Bangkok Below remains one of the most mysterious
of the Cities Below. Some say that its very tunnels continue to grow
by themselves and can shift direction or terminus through their own whimsy.
It is a crowded community, but one of the most friendly to newcomers.
The underdwellers here generally avoid physical conflict whenever possible.
The markets are teeming with goods, from foodstuffs to magical reagents,
and the merchants are renowned as hard bargainers. However, it is
not uncommon for a merchant to commit highway robbery with relentless haggling
and then laugh, slap his customer on the back, and offer him a free meal.
Like its sister Above, Bangkok Below has a firmly entrenched dark side
and nearly any drug, unseemly entertainment, or service may be acquired
in its darker alleys and caverns.
Description: The Beast of Bangkok is a huge, black monkey,
with blood-matted hair, long powerful arms and bright, intelligent eyes
that seem to see all. He is wickedly clever and has been known to
play with his prey for hours or even days, driving them mad and lost deeper
into the Green Caverns, killing them only when whim or hunger inspires
Attributes: STR=7D, DEX=5D, CON=8D, KNO=4D, INS=6D, PRE=4D
Skills: Jumping-9D; Climbing-11D; Running-8D; Attack-9D; Damage-8D;
Dodge-8D; Resistance-7D; Tactics-7D; Search-7D+2; Tracking-7D; Intimidate-8D.
Magicks: Unknown. He has excellent vision in the dark
and his thick hide reduces all damage by 1D.
The Floating Market:
Market for those Above and Below: Unlike the underwellers of other
cities, those of Bangkok Below often freely intermingle with the updwellers
(though the updwellers, of course, do not notice them). All citizens
of Bangkok make use of the famous floating market. Merchants and
customers paddle in shallow boats or canoes, selling, trading, haggling
and sometimes arguing over the price of fish, rice, light bulbs, rubber
bands--whatever one might like to acquire. It is possible to become
lost upon the watery labyrinth and many never see the same merchant twice.
Patpong (The Red Light District):
Bangkok Above is famous the world over for catering to every salacious
and carnal desire. As one might imagine, Bangkok below meets and
surpasses this reputation. Patpong is not for the faint hearted or
weakly defended. It is alluring, addictive and extremely dangerous.
But with the danger and the seedy characters, the District also provides
the most fertile access to Bangkok Below's darkest secrets and magicks.
The Green Caverns:
Somewhere deep beneath Bangkok, caverns twist and turn for mile upon endless
mile. But unlike the dank holes the compromise most other labyrinths,
the Green Caverns are overgrown with lush vegetation, running spring water,
and all kinds of life. Often, dwellers cannot see the roofs of the
tunnels, though a thin gray light filters down to feed the plants.
Some say the caverns have been so since the beginning of the world--a piece
of Creation itself that slipped beneath. And somewhere--in these
mysterious and fertile depths, where plants and animals that have never
been named by man grow, evolve, die out--somewhere, the Beast of Bangkok
dwells. Some recall having heard its screeching call--almost manlike--and
shivered in fear of their lives.
Statue of Hux (Guardian of the Green Caverns).
Description: A large, imposing statue (see right) positioned
at the entrance to the deepest parts of the Green Caverns. No one
knows how long Hux has existed, though by all accounts it has been as long
as the whereabouts of the Green Caverns have been known. While the
uppermost parts of the Green Caverns may be accessed by anyone who dares,
the lower regions are considered to be a holy place and off limits to most.
Hux guards the entrance to these lower levels. When someone approaches
the entrance, Hux will animate. He refuses to let most anyone pass
by, but, on occasion, for reasons know one completely understands, he will
permit certain people to pass.
Attributes: STR=7D, DEX=3D, CON=8D, KNO=4D, INS=3D, PRE=2D
Skills: Martial Arts-8D; Melee Weapon-Spear-8D; Resistance-9D;
Willpower-9D; Sub-geography (the Green Caverns)-9D; Sub-biology
(Creatures of the Green Caverns)-10D; Gossip-5D; Search-6D (10D against
any who try to sneak into the Caverns); Profile-8D; Courtliness-6D;
Magicks: Skin of Stone (all attacks against Hux are reduced
by 3); Babelfish & Tongues (Hux appears to be able to speak all human
languages effortlessly); Curse--Secret Name (Hux has a secret name.
