Players' Guide: Undermountain

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Players' Guide: Undermountain

Postby FiendishXairren » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:39 pm

Undermountain? Ah, yes. A great place to have fun, the most famous battlefield in which to earn a reputation as a veteran adventurer -- and the largest known mass grave in Faerûn today.
-- Elminster of Shadowdale


The following is known information, stories and rumors about Undermountain for your characters. These things must be greatly exaggerated and can not be believed, because if it was so, surely the great City of Waterdeep would empty of all decent people fleeing for safer homelands by sundown.

Assume a Knowledge, Local (Waterdeep) or Knowledge, Dungeoneering DC 10 unless otherwise indicated.

The City and The Dungeon

Realmslore: A Brief History of Undermountain

Halaster and Halaster's Rules

Players' Guide: The Yawning Portal & The Entry Well

Undermountain's Factions

Undermountain's Portals

more to come...

Everyone is welcome to play in and/or run adventures in Undermountian, but make no mistake, Undermountain is a very dangerous and unforgiving place for any character who dares enter. However, that is where the fun begins, so enjoy and good luck. --- Fiendish Xairren
Last edited by FiendishXairren on Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:19 pm, edited 12 times in total.
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Re: Undermountain

Postby FiendishXairren » Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:16 pm

The City and The Dungeon

A long-ago sage once said, “There is no city without Undermountain, and no Undermountain without the city.” The city and the sprawling dungeon beneath it have influenced each other greatly, and continue to do so to the current day.

The people of the city hear endless rumors and gossip (usually fabricated or wildly exaggerated) about goings-on in Undermountain, and there’s a steady flow of “shady trade” between Skullport (a subterranean town nestled between the city above and Undermountain below) and the city. This shady trade includes illicit goods such as poisons and slaves, and legal goods moved through Undermountain to avoid guild restrictions, taxes, and the notice of the authorities and trade rivals. Neither the Watch nor the City Guard patrols Undermountain. (Knowledge, Local DC 10)

City and dungeon affect each other because of the many connections between them. The best known connection is the dry well, a shaft descending from the common room of the Yawning Portal Inn to the Dungeon Level below. Other physical connections between the city and Undermountain are known to the general public only by many colorful stories. (Knowledge, Local DC 10)

The City Guard, the Palace (workplace of city bureaucrats and civic workers), and the Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors (the wizards’ guild of the city) know locations and details of most major pathways. The city’s adventurers and sages agree that there are many lesser-known ways up and down, some forgotten but most controlled and kept secret by a few individuals, a family, a merchant cabal, or by nobles and guilds. (Knowledge, Local DC 15)
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Re: Undermountain

Postby FiendishXairren » Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:29 pm

Realmslore: A Brief History Of Undermountain

The great dungeon of Undermountain was built by dwarves some twenty-six centuries ago. It was conquered, in turn, by drow, duergar, and powerful wizards. (Knowledge, History DC 15)

King Melair I discovered a vein of mithral beneath what would one day be known as Mount Waterdeep in –1,288 DR. Under his able rule, the foundations of the Underhalls of Melairbode were laid. The elf city of Aelinthaldaar occupied the surface above the Underhalls, and the dwarves and elves struck a bargain that has tied the two regions together to the current day. (Knowledge, History DC 20)

In the year 168 DR, the wizard Halaster Blackcloak and his apprentices (known as the Seven) came to area. His goal was to explore the Underhalls and claim them as his own. He initiated nine expeditions (known as Halaster’s Hunts) to brutally exterminate the drow and duergar who had driven out the dwarves in centuries past. By 309 DR, Halaster ruled the Underhalls. (Knowledge, History DC 20)

The Seven (Arcturia, Jhesiyra Kestellharp, Muiral the Mishapen, Nester, Marambra Nyghtsteel, Rantantar, and Trobriand) broke ties with Halaster in 307 DR in the hope of establishing their own holdings in the great depths beneath the mountain. Some left signs of their work that can still be seen today, but most of the Seven went insane or perished chasing their own dreams and desires. Only Jhesiyra escaped Halaster’s clutches, eventually becoming the Magister of Myth Drannor in 658 DR. (Knowledge, History DC 25)

