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This SD is set in the UnderRealm deep beneath the earth. Fleeing an environmental catastrophe inhabitants of the surface fled underground to cities and warrens constructed ever deeper into the earth.

In time, they discovered entrances into a deep otherwordly realm of caverns, tunnels and ancient fortresses, long abandoned. Seemingly finding refuge, they settled eagerly into these fortresses, exploiting the protection they offered in this dangerous and mysterious new world. It was a difficult journey into the dark regions of the earth and in time, the perilous routes to the surface have become forgotten or inaccessible.

You the player, control the destiny of one of the 'UnderHolds', a city in a world still mostly unexplored, connected only by the relative safety of various 'under roads', which connect the fortresses together. Prosperity has reigned for centuries in the darkness, with rising populations and confidence, many advocate exploration of roads leading into the unknown, some leading deeper into the earth, where the delvers, who claim to of built the Underholds, warn dark creatures lie in wait.

Inspirations: Final Fantasy, Dragon Age, D&D, Arcana: Iron and Magic (Shrike's SD upon which the ruleset is based)

Underrealm PC Powers


The Underrealm is a series of caverns, often hundreds of many hundreds of meters in diameter, some even greater, linked together by natural caverns, tunnels and the under roads. It is not a dark place, the bacteria which feed on thermal vents found throughout the underealm are luminscent, forming thick biofilms in many caverns and tunnels. Be it night or day, many caverns are awash with vibrant light.

The origin of the Underholds is unknown, a race native (so they claim) to the Underrealm claim no knowledge of their construction.

More detailed setting notes can be found here. It covers a range of topics and offers some information on the semi-scientific background inspiration for why things are, that people in the underrealm probably don't understand themselves.


Known History

Surface Era
Little is known from the period before the first underground settlements were formed. Oral tradition and fragmented records state most denizens of the underrealm are from the surface, a lush land of greenery with a open sky bathed in endless white light. They were forced from the sky world as it turned to ice and snow, they dwelt underground for many years, sheltered from the cold, venturing to the surface to scavenge. Various peoples claim to be descendants of city states, empires, kingdoms, merchant republics and stateless nomadic peoples.

Underground Era
Eventually this was no longer possible and people were forced further into the deep, channeling distant rays of light to withering crops. Many died out at this point, stores running out and unable to innovate sufficiently to adapt to life soley underground. Others survived, adapting to sources of food independent of the surface. Others still were quite fortunate and discovered a black stone in the deep. The stone burned hot and bright, producing a startlingly vivid light. One group found rich seams which they called anthrakes. Anthrake was leveraged into a tool of power, prestige and control. The City of Anthrakon became the dominant nation in the many parts of the underworld. During this golden age (for Anthrake), many other people's were stripped bare of anything remotely valuable by Anthrake in trade for the life giving heat of the black light.

It is claimed by the descendants of the Anthrakons it was they who discovered the UnderRealm routes, a claim disputed by many. Regardless, the Anthrakon dominance continued for several centuries, and by the time it's power waned and the seams dried up, people were already migrating into the Underrealm.

UnderRealm Era



The UpperRealms was the first to be settled. It contains the most intact Underholds and UnderRoads but lacks many of the rare minerals, creatures and treasures found deeper in the subterranean warrens. The Underholds here are old, crowded and proud but lack experience with the sharper edge of life in the underrealm.

UnderRealms Nations gain 10 free population (crafty people, they don't require support) due to their age and overcrowded nature and 100 wealth


In time, the Underholds have grown wealthy but also overcrowded. With vast populations pressures, migrants were forced deeper, eventually finding several routes to the Lower Realm. The Lower Realms are more heavily populated with natural wildlife, the veins of ore found here are both richer and contain more rare materials, such as mythril. However, the wildlife here is also much more restless, there are more dangers lurking here and even after a century of colonisation, it is a wild untamed land. The Underholds here are further apart and were discovered in much worse condition, but also contained a variety of artifacts uncommon to the upperrealm.

Travel to the lowerRealm from the upper either involves the dragons back, a path spiralling downwards through a deep cavern, or one of several UnderHolds who possess ancient mechanical elevators seemingly designed for the purpose of trade between both sections of the UnderRealm.

LowerRealms nations gain either two free mines or two free beast pens and may roll 1D6 for rare artefacts.


Not content with the Lower Realms, some have pushed even further. The Tyrusan city of Lastport is aptly named, sitting at the furthest known point of the 'low' river that flows past several Underholds, starting near the bottom of the Dragons Back before flowing beneath Lastport. It emerges on the other side and flows deep into the underrealm. Tyrusan sailors explored the river, finding it reached all the way into another deeper system of underholds.

Deep Harbor is the first port of call on the low river in the Deep Realms, the river becomes difficult to traverse beyond it. The area is dangerous, the under-roads are breached a dozen times over by natural tunnels, and are no safer than a natural cave system. There is no sunstone here outside of the Underholds, just the biolumiscence of the goop and the creatures that stalk here are larger than anywhere else. Beyond the relatively safe river route between Deep harbour and Lastport, travel is perilious and requires heavily guarded caravans.

