Lore:Whispering Caverns

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Arms Dealing in the Deep[edit | edit source]

It is an uncommon weapon of drow or duergar fashion that lacks at least some magical properties, but not all these implements of ware are equal. The grey dwarves have mastered the peculiar metallurgy of the Underdark's magical ores, and forge a superior product as a result.

Now it seems the duergar are forging weapons for the drow. The illithid control the duergar. But the illithid are newcomers to the Whispering Caverns. What do the illithid seek here, and what do they get in return from the drow?

Illithid Reproduction[edit | edit source]

Mind flayers do not procreate the way most humanoids do. When a mind flayer reaches physical maturity, it may spawn a clutch of tadpoles. Whether only females generate tadpoles, or even if the illithids possess a gender, is a matter of some question.

Once release into a pool of special nutrient fluid, illithids tadpoles consume each other, until the few remaining are strong enough to defend themselves. These tadpoles are the inserted into the ear of a sentient creature, usually a captive humanoid.

The tadpole consumes the host's brain, gradually taking control of various functions until it eventually has total control of the host body. During this process, it psychically acquires the host's memories, and during the time can masquerade as the host. Eventually, the illithid consumes and replaces all of the host's mass, becoming a full-fledged mind flayer.

Lolth and the Seldarine[edit | edit source]

(Available to Elves only)

In the time before the Dawn War, Lolth the Weaver was one of the Seldarine and a lover of Corellon. None know why Lolth grew cruel and greedy, but she came to hate Corellon and plotted his death.

She poisoned Gruumsh's spear in his battle with Corellon, before the orc god lost his eye to Corellon's sword. She sent Malar to hunt the Protector like a wounded animal, only to witness Corellon triumph with the help of the Seldarine. All this, she did in secret, but eventually her betrayals were discovered.

When accused, Lolth gathered a cabal of the evil gods and attacked Arvandor. Even with the help of her dark allies, she could not overcome Corellon and the righteous Seldarine, and was banished to the Demonweb Pits for her rebellion.

Mind Flayers[edit | edit source]

Long ago, the Illithid came to this world from the Far Realm. Their purposes are inscrutable and their minds almost entirely alien. Called mind flayers, they employ their powerful psychic abilities to control weaker creatures and feed off their brains.

Mind flayers dwell in the deepest realms of the Underdark, making thralls of the creatures that live above them. Duergar are often found mindlessly serving illithid masters.

Some say they retain a connection to the Far Realm, where unthinkable horrors control their thoughts just as the mind flayers control their own thralls.

Mind Flayers (Duergar)[edit | edit source]

The duergar, or grey dwarves, are twisted, bitter version of their surface-dwelling cousins. As a people, they suffered a generation-long enslavement to mind flayers, during which they were frequently the subject of cruel experiments. The duergar lost hope, believing Moradin has abandoned them, and turned to the worship of devils.

With the help of the fiends, and no small amount of inter-breeding with them, the duergar rose up and overtook their captors. They established cities and kingdoms of their own throughout the Underdark, but their captivity and infernal pacts made them as cruel and evil as the mind flayers they hate.

The hard-fought freedom of the Duergar is constantly tested, as mind flayers develop new methods to control their favorite race of thralls.

Moradin[edit | edit source]

(Available to Dwarves only)

"Moradin is the father and creator of the dwarven race. Honor him by emulating his principles and workmanship in smiting, stoneworking, and other tasks. Wisdom is derived from life and tempered with experience. Advance the dwarven race in all areas of life. Innovate with new processes and skills. Found new kingdoms and clan lands, defending the existing ones from all threats. Lead the dwarves in the traditions laid down by the Soul Forger. Honor your clan leaders, as you honor Moradin."

Moradin is the patron god of dwarven kind. Said to have forged the first dwarves of metal and gems, he is an eternal foe of Gruumsh and the gods of goblins and evil giants. He has good relation with Trom, Corellon, and other good gods.

His holy symbol is an anvil with silver flame above it.

Revered Thlorrog[edit | edit source]

Revered Thlorrog was different from other mind flayers from the moment it completed its metamorphosis. Taller, stronger, and possessing terrifying mental power, Thlorrog was an ulitharid.

Only one in a thousand mind flayers become ulitharid. These superior illithid are revered as demi-gods among the mind flayers, second only to an elder brain in power and respect. When Thlorrog discovered a clue that might lead to the Upper Vaults, he issued a call for illithid in the Northdark, and hundreds answered, offering unwavering devotion and total obedience.

Steelshear Mines[edit | edit source]

The Underdark is a vast and often unexplored wilderness containing many secret marvels. The magically resonant ores in the Whispering Caverns are known to the duergar alone.

Some believe it is from these ores, the duergar forge the infernal metal, hellthorn. Just as often, however, they produce weapons of preternatural quality without the diabolic taint of that material. Surface sages and scholars could study the ores of the Steelshear Mines for generations before unlocking all their secrets.

Strongheart Halflings[edit | edit source]

(Available to Halflings only)

Among halflings, the Strongheart tribe stands out as the fiercest in battle and the most upright of character. Once, the tribe formed the backbone of Luiren, the Halfling nation which was lost in the Spellplague. Modern stronghearts seek to uphold their tradition of justice and valor, but find themselfes spread thin without a nation to call their own.

Their resolve to protect their friends and allies leads most stronghearts to join Halfling communities as protectors and organizers. The Halfling race may be scattered across Faerûn, but when the time comes to gather them again, the Strongheart tribe will be ready.

The Doors of Delzoun[edit | edit source]

(Available to Drow only)

The doors to the ancient dwarf city of Gauntlgrym are forged of mithral, locked with ingenious devices, and magically warded. It is said these doors will only part for a dwarf of the Delzoun bloodline.

