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    Canonfire :: View topic - The Underoerth - Work in progress
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 24, 2004 2:03 pm  
    The Underoerth - Work in progress

    The Underdark of the Flanaess has been my favorite unexplored area for a long time, and I've got lots of little fragmentary ideas floating around in my head. I'll try and post them here as I think of them, and maybe it'll turn into an article or something someday. Opinions, ideas, outlooks, advice, and information encouraged.

    Here's a little thingum to get started, kinda like a tourist's brochure or something.

    Five great realms in darkness deep
    Five stone vaults under mountains steep
    Four lost halls of old
    Four wicked cities the spiders hold
    Three pits of endless thunder
    Three labyrinths of earthly plunder
    Two kingdoms of undeath foul
    Two sanctuaries for ebon cowl
    One prison under watchful eye
    One great hall uncloaked to sky


    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Fri Dec 24, 2004 8:25 pm  

    Sounds like a vacation unfit for low-level PCs, Nell ;)
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    Fri Dec 24, 2004 11:46 pm  

    We could just start with something a bit more familiar.

    Take the GDQ map of the underdark. You know, the hex map with the lines representing the main tunnels leading eventually to Erehli Cinlu. Along that route are many side tunnels that could be expanded upon. Hints are given as to the contents of some, but nothing is really fleshed out. One to three pages of info ought to do the trick, including the names/levles of any notable personages/critters at such locations.

    I put forth this area as it is one that many people know about, but that are not familiar with, and it is an area that is still being adventured through by many in current Greyhawk campaigns(though I do like the rhyme of locations Nellisir put forth). This would be a good starting point for leaping into further widely spread areas.

    Of course, anybody could simply place their area write-up in a location on the underdark map from GDQ.

    What is everyone's thoughts on this. I kind of like these fluff pieces(similar to "The Planes of the Abbyss" thread).
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 25, 2004 5:39 am  

    grodog wrote:
    Sounds like a vacation unfit for low-level PCs, Nell ;)


    Yeah, well, I was going to throw the low-level stuff in there, but

    Forty warrens of goblins stinky
    Forty mines with kobolds dinky


    just didn't flow right.
    Wink

    Nell.
    (who is truly posting at 8:49 AM on Christmas morning.)
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    Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:35 pm  

    At last weeks chat, Nellisir outlined a DeepOerth with many individual enclaves only tangentially connected, in contrast to FRs sprawling netherworld of an Underdark. Initially skeptical, I was impressed and won over by his descriptions of some of these realms. I would very much be interested in seeing Nellisir put a description and name to each of the realms mentioned in his verse.

    GVD
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    Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:54 pm  

    UnderDark has always been one of my favorite place to go when I actually get to play. Ever since the D1-3. The feelings of desperation of running from cavern to cavern not knowing where you can rest in safety, re-learn spells or even get a chance for a meal. If you run out of light sources or you have too much light then either way you can get nailed. The creatures there should be tough as hell and more than willing to suck the marrow from you dead bones. Ive laways this area for higher ups as it is one of the best places for thier adventures.


    Maraudar
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 28, 2004 6:25 pm  
    Re: The Underoerth - Work in progress

    These are just my ideas, folks -- I'm interested in hearing opinions and other ideas.
    Quote:
    Five great realms in darkness deep


    There are 5 significant "underrealms" beneath the Flanaess. The most famous lies beneath the Hellfurnaces & Crystalmist ranges, but reaches into the Jotens & other small ranges in the western Sheldomar basin. The drow are the most powerful race, but duergar, svirfneblin, and undead all hold significant caverns. A few heavily guarded passages lead north and east, to the Lormil Mountains.

    The second lies beneath the Lortmils, Celene, and the Gnarly Forest. Labyrinthian passages extend beneath Woolly Bay and as far east as Greyhawk. Humanoids dominate this area -- driven from the upper reaches of the Lortmils by the demihuman alliance, the humanoid races sought refuge here. The easternmost passages dive deeply into the oerth and beneath the Blue-Scant Strait, connecting to the Headlands and the deep caverns under them. A few northern tunnels lead into the maze of limestone caverns that lies under Furyondy.

    The third underrealm is etched out of the soft stone beneath Furyondy, the Shield Lands, and the Empire of Iuz. No one race dominates here -- humanoids dwelll in the south, monstrousities spawned by Iuz and the Horned Society in the north, and strange and wild creatures in the west, beneath the Vesve. Passages in the southeast terminate in the depths of the Nyr Dyv, kept dry by ancient locks and dams far older than recorded history in the Flanaess. Northeast passages either dead-end, or emerge in the Rift Canyon.

    The fourth realm lies beneath the Griff & Corusk ranges. Carved into the mountains' roots are the remains of a dwarven empire. A few "civilized" races have made inroads here, but most of the empty ruins are home to barbaric quaggoths, grimlocks, and worse. The nature of the dwarves who built it are unknown, though occasional sightings keep alive the rumors that not all the dwarves who built it have passed on.

    The fifth realm lies in the south, stretching from the Headlands to Sunndi, and underlying the Hollow Hills, southern Ahlissa, and the Vast Swamp. This realm lies deeper than most, and aberrations are the norm here. Aboleths, beholders, and illithids are all powers to be reckoned with. There are significant connections to a flooded realm even deeper still, one that extends beneath the Aerdi & Azure Seas.


    Quote:
    Five stone vaults under mountains steep


    The Vault of the Drow is not unique. A total of five vaults still exist under the Flanaess. One is held by the drow in the Crystalmists. A second lies further south, a furnace-like cavern in the bowels of the Hellfurnaces. An isolated vault lies beneath the southern Yatils, its only known surface access through the former lair of the Witch-Queen Iggwilv. The fourth vault underlies the junction of the Griff and Raker ranges, and demarcates the southern boundary of the old dwarven realm. The fifth vault lies far beneath the Hollow Highlands.


    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:11 am  
    Dwarven Realm

    A dwarven realm would be a nice addition, and reasonable. Though they have various small holds throughout the flaness, the dwarves, (I do not think) do not have a city or population center anywhere. The Lortmils seems like a good location.

    Also, dry caverns are not a neseccity. What about the Abloeths?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 29, 2004 2:07 pm  
    Re: Dwarven Realm

    Anced_Math wrote:
    A dwarven realm would be a nice addition, and reasonable. Though they have various small holds throughout the flaness, the dwarves, (I do not think) do not have a city or population center anywhere. The Lortmils seems like a good location.

    Also, dry caverns are not a neseccity. What about the Abloeths?


    I think it's likely there's a second level of Underoerth realms, primarily flooded, beneath the layer I've described. The Sunless Sea is the uppermost part of these. Other flooded areas include the "Sunndi Underdark", which has extensive deep connections to a, ah, "sub-oceanic" sea, and extensive parts of the Furyondy depths, where seals and dams have failed, letting the Lake of Endless Depths breach the dry tunnels. The Lortmil - Sunndi tunnel also dives very deep and touches the deeper sea.

    The Lortmil's are a very good place for a current-day subterranean dwarven stronghold/realm, guarding the upper levels from the humanoid hordes penned in below.

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Wed Dec 29, 2004 5:35 pm  

    Great ideas everyone Smile

    Ideas off the top of the head...
    Drow why not use CruelSummerLord well written article on the Six Drow Vaults of the Flanaess, locations and small write up on each included.

    Sunless Sea sounds great...remember the Kuo-toa race (work with Aerdy and perfect fit with the SB)

    Reading the races given where are the "old stand-bys", Gnomes, illithids, Beholder (Father Eye and his derros), Orcs, Goblins, Troglodities and Kobolds.

    Word of caution: Not every cavern or tunnel has to be settled, I hope you leave some empty, wild unsettled wilderness below perhaps the more choatic smaller races (kobolds and goblins) use these areas simply because no one else wants them. Not every cavern and tunnel has to be valuable underground real estate. Also be careful of the populations of the races, if it is too high characters will wonder why these races don't simply sieze land on the surface.

    Hope that helps
    Adept Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 31, 2004 4:31 am  

    I can assure you that there is more beyond the Griffs than you'd expect.
    It's olven land, the dwarves here are extinct for some millenia...

    Laughing

    Kul'gobsula's coming...
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    Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:28 pm  

    You could throw in the maps from Night below too. And place it in the Hellfurances.

    Mike
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    Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:23 am  

    I'm not a great fan of Flanaess wide underdarks, being content with the labyrinths beneath the Hellfurnace, Crystalmist, Jotens chains, but I must say that Nell's post is an interesting read. I like the almost Tolkien-esque nature of the little poem. Perhaps its a snippet from some epic ballad of Dwarven bards?

    Good job!
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    Last edited by richtrickey on Thu Jan 13, 2005 12:19 am; edited 1 time in total
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:47 am  
    Fan

    I am not a fan of an Underdark style realm either, where the entire world above can be traversed from below. But that does not seem to be what this is shaping up to be. Rather, there are interconntected tunnels sometimes? Such as from the Lortmils to Sunndi. I like that, a great deal, and could use it for some fun gaming. Nell, is it correct that you envision some vaults connected, and some not?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Jan 12, 2005 8:46 am  
    Re: Fan

    Anced_Math wrote:
    I am not a fan of an Underdark style realm either, where the entire world above can be traversed from below. But that does not seem to be what this is shaping up to be. Rather, there are interconntected tunnels sometimes? Such as from the Lortmils to Sunndi. I like that, a great deal, and could use it for some fun gaming. Nell, is it correct that you envision some vaults connected, and some not?