Despite the dangers people are drawn here, most of the Underholds are ravaged by unknown forces, but still contain plently of riches to be plundered, while the native wildlife offers its own bounties. Creatures here are larger, tougher and more vicious than anywhere else.

General Geography
Consult this for a general overview of the world.

National Placement Map
Consult this when choosing nation placement. One Cavern is one Hex except for those inside a Underhold.

Non-Player UnderHolds



Player's are humans. Humans are pretty varied. If you have bunny ears, cat ears, elven ears, your just another human. However, there are several ancestral lines of humans who share a cultural heritage that confers some differences.


Anthrakons are proud and haughty. Keen to reminisce about their achievements and underplay their history of exploitative trade practices. Though the power of black stone is long over, the centuries of experience in mining continue to prove advantangeous, passed down through Anthrakon guilds and families.
Majority UnderHolds: New Anthrakon,
Minority Underholds: Nearly all


Where the Anthrakons are proud, the Syrusans are bitter. Astronomers and seafarers they claim to of ruled a merchant empire and saw the signs of the creeping disaster before anyone else. What is known, is that their deep city was vast and well built, filled with treasures from across the world stored for safekeeping. It would prove too shallow in time, tendrils of cold creeping down, and unwilling to relocate deeper, they were forced to sell much of their treasures to the Anthrakons until they had hardly anything left. Now Syrusans delve the deepest of all. Angry and reckless, they seek to restore pride to their people. Syrusans are notable for their use of the waterways, always trying to tame the mighty underground rivers and lakes, as they delve ever further into the dark in their quest to restore their pride.
Notable UnderHolds: Lastport, Deep Landing,
Minority Underholds: If a Underhold is near a major body of water, you'll find Syrusans there.



The physical features of a Djinnae are unknown to most, due to their cultural dress. Every member wears some form of full-body cloak or robe, along with gloved hands and a mask or hood of some kind. Their clothes are often decorated with multiple knick-knacks and are sewn together with seemingly-random fabrics. They’re shorter than most people, and their limbs seem longer than normal for humans. It is rumoured they found something in the dark and traded something precious in exchange for survival.

Djinnae are keen-minded and have a love for technology and exploration. Many are scavengers or merchants, finding deposits of crystals or lost treasures and selling them in UnderHolds. They also work as craftsmen, producing various goods for sale to others. They’re particularly fond of crystals, and many great alchemists or magicians are Djinnae.


Ferrans are most known for their unique diet – in addition to human food, these humans can feed on certain metals. This is not a natural evolution, but rather a byproduct of prolonged exposure to certain ores found in the deeper UnderRealm. A Ferran who comes into contact with iron, copper, or gold finds the metal bonding to his skin, slowly absorbed into his flesh like ice melting. This process is involuntary, painful, and extremely intoxicating, making it every difficult to stop when it has begun.

Ferrans resemble humans. However, the marks of their diet are present in blotches and protrusions of metal in their bodies, skin transformed into a strange, living alloy. The texture and colouration depends on the absorbed metal, and is a mixture of hybrid tissue and actual metal. Ferrans do not age unless utterly deprived of metal from birth; if killed, soft tissue quickly rots and hybrid flesh coalesces into true metal, leaving their skeleton and growths behind. Many Ferrans also have traces of sunstone in them; rare members develop natural Crystalium cores in the center of their torsos, granting them innate (and untrained) magical power. Many develop strange transformations resembling natural magitech, granting them strange and useful abilities. Ferran’s need for other food and water is much less than most humans, and is eventually eliminated altogether.

Ferrans originate from the deeper, smaller UnderHolds. They tend to eschew company of other humans, mistrusting them and causing conflicts due to their hunger for metal and tempting appeal to greedy men.

Making a Nation

Nations are created using X nation points.

A nation can only have as much population as it has support for. Population provides X wealth.


UnderHolds are ancient fortresses built into entire caverns, or possibly cut from the rock itself. They are all lined with a tough unbreakable base layer of hexagonal brickwork overlaid with various materials such as marble (styled in something that resembles baroque), often this is replaced by whatever denizens have claimed the Underhold and the originals stored in vaults. The Entrances into such Underholds however are far from impregnable, wide avenue like underroads lead into expansive Gatehouse's made from typical materials.

UnderHolds can contain entire caverns within them, the larger ones several. Your free to think of the 'city' portion of a underhold as it's own cavern, or combined with one of the caverns it holds, as your own preference.

Minor UnderHold

25 points
Provides 5 Population
Produces 100 wealth
Holds one cavern


A typical Underhold,
50 points
Provides 10 Population
Produces 500 Wealth
Production sites for all non-beast units.
Holds 2 Caverns
1 free link

Exalted UnderHold

Huge sprawling or towering centres of civilization, such a Underhold has several expansive chambers.
125 Points
Provides 20 Population
Produces X Wealth
Production sites for all non-beast units.
Holds 5 Caverns
2 free links


Caverns are areas of similar geography, in which sites are housed. They are also affected by cavern & site modifiers which customise regions and sites. If a cavern is left empty of sites, it is considered half cost, preferably spent on another empty cavern.

