Beneath the streets of Hawk’s Crest lies a catacomb of subterranean passages that wind through the ruins of the Alliance city that once stood on that site. During the cataclysm the entire city sank into the ground and today the streets, houses, temples, and causeways of the old city form an underground metropolis populated by ratfolk, lizardfolk...and worse.
The founders of the Free Kingdoms unwittingly constructed their capital, Hawk's Crest, atop the grave of the lost Alliance city of Norentor. One would think a city is hard to miss, but when Norentor’s city gate collapsed during the Cataclysm, the magical backlash caused the entire metropolis to sink into the ground. The submersion happened so quickly that the residents had no time to escape, and in the chaos that followed, the city was largely forgotten.
The Alliance originally built Norentor on that site because the location was advantageous for both trade and strategic purposes. Years later, the same location was selected as the site of Hawk's Crest for the same reason. For many years no one knew that the undercity existed, but recent expansions to Hawk’s Crest’s sewers uncovered the forgotten ruins.
Of course, the most surprising discovery was that the sunken city was occupied. A primitive underground society exists in the tunneled streets and passages of the old city, consisting primarily of ratfolk, kobolds, lizardfolk, criminals, and society's outcasts.
Lay of the Land
When Norentor sank it was as if someone set the city in a hole and then poured liquid dirt over it. Streets, rooftops, parks, and alleys were all covered, but the interiors of any buildings whose doors and windows were shut were spared. This made for a rather horrifying death for the residents caught inside these buildings and their remains are found throughout the ruins. The new residents of Norentor have excavated many of the roads, turning them into a web of tunnels that provide passage throughout the undercity.
Unique and Interesting Features
While the surface dwellers in Hawk’s Crest did not know about the undercity, the residents of Norentor certainly knew about their surface neighbors. Recent explorations have uncovered many exits into the city of Hawk’s Crest. Apparently the people of the undercity have been scavenging from the surface world for years unbeknownst to the residents of the capital.
The people of the undercity, including the beastfolk and criminals that make their homes there, do not like surface dwellers. Anyone venturing into the undercity is likely to end up killed, enslaved, or worse.
A variety of Deepland creatures have found their way into the undercity and make their home there. They are well adapted to underground life and often feed on the undercity’s residents.
Legends and Lore
The presence of a handful of endrori in the undercity led many to believe that there is an unsealed entrance to the Deeplands there. This is the primary reason for the urgent call for adventurers to come and explore the dangerous tunnels of this newly discovered realm.
Some believe that the organized criminal elements of Hawk’s Crest, and perhaps even a few of the less reputable noble houses, have known about the undercity for years. The court is actively seeking proof of this so that the perpetrators may be prosecuted for failing to report the undercity to the authorities.
There is evidence that a powerful bound undead is operating in the undercity. The most frightening rumors claim that it is amassing an undead army and plans an assault on Hawk’s Crest.
Adventurers who have reached the center of the undercity report that its city gate is missing. Rather than being destroyed, the adventurers' reports suggest it was disassembled and moved. Why, when, by whom, and to where remain a mystery.
Some people believe that the beastfolk of the undercity have been poisoning the water supplies of Hawk’s Crest for years. Proponents of this theory point to the city’s inordinately high incidence of illness as proof.
The Alliance was said to have had a highly secret college of magic in Norentor. No one is sure what sort of research the college performed, but most believe that it was military in nature. Rumors say the study was focused on magically altering soldier’s bodies to improve their combat abilities.
ART & ILLUSTRATION
- Adventurers by Mitchell Malloy
- Goblins by Universe-M (Jake Minor, Kevin Minor, Matt Minor)
JOURNEY TO THE UNDERCITY...
Want to learn more about the Undercity of Norentor? Check out THE UNDERCITY JOB, a short story by Dave Gross about a group of little adventurers who get themselves into big trouble when exploring the twisting passages beneath Hawk's Crest! You can find this tale of adventure in CHAMPIONS OF AETALTIS, an anthology of 17 short stories that all take place in the World of Aetaltis!
To learn more about the World of Aetaltis, check out a full index of our past content posts here!