    Correct. There are a few very deep, very dangerous, and relatively unknown passages from the Pomarj to the Sunndi Underdark. The Griff Underdark is the only wholly unconnected underdark -- the few passages that connected it to the west were destroyed with the collapse of the Great Vault and the formation of the Great Rift. The remaining underdark in the GR region is excessively dangerous.

    I'll try to post more later,
    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:50 am  

    I actually took notes at the chat where Nellisir laid out some details. I will try to find time to post those notes. IMO, Nellisir is really on to something here.

    GVD
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    Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:45 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    I actually took notes at the chat where Nellisir laid out some details. I will try to find time to post those notes. IMO, Nellisir is really on to something here.


    That'd be cool, GVD. I was hoping to post a bit more this week, but I've been curiously exhausted at this convention (and I mean that without sarcasm -- I think I'm sleeping much worse than usual because my father snores something terrible, esp. in the first 45 minutes or so).

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:25 am  

    To keep this from stretching out into forever, I'll run through the rhyme and explain (roughly) what rough ideas I'd had.

    Quote:
    Five great realms in darkness deep
    Five stone vaults under mountains steep

    The five great realms are the underdarks, the five stone vaults are the vaults, obviously. I don't use the two interchangeably -- a vault is a miles-long cavern, not a geographic region (though a region may be under the control of the inhabitants of a vault). There are also very big caverns that are not vaults, and the drow sometimes refer to their primary cities as vaults, futher confusing the terminology.

    Quote:
    Four lost halls of old

    Four lost dwarven halls, not including the Underhalls of the Griff/Corusks. One of these would be the legendary first hall of the dwarves in the Flanaess. Another would probably tie into the duergar, and at least one other would be under draconic control (deliberately invoking Smaug)

    Quote:
    Four wicked cities the spiders hold

    The drow, obviously. I went through the articles on CF and printed out everything I could find related to the Underdark and drow, but don't have them on me and can't recall which four were the "wicked cities". E-C, obviously; one beneath Woolly Bay; one in the west under the Sulhauts (also the closest to the surface), and one other. Possibly under Sunndi, though I'd say those were a separate population of drow than those in the west. There are other drow settlements, but these are the biggest and the worst. (I'm a bit tired of the drow being everywhere, myself.)

    Quote:
    Three pits of endless thunder

    Three waterfalls. Should anyone be totally and completely insane, these are the best ways into the Sunless Sea that underlies so much of the central Flanaess*. These aren't just waterfalls, though -- these are roaring, nigh' bottomless cataracts. One underlies the Vast Swamp, a second drains the Nyr Dyv, and the third?

    Quote:
    Three labyrinths of earthly plunder

    The traditional domains of the svirfneblin. "Earthly plunder" is a thinly veiled reference to the gems that purportedly line the walls of these maze-like realms.

    Quote:
    Two kingdoms of undeath foul

    The White Kingdom, in the southern Hellfurnaces, and the Kingdom of Kyuss, east of the Rift. The Scions ofKyuss hold the few passages from the Griff underdark to the Rift, and are slowly extending their reach east.

    Quote:
    Two sanctuaries for ebon cowl

    Honestly, I don't know. Suel wizards are the obvious choice, which is why I was thinking an isolationist Oeridian battle-cult and Flan refugees instead, probably in service or thrall to the Earth Dragons.

    Quote:
    One prison under watchful eye

    Cyndor, aka the Sleeping God. This is the westernmost point referenced in the rhyme, and underlies the Sea of Dust. Connections from here to the Lost City are likely.

    Quote:
    One great hall uncloaked to sky

    The Rift Canyon, obviously. Once the greatest of the vaults, now potentially the most dangerous place on the surface.

    Cheers,
    Nell.

    *It might be interesting if the Oerth were indeed hollow....and filled with water. A subterranean, bottomless, ebony ocean.... What a terrifying place!
    Alternately, the Sunless Sea could form a barrier between the surface and the hollow center, one impassible by teleporting or planar travel, forcing adventurers to pass into its depths before emerging into anew into the Oerthheart.

    ** I also want to give credit where credit is due; my initial inspiration for this underdark arrangement came from a long conversation way back on the AOL boards. I think Roger Moore first came up with the idea of several discrete regions of the Underdark. I haven't looked up those exchanges in several years, though, so I take the blame for any loathesome details.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:40 am  
    Denizens of the Deepoerth

    Here's a quick list of underdark monsters I'd include in the Deepoerth. I'm working without my books, so I know I'll miss stuff from the 3e MM2, FF, and MM3.
    Aboleth, illithid, beholder, duergar, derro, dopplegangers, orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, ogres, formorian giants, drow, urdannir, cloakers, true ghouls, svirfneblin, mountain dwarves, pech, jermlaine, driders, dark ones(?), kuo-toa, quaggoths, grimlocks.

    There are scorpion-folk in the "underdark" beneath the Bright Desert, but that "underdark" is really no more than a relatively shallow complex cave network (similar in nature to the Furyondy Underdark) unconnected to the true Deepoerth.

    Anyone have cool, creepy names for the specific Underdark regions?
    Hellfurnaces/Crystalmist Underdark = ?
    Lortmil/Pomarj Underdark =
    Furyondy Underdark = ?
    Griff/Corusk Underdark = Underhalls
    Sunndi Underdark = ?

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Sat Jan 15, 2005 4:19 pm  

    Great verse Nellesir. I must say that I have enjoyed this thread - some good ideas running through. I will try to contribute when I've had a chance to give it some thought.

    I particularly like the idea that the areas are not interconnected, or at best contain tortured forgotten paths which would make underground travel impossible for those looking to use it as a highway. Apart from the humanoid races living in the mountain ranges there has never been any suggestion of these creatures suddenly pouring out of the ground in some unexpected region.
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    Sat Jan 15, 2005 5:01 pm  

    Hellfurnaces/Crystalmists = Slerotin's Bane?

    Old Suloise legends tell of the tortured dreams visited upon the retinue of mages close to Slerotin, following the exit from the Sea of Dust through the mountain range. These dreams of increasing madness showed unseen horrors hunting Suloise through twisted tunnels, as they pleaded for help. They were accompanied by visions of the Hellfurnace mountains viewed from the West. Many of the mages plagued by these visions went mad and died. Of those witnessing or hearing of these events, tunnels rumoured to be in that area were feared and avoided. Thus legends grew of the curse which struck many of Slerotin's compatriots, and whispered of a labyrith of caves where Suloise were ever hunted in their nightmares.

    The real story is that of the Lerara, a tribe left stranded in the tunnel when it was sealed, following the Suloise departure from the Sea of Dust. As they wandered desparate to get out, some of the mages sought to contact their bretheren to warn them of their plight and get them to return to the tunnel and unseal it. as they became more desperate the messages became more fraught and insane.....

    Pomarj / Lortmils = The bowels of the Earth Dragon?

    All conected to the ancient Flan legends of the sleeper in the Drachensgrab Hills

    Sunndi = The drowned depths?

    Furyondy = Tunnels of abomination?
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:35 pm  
    Cool

    Nell,

    this is shaping up to be great. Considering it's potential, you should consider submission for the next OJ. I think, if this pans out as well as it looks to, it ought to be among the base reading for new fans/dms of Greyhawk.

    One advantage FR has with their underdark is simply it's idea. They tell their players "in this world, there is an enormous underground realm, one where numerous intelligent and evil races live, and that is where you go for adventure."

    It probably doesn't sound like much, but it sure is easy for a new DM.

    If there is anything that you wish to assign out, let me know. I am working on some dwarven holds in the Lortmils for my 508 CY (Hateful War) Campaign.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:38 am  

    FYI there is already some material on the Dwur in GH.

    The Runes of the Dwur timeline(RD):
    http://hem.passagen.se/warlich/Greyhawk/World/the_world__greyhawk.html ->Dwarves Runes and Migrations
    and here:
    http://billg350.tripod.com/races_of_greyhawk.htm

    There`s some great fan made material on the Dwur in GH tying in the Axe of dwarvish lords into the history of the Flanaess. I believe most of it is in french though.
    There`s also "Personnages Dwur" and "Les clans de Dwur" (detailed compilation and extrapolation on Dwur history)both by Laurent Debelle and Stéphane Tanguay (Les Faconniers) . I even found a half complete attempted translation into english of Les Clans Dwur.
    French versions available here:
    http://perso.netultra.net/ggf/biblio.htm
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    Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:45 am  

    For some good canon material about the drow and the Under-Oerth then the Queen of Spiders series of adventures shouldn't be overlooked. THey provide some really interesting insights into how the drow were intended I think.

