UnderKingdom

Overview

History

The Fyrbylygs

To fully understand the Underkingdom, one must first understand its people and origin. When humankind were still rubbing sticks together to make fire, the world was populated by a race of intelligent creatures, with a civilisation far more advanced than our own. These creatures were small in stature but strong and intelligent. But their most useful characteristic was their command of magic. As mankind evolved, he learned to share the planet with his benign neighbours, but soon became jealous of their magic skill and began to persecute them. For many generations mankind warred with the magic users, with little effect, but as man's intelligence grew, he was able to figure out tactics that eventually swung the battle in his direction. The last great army of the fyrbylygs, for so they were known in human language, assembled on a plain whose name in their language was Myvanyn in a last ditch effort to defeat humanity and reclaim the planet. But by now, man was a fearful rival, twice as tall as the average fyrbylyg and ten times stronger, for seven days the last great battle continued and although they fought bravely, the fyrbylygs knew their time was over. As sunset each night, the fyrbylygs buried their slain and each burial mound formed a large hill. To this, it is said, the seven hills of Myvanyn still stand as a proud memorial to those brave warriors. On the seventh night, the leader of the fyrbylygs called his people together and told them all was lost. They agreed that further fighting was pointless and that the time had come for more radical action. The assembled masses combined every last iota of magical energy they had to create a new world for themselves - a world where mankind would never intrude and where they could be safe. That world was to become known as the Underkingdom. You won't find it on any maps, for mankind knows not where it lies, save that it is somewhere under this earth. When the sun rose on the morning of the eighth day, mankind was amazed to find not a single fyrbylyg in sight. A few of the 'little fat people' (for that is what fyrbylyg actually means) stayed behind in hiding to carry on the war against humanity, but the vast majority fled to the Underkingdom, where they live to this day. The story of the fyrbylygs captured mankind's imagination. Many legends have grown up since that fateful day - leprechauns, brownies, spirits of the mines all owe their origins to the fyrbylygs. The truth is that they were the ancestors of what we today call kobolds, for countless years they slaved to develop and refine their Underkingdom until eventually they had created an idyllic and peaceful universe for themselves, where they lived in contentment for uncountable millennia. That was until recently!

Flight of The Yasnaki Brotherhood

Our reader may recall stories of a malevolent race known as the Brotherhood of Yasnac or the Yasnaki and their attempt to destroy the Grand Order of Thaumaturges. If not, then you are urged to read the history of Kesmai and the other known lands. To make a short story long, the Yasnaki were 'hoisted on their own petard', as it were, when they unleashed the Dragon of Droon and many of them were destroyed. A few remained in the known lands and indeed it is believed that a revival of the brotherhood has already commenced in the land of Leng. But thanks to the bravery, courage and greed of many noble warriors, the indigenous Yasnaki have really been able to regain their former power in the land of humans. Until recently it was believed that the few stragglers who still inhabit the known lands were all that remained of the Yasnaki after the debacle. In recent times however, a kobold messenger has brought frightening news to us from the Underkingdom. Some of the Yasnaki, fleeing from the destructive force they had unleashed, ran to Axe Glacier. There they hoped to find a magic portal to Annwn - a land inhabited by great forces of evil with which they hoped to ally themselves. But when they arrived at the spot where the portal should have been, they found that it had vanished - well thats what comes from using outdated maps! Fearing that they would be cornered and slaughtered, their strongest magicians set about reopening the portal while some of their warriors started to round up hostages as protection from attack by lawful adventurers. One such group happened by the forge of the master blacksmith, Vulcan - seeking to take him prisoner. As they arrived, Vulcan was just putting the finishing touches to his latest and perhaps greatest weapon - a magical sword of amazing lightness and swiftness - hummingbird. Needless to say, the Yasnaki warriors grabbed it eagerly and ran back to where their comrades were about to reopen the portal. Now, for all their skill and cleverness, the Yasnaki have this strange knack of never quite getting their magic to work quite as intended. No sooner had they all escaped through the portal than they realised two significant facts. Firstly, they had not arrived in Annwn as planned, but were in a wilderness in some dark land that none of them recognised. Secondly, the portal they created had self destructed after five seconds and now they had no way back.

