Dark Lands
Dark Landsl
Darklands_symbol.jpg
(Nation)
Ruler: By None
Government: Scattered dictatorships, kingdoms, and theocracies
Denonym: Darklanders
Adjective: Darklands

Beneath the exterior of the realm of Erin exists a hidden labyrinth known as 'the darklands'. This maze of enigma consists of an untold series of caverns, vaults, and passages. Entrances to the 'Darklands' can be found throughout the world, and it is not uncommon for your average traveler to venture across these - sometimes never being heard of again. This subterranean realm possesses an untold number of dangers, being nearly a world unto itself. These passages are said to contain creatures of unimaginable horror - of darkness and fury, the likes of which are never seen upon the surface of Erin. What lays at the heart of this labyrinth, if anything at all, remains yet to be seen.

Geography

For simplicity's sake, since the entirety of the terrain remains mostly undiscovered, the darklands is divided into three regions. Each of these layers possess their own atmosphere and climate, maybe even inhabitants; however, they are not without their hazards as well. These three regions are as follows:

Nar-Voth

Nar-Voth is the outermost region of the three. It is considered to be the 'guard maze' of the Darklands as it has done well to keep most explorers from venturing deeper. It is the tribulation of a man's strength, for only those strong enough to survive this region happen upon the next region deep; though, any one's claim to have done so is questionable at best. Nar-Voth is composed, mostly, of a series of cave networks connected by tunnels that are lengthy, and twisty. It is not uncommon for adventurers to venture in circles for days, get lost and either abandon successfully, or die in their attempts to go further. Something deep within, however, lays hidden the entry way into the next region beneath.

Sekamina

Beyond Nar-Voth lies the largest of the three regions, Sekamina - spanning continents in size. Maybe it is irony that water, the essence of life, can be one's worst enemy in these vast underground tunnels. These tunnels possess great underground rivers and lakes, but what hazards these waters present remains yet to be seen. It is unknown how deep these lakes go, and what dwells beneath. Another urban rumor floating around Erin is that it is theoretically possible to get to this region without having to navigate Nar-Voth. Such methods have yet to be seen or proven, causing most people who claim otherwise to be accused of hallucinations or delusions due to the harsh environment of the darklands in general.

Orv

The enigma of the Darklands is the third and most treacherous region, Orv. This is the only region that contains humanoid inhabitants - entire nations of warmongering humanoids. The two regions separating the surface world, Erin from Orv, has instigated a cultural stigma towards both populations; naturally, this creates a sense of fear and wonder towards either people. Travelers going into each others' worlds are typically heralded as heroes for braving the depths of a world that is unknown to them, if any one believes them.

The region of Orv is the most dangerous in terms of, not only the wilderness of it, but how easy it is to get lost forever. The cave structures in this region are so large, the surface world had to give it is own name to comprehend such a structure. They call these caverns 'vaults'. Not because they possess anything of value, but because they are simply that massive. Each of these 'vaults' contain any number of natural phenomenon. This second world contains even its own artificial sun, and entire oceans. The vaults can contain entire jungles to explore; of course, these do not come without its own sources of predators. It is quite easy for explorers to end up as prey to something… larger.

Entrances to the Darklands

A common misconception is that if a cavern or dungeon is massive or deep that it must be part of the Darklands. Because of this, many have joined jobs pertaining to such explorations only to be disappointed at its outcome. The surface world of Erin does possess its own mysteries and wonders. In order to qualify as an entrance, or possible entrance, the tunnels must have a specific depth they must go for it to be considered a possibility at best. It is then, typically, when offers for jobs are posted for exploration. Who knows what treasures can be found within, but it is the way surface dwellers have constructed to confirm if the tunnel system is connected to the caverns of Nar-Voth or Sekamina.

Travel

Finding one's way through the Darklands can be a dangerous and time-consuming undertaking, not only because of its belligerent inhabitants, but because the physical structure of its tunnels and chambers complicate travel. Although more linear, artificial tunnels and grottoes exist (most notably in Orv), the large majority of passages in the Darklands are the result of natural processes and are twisting and confusing, often ending in cave-ins, pits, or other impassable obstructions

History

Enigmas such as the Darklands are not without its own lore, or maybe history rather. The Darklands are considered to be the most ancient region of Erin; however, much of it remains a vast wilderness with, maybe, a few scattered nations and city-states. Many of these tunnels, especially in the region of Orv, are thought to be artificial - created - by the mysterious Vault Keepers countless years ago. Should this prove to be true, it would speak volumes about the power of these mysterious entities.

Inhabitants

The description of the darklands' inhabitants ranges from terrifying to aberrant. The number of creatures is too many to count; however, it is said these beasts can range from civilized to primal, intelligent to savage. Considering the amount of aquatic hazards in the deeper regions, it is not unreasonable to assume the labyrinth possesses its own ecosystem as well, which can give birth to any number of mysterious, terrifying or aberrant aquatic life. These creatures, or even monsters, are said to become deadlier the deeper into the darklands that you travel. There is a popular saying on the surface world: "Don't be fooled by its beauty, even the trees would see you dead."

Darklands hazards

The Darklands are a dangerous place, a fact to which anyone who has ever journeyed there can easily attest. This is partially due to the fact that compared with the surface world, food sources are extremely scarce there. This makes the competition for those sources that do exist that much more intense. Perhaps because of this, the creatures and inhabitants of the Darklands, all up and down the food chain, are quite deadly. In addition to the obvious threats presented by deadly predators, insatiable scavengers, and diabolical ambushers, there are the more mundane, but nevertheless lethal, hazards of the Darklands.

Air

Most of the air found below is safe to breathe, if a little stale. In areas blocked off by tunnel collapses or water, or near sources of noxious gases, however, it can become dangerous to travellers. The air near large magma flows can be quite caustic, and poisonous gases like carbauxine or quickdeath can lead to an even quicker demise.

Fungus, Slimes, and Molds

Most plants have little chance of surviving in the dry, dark caverns of the Darklands. There is simply not enough water or light (with the exception of some of the stranger Orvian Vaults) for them to live. Instead, those who live here largely rely on the various fungi, molds, and slimes for sustenance. But like everything else in this hostile environment, these plants can be dangerous as well. Among the fungi, these include the rot-inducing violet fungus, the animating slaver fungus, the brain-damaging cytillesh, and twilight mushrooms. The dangerous molds include the cold-exuding brown mold, russet mold which gives birth to vegepygmies, poisonous yellow mold, and life-draining ghost mold. Harmful slimes of note include the corrosive green slime and the innocuous-seeming olive slime.

The following Darkland content is adapted and altered work from the 'Darklands' created by Paizo. Due to the game's individual setting, races, names and locations may be altered or removed entirely. Please recognize that these darklands are not canon to the world of Golarion, so any comments, complaints, or concerns can be directed to the game's admin staff for further inquiry and answers. Thank you in advance.

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