A quick and embedded Starless Elf

A quick and embedded Starless Elf

You know that feeling when you’ve been sitting on an Underdeeps for years and a friend calls and says they’re hungry for gaming so you grab World of Dungeons and…

Dagger Subject Divider

Starless elves, deep underground, demonic spider-queen, glittering cities, stalactite and stalagmite towers, daggers, feuding Houses, under-panthers…you get the idea.

Hair

NOTE: Why did I start with hair as a way to show social status? I have no idea. NONE.

Bald, as befits a thrall whose House was cast into the pits when you were young

What have you done recently to gain the Matron’s attention?

What do you remember of your dead House?

Equipment: All you have are you clothes and one secret belonging that you have somehow hid since you were a child, something from your doomed House.

  • Statue of a shoulder-spider or under-panther that will turn into a pet for a time
  • A dagger made of volcanic glass with a white-gold hilt
  • A signet ring with your family’s sigil
  • A cloak that allows you to walk from one mirror to another as if they are all connected.

NOTE: Wait, is the mirror cloak just WAY cooler than anything else by a longshot?

Affiliations: When you choose a city, choose which Affiliation still owes your dead House a favor, another that despises you as appropriate and a third that has a family spy hidden within it who still holds your family in esteem.

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Braided rows or short in the front, long in the back, as befits one of the Matron’s trained knives

The Matron has entrusted you with a dangerous errand. What scares you about it?

Who within your House hopes that you fail?

Equipment: You have the finest weapons and spider-silk armor made in the Underdeeps. Describe what you carry with you and what you have in your spartan quarters.

You have something you stole from someone you assassinated, something you never reported to your superiors. What is it?

Affiliation: When you choose a city, choose which Affiliation helped train you, another that you fear and a third that despises you for what you have done in the name of your Matron.

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Veiled with one long braid, as befits a Matron of a minor house to show her bond with the Demonweb Pits

What have you done to prepare for the Mournstar Fête?

What failure within your House do you need to address before it grows like a fungus?

Equipment: You have all of the bodyguards, counselors and body doubles appropriate for a House Minor Matron – also the finest courtly fashion for your social engagements and an heirloom left to you from your Mother. Is it a bound demon, an indentured Githyanki Psion or a captured vampire assassin?

Note: The GM might make a cool checklist to decide details, strengths and weaknesses of your House. If so, cool If not you’ll figure it out in play (possible follow-up post in the spirit of Ithaca Station).

Affiliation: When you choose a city, choose which Affiliation where a trusted sibling holds power, another where a rival holds power and a third whose relationship with your House balances on the edge of a knife.

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Unbound, as befits a traveler, delver and guide

Will you look for work as a caravan leader for a scrappy House Minor, find some civic adventurer’s guild to delve with or take a job as one of the rangers in a House Major’s entourage?

What secret did you leave in the tunnels during your last journey?

Equipment: A steed that is either a Spider or a Dinosaur. Choose one – name and describe it.

A well worn crossbow, a pair of named axes (name them!) and a dagger for your boot.

Affiliation: When you choose a city, choose which Affiliation knows of your fine work and respects it, which one is the vocation of an estranged but still loved sibling and a third who want revenge for your actions.

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Under Ground Cities / Spider Goddess Shrines, gnomish illusionsists, feuding nigh-immortal matrons / Starless elves, cave bears, & mushroom beasts

City

What city do you come from? Choose one and we will begin the game there after you choose your affiliations:

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

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

Affiliations

  • Congress of Knives and Poison
  • Demonweb Nuns
  • Spider-Shepherd’s Guild
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Eämbar: A newly founded city that is a port, connected to the ocean by a series of complicated crystal locks that link Eämbar to the ocean’s crushing depths. All manner of undersea sentients can been seen on the city streets, sometimes in specially made tanks of water pushed by servants.

The matriarch is the youngest to ever hold the title and the most renowned sword in the underdeeps.

Exports: Fish, undersea crafts, spider-silk crystal

Affiliations

  • Diplomatic League
  • Sea Cult
  • Matriarch’s Council
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Endë-Osto: The deepest city of the Starless Elves and is considered by many to be the capital, is ruled by the eldest matriarch whose throne is said to float weightless in the center of the earth. Her queensguard is made of the most cunning of the Starless Elf sword-maidens, who ride dinosaur steeds bred for battle. The city is in a hollow-earth with a bruise-purple sun, said to have been created at the height of the Illithid Empire.

Exports: vegetables, dinosaur steeds and ranger-guides

Affiliations

  • Queensguard
  • Psionic Temple
  • Rangers’ Sibhood
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Five Torches Deep, Underground Heritages

I wrote a blog post about underground cities and decided to make Five Torches Deep ancestries, inspired by their Origins supplement. I’ll paste the cities below if you don’t want to click the link.

Life in the Underdeeps is complicated. Inter-marriage, adoption and all manner of family and clan relationships lead to people being raised in a culture that one might not expect by looking at them. Talk about it with the table and go for it.

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

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

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

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

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

1

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

Exports: bio-luminescent mushrooms, messenger bats, goats


2

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

Exports: Religious artifacts, Riding spiders, Monk bodyguards


3

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

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


4

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

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


5

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

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


6

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

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


7

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

Exports: Scrying, mirrors, spies, indentured-devils


8

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

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

Exports: Fish, undersea crafts, spider-silk crystal


9

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

Exports: vegetables, dinosaur steeds and ranger-guides


10

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

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

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


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

If you liked the writing above you might like one of my pdf’s with more than a dozen pages of inspirational tables…

https://www.dmsguild.com/browse.php?author=Judd%20Karlman