Well, I'm sure you have guessed by now that the Yasnaki remnants had arrived in the UnderKingdom - home to our friends the kobolds, descendants of the fyrbylygs. The bedraggled group was fatigued, weary and disheartened and no match for the kobolds, who promptly despatched them to the darkest corners and deepest holes in their universe, never expecting to see them again. And that, dear readers, is where the kobolds made their biggest mistake since burying their gold and using a rainbow to mark the spot.

An Unholy Alliance

It didn't take long for the Yasnaki to rediscover their evil skills and they set about regrouping and regaining their former might. The kobolds had not found the Underkingdom completely empty when they arrived. In fact it was inhabited by surly trolls who were not at all pleased with their new-found company. However, the trolls were a disorganised rabble and no match for the wily, magical kobolds, who had promptly banished them to the nether regions - the same regions where the Yasnaki were now headquartered. The Yasnaki knew that they could not defeat the trolls in their current debilitated state, so they forged an alliance with them. Trolls, as everyone knows, are stupid creatures and were not an intellectual match for the Yasnaki. Therefore, when the evil magicians offered to train the trolls in the ways of magic and warfare, so that they could defeat the kobolds, the trolls readily agreed. From that point on they were easily manipulated by the humanoids, who picked the strongest (if not the brightest) of them and with great pomp and ceremony, declared him King of the Trolls and Ruler of the Universe. The silly old troll was flattered beyond belief and when the Yasnaki presented him with Vulcan's hummingbird sword and a hummingbird amulet to wear, his joy was complete. The Yasnaki genuflected to their new 'king' and declared their eternal love and devotion and in return the Troll King promised them the freedom of his kingdom. The Yasnaki did help the trolls to become a more organised force. They taught them how to make new weapons, including their own legendary returning hammer. They also taught them limited magic skill - limited because the troll brain isn't really big enough to master much more than very basic magic. From the best of the troll warriors they selected a small group for special training and these became the Troll Elite Guard. Of course, none of this was done for the good of the trolls. What the Yasnaki needed was time and creating a troll army that could keep the kobolds occupied was just the diversion they needed to allow them to rediscover themselves.

Yasnaki Transformation

With the troll army in place and the attention of the lawful kobolds firmly fixed on that threat, the Yasnaki started to plan their return to power and their conquest of the known lands. The first part of their plan involved ridding themselves of their biggest weakness - their mortal bodies. They came to the conclusion that being mortal had been their undoing and decided to do something about it. After many refinements to the process, during which some of their number were metamorphosed into strange and unspeakable undead forms (mummies, skeletons, banshees and so on), the final and perfect Yasnaki incarnation was perfected. The undead Yasnaki sorcerer had been born and the most powerful and evil of them all became The Overlord - spiritual leader of all the undead. Having attained their undead form, they began to rebuild their physical empire. They agreed that it would not be prudent to rely on the troll army as their only fighting army and so a subgroup, under their best warriors - the Swordmaster and Carfel the Master Assassin - setup a headquarters that would concentrate on developing fighting skills and wizardry, while the rest, under the guidance of the Overlord would concentrate on the black art of sorcery.

Desperate Measures

As time passed, the forces of the Yasnaki grew stronger and stronger and fortune favoured the army of the troll king. Together, these groups have been gradually wresting the Underkingdom from the kobolds. The kobolds have managed to build a fortified town in which they have been able to survive for now, but the rest of the Underkingdom is under the control of the twin forces of chaos. A recent development has been the capture of the kobold princess by the Troll King and this has been the last straw for the long-suffering Kobold King, Kookoo. As in times past when his ancestors did battle with the human race, he has summoned all his subjects and in a massive effort they have combined their individual magic to reopen the portal to Axe Glacier. He has sent his emissaries to mankind with a plea for the safe return of his daughter (for which he offers a unique magical potion as reward) and the purging of the forces of chaos. So far, many warriors have traveled to answer the Kookoo's call and many have perished as a result. Will you go? Will you survive? Knowledge is power. So to help you in your mission, should you decide to accept it, we offer some insight into the geography of the Underkingdom. This insight is not intended to replace maps but rather to complement them.