    The modules detail Erelhei-Cinlu under the Hellfurnaces and describe that city as the largest and greatest of all the drow cities. A description of drow culture and clans of that particular area and also whether there alleigance is to Lolth or the Elder Elemental God (of course bear in mind this stuff is earlier than I owuld imagine you'd be setting this current project)

    The description of this area of Under-Oerth reveals two layers if you like...and upper Under-Oerth comprising of many winding tunnels, caves, fissures and sink holes, littered with rubble and slippery underfoot in many places...this warren of tunnels seems to then deepen into the Under-Oerth proper. Perhaps weaker races may dwell in these upper tunnels that most likely can be found in all area of the Under-Oerth.

    In the area desribed two main races are noted,...the drow and the waning Kus-Toa (gogglers) who are ruled by the Priest-Prince Va-Guulgh the Mighty.

    In the decription of Erelhei-Cinlu itself it is interesting to note that it is possible to encounter bands of rakes...bitter youths who are often outcasts - these bands actually have some half-drow members (so the fact they havent been killed off and actually live in the city shows that half-drow in Greyhawk isnt unfeasible thing). These rakes are described as hating the system around them and are neither totally degenerate nor evil.

    there are also maps of the area that might be useful.

    Most of you are probabaly aware of this stuff anyways but I just thought it might be worth mentioning
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    Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:13 am  

    I appreciate every thought, idea, and reminder people can post here. I don't have the entirety of GH lore stored in my head, and in many cases it's been a long time since I read some of the relevant material.

    I'm as interested in seeing what other people have come up with as other people seem to be in what I come up with.

    I've considered submitting to the Oerth Journal, but I hear this new old guy that's moving in is a real hardass, and a stickler for canon. ;-) (for those who don't know, that's me, and I'm not. The second, at least.)

    Gotta fly -- internet access expires in 20 minutes and I've got to go download some boarding passes, or I'll be stuck in Florida!!

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Mon Jan 24, 2005 9:46 am  
    Just to dredge it up

    I wanted to touch base on this thread, just so it doesn't get lost. This has to be one of the best new projects I have seen, and I would like to get regular updates as possible.
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    Mon Jan 24, 2005 12:19 pm  

    Anced,

    Your wish (by coincidence Wink) is my command. Wink

    On December 23, 2004, at the weekly Greyhawk, a discussion was had about Oerth’s Underdark. As promised, I have transcribed pertinent portions of the chat. I have reorganized and edited matters slightly to increase comprehension. I have chosen to credit speakers, just to be fair and for ease of transcription.

    Nellisir - Underoerth. What are people’s opinions of how it is shaped?
    Mortellan - I’d say Underoerth is like an any farm, if viewed from a cross-section.
    GVD- Like worm eaten wood. Tunnels then cavities. No “abysses” like in FR, which has this concept of abysses - huge underground bottomless pits, miles wide. I like Mort’s ant farm analogy.


    Mortellan - Does Riftcanyon count as part of Underoerth?
    GVD - I would say “yes.”
    Nellisir - Someone, somewhere, suggested the Riftcanyon was once a Vault like the Drow vault, but it fell down and went boom. There could be other vaults.
    GVD - Fascinating! I never heard that Riftcanyon theory. I like it!
    GLHPSE - Blown off by what?
    Mortellan - Shockwave from the Invoked Devastation?


    Nellisir - I’m thinking several functionally disconnected Underoerths - one with drow, one beneath the Lortmils. One beneath Furyondy, one beneath the Griff/Corusk/Rakers, and one somewhere south of there. Ahlissa/Sunndi maybe.
    MaV - Agreed! Like many different ant farms. You could argue that there are some connecting tunnels but very rare or too small for most traffic.
    GVD - Interesting. But that would be difficult, to design so each is distinctly distinct.
    Nellisir - Different primary races, for one. Different histories.
    GVD - I was thinking in terms of terrain.
    Nellisir - Furyondy is pretty flat - Underoerth there is water-formed caverns, very Mammoth Cave-ish.
    GVD - Totally agree with respect to Furyondy.
    Nellisir - The Thillronian Underdark was once the domain of an ancient dwarven race - everything is or was shaped by dwarven hands. Long gone by now. The Lortmils Underoerth (which reaches to Greyhawk) is a maze. Its where the good races drove the humanoids. Its full of orcs and goblins. Its your “beginner” Underdark.


    Nellisir - The Crystalmist/Hellfurnaces Underoerth has, obviously, drow.
    GVD - Sea of Dust Underoerth?
    Nellisir - I wasn’t going to go there, but yeah. Hell yah.
    MaV - Creatures with a strange twist?
    GVD - Or almost literally “hell?” Planar rifts opened with the Twin Cataclysms?
    Nellisir - Possibly. Really weird stuff. Links to the drow regions, but stuff so weird the drow only touch the edges.


    Nellisir - I think Furyondy Undreroerth has some weird stuff too - it touches on the old Horned Society lands and Iuz’ empire afterall.
    Mortellan - Should the Lake of Unknown Depths touch on Underoerth?
    Nellisir - Somehow, but carefully. Maybe ancient locks left over from the Isles of Woe time, keep it from flooding the rest of Underoerth.
    MaV - How would the caves handle the water pressure? They’d be flooded in an instant.
    Mortellan - Not sure how flooding would be held off. Aeolius has some theories on Underoerth waterways.
    Maldin - Riftcanyon is on the edge of the region that I describe in my Isles of Woe page that sank under the Nyr Dyv. It is expected that there would be some “tearing.”
    Mortellan - Any other evidence of ‘tearing’ besides the Rift?
    Maldin - Not anything terribly obvious on the surface. There could easily be underground rifts.


    Nellisir - What races do you guys think should be prominent in Greyhawk’s Underdark?
    GVD - Something like the FR Imaskari - a lost human civilization - not just “monsters.”
    Mortellan - Lerara?
    GVD - That would be a natural but they would need more “civilization.”
    Mortellan - True. I’ve always been intrigued by the relationship of dark stalkers and dark creepers.
    GVD - Me too but that Dragon article (recently) did not do it for me.
    Mortellan - Much as I thought.
    GVD - Maybe there is another “type” of Dark XXX “behind” the Stalkers, yet to be revealed. That might be the civilization buried real deep. Dark Stalkers would be like rangers then, Dark Creepers their “campanions?”
    Mortellan - Ah. Good.
    Nellisir - I’ve had an idea about dark creepers & stalkers for awhile now. Divine punishment sort of stuff. The creepers and stalkers were humans that were led astray by less-than-divinely-inspired priests. As punishment, the gods turned the priests into stalkers and their followers into creepers. Both are continually reincarnated. Creepers “bud” new creepers, and when a stalker dies, a creeper becomes a stalker.
    Mortellan - Nasty.
    GVD - I’m not wild about a “divine punishment” angle, unless there is a greater civilization down there, I think, but the latter idea is interesting.

    Nellisir - Oh, I remembered! The Kingdom of Ghouls!
    GVD - From Dungeon 70.
    Nellisir - Yes. The White Kingdom. Does anyone remember if there was a companion article in Dragon? Okay, yes, Dragon 252, “Ecology of the Ghoul.” Drow vs true ghouls for domination of the Underoerth (Hellfurnaces region)! C’mon, that’s cool!
    Kirt - Drow vs ghouls would be a hard call. As elves, drow are practically immune to the ghoul paralysis. Ghouls are immune to the drow poison.
    Nellisir - Right. But every dead drow is a ghoul recruit. Or most of them are.
    Kirt - But the drow would have non-human races doing their fighting too. Can troglodytes and bugbears become ghouls?
    Nellisir - I don’t see why not. Certainly bugbears. Necromancer drow could maybe reanimate “dead” ghouls as skeletons.

    Mortellan - There are always illithids, or aboleth.
    Maldin - I have aboleth under the Dreadwood and southern Keoland.
    GVD - I like both but they are a bit “overexposed,” IMO

    That, in abbreviated form, was the meat of the discussion. The actual transcript runs for a number of pages but there were multiple GH topics being discussed simultaneously. I believe I have sorted out the comments relevant to Nellisir’s Underoerth. If I missed anything or anyone’s relevant comments, it was unintentional or in the interest of brevity.

    I strongly like Nellisir’s vision for Oerth’s Underdark. Go Nellisir! Happy

    GVD
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    Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:43 pm  
    I love

    I love this place.

    Thanks GVD, etal. Where else could someone say "I wish I knew what was under the campaign world in which I am playing" and have such a response. It is like having Q, albeit with a personality disorder , on call.

    Thanks. BTW, this is the prototypical example of my post on "New Forums."
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    Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:01 am  

    I know that on these boards I am an absolute newbie, but if you are really interested in doing something concerning the Griff Underoerths, maybe we could exchange ideas. *My long-overdue booklet Kul'gobsula - Prison of Ice deals with a similar topic*

    Happy
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    Tue Jan 25, 2005 7:46 am  

    Guys the stuff in GVD's transcript is sounding really good.

    I love the idea of ancient locks keeping the Lake of Unknown Depths at bay...as for pressure...stuff pressure...this is fantasy...there is no **** for the powers of ancient magics.

