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Beneath the Adakkian Mounts

by Geoff Gander

*My hexmapper doesn't have mushroom forest hexes - you'll have to imagine them.

The Realm of Vassek


The Realm of Vassek lies at the northwestern fringe of the Deep Carnifex domains that lie deep underneath the Adakkian Mounts. It was settled less than a thousand years ago by outcasts from the Kingdom of Azag, who had supported the heretic Tiresh in her bid to seize the throne. Offered the choice of sacrifice (and possible forgiveness in the afterlife), or eternal exile, most chose the latter. Thus, five thousand Deep Carnifex were driven into the cavern with no supplies or tools, and ordered to secure it and make it productive.

In the millennium since that time, the survivors have made a new life for themselves. Vassek is a modestly prosperous town, surrounded by fields of moss and mushrooms grazed by vast herds of domesticated cave slugs and giant beetles. The inhabitants dredged out the Red Pool and stocked it with cave fish, and in the western reaches veins of silver and iron ore are worked. But while the realm is liveable, it remains dangerous. The fungal forests teem with ravenous giant insects, and the mountains are home to hostile tribes of Tunnelers.

Places of Interest:

Vassek (pop. 1,200): The only settlement of note, Vassek is also the seat of authority and the centre of commerce in the cavern. It is ruled by a council of elders.

Midgate: This imposing fortress spans the Way, and has a giant portcullis that, when lowered, can prevent anything larger than a halfling from going upstream (south). Its garrison of 100 soldiers protects this approach to the Kingdom of Azag, and keeps the inhabitants of Vassek out, as well. Sporadic trade between Vassek and Azag is facilitated by unmanned boats connected to chains, which the guards release downstream to be loaded.

Red Pool: This is a large lake that the Deep Carnifex dredged out over a period of 300 years, to an average depth of 20 feet. A species of faintly luminous red algae grows in great numbers in the lake, hence the name. The locals have stocked the lake with cave fish, which now feed much of the populace. Many inhabitants believe some kind of monster has recently come down the Way and made its home in the Red Pool, as several fishing boats have vanished, and fish stocks have begun to decline mysteriously.

The Monoliths: The Deep Carnifex explored this barren cavern shortly after founding Vassek and discovered a circle of 20 white quartz columns, each almost 100 feet tall. They were unable to find any inscriptions, or any other indication of who built them. Scholars occasionally visit the Monoliths in the hope of finally learning their secrets, but none have yet succeeded.

The Way: The Way is a fast-flowing, cold river whose headwaters lie in the mountains of Azag. No one knows how far it goes, or where it ends up, but some explorers have claimed that it flows into a great underground sea, lit by phosphorescent moss high overhead.