Wild Caverns

Scouted, but untamed, Wild Caverns are dangerous to enter.
10 points
Supports 2 Beast Pens

Cultivated Cavern

Civilization has spread to this cavern, allowing cultivation the resources on offer, hope you like bacterial goop stew mixed with sugar fronds.
10 points
Supports 2 Goop Farm

Sunstone Cavern

Here ancient varities of surface crops can grow, such as coffee and tea.
10 points
Supports 2 Plantations

Flooded Cavern

Devoid of land, flood caverns are plentiful in natural resources, such as fish and provide considerable benefits
10 Points
Supports 2 Fisheries

Mushroom Forest Cavern

Either a number of connected caverns, or single cavern that is covered in large mushrooms
10 points
Supports 2 Mushroom Farms

Fungal Jungle Cavern

Either a number of connected caverns, or single cavern that is entirely swamped by fungal growths that tower like large trees and brimming with peculiar life.
10 points
Supports 1 Fungal Extractors
Supports 1 Beast Pens

Rocky Cavern

Devoid of life, these rocky cavern is probably full of poisoness metals thrust.
10 points
Supports 2 Mineral Mines


Devoid of life, this cavern is a barren wasteland full of gases venting through cracks but not in sufficient quantities to trouble a traveller.
5 point

Poison Wastes

Devoid of life, this cavern is a barren wasteland full of poison gases venting through cracks that choke the air.
10 point


Sites are areas of civilized activity, either constructions or areas of habitation. They are placed in Caverns.

Goop Farm

The top layer of the bacterial biofilm is scooped up, producing a staple kind of blue porridge that is surprisingly tasty.
10 points
Supports 5 population

Plantations provide old world goods, such as coffee, sugar and potatoes. They can be used as trade goods, or to boost the stability and morale of the populance, or sold to the wealthy.

Coffee Plantation

Under the blue light of a sunstone, various surface crops can be grown.
10 points
Provides 5 Wealth or 5 Units of Coffee

Sugar Plantation

Under the blue light of a sunstone, various surface crops can be grown.
10 points
Provides 5 wealth or 5 Units of Sugar

Vegetable Plantation

Under the blue light of a sunstone, various surface crops can be grown.
10 points
Supports 5 population or 5 Units of Vegetables (probably potatoes)

Fruit Plantation

Under the blue light of a sunstone, various surface crops can be grown.
10 points
Supports 5 population, 5 Units of fruit


Fortifications are outposts, small castles and walls that defend the tunnels into a cavern. They are useful for delaying the enemy while you respond to attacks.
10 points
Must be seized and captured before the associated Cavern can be conquered.

Slum Town

Desperate people sometimes build their own towns in caverns, bereft of the protection offered by a Underhold.
10 points
Provides 2 population

Cavern City

The overpopulation problems have led to drastic measures, such as the founding of entire cities in caverns.
20 points
Provides 4 population



A natural link between caverns, dangerous and full of native life.
1 points

Under Road

Lit with sunstone, Under Roads are walled and paved roads that provide relatively safe passage between caverns, nearly all Underholds are linked together by a major Under Road.
5 Points

Under Canal

Lit with sunstone, Under Canals are walled and provide relatively safe passage between caverns. Most have walkways either side, allowing for pack animals to pull canalboats.
5 Points

Under Rail

Few understand the mechanisms behind these automatic wagons that travel on metal tracks, but pull a lever and they will travel between stations, belching steam.
15 Points

Cavern, Site & Underhold Upgrades

Get Huge

This cavern is particularly large, double all support values. Be warned, upon game start D6 will be rolled, 2-6 will result in 1-5 unknown links due to the size of the cavern.
5 Points

Abyssal Chasms

This cavern has several chasms from which delve into unknown depths. Mystical gases rise up, which can condense into valuable gems. Hellspawn can also rise up and wreck havok.
10 Points

Hidden Routes

This cavern D6 tunnels that only your power is aware of, leading to other caverns (including neighbours).
10 Points

Mithril Gate

Instead of the typical ironbark reinforced gate, the gate is instead pure mithril and significantly tougher.
10 Points

Adamantium Gate

Serious expensive went into fortifying your gate to a unreasonable degree, massive mechanisms are required to heft this gate closed (surely you aren't keeping it closed and opening it for traffic every time?!). The benefit is a gate that requires the most serious of siege machinery to overcome.
20 Points

Special Resources

Adamantium Nodule

Ultra-hard red metal, able to hold an exceptional edge and resist puncture forces
5 Points

Mithril Nodule

A bright blue metal, comparable to steel, but virtually weightless.
5 Points

Orichalcum Nodule

A luminous translucent metal that resembles a shard of smooth crystal that glows a faint gold, particularly suited to enchantment.
5 Points

Terrigen Gas

A mutagenic gas, carefully used can be used to breed better creatures and.. people.
5 Points