    I think that maybe some of the different UnderOerths should remain isolated through geogrpahy or intervention in history but some interconnecting tunnels would be cool - all heavilly guarded, treachorous or hidden.

    I alwasy get confused between duergar and derro. which ever race were the result of Suloise sorceries should definitely be included. Here we have an original Greyhawk UnderOerth race. Perhpas they live in secret cities that are twisted versions of the ancient dwarven Halls.

    What of dragons? I like the idea of an UnderOerth kingdom ruled by an ancient Wyrm...maybe he rules over a kingdom of outcasts who have offered fealty in return for protection from the places and people they fled.

    A human civilisation sound slike a good idea...it should definitely not all be monsters. It's also important that not every inhabitant is a vile evil soul. What of the good denizens of the UnderOerth...deep gnomes? dwarves?

    I also like the idea of an subterranean funghoid forest with lichens and mosses and giant funghi the size of trees with druid keepers.

    What about the presence of religion in the UnderOerth. Are the gods of the surface generally forsaken. THere are some who should not be forgotten...Beltar for one. In my campaign she is the patron of the derror/duergar (you know the ones i mean even if i don't). Beltar is often described as having lost power amongst the Suel I think and perhaps she has turned her patronage to these outcasr dwarves created by the Suel and spurned just like Beltar. The goddess of the deep, of malice waiting in the dark for revenge on the Suel who she feels have turned their backs on her.

    Are there any other deities who might have a vested interest in the UnderOerth? Obviously Lolth is about, the Elder Elemental God perhaps in rivalry to Lolth. I think someone talked of The Earth Dragon lurking deep below the Drachensgrabs.

    I think that it would be nice to have some of the UnderOerths connected - then you could have hardy merchant caravans risking life and soul to trade through the Vaults...perhaps the same builders of the ancient locks also united a number of the UnderOerths and built mighty roads still travelled but in disrepair and treachourous to most...or maybe large canals or waterways instead. It would be a shame for all the UnderOerths to be isolated.

    Anyways - just a few thoughts
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    Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:59 pm  

    Wow. Yeah, this is exactly what I was looking for. While you guys clearly haven't reached the point yet where an actual map is drawn up, this is all really solid stuff.

    I have a few tweaks in my campaign that I'd introduce - for example, in my campaign, there was an age of dwarves (before they delved too deep, heh heh heh) that saw, among other things, the creation of a number of 'trade highways' (railroads?) that cross across the Underoerth. These fit nicely in with the idea of linking the various regions - although, with the dwurfolk now just a shadow of their former selves, several of these roads have fallen into darkness, and I would imagine deep gates and passes that are now guarded by unspeakable horrors, hiding in the dark.

    Further, I'm as tired of Lolth as most of you are of Tharizdun, so most of my drow 'vaults' have experienced revolt in the past few centuries, as Grazz't takes a greater interest in the homeland of his family, Iggwilv and Iuz. He's in no hurry to exert his presence, but knows that gaining control of the drow is a good start, and has wrestled away control of most of the 'vaults' by now through a series of bloody revolts. However, in a tip of the cap to the great old adventures set there, Erelhei-Cinlu is the lone outpost where the followers of Lolth have put down several rebellions and still control the city. Fun to have old PCs who penetrated E-C during the Queen of Spiders adventures be visited by a powerful drow priestess of Lolth one night - to seek their aid in defeating the forces of Grazz't!!

    Anyway, enough of my rambling, I'll leave this to the experts. Keep these posts coming.
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    Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:27 pm  

    One more thing - above, someone notes that Dragon #252 has some detail about a City of the Dead set in Greyhawk's Underdark. If anyone has a copy of this and would be willing to photocopy that article and mail it to me, I'd gladly give them a few bucks (on top of covering postage and the cost of the copies) for their trouble...let me know if anyone can help please.
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    Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:18 am  

    Just a bit of cross-reference to spur creativity. As I recall, the Dragonlance modules had some stuff that could be useful examples for underground dwarven cities and roads as well as lost cities ruled by dragons. The discussion about the creation of Rift made me think about DL1.
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    Fri Jan 28, 2005 2:43 pm  

    Nellisir! Kicking it old school! There may be hope for these boards yet. Smile I look forward to where you are going with this.

    NS
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    Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:40 pm  

    NightScreed wrote:
    Nellisir! Kicking it old school! There may be hope for these boards yet. Smile I look forward to where you are going with this.

    NS


    just curious, since i dont know much about greyhawks past and what not . but what was wrong with these boards in teh first place?
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    Fri Jan 28, 2005 6:01 pm  

    manachild wrote:
    NightScreed wrote:
    Nellisir! Kicking it old school! There may be hope for these boards yet. Smile I look forward to where you are going with this.

    NS


    just curious, since i dont know much about greyhawks past and what not . but what was wrong with these boards in teh first place?


    Oh lordy. First off, Manachild, take everything Nitescreed says with a tablespoon of salt and a sense of humor. He's often got a point, whether you agree with it or not, but he likes to dress it up with ruffles and ivory hoops beforehand.

    Secondly, a few of us incredibly old and doddering relics from the First Age of Greyhawk Online have expressed some slight dismay at a perceived lack of creative public cooperation in this dastardly newfangled era. Back in the heyday of dinosaurs and whup-**** 486 computers, also known as the AOL era, posts and articles were discussed, refined, mangled, abused, and publically bounced around by a number of people. Few articles had solely one author; most were an amalgamation of an original idea, a variety of feedback, a revision, and more feedback.

    Now, it's true that our memories are much colored by rosy glasses and the fact that we still had our own teeth then, but I'd still like to see more public give-and-take here, and Screed has unearthed the fact that this whole thread is my experiment along those lines. I'm rather happy with it overall.

    Happy
    Cheers,
    Nell.
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    Fri Jan 28, 2005 6:15 pm  

    ah ok, i wasnt having a dig i'm only 19 and a greyhawk Newb pretty much as in all the hawk i know is from the living greyhawk gazetteer.
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    Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:22 pm  

    Wasn't there a Dungeon or Dragon magazine issue within the last year or so that detailed the current state of Erelhei-Cinlu?
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    Sun Jan 30, 2005 11:43 am  

    you're right setanta there was. It was based on the information from the Queen of Spiders adventures. I have the article but unfortunately I hacked it out of the Dragon Magazine to try and diminish a small mountain of magazines. It was quite a nice article I think with some information for 3rd ed about some minor drow deities...Kiaransalee, Vhaerun and Keptolo i think or it could have been Zinzerena.
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    Mon Jan 31, 2005 11:43 am  
    manachild

    Never apologize for being young. And the LGG was an excellent work. But you should, if you like GH, check out some of the older material. Almost all older GH material is avaiable from various sites for download, and it is very inexpensive (10 for the price of a Core Book!?!?!)
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    Fri Feb 04, 2005 7:03 am  

    Just a note. At last nights Greychat, the UnderOerth was again a featured discussion topic. Unfortunately, I did not record it as I was involved in one of the other simultaneously occuring conversations. If anyone "took notes," it would be cool to see them posted to this thread.
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    Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:59 pm  

    Can anyone tell me the dimensions of the Vault of the Drow? It'd be much appreciated.



    GVDammerung wrote:
    Just a note. At last nights Greychat, the UnderOerth was again a featured discussion topic. Unfortunately, I did not record it as I was involved in one of the other simultaneously occuring conversations. If anyone "took notes," it would be cool to see them posted to this thread.


    Ditto that, or even if anyone can post a summary of their recollections. I obviously wasn't able to be there for very long, and I'm dying to know what was discussed.

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Fri Feb 04, 2005 6:13 pm  
    Vault dimensions

    From D3 Vault of the Drow:

    " The Vault is a strange anomaly, a hemispherical cyst in the crust of the earth, an incredibly huge domed fault over 6 miles long and nearly as broad. The dome overhead is a hundred feet high at the walls, arching to several thousand feet height in the center. "
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    Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:04 am  

    Looks like I picked the perfect time to join Canonfire!*

    I'm just starting a campaign in the southern Pomarj, and the drow have re-entered my thoughts. Cool

    Tell me more.




    *Again--I'm sure I've been here before!
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    Sun Feb 13, 2005 8:23 am  

    Algolei wrote:

    Tell me more.


    Soon. Working on this darned Journal.

    Good to see you back,
    Nell.
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    Tue Feb 15, 2005 2:42 pm  

    Nellisir wrote:
    Algolei wrote:

    Tell me more.


    Soon.

    [whine] *whimper* Whennnnnnnn? *whimper* [/whine]

    Wink
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    Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:52 pm  

    Algolei wrote:
    Nellisir wrote:
    Algolei wrote:

    Tell me more.


    Soon.

    [whine] *whimper* Whennnnnnnn? *whimper* [/whine]

    Wink


    Arrr. You people are insatiable. Fine, tonight then. But I'll blame you when people ask why the Oerth Journal is 3 years late.

    Wink
    Nell.
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    Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:16 pm  

    Woo-hoo!

    Today's my birthday, too. Cool It's my birthday, my buh-buh-buh-birthday!...
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    Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:07 pm  

    The first thing I thought of when I read this verse was a realm ruled by Cloakers/Cloaker Lords.