The rumored wealth of Gauntlgrym has drawn House Xorlarrin to these doors, but the Third House of Menzoberranzan has yet to find a way to open them. They scour the Underdark for relics of ancient Delzoun in hopes of gaining entry.

It is rumored among the Bregan D'aerthe that treasure alone is not the goal of House Xorlarrin. Hey whisper of something slumbering there that could gran limitless power, or utter destruction, to those who find it first.

The Excavation[edit | edit source]

(Available to Fighters only)

The Guild of Underdark Guides requested support from the Neverwinter Guard protecting an excavation in the Whispering Caverns, deep in the Underdark. The Guard was spread painfully thin already, so it was a surprise when General Sabine responded with anything more than a flat refusal.

A battalion was dispatched into the Underdark, officially to harry drow around Zesraena, a Xorlarrin enclave. After the debacle in Rothé Valley, General Sabine has declared House Xorlarrin an enemy of Neverwinter to be attacked on sight.

The Guard's orders in the Whispering Caverns are to monitor Zesraena, attack targets of opportunity, and secure the Guild excavation. Speculation as to why the Guild is getting any support at all has been strictly discouraged.

The Guild of Underdark Guides[edit | edit source]

Founded for the soul purpose of charging for guiding merchants who would do business in the Underdark, the Guild of Underdark Guides is well-known and well-respected in almost every city in Faerûn.

The Guild charges a steep fee for its services, but most merchants happily pay. The opportunity for profit through the Underdark is vast, and the idea of going without a knowledgeable guide is madness. Member of the Guild pay regular dues which supply a pension fund. These pensions are then paid to heirs of any member who dies in the line of duty - an all too common fate.

The Iron Heart[edit | edit source]

Unsettling to the eye, the Iron Heart is the name given by the duergar to the massive, shifting object floating in a pocket of the Whispering Caverns recently unearthed by the illithid and their thralls.

Guild experts are puzzled by this monolith. It appears to be made of a bismuth-like crystal, but it pulses and throbs like a beating heart. Some believe it occurred naturally, like so many wonders in the Underdark. Other claim it must have been manufactured, but by who? And to what purpose?

The Upper Vaults[edit | edit source]

The alien landscape of the Upper Vaults mirrors the inhuman minds of its inhabitants. Strange crystals pulse with violent emotion, empathically corrupting any thinking creature nearby. Distances and dimensions seem to swell and contract, as though the physical world wars with some alternate conception of reality.

The illithid sought this place out, mentally dominating their slaves and physically interrogating prisoners to gain access. Yet the mind flayers already seem so at home here.

Verdant Caves[edit | edit source]

A vast array of flora somehow lives in the depths of the Underdark, far from sky or rain. Wizard fire, luminescent fungi, and other phenomenon create light in places that have never tasted sunlight. This thriving plant life supports a thin supply of herbivore that, in turn, feed a staggering number of deadly predators. The predators' diets are often supplemented with the occasional hapless adventurer.

The Verdant Caves are a region abundant with such life. Mushrooms here grow to massive size, as do the spiders. One must tread carefully here, lest drop a few links on the food chain.

Whispering Caverns[edit | edit source]

Beneath the Crag Mountains lies an area of the Northdark known as the Whispering Caverns. The site of a duergar mining operation, these caves are named for the strange whispers the miners hear in the dark, quite corners. The duergar believe the mines to be haunted.

An abandoned Drow settlement lay empty here for many years, but recent reports from the Guild of Underdark Guides suggest that Zesraena is now anything but empty. Why have the drow returned? Who whispers to the duergar? One thing is sure. In the Underdark, the answer is never good.

Xenophobia[edit | edit source]

(Available to Humans only)

Some things awaken a primal fear in the hearts of most humans. Lolth and her precious, eight-legged spawn are among those things.

Drow who worship Lolth are no well regarded at the best of times, but humans, they foster an almost irrational animosity. Coupled with their predilection for taking slaves, this has turned them into a perfect terror for the human citizens of Neverwinter. For many, death is preferable to being taken alive by the drow.

Unfortunately for the Drow, humans often respond to terror with action.

Xorlarrin Outpost[edit | edit source]

Deep behind the walls of Zesraena, in a fortress dug into the walls of the whispering caverns, Relonagh of House Xorlarrin issues orders to his troops. A battalion of drow warriors and priestesses garrisons the outpost, and only the heights value prisoners are taken there to face Relonagh himself.

Those Guides taken prisoner and then freed report that he appeared to be looking for someone particular - a leader. What they would do when finding such a person is a dark question indeed.

Yshiggol, The Elder Brain[edit | edit source]

The elder brain known to the duergar as Yshiggol once commanded illithid of Whispering Caverns in the time before the duergar escaped their first thralldom. When the duergar rose up with the aid of devils, they worked powerful magic and forged a mystical prison to seal the elder brain away.

Over the millennia, the location - and even the existence - of the Dear Vault was lost, until the Guild of Underdark Guides unearthed an ancient duergar codex. Revered Thlorrog fell the knowledge of the Dread Vault had returned to the world, and began scheming to free Yshiggol. The drow sold their captive Guides to Thlorrog so he could probe their thoughts for the secrets of the Vault.

Now, after ages of imprisonment, Yshiggol's captivity is nearly over.

Zesraena[edit | edit source]

Long abandoned, the settlement of Zesraena was built by the drow of House Xorlarrin, one of the eight ruling houses of Menzoberranzan. No one knows why the settlement was abandoned. Perhaps the whispering of the cavers drove them out.

After their defeat in Rothé Valley, the drow of House Xorlarrin fell back to Zesraena in force, driving out or enslaving the Guides who had taken up residence in the down. They quickly set up new defenses and fortifications, and appear to have a non-aggression pact with the neighboring duergar.