Lore - UnderKingdom
UNDERKINGDOM - CAVERNS OF DEATH
Many years ago, the Yasnaki Brotherhood was very powerful, and held much of the land under its power. However, because of their desire to destroy the Grand Order of Thaumaturges in Mu, they attempted to summon a Dragon, and were defeated…or so it was believed. After the disaster, a few of the Brotherhood managed to escape and establish a colony in the Underkingdom. To insure that their power base was not disturbed, they destroyed the portal to the Underkingdom. Once this was done, the Yasnaki began to rebuild, terrorizing the inhabitants of the realm, and doing what they do best, which is destroy. In recent years, the Kobolds of the Underkingdom, a lawful race that has managed to hold out for many years against the Yasnaki, have reopened the portal to the Underkingdom. They sent a desperate plea to the Warriors and Wizards of Kesmai so that they may have protection from the ravages of the evils that the Brotherhood has brought to their land.
The problems that beset the Kobolds are many. First, there is the older Order of the Yasnaki, led by the Overlord. They are as powerful as ever, and their leader holds much of the former power of the group. Some say that the Overlord is not living at all, but is of the Undead Order, others say that he is pure magic incarnate. Whatever the truth, the Overlord (along with many of the older forces of the Yasnaki) has forgone their mortal bodies, and now wander the realm as evil spirits. This may be the last known remnant of the old Order of the Yasnaki. Of course, not all of the older Yasnaki were Sorcerers, as was once believed. The Yasnaki were never so single-minded that they ignored the physical powers of sword and hand. In fact, some of the finest Warriors in the land served the Brotherhood. Those that stayed with the Overlord suffered similar fates as the Sorcerers, becoming evil Spirits and Skeletons. The Master of the Sword for the Yasnaki himself is rumored to have survived as a Skeleton Swordmaster, ruling over many minions of the Undead, and guarding the entrance to the secret area of the Overlord.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), not all of the Yasnaki chose to follow in the footsteps of the Overlord. A group of younger Yasnaki, led by the master assassin Carfel, decided to set off on their own and establish a separate complex in the Underkingdom. They devoted themselves to more normal disciplines of magic and might, and are some of the finest Warriors and Wizards in the realm.
Besides the two factions of the Yasnaki, there is also a group of Trolls, Orcs, and Hobgoblins that have taken up residence in the upper realms of the Underkingdom, led by the Troll King. He holds sway over all of these chaotic forces, and makes sure that they are very well trained. He has a special, elite unit of Trolls that serve as his personal bodyguards. The Troll King, in his ambition to rule over ALL of the Underkingdom, has kidnapped the princess of the Kobold King, Kookoo. His demand is that all rule be turned over to him before he will set the princess free. Rather than allow the Troll King to rule, King Kookoo sought the reopening of the portal to Axe Glacier, and offers a very valuable and rare potion to any that would dare the Troll King's palace to rescue his daughter.
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, this 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 Martial Artist and Wizard trainer (among the finest to be found), Chap's Bar and Grill, pawnshop, tanner, bank, and the locker room. Vendors for balm and recall rings can be found in the plaza around the pool. Immediately below the city you will find the temple, gymnasium, sage, throne room of King Kookoo, and the rest of the city. In fact, the first level below the city is a virtual maze of rooms that have been carved out of the rock. Of great importance are the two entrances to the vast realms of the Underkingdom, one to East that leads towards the palace of the Troll King, and the other to the West that leads through other areas controlled by minions of the Troll King.
Wandering on the Wyvern Plains, one can find Wyverns of many different colors and varieties. Some are just plain Wyverns, while others area resistant to fire or ice. All are deadly, particularly when they attack as a pack. Nevertheless, even more deadly to the careless wanderer is the wandering Drake known as Rover. He is sensitive to the chanting of spells and will seek out any spell casters he hears. His lightning breath has ended the life of many careless adventurers. Within the watery depths of the Underkingdom rivers are Lurkers that strike with tentacle and venomous bites. These creatures are know to hoard various interesting potions.
In times past, when the fighting between the Kobolds and the Trolls was fierce, the Trolls had advanced up very close to the Kobold city. The Orc Caverns on the fifty-foot 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.
In order to prepare his troops for an attack on Kobold from the surface, the Troll King established two 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 Orc Caverns through the Goblin Jungle, to a set of corridors that lead downward to the courtyard of the Troll King's palace. This area is heavily patrolled by Minotaur, groups of Goblin Wizards, Goblin Archers, groups of Trolls, groups of Orcs, and the meanest of the bunch, lone Goblin Martial Artist's. The Goblin Martial Artist'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 airdrops. The farthest drop on the Northwest corner leads to the other training level, and is the only known entrance to it. The remaining drops lead to a small lake, formed by the falls from the surface, in the courtyard of the Troll King's palace. Connecting the Goblin Jungle to the Courtyard are two long, and normally empty, corridors accessed via long staircases. On very rare occasions, Sentry's from either the Jungle or the Courtyard will follow the careless adventurer into the corridors, but most of the critters avoid these areas.
Fearing that the Kobolds would discover some of their plans, the Troll King set up a second 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 Southeast 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 steal away an item of great value from the Troll King, a magic key. This key will open a cell in the jail below the Troll King's palace. Though he fears to try to use it himself, Googog will gladly sell the key to any that ask (for a price that proves Googog's Thiefly nature). This deadly jungle has come to be known as "Googog's Jungle".