Beginning in 713 DR, Halaster and his apprentices embarked on a massive campaign to fill the dungeon with all manner of monsters and treasure. For many centuries, the land above forgot about the Underhalls, and in 889 DR the town of Waterdeep was established. It quickly grew in size and influence. However, the long centuries of monster population growth led to an invasion of the surface in 1037 DR. After repelling the invasion, the lords of Waterdeep struck an agreement with Halaster, urging him to keep the monsters of Undermountain in check. (Knowledge, History DC 25)

In 1148 DR, the Netherese wizard Shradin petitioned Halaster for permission to establish Skullport. Shradin became the Lord of Bones, and Skullport flourished. (Knowledge, History DC 30)

In response to the explorations of two noted adventurers, the Yawning Portal Inn was established in 1306 DR to limit access into Halaster the Mad Mage’s dungeon and to keep its monsters somewhat contained. This was also the year that Waterdeep began the practice of exiling the worst of its criminals to the depths of Undermoutian. (Knowledge, History DC 15)
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Re: Undermountain

Postby FiendishXairren » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:34 pm

Halaster and Halaster's Rules

OOC wrote:The cannon timeline is not quite up to date for us here at Digital Dreaming, meaning Halaster is not dead, not yet at least. He is still very much alive in Undermountain.

While there are many wards protecting the Undermountain, two in particular are of importance to adventurers.

First, Halaster has wrapped Undermountain in a teleport cage. Effectively, this prevents the controlled use of spells and spell-like abilities from the teleportation subschool of magic to move users within, into, or out of Undermountain. Portals, however, continue to work. (Knowledge, History/Local/Arcane DC 20)

Second, Halaster has enclosed the place in a scrying cage. Effectively, this prevents the use of spells and spell-like abilities from the scrying subschool of magic to scry within, into, or out of Undermountain. It also prevents the use of spells and spell-like abilities from the divination school to peer through solid barriers, such as walls, doors, floors, or ceilings. Sending such spells through keyholes and the like does work. (Knowledge, History/Local/Arcane DC 20)

Numerous odd and mysterious magical conditions are known to exist within Undermountain as well. These conditions range from dead magic areas to areas where magic is enhanced to greater power. Who is to say if these areas where created with intent of those who call Undermountain their home or by other mysterious forces? Regardless, these conditions are a draw to beings great and small who seek to control and exploit them to their own ends. (Knowledge, History/Local/Arcane DC 20)
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Re: Players' Guide: Undermountain

Postby FiendishXairren » Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:12 am

Undermountain's Factions

Many beings have modified, lived in, fought over, and explored Undermountain throughout the centuries.

Time brings change, and Undermountain’s dangers keep many factions (such as most deity-worshipers who have established enclaves in Undermountain) minor in scope. Other groups flourish in the wider world and might have some specific interests in Skullport, but aren't numerous or organized enough within Undermountain to truly form a faction. Monsters (such as beholders) who lair with a few servitors aren't factions unless they ally themselves with other powerful monsters, or build strong forces.

Moreover, groups that have the reach to step boldly into struggles for control of levels of Undermountain might have no interest at all in doing so.

Currently active factions in Undermountain
    Xanathar Thieves' Guild - Whispered rumors exist of this thieves guild based in Undermountain. Waterdeep officials have yet to confirm this, let alone take steps about it, to date. (Knowledge, History/Local DC 20)

    Church of Loviatar - Rumors of the more decadent city nobility, perhaps spread by rival houses, exist of a House of Pain temple in Undermountain. (Knowledge, History/Local/Religion DC 20)

    Church of Shar - The Sharrans' are also said to have a great temple deep within Undermountain, but proof has not been given. (Knowledge, History/Local/Religion DC 20)

    Arcanists' Academy - If the stories are to be believed, there is a dark arcane academy within the Undermountain, supposedly lead by former students of Halaster. (Knowledge, Arcane/History/Local DC 20)

    Skulls of Skullport - The Skulls rule Skullport with madness backed by mysterious and ancient powers. (Knowledge, Arcane/History/Local DC 20)