    Other possibilities: Dark Ones (Creepers and Stalkers), or perhaps a "Shadow Realm"?

    I have really enjoyed this entire thread btw!

    Quote:
    Two sanctuaries for ebon cowl

    Honestly, I don't know. Suel wizards are the obvious choice, which is why I was thinking an isolationist Oeridian battle-cult and Flan refugees instead, probably in service or thrall to the Earth Dragons.
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    Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:13 pm  

    setanta wrote:
    The first thing I thought of when I read this verse was a realm ruled by Cloakers/Cloaker Lords.


    Oh, good idea! :-) I'd thought of cloakers, but not linked them to that verse. I've got one sanctuary figured out (I think), and this gives me the second.

    Thanks!
    Nell.
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    Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:22 pm  

    No problem... glad to be of service! Happy

    Nellisir wrote:
    Oh, good idea! :-) I'd thought of cloakers, but not linked them to that verse. I've got one sanctuary figured out (I think), and this gives me the second.

    Thanks!
    Nell.
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    Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:19 pm  
    Monsters monsters everywhere...

    There are quite a few new (and updated) monsters appropriate to the Underoerth besides those in the Monster Manual. I'm curious if anyone has ideas or thoughts beyond the obvious "random encounter" for these creatures?

    Monster Manual 2 (3e): grell, hook horror, ixitxachitl, neogi, ormyrr, psurlon, spellweaver, spellgaunt, teratomorph (I don't remember what this is, but it's on my list...), yak folk. Wink

    Fiend Folio (3e): bhut, chwidencha, crawling head, maelephant, maulgoth, ocularon.

    Hmmm. Didn't do MM3. Or OA, or Frostburn, now that I think about it....

    Yes, they moved neogi to the underdark. I think it's cool, personally.
    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Fri Apr 01, 2005 5:31 pm  

    Nope. Still nothing!

    Happy April Fools Day!

    Wink
    Nell.
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    Fri Apr 01, 2005 11:01 pm  

    Nellisir wrote:
    Happy April Fools Day!

    That was so yesterday! Wink
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    Sat Apr 02, 2005 9:47 am  

    Algolei wrote:
    Nellisir wrote:
    Happy April Fools Day!

    That was so yesterday! Wink

    CF! time & my time don't agree. It was still 4/1/05 when I posted. Wink

    Nell.
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    Mon Apr 04, 2005 7:55 am  

    Okay, this is my first real post here where I try to contribute rather than just absorb all of your collective genius like a sponge. Frankly, I am little afraid of potential ridicule, so this could be my first, last and only attempt. Laughing

    Quote:
    Quote:
    Two sanctuaries for ebon cowl


    I just finished reading Lovecraft's Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath, and I am using something that I have procured from that work in a campaign that I am running that may supplement your "Ebon Cowl", folk.

    My "Sons of Nighted Kem" are a race of super-evil, dark Satyr-like creatures with high intelligence and are very magical in nature. Their magic stems more from the illusionist domain of spells, but possession and mind attack types of spells (I hate psionics) are part of their character as well.

    They are an underoerth dwelling race that I am using in conjunction with the aboleths of GDQ map fame, but could easily pair up with, or even be, your "Ebon Cowl" race. They typically fight with unconventional weapons like chains laced with razor sharp blades along their length, or heavy, spiked gauntlets, and they move with catlike speed. They wear no armor (but have good AC due to speed and DEX), mainly dressing in dark turbans that cover their short horns and cured skins of "lesser" races like svirfneblin and such.

    Maybe these beings can stand in with your Suel sorcerers as an ally or controlling force of them. Let me just say that the looks on the player's faces and the whisperings between each other of "Are these things in the Fiend Folio or the MM2?" and "I dunno, I have never heard of them before," have made the endeavour worthwhile.

    I just want to say that this thread has been the best I have read. Thank you all for your contributions!


    [/i]
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    Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:42 pm  

    Slante wrote:
    Okay, this is my first real post here where I try to contribute rather than just absorb all of your collective genius like a sponge. Frankly, I am little afraid of potential ridicule, so this could be my first, last and only attempt. Laughing


    No ridicule here. I think it's a cool idea -- physically, your "scions of Kem" remind me of the "pseudo demons" race from the Plane of Nightmares in the old Mystara setting (I'm pretty certain I've seen this race in a d20 version, but can't find it -- anyone have any ideas?). Personality-wise they're a bit different, of course, since the Mystara race schtick was that they were good creatures that looked evil.

    I'm all for new stuff; while some people want nothing but the "oldies but goodies", I like to mix it up a bit.

    I'm not dead yet on this topic -- I just need a bit of a vacation. I'll be back before long.

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Tue Apr 05, 2005 9:42 am  

    Hmmm. What an excellent thread. And to see NiteScreed here, well, that's certainly a blast from the past.

    But to actually contribute to the thread ... in our "Liberation of Geoff" campaign I created a shallow upper layer of UnderOerth populated by derro slave traders. The giants often trafficked in human slaves, particularly when they needed the assistance of the derro in dealing with those ever-annoying adventurers who would occasionally show up (my derro being highly psionic creatures, and a nice surprise for the aforementioned PCs).

    They ended up being a relatively minor subplot, but they did let me spice things up a bit, particularly when the PCs were getting too comfortable fighting magic-light giants. I envisioned them largely as traders, taking supplies from the surface world (primarily the giant-controlled towns) and selling them to UnderOerth races. That maybe a bit more extroverted than they were in canon, but they worked with in the confines of the subcampaign.

    Right now I'm working on fleshing out the UnderOerth of the Pomarj, which fill is looking to be a big factor in my present urban campaign (as the adventurers will occasionally make forays into the UnderOerth searching for fame and fortune, and to counter certain emerging threats there.

    I agree with the idea of multiple "UnderOerths" that are either unconnected or connected but difficult to reach. I'm intrigued by the idea of an aquatic "core" to Oerth; that would cetainly make for a every alien environment for the PCs to encounter (those I think I prefer the idea of a sunless sea marking the border to still-deeper, more conventional realms.
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    Tue Apr 05, 2005 1:58 pm  

    Quote:
    "Sons of Nighted Kem"


    Slante,

    When I read this I started out laughing for a moment. Not because of what you wrote ( I liked it by the way) But because I play a character named Kem in a game.. All of a sudden I had become nighted and had sons Wink Look forward to seeing more of your stuff.


    Maraudar
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    Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:49 pm  

    Maraudar wrote:
    Quote:
    "Sons of Nighted Kem"

    Slante,
    When I read this I started out laughing for a moment. Not because of what you wrote ( I liked it by the way) But because I play a character named Kem in a game.. All of a sudden I had become nighted and had sons Wink Look forward to seeing more of your stuff.

    Maraudar


    I suppose you're lucky it wasn't "Sons of Kern the Condemned" or something.

    Wink
    Nell.

    PS - if anyone reading this has experience with graphics programs, please check out my post in the Canonfire! Meta/Help area. I'd like to do an underdark map with layers.
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 3:48 am  

    Nellisir wrote:
    I'd like to do an underdark map with layers.

    Oh, now I know I love you. (I'd certainly love to see that map, anyway. Wink ) Hopefully I can keep my players out of the ground until something like that gets finished!


    Hey, Nuke! Do you have anything for Obsidian Bay concerning the underdark and drow?
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 6:13 am  

    Algolei wrote:
    Hey, Nuke! Do you have anything for Obsidian Bay concerning the underdark and drow?


    Now that's interesting. Right under an adventurer's town's feet so to speak. By the way Nuke, I have really come to enjoy reading about Obsidian Bay. Cool
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 7:14 am  

    Algolei wrote:
    Hey, Nuke! Do you have anything for Obsidian Bay concerning the underdark and drow?


    It's something I'm working on. :)

    My vision for the UnderOerth beneath the Pomarj is comprised primarily of caverns and tunnels created by volcanic activity, coupled with limestone caves along the coasts.

    The inhabitants of this area are primarily abberations (beholders, mindflayers, aboleths and worse. Far worse). One of the historical elements of my campaign has been the legendary "City of Eyes", which is a massive beholder enclave beneath the Drachensgrabs. I say "legendary" because the party has absolutely *no* desire to go fight beholders. (thus proving that fear *will* keep the PCs in line ... at least occasionally).

    There are representatives of all the standard subterreanan races, but the weird races dominate. That said, a storyline I'm presently working on revolves around the rise of a "Shadow Empire" in the UnderOerth that has been driving back the abberations using strange and powerful magic, and uniting some of the more-normal humanoid tribes. The party has only just started to learn about this Empire, and it should prove to be a nice higher-level threat.

    I haven't done a huge amount of thinking regarding the drow in the Pomarj. I'm thinking of something along the lines of a small Vault who's primarily concern (even more so than the scheming and backstabbing of most drow societies) is simply surviving in a realm overflowing with horrors even they find difficult to fight.
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 7:23 am  

    Tedra wrote:
    Now that's interesting. Right under an adventurer's town's feet so to speak.