If it is spoken to him, he will be unable to stop that person, or anyone
with them, from entering the Green Caverns.).
Marisa (Velvet Queen)
Description: Beautiful, sly, elegant, deadly. All these
and more have been used to describe the mysterious Marisa, queen of the
Bangkok Velvets. She can quickly realign her allegiances and has
the ruthless tactical mind of a general at war, a Roman courtier, and a
master spy all at the same time. She has nearly limitless resources
at her disposal--loyal followers, valuable resources, secret information,
and potent magicks. Marisa is considered by many to be the single
most powerful person in Bangkok below.
Attributes: STR=3D+2, DEX=4D, CON=3D+2, KNO=4D, INS=3D, PRE=4D
Skills: Brawling-6D, Dodge-7D; Melee Weapon: Dagger-8D; Resistance-9D;
Willpower-9D; Arcana-7D; Alchemy-7D; Education-6D; Sub-geography:
Bangkok-9D; Sub-biology-8D; Gossip-10D; Value-8D; Tactics-8D; Sciences-5D;
Steamworks-5D; Search-6D; Profile-8D; Courtliness-8D;
Bargain-8D; Intimidate-7D; Command-8D; Con-8D.
Magicks: Leech: Velvet (heat)-8D; Mind Control (seduction/attraction)-6D.
Umporn (Velvet Crone):
Description: Bent with the burden of untold years, Umporn
has existed in Bangkok below as long as anyone alive can remember.
It is rumored that she was once Queen of the Velvets. Some whisper,
in the hushest tones, that she is actually Marisa's mother and has been
unseated and cast off by her ambitious daughter. Regardless of their
purported ties, the two Velvets wage a long, cold war for power and control
in Bangkok below. While she lacks the puissance of the younger
Velvet, Umporn is not without her own resources. She employes the
animals of Bangkok below--the rats, snakes, and even cockroaches--to serve
as agents, spies and even soldiers. And as powerful as Marisa's magicks
may be, Umporn's mystical power may well be unparalled among the mortals
of the World Below. Umporn's affections can be dangerously capricious,
shifting from keen interest to harsh rejection in a matter of moments.
Many have dealt with her profitably, but more than one erstwhile trader
has suffered the consequences of her foul moods. It is said that
Umporn knows Hux's secret name and shares other secret ties with the old
Attributes: STR=1D+2, DEX=1D+2, CON=3D, KNO=5D, INS=4D, PRE=3D
Skills: Brawling-2D; Dodge-2D+1; Melee Weapon: Dagger-8D;
Resistance-5D; Willpower-11D; Arcana-12D; Alchemy-10D; Education-8D;
Sub-geography: Bangkok-11D; Sub-biology-11D, Gossip-8D; Value-6D; Tactics-6D;
Sciences-7D; Steamworks-5D+2; Search-6D; Profile-10D; Courtliness-5D; Bargain-10D;
Magicks: Leech: Velvet (heat)-10D (Umporn need not touch
her victim and can draw heat from anyone within her line of vision.);
Mind Control-8D; Beastspeak (All)-8D; Augury-8D; Animation-8D; Avoidance-9D;
Fluster-7D; Illusions-8D; Seance-8D; Shapeshift-9D.
The largest community in Asia Below, Beijing supports
as diverse a population as can be found. It is said that its tunnels
lead to every point in the known world, and to some points still unknown.
It is so crowded and large that visitors often pass unnoticed through the
folds of locals. It often supports multiple floating markets simultaneously.
All of this can be very disorienting for a newcomer, particular one who
is more familiar with the more centralized communities found in the United
States and Europe. But it is easy to find a capable guide to navigate
the bustle of Beijing Below and avoid too many unpleasant mishaps...that
is if you find a guide you can trust...
Community: Very Large.
Description: As Chinese culture is one of the oldest on Earth,
it befits its Underside to be roamed by one of the oldest beasts on Earth.