Geography

The portal to the Underkingdom is situated in Axe Glacier, north-west of Chaos Town and north of the abandoned temple. You will recognise the portal by the strange looking trees that surround it. These trees have apparently sprung up from seeds that were transported from the Underkingdom on the boots of warriors returning to seek solace in the Praetoseba. The portal hex itself is coloured purple.

The Kobold City

When you arrive on the other side you will be at the north end of Underkingdom town and will be quite safe (for the moment). The Kobold City is an Island amid the chaotic rampages of the surface and the underground realms. Inhabited by Lawful Kobolds, a race that has withstood the test of time and the ravages of both the Yasnaki and the Troll King, Kobold City offers many of the same amenities as Kesmai and the other known realms. The upper level of the town has a special gate that leads to the surface. This gate was built to keep the wyverns of Wyvern Plains out, thereby protecting the inhabitants. To the West of the gate is the entrance to the Underkingdom Thieves' guild. The Upper level of town itself has the usual MA and Wizard Trainer (among the finest to be found), Chap's Bar and Grill, the Pawnshop, the Tanner, The Bank, and the Locker room. Vendors for Balm and Recalls can be found in the Plaza around the pool. The lower level of the Town houses the Temple, the throne room of King Kookoo, the merchants' shops, and the rest of the city. In fact, the lower level city is a virtual maze of rooms that have been carved out of the rocks. It is recommended that you explore this maze in order to find two important exits - one to the East that leads towards the Palace of the Troll King, and the other to the West that leads through some other areas controlled by minions of the Troll King,

Wyvern Plains

Wandering the plains east and south of town, you will encounter wyverns of many different colours and varieties. Some are just plain wyverns, while others are resistant to fire or ice. The Yasnaki use wyverns like we use laboratory mice and the different types that wander the plains are the result of Yasnaki experiments in spell resistance. The green wyverns are the control (placebo) group, having no resistance, the red ones are resistant to fire and so on and so forth. All are deadly, particularly when they attack as a pack. But even more deadly to the careless is the wandering Drake - Rover. The result of yet another Yasnaki summoning, his attacks are not unlike those of the Drakes encountered in the surface lands, except that he has not been known to breath lightning (the Yasnaki were playing it safe this time around). However, what he lacks in breath he more than makes up for in sheer speed, as his attacks are lightning fast. He is otherwise as durable as his Leng Counterpart, and requires the same weapon selection to bring down (Blue-Glow or ice spear). In the centre of the plains lies a large lake. As wyverns cannot swim, you may be tempted to take refuge in the water, but beware. The lake is inhabited by strange tentacled creatures know as lurkers which can inflict a highly poisonous bite. Magic users will find that lurkers have the useful habit of yielding mana restore potions quite regularly. In the extreme southeast corner of the plains lives a lonely thief trainer - the only one who can teach the powerful venom spell. To the northeast edge of the plains are three air drops which will take the adventurer to the lower levels. The north air drop leads to the -200 level, the middle to the -100 level and the south drop to the -300 level.

Caverns

Taking the maze route you will eventually find yourself in the caverns at the -50 level, In times past, when the fighting between the Kobolds and the Trolls was fierce, the Trolls had advanced up very close to Kobold City. The caverns on the -50 level mark the high point of the advancement of the Troll King's army before they were turned back. This area is sparsely populated, but occasionally Orc and Goblin sentries patrol the area to insure that the Kobolds do not try to reclaim the area.

Goblin Jungle

(-100): In order to prepare his troops for an attack on Kobold from the surface, the Troll King established 2 training grounds with a jungle atmosphere that would help prepare his units for the sniping ability of the Kobolds from the Trees. The first of these areas is easily accessible via stairs that link the -50 caverns through the Jungle, to a set of corridors that lead towards the Courtyard of the Troll King's palace. This area is heavily patrolled by Minotaurs; 4-Packs of Goblin Wizards; Orc Archers; Trolls; and the meanest of the bunch, single Goblin MA's. The Goblin MA's are the most vicious that have been encountered, and make the Ninja of Shidosha look like amateurs. Centrally located on the level is a set of air drops. The farthest Drop on the NW corner of the drops leads to the other training level, and is the only known entrance to that level. The remaining drops lead to the pond in the courtyard of the Troll King.