    Other Minor Factions(Knowledge, Local DC 25):

      The Arcane Brotherhood has or seeks control of at least some part of Undermountain.
      (plus Knowledge, Arcane DC 25)

      Beholders vie for dominance wherever they are, no less so than in Undermountain.
      (plus Knowledge, Dungeoneering DC 25)

      Drow, ancient and deadly, give rise to some of the darkest stories from Undermountain.
      (plus Knowledge, Dungeoneering DC 25)

      Duergar from Gracklstugh, City of Blades, are said to supply arms and armor to any faction.
      (plus Knowledge, Dungeoneering DC 25)

      Stories of slave traders, in and around Skull Port, are told daily throughout Waterdeep.
      (Knowledge, Local DC 10)

      And many, many more who seek power by any means.
      (DC ?)
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Re: Players' Guide: Undermountain

Postby FiendishXairren » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:30 am

Undermountain Portals

Even veteran explorers of Undermountain and the wisest Undermountain experts among sages would consider the dungeon’s many portals to be countless. Most of them have been created by Halaster or his apprentices to deliberately link Undermountain with the city and specific locales in the wider world. Down the years, they have served many adventurers as unexpected escape routes—and many, many more monsters as a (sometimes unintended) road into Undermountain. Some have begun to malfunction, and many more have been forgotten.

Some of the most famous portals linking the land above to the depths of Undermountain include (Knowledge, Arcane/History/Local DC 20):

    The Forest Gateway: This one-way, limited use portal connects the dungeon to a distant forest kingdom.

    The Glow Gate: This one-way portal on the Dungeon Level connects to a glade in the depths of the King’s Forest.

    The Ghost Gate: This one-way portal from a chamber deep beneath an alley in the city leads to the center of the Helmwatch on the Storeroom Level.

    Gravegate of Geniste: This one-way portal links the depths of Undermountain with the abandoned village of Geniste in the southeastern Purple Hills.

    The Illusk Arch: This two-way portal links the depths of Undermountain with an abandoned warehouse near the ruins of Illusk.

    Lost Lover’s Gate: This one-way portal links a tidal pool in a sea cave to the depths of Undermountain.

    The Old Xoblob Gate: This one-way portal links the Cloaker’s Closet on the Storeroom Level with the Old Xoblob Shop in the city’s Dock Ward.

    The Southfort Portal: Better known as the Portal Round the Well, this portal links the Dungeon Level to a grassy hillock outside Southfort Keep just south of the city. (Knowledge, Arcane/History/Local DC 15)

    The Sargauth Flow: This one-way portal links the River Sargauth with the depths of the ruined fortress of Inthar, which stands atop a sea crag.

    The Sewer Drain: This two-way portal links the depths of Undermountain with the sewers of a distant city.

    The Shimmering Gate: This one-way drifting portal links the streets of the city with the Entry Cavern of the Eye’s Lair.

    The Slitherswamp Drain: This one-way portal connects the depths of the Slitherswamp with the grasslands in the shadows of the western Serpent Hills and the depths of the Nameless Dungeon in the northeastern High Forest.

    The Sundered Throne: This two-way portal in the form of a throne on the Dungeon Level leads to the Rat Hills, the High Moor exit of the Slitherswamp Drain, and the tomb of Rorrina, daughter of Tuvala of Clan Stoneshaft.

    The Thundering Gate: This one-way portal links the Lost Cavern on the Sargauth Level with the Rat Hills.

Do other portals exist into and out of Undermountain? Most certainly, but they may no longer function. More often than not though, the keys and/or conditions to activate many of the portals are long lost and forgotten or the destinations blocked. Many an adventurer seeks the knowledge (and proof) of a working portal, as it may be worth a grand sum to the right buyer.

Clearly portals exist that take travelers to locations from which it is impossible to return from under all but the rarest of circumstances. At least that is the hope of many families of adventurers who have gone missing in Undermountain rather than acceptance of their deaths.

(Be Warned -- Yes, it is possible to have a character lost to a portal. Meaning that the "character death" rules apply to that character.)
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