Excerpts 06/13/2007

Expedition to Undermountain

Heroes, beware. Undermountain awaits those foolhardy or brave enough to walk its passages, but step lightly and with care. Undermountain's welcome is not that of a gracious friend who seeks to make you comfortable. Learn more about this superadventure by reading a few excerpts, including the introduction, various adventure sections, plus a couple of encounters.


Undermountain is huge. It's more or less mysterious and only partially explored. When you are wandering the depths of Undermountain, it can be very difficult to ascertain exactly where you might be. What follows are names and distinctions largely agreed upon by the sages of the city, though the inhabitants of the dungeon might or might not conform to the categorization of the sages -- and even the sages themselves often disagree vehemently over many of the details.


The Upper Levels of Undermountain (the three closest to the surface) are most commonly referred to as the Dungeon Level, the Storeroom Level, and the Sargauth Level. They have always been the busiest areas -- more sorts of numerous, organized beings and more surface creatures roam these levels than any others. As a result, these levels of Undermountain have seen the most modifications down through the centuries. They are still constantly changing, and many spies from the city and prowling monsters roam these levels. Things left unattended for more than a day, unless secured or hidden, are rarely found undisturbed thereafter.


The popular name for these layers of Undermountain, the Deep Levels, comes from an old poem. In truth, they are by no means the deepest levels of the dungeon, and have also (more accurately) been called the Apprentice Levels, because Halaster's apprentices have historically dominated (but in no sense controlled) them. At least three of Halaster's apprentices have recently quit these levels, initiating a power struggle that rages to this day, as various dungeon inhabitants fight to win control of where they live.


Sages refer to the many lesser layers of Undermountain that lie between Undermountain's Farm Level and the Seadeeps as the Dark Levels. Many of these sublevels are accessible only through portals and have rarely been visited by adventurers who survived to tell their tales back in the city, and so they are largely mysterious even to Undermountain experts. All of this leaves sages free to invent or ascribe any features to these sublevels as they see fit while hungering for real information.


This vivid term refers to the three lowest main levels of Undermountain (the Caverns of Ooze, the Terminus Level, and the Mad Wizard's Lair) plus the interweaving sublevels among them.

This layer of the dungeon gets its collective name from the series of deadly perils faced by creatures attempting to ascend into the heart of Undermountain from deeper locations. Halaster's constructs and immigrants from the Underdark (such as the drow) who want to prevent others from following them upward have set up garrisons in various fortifications built by the ancient dwarves of Clan Melairkyn.

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