Googog's Jungle

(-200): Fearing that the Kobolds would discover some of their plans, the Troll King setup a 2nd Jungle setting. This area has no noticeable means of entrance, except by jumping down (either from the surface or from the Goblin Jungle). The activity here is very dense, and just entering the area can be fatal. Hidden in the far south-east corner of the level, Googog resides. Googog is a lawful Goblin thief that has long held out against the activity of the Troll King, and managed to take one item of great value from the Troll King. Googog stole a magic key from the Troll King. This key will open a cell in the Jail of the Troll King, and though he fears to try and use it himself, Googog will gladly sell the key to any that ask (for a price that proves Googog's thiefly nature). Connecting the Goblin Jungle to the Courtyard is 2 long and empty corridors accessed via long staircases. On very rare occasions, sentries from either the Jungle or the Courtyard will follow the careless adventurer into the corridors, but most of the critters avoid these areas.

Troll King's Courtyard

(-300T): The Troll King's Palace dominates the western half of this level. His courtyard is filled with Troll Sentry's that wield RHammers and Staves, and Hobgoblins that are capable of casting lightning on the unsuspecting adventurer, thanks to their magical training under the Yasnaki sorcerers. In the caverns to the East of the Courtyard, more sentries wander.

Troll King's Palace

(-240): Guarding the Troll King's palace is a unit of elite Troll guards, equipped with very strong weapons, and a lot of skill in using these weapons. These Elite guards are hand selected and extensively trained to provide for his protection. The Troll King himself is located in his Throne area in the far south part of the palace, He is a very mean fighter, with a great amount of health. It is rumoured that on his body is a talisman that will grant access to a secret area, and also provides protection against Death Spells and magical Stuns. Hidden within this secret area is the famed sword, Hummingbird, which was originally wrought by Vulcan, and then stolen by the Yasnaki before they came to the Underkingdom. However, it is also rumoured that unseen forces will batter any that enter the secret area to claim the Sword.

The Jail & The Library

Below the Troll Kings Palace are the Jail and the Library. Both of these areas are well guarded by more of the Troll Elite Guard. Buried deep within the Jail, The Troll king holds the Kobold Princess captive. She is being held for ransom, which King Kookoo of the Kobolds refuses to pay. Instead, the King offers a reward to the brave adventurer that can lead the princess back to safety. Other cells in the jail contain either other prisoners, or more likely Troll Elite that are being disciplined, The Library contains very few books of real worth, though much of the history of the Underkingdom resides there. Unfortunately, most of the books are very fragile, and the few interesting books have been covered with ale (from careless handling by the Trolls that have no regard for history), making them difficult to read.

The Connecting Corridor

As the Yasnaki rebuilt their power, the Troll King became rightfully wary of the brotherhood, So he sealed off the main access to the Yasnaki area that he had previously shared and built a small dungeon to connect the areas. He reasoned that the smaller area would be more defensible and that via the small opening, he could perhaps avail himself of their power in his own behalf. Of course, trying to deal with the Yasnaki was at best a hazardous proposition. Roaming this area are more of the usual orc, troll, and Hobgoblin sentries.

Lightning Caverns

(-8O): To the West, beneath the Kobold City, the Troll King had many of his units housed in caverns, and fed with fresh water. The housing area was divided into 3 levels, though the Yasnaki claimed one of those levels for their own when they increased their power. Hobs and Trolls inhabit the upper level. Of particular note are the Trolls and Hobs that managed (with the help of the Yasnaki) to learn some of the Thaum powers, in particular the power to summon lightning. To walk unawares into a room in this area is very likely going to lead to an instant demise. Many of the Trolls in this area carry RHammers that have been changed to a chaotic alignment, making them as deadly to the adventurer as the adventurer's RHammer and RAxe are to the normal minions of chaos. The lower level of the housing is populated by much of the same as the lightning caverns. But in addition, there are hobgoblins that have learned tactics (by normal or magical means) that allow them to attack at 2 times the normal attack rate, making them very deadly opponents. In the far SE corner of the level is the entrance to the lowest level of the housing facility, for the Yasnaki warrior and magician classes.

