Cities And Societies

Here is a list of the most well known cities and societies in the Underworld. Use, abuse, or throw away.

Ashtaraky

This city is the absolute largest free standing city in the Underworld. Built out of a sunken quarter of a Surface city, many of its original stone and brick houses are still intact. The ceiling of the city is constructed from packed earth reinforced by metal plates and held aloft by columns and intricate support beams.

Ashtaraky, as opposed to most cities, has full access to a power supply system that provides electricity, sewer systems, and water filtering systems. Some concerned citizens are afraid the power may run out as long as it is used so freely, but the City Council, who run Ashtaraky, dismisses this as paranoia and frequently reassures the inhabitants that the power supply is endless.

The tallest building in Ashtaraky even goes through the vaulted earth ceiling and protrudes on the Surface. The top floors are therefore sealed off to prevent accidental death or catastrophe.

The City Council consists of officials elected by the inhabitants. One must have lived in Ashtaraky for at least a month to receive the right to vote. It is not as easy to get into Ashtaraky, however: To be accepted into the city proper, one must provide a good reason — to stay long term or permanently, one needs an even better reason — which will be judged by the Council.

Clocktown

This is a cavern city built, maintained, and inhabited by the ticking dead. Most of the buildings are crafted from salvaged metal, and it is riddled with clockwork machines and apparatuses crafting tools and items for peddling. The town has a central pillar securing the ceiling, and on it is displayed a huge clock face – open, so one can see the cogwheels working inside.

The town is built far away from any water sources, but water is fetched from the nearest river and stored in barrels for the few human artificers who live here.

The House of the Lioness

This is a small dwelling that consists of a wide, low ceilinged chamber with barracks constructed along the sides and two entrance tunnels blocked by massive doors.

The House of the Lioness is both a fortress and a house of worship for the Cat. The inhabitants are mostly mercenaries and hunters. They allow no one else inside unless they have come to ask for services in return for goods. When business is slow, the inhabitants normally just pillage the nearest dwelling or attack the closest band of travellers to get what they need.

The House is run by the Matron, a physically strong and imposing woman. All of the inhabitants either respect or fear her.

The Kingdom and Kingstown

The Kingdom is a bigger network of several smaller towns and dwellings with the largest city, Kingstown, at its centre. This Kingdom is inhabited mainly by humans and mutants, with a very few sourcerers in administrative positions. Kingstown is ruled by a council of eight elder sourcerers and a sourcerer king known only as The King. In reality, the council does most of the ruling as The King is often unavailable for different reasons.

In the Kingdom, ticking dead are kept as slaves, while telepanimi are captured and stored for arcane research purposes. Arches are unheard of, but there is the occasional witch hunt to drive any possible arches out of the Kingdom entirely.

The King is a sourcerer of great power who is also said to have direct contact with the Arche Animals. He is perceived as a mad man, especially by those who are not amongst his subjects. The King is said to have died twice; the first time he was brought back by rats, the second time by fish. Every year he disappears for a period of time and returns with the tooth of a fox. No one knows where he is during this time and no one has been able to track him during his absence. Also once a year, he will drink poison and stay knocked out by it until he recovers by himself – according to him, this will strengthen him and make him immune to toxins. Others who have tried this have merely died.

The King does not only consider the Kingdom part of his realm — according to him, all of the Underworld is his kingdom, and he will see it united… at any cost.

Hollowall Nest

Hollowall Nest is a town in the shape of a tall, but narrow shaft with individual dwellings in the form of small caves dug into the sides. To get at them, a long, spiralling walkway is built along the sides. The ceiling once held a grate that leaked sunlight from the Surface, but after a few accidents involving considerable burns, the town leaders decided to seal it shut. Now a long rope hangs from the ceiling, supporting several lamps that are lit in the daytime and put out in the nighttime by a so called "lampman" (an official employee of the town).

No one in Hollowall Nest live toghether as couples or families in the caves; they are simply too narrow to support more than one person sleeping there at any time. Every citizen has his or her own cave.

Watership

One of the lesser towns in the Kingdom. Watership is, as the name suggests, a source of relatively fresh water that profits on selling and transporting this water around the Kingdom and sometimes beyond its borders.

The Monastery

The Monastery is what it sounds like – a massive brick building against the side of a great chamber. Its inhabitants are charitable Arche Animal worshippers, mostly arches, mutants, and humans. They call themselves monks.

The inhabitants grow moss, algae, and mushrooms in special gardens and create food products, antitoxins, soaps, and other consumables that they trade away for tools and other useful items.

One of the very few salt water sources in the Underworld runs beneath the building itself, and so the monks are among the very few groups to also trade in salt.

The Rails and South Station

The Rails are old subway or train tunnels that follow specific patterns and routes. Most stations along the Rails are uninhabited or used as temporary camps and shelters by explorers, but South Station is a small town in and of itself.

South Station has its name from a crooked metal sign that hangs at the entrance to town. The founders decided to keep it, so it still hangs in place and tells you where you are. The dwellings are constructed from a lot of different materials, and are small and cramped. The rails go straight through the middle of town, and occasionally a train will race past or even stop and open its doors.

The train tunnels going out from South Station feature several side tunnels where trains do not go, and these are safe havens for people who go out exploring the tunnel systems on foot. It is possible to get on the trains that stop at South Station, but very few dare do that for fear that they can’t get off it again and will starve to death. Skeletons have been spotted sitting inside some trains.

Spiritus Sanctus

This is a vast chamber inhabited by telepanimi. There are no buildings or other signs of life here, but there is a somewhat clean water source – a big lake – at the bottom of the cavern chamber. The telepanimi grants access to the water for travellers, but those who would trespass without asking permission risk unvoluntary possession. Some telepanimi approach travellers and offer water as payment for temporary voluntary possession.

Serpiente

A vast network of narrow tunnels no wider than to fit a grown human through them, Serpiente is the home of madmen and recluses. Avoiding others is not a problem within the confusing labyrinth, and subtle markers on the tunnel walls are used to warn others of which turf they are about to enter.

If you know your way around Serpiente, it can be a shortcut going through its tunnels. If not — you may never get out again. At least not alive.

The Vault

This town is – as the name implies – a vault. Sealed by massive walls and heavy doors, this town was created to store knowledge and records of anything and everything. Inhabited by all kinds of creatures, the Vault is run by historians and explorers willing to do anything it takes to gain further understanding on how the Surface world was destroyed and how to prevent the Underworld from suffering the same fate. In the long run, they hope to find a way to restore the Surface to a habitable world.

The town is filled with huge shelves and lockers containing written and stored records of all the knowledge gathered so far. A water source runs under the town parallel to the sewer. The Vault is located near the Surface, just out of reach from the worst of the radiation.