    That's the theory at least. One of the landmarks of Obsidian Bay is "The Black Gulch" which was created by one of the Blackrazors during the "Fall of Obsidian Bay" storyline a few years back. Sven Kildare cast a dig spell in the Wharf District while attempting to slow an ancient wyrm (a wingless draconic creature; it was in an issue of Dragon long ago) and inadvertantly caused a sinkhole. The sinkhole swallowed the wyrm, but it also created a vertical shaft leading directly to caverns deep below the city.

    Turly one of the great moments in Blackrazor history. :) And now, years later, it makes a good tool for getting PCs based in the city underground.

    Our current band of adventurers -- all 1st and 2nd level -- didn't do all that well on their first foray into the UnderOerth near Obsidian Bay, nearly getting killed in the Sidewinder Pass (a tight, twisting passage way little used in recent years).

    Tedra wrote:
    By the way Nuke, I have really come to enjoy reading about Obsidian Bay. Cool


    Glad to hear it! One of my goals for the Crier is to create a map database that will allow me to tie the various "site" entries in the database to the maps we've created for them, which will make the thing even more useful (well, at least for me. :)
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 12:14 pm  

    Wow this thread rocks! Nell, a cloaker kingdom would make me a very happy man. :-)

    I've always had some ideas regarding what the UnderOerth would be like beneath the Vast Swamp. Given the porous nature of the rock described in SB, I always imagined a terribly damp environment. This may not be realistic, but I imagined that the silt and muck at the bottom of the swamp combined with the small holes I see in the porous stone to make for a very slow leak...kind of like putting a screen over the drain in your sink, then covering the screen with a towel. It'd really make it more of a slow trickle of water, constantly dribbling down the sides of the tunnel systems below it.

    This place would be home to the obvious fungi galore, yes, but I also envisioned myconids as the dominant force there. The excess moisture would allow them to be more prolific than elsewhere. Maybe this is even where they originated, spreading from here to the other UnderOerth cave-systems.

    I also envisioned this as less evil than the other realms of the deep (again, the myconids are dominant). This would allow some of the more rare deep races to show themselves more. I specifically pictured pech (from the 1st Ed MMII) and grivelings (from Vale of the Mage) to be somewhat common.

    The threat I saw to this region came from creatures which can assume gaseous form, allowing them to hide anywhere in the porous rock. I hadn't really fleshed anything out yet...vampiric mists, or something else altogether?? I also hadn't fleshed anything out yet on how large a threat these gaseous beasties (LOL!) had on the status quo down here.

    Given the neutral nature of the myconids, I also foresaw gestures from Wastri's followers as a potential for tipping the scales and mixing things up in the area.

    That's really all I had so far, hope it helps!!
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 1:20 pm  

    Basiliv, your Vast Swamp UnderOerth sound really cool. I imagine there would be slimes everywhere. Maybe some Mudmen too. Spongy surfaces and insects all over the place.
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 2:16 pm  

    Quote:
    Spongy surfaces and insects all over the place.


    Sounds a lot like Florida Wink

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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 2:51 pm  

    Thanks much!! I'd considered slimes, but hadn't made up my mind yet. If you add in the oozes and such, this quickly becomes Zuggy's Playground. But I hadn't thought of a large number of vermin, and that's a great idea.

    I'd actually planned on adding some aquatic or amphibious races (why not? we've got bullywugs and grung on the surface).

    As a matter of fact, I originally placed an abandoned kuo-toan city beneath the Hollow Highlands as well, but all the gogglers in the area died out long ago. There's a subplot I've gotta work on again someday involving an aquatic elven connection to the abandoned city, but that's far too complex (and embryonic) to get into in this thread. The tie-in that I'll mention now is that the early history of the myconids in the area mentioned the kuo-toan city as abandoned, and they've always been intrigued by the place. Myconids don't really worship anything, and it's never posed a threat to them, so it's more like fascination with something they don't understand than anything religious.
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 3:45 pm  

    I'm definitely stealing that 'watery Underdark beneath Vast Swamp' bit for my campaign. I've wanted to get lizard men (not the wimpy tribes of the Mistmarsh, but a powerful and feared population) and yuan-ti more involved in my campaign, and this is a perfect excuse. The lizard men would be the dominant race, due to their superior numbers, but the yuan-ti would have many powerful spellcasters that would make them a truly frightening Underdark populace; their 'capital city' on par w/ a drow city in terms of raw, powerful evil. Maybe throw in a few hags as well as a little interlude, like the Warrens of the Trogs were in Q.O.S. Of course, all the aforementioned oozes, fungi, vermin, gaseous creatures, etc... would be represented as well.

    My players had to fight through the Mistmarsh once, many moons ago, but cut through several lizard men w/ ease. They'll be in for a nasty surprise here, should they venture this way.
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 8:08 pm  

    basiliv wrote:
    Wow this thread rocks! Nell, a cloaker kingdom would make me a very happy man. :-)

    I've always had some ideas regarding what the UnderOerth would be like beneath the Vast Swamp. Given the porous nature of the rock described in SB, I always imagined a terribly damp environment. This may not be realistic, but I imagined that the silt and muck at the bottom of the swamp combined with the small holes I see in the porous stone to make for a very slow leak...kind of like putting a screen over the drain in your sink, then covering the screen with a towel. It'd really make it more of a slow trickle of water, constantly dribbling down the sides of the tunnel systems below it.


    I visited Laurel Caverns in Fayette County, PA a few years ago -- that's a pretty interesting cave. What happens is, the type of rock around there (some kind of limestone, I think) tends to fracture in straight lines. Water trickles down through the cracks, and slowly dissolves the bonds between the grains of stone, turning it into sand. The more sand, the further the water goes, lengthening the "sand passage", until it creates an exit and gives the sand someplace to go. As more water flows through, it washes out the sand, leaving an empty passage behind it.

    Laurel Caverns is pretty neat because much of the existing caverns have actually been dug out with buckets and shovels -- they existed, but were filled with sand. There aren't any of the "traditional" limestone formations, since there wasn't any open space for them to form until 40 or 50 years ago. And the linear fracture pattern of the rock creates a grid-like pattern of passageways that intersect with each other at 90 degree angles.

    Just a memory. Wink

    Quote:
    That's really all I had so far, hope it helps!!


    Everything helps! I don't want this to be just me on an ego trip -- I'd rather take as many ideas as possible and hopefully combine them into something that most people can get something good out of.

    Cheers!
    Nell.
    Who had some interesting Underdark reading in Ivid, Iuz, and the Marklands, and mourns the lack of Sheldomar and fringe regions accessories by Carl Sargent.
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    Fri Apr 08, 2005 9:36 pm  

    Quote:
    I visited Laurel Caverns in Fayette County, PA a few years ago -- that's a pretty interesting cave.


    Sounds great! I've only been to Carlsbad and Kartschner Caverns in AZ, but they were both within the past year, so my memories are still pretty vivid. Any folks reading this who haven't been inside a real cave system like that, I'd highly recommend trying to make it to one. Not only is it great inspiration for gaming, it's just a great experience in general. Truly amazing.

    You know, one thing to consider...someone mentioned derro earlier. We should give some thought to all the City of Greyhawk adventures which featured the little buggers. Since they were created by the ancient Suel, we should consider a past or current route from the Hellfurnaces to their current abodes.

    Another thought...although Night Below's not officially GH, I've always kinda liked the Ixzen (subterranean Ixitxachitl). Might be kinda cool to work them in somewhere...maybe in cahoots with that cloaker kingdom?

    Quote:
    PS - if anyone reading this has experience with graphics programs, please check out my post in the Canonfire! Meta/Help area. I'd like to do an underdark map with layers.


    If you haven't found help with this yet, you might want to try Mr. Anondson.
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    Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:01 am  

    Another gtalker also mentioned that; do not forget to include Sargent's Night Below on the Sunless Sea.

    Apart from the Vault of the Drow and Erelhei-Cinlu in GDQ series, is there firm (i.e., canon) evidence on the existence of the rest four of the vaults? For example, after A1-4 and the drow villain of the series, there is speculation on the existence of a vault below Gnarley Forest. Is this the way how this research is carried out? And why is this A1-4 villain not from Erelhei-Cinlu?

    And may I say that the not too often referred by the gtalkers Roger Moore has offered quite many valuable analyses. Still, an amount of justification will be needed. Nell, if you need the correct (canon) real-world author translations into Greyhawk or more general attorneyship provision I am available free of charge.
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    Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:39 am  

    basiliv wrote:
    ...although Night Below's not officially GH, ...


    So what do the proponents of the exclusion of Night Below from canon claim? That Sunless Sea described in Night Below, and which has the same name and geography with the Sunless Sea from GDQ series, is other than the Sunless Sea from GDQ series?
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    Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:55 am  

    The project is huge.

    Work Packages (WPs) should be allocated to different groups of people. I believe Nell should be start thinking about the content of the WPs and allocate them to different groups of people. Nell could be the coordinator of the project, so most credit would go to him. All should be accepted to participate upon stating their interest.

