the Purple Worm
||The Hour of the Kobold
||The Hour of the Rakshasa
||The Hour of the Centipede
||The Hour of the Skulk
||The Hour of the Lurker Above
||The Hour of the Ooze
||The Hour of the Spider
||The Hour of the Troglodyte
||The Hour of the Homunculus
||The Hour of the Mouther
||The Hour of the Gongs
||The Hour of the Serpent
||The Hour of the Rat
||The Hour of the Basilisk
||The Hour of the Naga
||The Hour of the Slurk
||The Hour of the Cloaker
||The Hour of the Crawler
||The Hour of the Morlock
||The Hour of the Beetle
||The Hour of the Gug
||The Hour of the Devourer