Never does a star grace this land with a poet’s light of twinkling mysteries, nor does the sun send to here its rays of warmth and life. This is the Underdark, the secret world beneath the bustling surface of the Forgotten Realms, whose sky is a ceiling of heartless stone and whose walls show the gray blandness of death in the torchlight of the foolish surface-dwellers that stumble here. This is not their world, not the world of light. Most who come here uninvited do not return.
Those who do escape to the safety of their surface homes return changed. Their eyes have seen the shadows and the gloom, the inevitable doom of the Underdark.
Dark corridors meander throughout the dark realm in winding courses, connecting caverns great and small, with ceilings high and low. Mounds of stone as pointed as the teeth of a sleeping dragon leer down in silent threat or rise up to block the way of intruders.
There is a silence here, profound and foreboding, the crouched hush of a predator at work. Too often the only sound, the only reminder to travelers in the Underdark that they have not lost their sense of hearing altogether, is the distant and echoing drip of water, beating like the heart of a beast, slipping through the silent stones to the deep Underdark pools of chilled water. What lies beneath the onyx surface of these pools can only guess. What secrets await the brave, what horrors await the foolish, only the imagination can reveal – until the stillness is disturbed.
This is the Underdark.
* * * * *
There are pockets of life here, cities as great as many of those on the surface. Around any of the countless bends and turns in the gray stone, a traveler might stumble suddenly into the perimeter of such a city, a stark contrast to the emptiness of the corridors. These places are not havens, though; only the foolish traveler would assume so. They are the homes of the most evil races in all the Realms, most notably the duergar, the kuo-toa, and the drow.
In one such cavern, two miles wide and a thousand feet high, looms Menzoberranzan, a monument to the other worldly and ultimately – deadly grace that marks the race of drow elves. Menzoberranzan is not a large city by drow standards; only twenty thousand dark elves reside there. Where, in ages past, there had been an empty cavern of roughly shaped stalactites and stalagmites now stands artistry, row after row of carved castles thrumming in a quiet glow of magic. The city is perfection of form where not a stone has been left to its natural shape. This sense of order and control, however, is but a cruel fašade, a deception hiding the chaos and vileness that rules the dark elves’ hearts. Like their cities, they are a beautiful, slender, and delicate people, with features sharp and haunting.
Yet the drow are the rulers of this unruled world, the deadliest of the deadly, and all other races take cautious note of their passing. Beauty itself pales at the end of a dark elf’s sword. The drow are the survivors, and this is the Underdark, the valley of death – the land of nameless nightmares. – R.A. Salvatore (Homeland)
~ * ~
Station: In all the world of the drow, there is no more important word. It is the calling of their – of our – religion, the incessant pulling of hungering heartstrings. Ambition overrides good sense and compassion is thrown away in its face, all in the name of Lolth, the Spider-Queen.
Ascension to power in drow society is a simple process of assassination. The Spider Queen is a deity of chaos, and she and her high priestesses, the true rulers of the drow world, do not look with ill favor upon ambitious individuals wielding poisoned daggers.
Of course, there are rules of behavior; every society must boast of these. To openly commit murder or wage war invites the pretense of justice, and penalties exacted in the name of drow justice are merciless. To stick the dagger in the back of a rival during the chaos of a larger battle or in the quiet shadows of an alley, however, is quite acceptable – even applauded. Investigation is not the forte of drow justice. No one cares enough to bother. –excerpt of an essay on Station by Drizzt Do’Urden (again, R.A. Salvatore; Homeland)
D&D 3.5+; Gestalt lvl 12 - 15; Forgotten Realms; Applications due: not required until a week after selection November 6th
This campaign is set in Menzoberranzan in the year 709 DR. It is a story of the struggles of Noble Houses. It is a story of dark elves in their native habitat. It is, hopefully, the story of intrigue and backstabbery. This campaign is 100% open to PvP.
I am looking for three to five Drow Houses, including one male-run Mercenary Guild. Each House will have a Matron, and up to four other players taking vital roles, Such as House Wizard, House Assassin, Weapon Master, and a couple of other priestesses, within the house.
Matrons are, in a way, Sub-DMs. They will be responsible for coming up with missions for their minions to go on. These may include patrols out in the outskirts of the city, raids on other houses, etc. Matrons usually act from the shadows, but in the event of a House War or other major happening, may come out and lead their house. Naturally, I am the final arbiter of rules disputes. In recognition to the additional work a Matron-Player will be undertaking, Matrons start out at two levels higher than everybody else. It is good to be the Queen. The Ruling Council will occasionally call for a surface raid, which will involve members of each house conducting, well, a surface raid.
There is a metaplot (or three) that may eventually be discovered that may become a major focus of the campaign. Initially, however, this campaign is “Sandbox”. Be proactive in the goals of your characters and the goals of your house. Also, this campaign exists in the same multi-verse as my other Campaign and PCs are expected to be in the same ballpark of power level. There may be a cross-over event, but not likely any time soon. Cameos may happen.
~ * ~