The Beijing Beast is a truly awesome and horrible creature. At least
100 feet long, covered in armored scales, armed with gnashing teeth and
hooked claws, the Beijing Beast appears to grow in strength as it ages.
Some say it draws its strength directly from the culture above it.
Though intelligent, it tends to act rapidly and harshly, apparently giving
little thought to its actions. When earthquakes rock Beijing Below,
the citizens quickly attribute it to the raging charge of the Beast.
Attributes: STR=12D, DEX=4D, CON=10D, KNO=3D, INS=6D, PRE=4D
Skills: Jumping-15D; Running-7D; Attack-7D; Damage-14D; Dodge-5D;
Resistance-12D; Search-8D+2; Tracking-8D; Intimidate-10D.
Magicks: Armored Scales: -4D to all damage taken; Nightvision
(sees as normal in the dark); Teeth & Claws (STR+2D damage, reduce
armor by half). The Dragon has a few weak points (eyes, his mouth,
missing scales), or so it is rumored. None has ever lived to test
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City, both Above and Below, is one of the most complex, diverse
and dangerous communities on (or in) Earth. There are extensive tunnels
built between the 1920's and 1950's that are often accessed as tourist
destinations for updwellers. But numerous, older tunnels surround
and extend from the new caverns. At its core, the City Below houses
some of the most ancient temples and royal houses in China Below.
In its ample, but expensive, market, traders will find the finest and rarest
goods available to underdwellers. Fine silks, perfect porcelain,
and the rarest jade and ivory crafts are all available, for a steep price.
The tunnels that wind out of the central city are so old that many believe
they were dug by beings that preceded humans--hominids, half-beasts, perhaps
even gods. Even the most able of guides dares not venture too far
into the depths of the Forbidden City where secrets and terrors await those
foolhardy enough to stray.
The Urban Districts
In Beijing Above, there are four urban districts: Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen
and Xuanwu. Each has its own flavor, personalities and dangers.
Each district corresponds to parts of Beijing Below: Dongcheng Below
is steeped in a constant, foul smog that seems to slip through the tunnels
and, according to some, take shape and speak to newcomers. Xicheng
Below's walls glow with a pleasant, jade-like moss that vibrates, almost
hums and is said to lull the unwary into sleep for centuries. Chongwen
Below serves as the merchant's district, where most of the city's underdwellers
convene to trade goods and services between Floating Markets. Xuanwu
Below houses the cast-offs and refugees--those even the underdwellers spurn.
Description: Xian once succeeded in maintaining order and
peace in Beijing below. With a quick mind, he managed to avoid the
kind of ruthless tactics employed by his predecessors. But in his
dotage, Xian's mind has begun to slip and his powers wane. He is
now surrounded by sycophants and schemers, and a creeping paranoia has
crept into nearly all of his thoughts. He has begun to act rashly,
sometimes savagely, towards any suspected dissident. Despite the
outgoing nature of his youth, he now sequesters himself in his opulent,
underground palace. Many say he is almost entirely control by his
lieutenants, each contriving to claim the throne for himself. Xian
has permitted his guard to actively hunt and imprison or slay any deemed
a threat to the throne, including the peaceful order of Shaosin Monks.
Attributes: STR=1D, DEX=1D+1, CON=2D, KNO=5D, INS=2D, PRE=2D
Skills: Willpower-5D (2D when listening to a lieutenant or
someone he trusts), Arcana-7D; Alchemy-7D; Education-6D, Sub-geography:
Beijing-6D, Sub-biology-6D, Gossip-5D; Value-10D (very fine goods
only); Tactics-5D; Sciences-5D; Search-3D, Profile-5D, Courtliness-10D,
Bargain-6D, Intimidate-8D, Command-8D
Magicks: Unknown. Xian has access to some of the most
potent magical grimoires in the World Below, but his grasp of charms and
magicks appears to have slipped with his old age.
Description: Though still in her early teens, the Princess
has already developed an intelligence and maturity far past her age.
Beloved by the commoners, Xu is seen by many as the heir apparent to Xian's
throne. But her wayward brothers and innumerable schemers at court
actively plot to keep her from ascending. Numerous plots have been
hatched to assassinate or discredit her and Xian's lieutenants actively
poison his thoughts against her. But through her own wits and the
skills of able and loyal bodyguards, Xu has remained unscathed thus far.
