Excerpts Archive | 1/11/2010
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Excerpts: Underdark: The Shadowdark

In today's Underdark preview, we descend further still, down to the Shadowdark -- and the incunabulum city of Glimmer.

The Black, the Deep Chill, the World Tomb, the Soul Cold—those who have walked its freezing halls struggle for words that define the Shadowdark. The place clings to the heart as icy bitterness and in the mind as a haunting pall. Its soul-chilling nature lingers deeper than the unwholesome coldness felt on the surface of the Shadowfell, and it translates into a true freezing of water and blood in its black tunnels.

The Shadowdark is an otherworldly realm of legend, a chilling grave that buries many alive, and a quiet darkness that snuffs all hope. The unending gloom of the Shadowdark entombs strange places. Some mirror the Underdark locations of the world, while others bring new evils into being.

In the murky depths of the Shadowdark, any map is an epitaph for what was and offers only false promises. Travelers find their way by feel in the darkness. Even those using lights travel blind in the numbing cold, and they must intuit the path that does not lead to a quick death. Magic can help lost souls, and certain natives gain a hypersensory knowledge of their whereabouts, but the Shadowdark remains a treacherous place where even the rock betrays you.

Chapter 5 of Underdark presents the following topics.

  • Denizens of the Shadowdark: A sample—the tip of the proverbial iceberg—of the creatures that explorers can expect to find here.
  • Geography and Phenomena: Features that set the Shadowdark apart from every other realm in existence.
  • Typical Shadowdark Encounter: An odd alliance between dark stalkers and undead attracts the characters’ attention.
  • Glimmer, City of Secrets: Home base of the incanabula—humanoids who employ bizarre and brutally cruel methods in their quest for knowledge.
  • Esarham, Graveyard of Demons: A place that couldn’t possibly exist, yet . . .
  • Lathan, River of Souls: Where the dead go to await the Raven Queen—or some far worse fate.
  • Tower of Dark Secrets: A dungeon delve for paragon tier characters, in which the adventurers travel to the Shadowdark and engage a group of incunabulum kidnappers on their own turf.

Glimmer, City of Secrets

For paragon tier and epic tier characters

The incunabulum city of Glimmer lies upon a broad island in a half-drowned vault deep within the Shadowdark. The waves of the surrounding sea roll across the city-isle’s bone-strewn shore. Most visitors reach Glimmer by way of ferry. Pale cavelight rings the island, illuminating hundreds of wide catacomb mouths that lead deeper inside. The failed majesty of a much older, fallen city is heaped above the winding entrances to Glimmer like a crown of broken spires.

(341 Kbs PDF)

Excerpt Schedule

Monday Friday

December 14

Ch. 1 Torturer's Ruin

December 18

Ch.2 The Shallows

December 21

Encounter: Dark Fungi

January 4

Ch. 3 The Deeps

January 8

Ch.4 Feydark

January 11

Ch.5 Shadowdark

January 15

Ch.6 New Creatures