The Troll King's palace dominates the Western half of this level. His courtyard is filled with Troll sentries that wield Returning Hammers and Staves. You will also find Hobgoblin Wizards that are capable of casting LIGHTNING on unsuspecting adventurers. In the caverns to the East of the courtyard, more sentries wander. Their duty, though, is not to defend against attack from the Kobolds as much as it is to protect from incursions by the Yasnaki forces. In the beginning when the Yasnaki first appeared the Troll King welcomed them openly, and for the price of a small token, the Troll King granted the Yasnaki a complex to the South of the Palace. However, as the Yasnaki rebuilt their power, they grew bold and started to attack the forces of the Troll King. In order to prevent the Yasnaki from gaining any further power, the Troll King sealed off the Yasnaki area. However, recent events have forced a small area of the access between the two realms to be reopened via a set of stairs in the Eastern section.
Guarding the Troll King's palace is a unit of Troll Elite Guards, equipped with very strong weapons, and a lot of skill in using these weapons. These elite guards are hand selected by the Troll King himself, and are extensively trained to provide for his protection. The Troll King himself is located in the throne room of the palace on the South side. He is an incredibly skilled fighter, with a great amount of health. It is rumored that around his neck is a talisman that will grant access to a secret area, and provides protection against DEATH and STUN. Hidden within this secret area is the famed sword, Hummingbird, which was originally wrought by Vulcan, and then stolen by the Yasnaki before they fled to the Underkingdom. However, it is also rumored that unseen forces will batter any that enter the secret area to claim the sword.
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. Locked deep within the jail complex, 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.
As the Yasnaki rebuilt their power, the Troll King became rightfully wary of the power of the Brotherhood. Therefore, he sealed off the main access to the Yasnaki area that he had granted them, and built a small dungeon to connect the areas. The main reason was that the smaller area would be more defendable (or so he believed). In addition, by leaving a small opening, he could perhaps avail himself of their power on 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.
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 three levels, though the Yasnaki claimed one of those for their own when they increased their power. Orcs and Trolls inhabit the upper level. Of particular note are the Trolls and Orcs that managed (with the help of the Yasnaki before they turned really nasty) to learn some of the Thaumaturge powers, in particular the power to summon LIGHTNING. To walk unaware into a room in this area is very likely going to lead to an instant demise as the Orcs hit you with lightning bolt after lightning bolt. Due to these Orcs, the area has become known as the Lightning Caverns. Also, many of the Trolls in this area carry Returning Hammers that have been changed to a chaotic alignment, making them as deadly to the adventurer as the adventurer's Returning Hammer and Returning Axe are to the normal minions of chaos.
The lower level of the housing is populated by much of the same creatures as the Lightning Caverns. In addition, there are Hobgoblins that have learned tactics (by normal or magical means) that allow them to attack at two times the normal rate, making them very deadly opponents. They are now known as "Speedy Hobs". These Hobgoblins can truly dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee. In the far Southeast corner of the level is the entrance to the lowest level of the housing facility, which was taken over by the younger Yasnaki after they parted ways with the Old Order.
Many years passed, and the members of the Yasnaki Brotherhood that survived the debacle of Kesmai slowly grew to match their former power. However, as they grew, they again contemplated methods for wreaking revenge on the Grand Order of Thaumaturges. Carfel, the Master Assassin of the Yasnaki, counseled against this, constantly reminding the older order of the previous disasters that had struck the Brotherhood. The Overlord refused to listen to such counsel, bent on the total destruction of the Thaumaturges. Therefore, Carfel gathered to himself those members of the Brotherhood that felt as he did. These were mostly younger members that were mere apprentices during the summoning of the Dragon of Droon, though they had come to know greater power in the time that had passed since their arrival. Carfel then set about clearing out one of the old Troll levels to set up his own complex. This new Yasnaki complex now houses many of the finest younger Yasnaki Warriors and Wizards. Nevertheless, Carfel did not trust even his own followers, and sectioned off an area on the level that was accessible only by a trusted few. At the entrance to this area he placed his pet Spider, Shelob, to serve as a guardian. Of course, the one thing that Carfel did not reckon when he constructed this lair was that Thieves would be able to penetrate past the outer defenses. However, as only Thieves can activate the teleport leading to his inner-sanctum, he felt secure. When Carfel left the older Order of the Yasnaki, he took with him a pair of daggers, the likes of which have not been seen for some time. These were finely balanced throwing daggers, made of silver and emblazoned with the Yasnaki symbol. Legend has it that the daggers will return to the hand that throws them.
After the departure of Carfel and the younger Yasnaki, the Old Order became desperate to achieve greater power. The Overlord, remembering many 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. 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 deeper into the Underkingdom to rest and plan, while the Swordmaster ordered the remaining people into a semblance of a guard on this level of the Undead. 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 thin Black Rapier. The blade of this weapon is so narrow that it can hardly be seen. Yet it is so strong that it is able to hit for significant damage, even in an apprentice's hand. Legend has it that the blade was passed from a Thief of long ago. It is also rumored that a hidden Thief may wield it without breaking his HIDE, though how this may be is beyond the reckoning of this historian.
Some of the High Council of the Brotherhood, when they performed the ceremony to abandon their mortal bodies, did not 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 set up 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.
As a final defense 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. Moreover, being made of magic he is highly resistant to most, but not all, forms of magic. The Overlord will attack with hand, foot, and spell. His favored spell is the Wizard's ICESPEAR. Since he is 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 of the lost artifacts from the glory days of the Brotherhood. A great staff is held that will grant great power to any Magician that chooses to wield it. It is reputedly a great blocking weapon, aiding a Wizard from being attacked while they ply their trade of magic. The staff also aids in the restoration of magic to the possessor of the staff, so long as the staff is wielded. Other powers of the staff are unknown, having been lost when the rest of the history of the Yasnaki Brotherhood was destroyed.
The End…For Now