Yasnaki Complex

Yasnaki Complex and Carfel's Lair (-200): When the Yasnaki decided to diversify into pure magic and fighting, the core group, under the leaderstiip of the Master Assassin Carfel set about clearing out one of the old Troll Levels to setup their own complex. This now houses many of the finest Yasnaki warriors and wizards, Carfel, well versed in the assassin's art, determined to create a safe haven for himself and sectioned off an area on the level that was accessible to only a trusted few. At the entrance to the area, he placed his pet Spider, Shelob, to serve as a guardian. What he did not reckon when he made his area was that thieves would be able to penetrate past the outer defences. But as only thieves can activate the teleport leading to his inner area, he felt secure. Carfel's chosen tools of his trade are a pair of finely honed silver daggers the likes of which have not been seen for some time. These are very finely balanced, returning daggers, made of silver and emblazoned with the Yasnaki symbol.

Undead Level

Older Yasnaki Complex (a.k.a. Undead Level) (-300U): The Overlord, remembering many of the ways of the Brotherhood, called upon all of the remaining members to abandon their mortal body in order that they might come into closer contact with the Magic that surrounds all creatures. And so, one by one, each of the older Yasnaki succumbed and gave up their mortality. The Sorcerers became Ghouls and Banshees, while the many warriors became Skeletons. The Overlord and High Council of the Brotherhood moved even farther into the Underkingdom to rest and plan, while the Swordmaster ordered the remaining people into a semblance of a guard for the area. The Swordmaster himself patrols the area surrounding the pool of blood (thought to have been created when the Yasnaki gave up their bodies). The Swordmaster was a master of many weapons, and the weapon that best suited him was a very narrow Black Rapier. The blade of this weapon is so narrow that it can hardly be seen. And yet it is so strong that it is able to hit for significant damage, even in an apprentice's hand. The blade was passed from a Thief from way back, and that is why it may even be wielded by an Unseen Thief. Unwary paddlers in the waters of the surface will have undoubtedly encountered the lurkers. Well, in the river of blood lives the big daddy of all lurkers - the King Lurker (or maybe the Queen Lurker - who can tell?).

Mummy's Crypt

Mummy's Crypt (-350): Some of the High Council of the Brotherhood, when they performed the ceremony to abandon their Mortal bodies, didn't quite get the incantation correct. Instead of totally abandoning their body, they instead became Mummies, animated to life, though without any life of their own. Their consciences were lost, diminishing the power of the Brotherhood considerably. The Overlord, quick to take a corrective action against this mistake, quickly setup these mummies as special guardians to his secret Lair. These Mummies are not great fighters, but beware their touch, as it can drain the youth from a baby, They may only be hit by Blue-Glowing weapons and Magic, and they are very resistant (though not immune) to ALL forms of attack.

The Overlord's Lair

Exploding Corridor & the Overlord (-400): As a final defence against intrusion by outsiders, the Overlord set the High Council in separate cells. He feared that, once they gave up their bodies, they might turn on one another, further diminishing his power. Along the path from the Mummies Crypt to his secret lair, The Overlord set concussion mines. He also had openings made in the cells of the High Council. All of this was so that any intruder would be met with a multitude of traps designed for the sole purpose of destroying them before they got the chance to interrupt his plans. To further confuse any would-be trespassers, the entire corridor was set under a spell of permanent Darkness. The Overlord himself underwent a radical change, His body became diffuse, though was not totally abandoned. However, the change to his body was such that no known weapon will touch him. And being made of Magic, he is highly resistant to most forms of magic, but not all forms. The Overlord will attack with Hand, Foot, and spell. His favoured spell is the wizard's Ice Spear. And being made of pure magic, the overlord need not chant in order to cast his spells. His power is such that any attack, aside from the physical damage, will also drain the vitality and youth from a person. In his possession is one true artefact from the Glory days of the Brotherhood. A great staff is held that will grant more power to any Magician that chooses to wield it. It is reputedly a great blocking weapon and also that it enhances a wizard's spell of shield thus mitigating physical attack while they plied their trade of magic. The Staff also aids in the restoration of Magic to the possessor of the staff, To be fully effective the staff must be wielded in the right hand with the left hand empty.

See Also

Known Lands

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