    But Nell should first define the WPs. Then, Nell should accept partners into the project. Then, Nell should decide among participant partners upon the chief manager of each WP. Nell with his deep knowledge on Greyhawk could supervise the whole effort, and write the final text as well.

    Am I sane or am I like Zagig?
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    Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:07 am  

    Tzelios wrote:
    basiliv wrote:
    ...although Night Below's not officially GH, ...


    So what do the proponents of the exclusion of Night Below from canon claim? That Sunless Sea described in Night Below, and which has the same name and geography with the Sunless Sea from GDQ series, is other than the Sunless Sea from GDQ series?


    The Sunless Sea is also "canon GH" per a Dragon article reference, which presently escapes me.

    The difficulty with Nightbelow is not below ground but above ground. The surface setting is not immediately Canon GH. There is thus a question as to whether the subsurface material can be Canon GH if the surface material is not.
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    Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:16 am  

    Just an aside, folks might want to take a look at the new Lords of Madness product from Wotc. It is an abberations book that goes into Aboleths, Mindflayers, Beholders etc. Like all 3rd Edition products, the GH content is spotty but this is arguably "canon" material. I have not yet read the whole of the book, only skimmed it, so I cannot offer a fuller report at this time. I can say there is a "surprise" in the Aboleth section that I won't spoil but it is either pretty cool or not, depending on taste.
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    Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:40 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    The difficulty with Nightbelow is not below ground but above ground. The surface setting is not immediately Canon GH. There is thus a question as to whether the subsurface material can be Canon GH if the surface material is not.


    This is correct, GVD. There must be some explanation. I remember once Gygax said that Oerth occasionally intersects with other worlds (not all Oerth, but parts of Oerth), and this may be the explanation. I do not know if the above conception is respected in post-Gygax material, but if the creator said that, I do not see why his continuators might not accept it.
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    Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:46 pm  

    Tzelios wrote:
    The project is huge.

    Work Packages (WPs) should be allocated to different groups of people. I believe Nell should be start thinking about the content of the WPs and allocate them to different groups of people. Nell could be the coordinator of the project, so most credit would go to him. All should be accepted to participate upon stating their interest.

    But Nell should first define the WPs. Then, Nell should accept partners into the project. Then, Nell should decide among participant partners upon the chief manager of each WP. Nell with his deep knowledge on Greyhawk could supervise the whole effort, and write the final text as well.

    Am I sane or am I like Zagig?


    FIRST, someone should tell Nell what the hell is going on, 'cause this thread just went from 0 to 70 in, like, three hours or something, and Nell doesn't know what a Work Package is either.

    And Nell's deep knowledge of Greyhawk is highly overestimated. There is a reason Nell plays just OUTSIDE (or underneath) the Flanaess map...

    Nell is all for public participation, though.

    On a slightly different tangent, I just skimmed through the Marklands, Iuz, and Ivid looking for Underdark references and clues -- that was rather interesting. Sparser than I recall. One gets the impression of a vast, interconnected realm beneath the Flanaess...that really has only the feeblest of connections to the surface. There are quite a few "mile-deep" dungeons, but not so many with Underdark connections.

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:47 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Just an aside, folks might want to take a look at the new Lords of Madness product from Wotc. It is an abberations book that goes into Aboleths, Mindflayers, Beholders etc. Like all 3rd Edition products, the GH content is spotty but this is arguably "canon" material. I have not yet read the whole of the book, only skimmed it, so I cannot offer a fuller report at this time. I can say there is a "surprise" in the Aboleth section that I won't spoil but it is either pretty cool or not, depending on taste.


    It's on hold for me at my Friendly (but not so) Local Gaming Store.

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:50 pm  

    Tzelios wrote:
    Nell, if you need the correct (canon) real-world author translations into Greyhawk or more general attorneyship provision I am available free of charge.


    I'm sorry, I'm not following you (it's been a long day). What might I need translations of?

    Thanks,
    Nell.

    Heartened by the interest. Happy
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    Tue Apr 12, 2005 5:23 am  

    Tzelios wrote:
    GVDammerung wrote:
    The difficulty with Nightbelow is not below ground but above ground. The surface setting is not immediately Canon GH. There is thus a question as to whether the subsurface material can be Canon GH if the surface material is not.


    This is correct, GVD. There must be some explanation. I remember once Gygax said that Oerth occasionally intersects with other worlds (not all Oerth, but parts of Oerth), and this may be the explanation. I do not know if the above conception is respected in post-Gygax material, but if the creator said that, I do not see why his continuators might not accept it.


    Personally, I both like and agree with this approach. The trouble is I do not believe it is a canon approach.

    To my knowledge, there are no instances of "two-part" locations, where the two parts are together one whole but one part is Greyhawk and the other part is someplace else - Toril, Krynn, Aerth etc. (excluding portals, which are more like doorways than a whole with parts).

    It might be possible to say that, instead of parts, there was a portal or gateway but that fact would then need to be established in the product. I do not believe this to be the case with Night Below. I don't think it is even hinted at.

    I do not see a principled way to make this approach "canon" but I suppose one could "just do it," drawing on the Sunless Sea commonality to be sufficient justification. A matter of taste and preference then. An option.

    The only other way I see would be to somehow find a commonality between at least some of the surface features described in Night Below and somewhere in the Flanaess. It is unfortunate that the Dungeon maps were not more willing to endulge in this kind of "addition" to Greyhawk. They were more exercises in Greyhawk accountancy (however useful and well done) than Greyhawk creativity. Pity. It would have been easy to solidly bring in Night Below with a good surface reference etc.
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    Tue Apr 12, 2005 8:06 am  

    My personal opinion on it is to leave Night Below out. This has nothing to do with a preference for whether or not it's canon, I have 2 reasons:

    1) As Nell stated above, the references to GH's UnderOerth are kind of few and far between. This gives us an awful lot of flexibility, while not turning off the canon-bound. Trust me, this is a rare opportunity. I use canon pretty heavily, but it can be pretty daunting to try to work around or with what's already established. I'm not implying that we need to be canon lawyers (far from it), but it looks like it should be easy to stay strictly within canon and still create just about anything we'd like. Both the heretics and the faithful can embrace our work.

    2) Doubtless, there will be aspects of what's created that some won't like, or that are left intentionally vague. I think it'd be nice to leave Night Below for DMs to fill in whatever holes they'd like.

    Having said this, I'd love to steal some elements from it (like the Ixzen), maybe even tie some plot hooks into it, etc. :-)
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    Tue Apr 12, 2005 9:15 am  

    basiliv wrote:
    1) As Nell stated above, the references to GH's UnderOerth are kind of few and far between. This gives us an awful lot of flexibility, while not turning off the canon-bound. Trust me, this is a rare opportunity. I use canon pretty heavily, but it can be pretty daunting to try to work around or with what's already established. I'm not implying that we need to be canon lawyers (far from it), but it looks like it should be easy to stay strictly within canon and still create just about anything we'd like. Both the heretics and the faithful can embrace our work.


    This is more or less exactly what I'm going for. As I said above, there are reasons that I play just off the border of the map (Lo Nakar in the Sea of Dust, Mhajapor in the Vohoun, Nuatuverg in the Icy Sea...), and I'm aware that my...lack of reluctance...to incorporate new races and monsters isn't entirely kosher with many GHers. But particularly in the Underdark, confining myself to illithids, aboleths, drow, deep gnomes, and duergar just isn't going to happen.

    I need to do a little more reading, but Sargent's Underdark references gave me a new perspective (which is not to say the old one is invalid). My impression of Sargent's Underdark is one of a vast linked Underdark, almost like a flip or "dark" Flanaess, almost entirely seperated from the surface world. This differs from the conventional Underdark descriptions, where connections to the surface are as or more frequent than connections between Underdark realms, and presents an intriguing possibility, that the Underdark could be addressed as a world unto itself, with virtually no reference to the surface world (excepting those locations, such as the Hellfurnaces, where dark/surface connections are notably frequent. This would be a departure from my previous approach, where the characteristics of the Underdark were strongly linked to the surface above it, and it would (IMO) be intriguing to present both interpretations (or even more).

    Quote:
    Having said this, I'd love to steal some elements from it (like the Ixzen), maybe even tie some plot hooks into it, etc. :-)


    My personal intent was to use things that were good, like the Ixzen, ignore or modify that which was questionable (like Rockseer elves), and ignore highly specific details (like the City of the Glass Pool). The Underdark is sufficiently large to allow the details to be easily worked in by any DM with a minimum of work. The Sunless Sea will be more or less present -- I'm pretty fixed, at this point, on the concept that the "bottom" of the Underdark is defined by water.

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:09 pm  

    Quote:
    As I said above, there are reasons that I play just off the border of the map (Lo Nakar in the Sea of Dust, Mhajapor in the Vohoun, Nuatuverg in the Icy Sea...


    Nuatuverg?? I loved your Lo Nakar & Mhajapor articles. Where or when can I get my hands on some Nuatuverg info?

    To get this back on topic...

    Quote:
    I need to do a little more reading, but Sargent's Underdark references gave me a new perspective (which is not to say the old one is invalid). My impression of Sargent's Underdark is one of a vast linked Underdark, almost like a flip or "dark" Flanaess, almost entirely seperated from the surface world.

    *snip*
    [quote]and it would (IMO) be intriguing to present both interpretations (or even more).
    Quote:


    If you're saying what I think you're saying, great idea. I think you're saying that some areas will be larger complexes of caves, mostly interconnected but with few openings to the surface. Other cavern complexes will be largely isolated from the rest of UnderOerth, as we discussed before. I like the idea that it's not universally one flavor. Mix it up a bit; over here it's like this, but yonder it's completely different because of X, Y, and Z. Makes for a larger variety of experiences available in the UnderOerth as a whole. Good stuff!!

    If that's not what you meant, then get with it, will ya?! ;-P

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    Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:10 pm  

    Er, woops!! Guess that's what the little Preview button is for, huh?
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    Tue Apr 12, 2005 2:23 pm  

    basiliv wrote:
    Er, woops!! Guess that's what the little Preview button is for, huh?


    LOL...indeed.

    Nuatuverg...might be somewhere in the old AOL folders chatdemon is supposed to be posted somewhere. I really don't remember when I posted it, but I'm pretty sure it was in AOL.

    It's an island north of the Ice Barbarians, and the resting place of Vatun's avatar's corpse. It does tie in somewhat with the Underdark -- the (1st edition) uldras that lived there in prehistory were connected through the Underdark to the dwarven halls in the Thillonrian Penninsula, and they moved north to Hyperborea the same way.

    Cheers
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    Wed Apr 13, 2005 5:08 am  

    Nellisir wrote:
    Tzelios wrote:
    The project is huge.

    Work Packages (WPs) should be allocated to different groups of people. I believe Nell should be start thinking about the content of the WPs and allocate them to different groups of people. Nell could be the coordinator of the project, so most credit would go to him. All should be accepted to participate upon stating their interest.

    But Nell should first define the WPs. Then, Nell should accept partners into the project. Then, Nell should decide among participant partners upon the chief manager of each WP. Nell with his deep knowledge on Greyhawk could supervise the whole effort, and write the final text as well.

    Am I sane or am I like Zagig?


    . . . Nell doesn't know what a Work Package is either.

    . . .

    Nell is all for public participation, though.

    Cheers
    Nell.


    Nellisir,

    I think Tzelios is using Work Package to describe a particular area of the Underdark that you would assign to a particular individual or group of individuals to develop along general lines you have established.

    Tzelios can speak for himself but I am reading him to suggest:

    (1) You (Nellisir) specifically define all of the main Underdark regions;

    (2) You draw up a general outline of each region that fits your vision;

    (3) You accept volunteers who would be interested in a particular region and would be interested in developing it in greater detail but adhering to your general outline;

    (4) You would then review/critique the finished work on the various regions that volunteers create;

    (5) Out of the review/critique process would come a finalized version of the various regions of the Underdark you have identified and outlined and which the volunteers have further detailed.

    The finished product would be an indepth look at the entirety of the Flanaess Underdarks guided by yourself but produced as a community work. It could be posted to Canonfire. It could be serialized in the Oerth Journal. It could be submitted to Dungeon Magazine. Whatever.

    Maybe you do need a translator. Wink But I think you get the general idea by your comments already. Smile
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    Wed Apr 13, 2005 7:10 am  

    OJ sounds good ... if it is after issue 16. "Oerth Journal 16 December 2004(?) COMING SOON". Nell, can you let us know how things are going on that front?
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    Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:58 pm  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    OJ sounds good ... if it is after issue 16. "Oerth Journal 16 December 2004(?) COMING SOON". Nell, can you let us know how things are going on that front?


    Yes and no. I chickened out. I passed the buck. I folded. In my perpetually innocent way, I'm a bit suprised it's not out now.... In short, I sent an email to (almost) everyone involved in it that I couldn't finish it. Everyone that replied got sent everything I had, had done, and was needed to finish (at least if they continued what I had done). I haven't dared inquire since then.

    Sorry, Sad
    Nell.
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    Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:22 pm  

    Thanks for the update ... and for the work you did.
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    Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:20 pm  

    "My personal intent was to use things that were good, like the Ixzen, ignore or modify that which was questionable (like Rockseer elves), and ignore highly specific details (like the City of the Glass Pool). The Underdark is sufficiently large to allow the details to be easily worked in by any DM with a minimum of work."


    Exactly. But by the same rationale, it's easy to ditch the little burg that the PCs spend 15 seconds in at the beginning of the adventure for a more familiar rural locale.

    I wish I would have cut the Rockseers entirely. I underestimated the interest the PCs would take in them, and now they're a part of my campaign I don't particularly care for. I liked the City of the Glass Pool though - my PCs had some memorable moments in there.
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    Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:07 am  

    For those not familiar with the article, there's some great Greyhawk background info on the derro, jermalaine, skulks, lerara, and suel dopplegangers in an article Roger Moore wrote for Dragon. It's in issue 241, entitled "Legacies of the Suel Imperium".
    _________________
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    I merely facilitated its creation
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    Sat Apr 16, 2005 7:21 am  

    Hrmm. I just stumbled across wikis (yes, I'm very behind the curve), and that seems to raise all sorts of contributive possibilities.

    Musing
    Nell.
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    Sat Apr 16, 2005 2:58 pm  

    Okay, ya got me. What's a wikis??
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    I didn't design the world,
    I merely facilitated its creation
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    Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:38 am  

    basiliv wrote:
    Okay, ya got me. What's a wikis??

    It's a herd of wiki.

    Seriously, it's a way of, ah, storing and crossreferencing a large number of entries on a topic quickly, AND it allows public editing and contributions. The wikipedia is probably the best known example of this. Basicly, you've got a webpage on, say, the Lostdark. Every proper name or term can be a clickable link that takes you to an entry on said name or term, which in turn has other links, ad infinitum. Besides the glorious interlinkingness of it all, the pages are editable by the public, which means if you click on a dead link, or want to add something new, or want to clean up someone else's entry, you can do so. As I understand it, pages can be archived on a computer (yours, mine, anyone and everyones) so if there's malicious damage, it can be quickly and easily corrected (and said damage seems to be very rare).

    The only booger is formatting; it's not standard html formatting, but something rather different. Not difficult, just different and new to learn. I need to look around and see if I can find a simple, concise, and thorough guide to wiki formatting.

    Oh, and wikiware is free, and there are places that host free wikis, so that's all neat-o, keen-o. Or maybe we can talk GLH into a CF wiki.

    Cheers
    Nell.
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    Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:15 am  

    [quote]Basiliv Wrote:

    I've always had some ideas regarding what the UnderOerth would be like beneath the Vast Swamp. Given the porous nature of the rock described in SB, I always imagined a terribly damp environment. This may not be realistic, but I imagined that the silt and muck at the bottom of the swamp combined with the small holes I see in the porous stone to make for a very slow leak...kind of like putting a screen over the drain in your sink, then covering the screen with a towel. It'd really make it more of a slow trickle of water, constantly dribbling down the sides of the tunnel systems below it.
    Quote:


    I just went to Harrison Cave in Barbados, and it is just as you describe, the pourous rock and all. However the effect was like a constant light rain, 24/7
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:43 am  
    Sorry

    Sorry, I am not sure how I messed up the quoting, but I did it well.
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    Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:43 am  

    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?
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 03, 2005 1:24 pm  

    Here are a few old canon references, for what they're worth. According to Greyhawk Ruins, City of Greyhawk, and From the Ashes, there is an UnderOerth network beneath the Plains of Greyhawk, with points of entry in the Greyhawk dungeons (Tower of War), the Gnarley Forest (Blackthorn), and the Mistmarsh. From what I've been able to piece together, the inhabitants would be orcs, ogres, ogre magi, trolls, troglodytes, derro, duergar, and svirfneblin. I would guess that the trogs are mostly from the Mistmarsh area, and the gnomes mostly from the Gnarley area. Also, there is a reference to Turrosh Mak's representatives travelling overland to Blackthorn for recruiting purposes. This would indicate a lack of connecting passages between the Gnarley UnderOerth and the Pomarj/Drachensgrabs UnderOerth.
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    Fri Jun 03, 2005 6:09 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    Here are a few old canon references, for what they're worth. According to Greyhawk Ruins, City of Greyhawk, and From the Ashes, there is an UnderOerth network beneath the Plains of Greyhawk, with points of entry in the Greyhawk dungeons (Tower of War), the Gnarley Forest (Blackthorn), and the Mistmarsh. From what I've been able to piece together, the inhabitants would be orcs, ogres, ogre magi, trolls, troglodytes, derro, duergar, and svirfneblin. I would guess that the trogs are mostly from the Mistmarsh area, and the gnomes mostly from the Gnarley area. Also, there is a reference to Turrosh Mak's representatives travelling overland to Blackthorn for recruiting purposes. This would indicate a lack of connecting passages between the Gnarley UnderOerth and the Pomarj/Drachensgrabs UnderOerth.


    Wow, cool. Exactly what I needed to know. Can you give me a source (product & general page are fine) for the Turrosh Mak reference?

    Thanks,
    Nell.

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