She has shown little interest in claiming power and avoids court politics
whenever possible. But many believe that Xian will hand the reigns
of power over to her upon her 16th birthday. Many believe she won't
live that long.
Attributes: STR=2D+1, DEX=3+2D, CON=3D, KNO=3D, INS=3D, PRE=3D
Skills: Martial Arts-5+2D, Dodge-7D; Melee Weapon: Sword-6D;
Resistance-5D, Willpower-5D, Arcana-4D; Alchemy-4D; Education-5D, Sub-geography:
Beijing-5D, Sub-biology-4D, Gossip-5D; Value-5D; First Aid-4D; Search-5D,
Profile-5D, Courtliness-7D, Bargain-4D, Intimidate-4D, Command-5D
Magicks: Invisible Friend (Momo, a fat, friendly goblin-like
creature. He's very clever and seems to be a bit of a rogue or thief.
Skills: Streetwise-8D; Value-8D; Tactics-6D; Profile-8D. No
one knows of Momo, though some have reported that the Princess often "speaks
to herself aloud".)
Description: A tall, imposing man of intimidating stature,
Huang is thought by many to be the second-most powerful man in Beijing
Below. Though he readily denies it, many believe he is the prime
contender for the throne and may be behind some of the plots against Xu.
Huang is extremely intelligent and calculating, and it appears that he
acts in what he deems is the best interest of Beijing Below. But
his ruthless nature may lend itself to somewhat draconian measures to attain
Attributes: STR=3D+2, DEX=3D, CON=3D, KNO=3D, INS=3D, PRE=2D+1
Skills: Martial Arts-8D, Dodge-7D; Melee Weapon-8D; Resistance-8D,
Willpower-9D, Arcana-4D; Education-4D+2, Sub-geography-6D, Gossip-5D;
Value-6D; Tactics-8D; Sciences-4D; Streetwise-5D; Search-6D, Profile-5D,
Courtliness-8D, Bargain-6D, Intimidate-8D, Command-8D; Con-5D.
Magicks: Firmare-8D. Huang has assistants and bodyguards
with exceptional magical skills and likely has more powers that have yet
to be seen.
Description: An old, sliver of a man, Lao Feng is one of the
last of the Shoasin Monks that have suffered persecution under Xian's decline.
The Shoasin have long been keepers of wisdom and teachers of spirituality
in Beijing Below, but their refusal to sanction Xian's increasingly erratic
behavior has forced them to hide in the shadows and niches of the tunnels
below. Lao Feng remains in hiding, moving among the common folk of
Beijing Below, offering spiritual guidance, healing, and teaching when
possible. The commoners honor him and keep his whereabouts secret,
though spies among them continue to seek him out. Despite these hardships,
Lao Feng maintains a peaceful, optimistic nature, often greeting newcomers
with a smile and offered tea or rice.
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=2D, CON=2D+2, KNO=4D, INS=4D, PRE=3D+1
Skills: Martial Arts-8D, Dodge-7D, Melee Weapon: Staff/Cudgel-8D,
Resistance-5D, Willpower-11D, Arcana-8D; Alchemy-8D; Education-6D, Sub-geography:
Beijing-9D, Sub-biology-8D, Gossip-5D; Value-5D; Medicine-6D; First Aid-5D;
Sciences-5D; Education: Philosophy-7D; Search-6D, Profile-8D, Survival-5D;
Courtliness-5D, Bargain-5D, Persuasion-7D, Fade-8D
Magicks: Augury-7D; Animation-6D; Avoidance-8D; Beastspeak:
Rat, Pigeon-7D; Fluster-6D; Healing-8D; Stillspeak-7D.
Calcutta Below traces its history back to the first
English settlers that took over the land Above to create a trading port
in India. As such, Calcutta Below has a stronger English flavor than
most other Cities Below in Asia. The semi-feudal structure found
in London Below appears to have been imported, and it is not uncommon to
find dwellers who have given themselves a title such as "count" or "lord."
As in London Below, there appears to be no central ruler, but a variety
of families and other powers that maintain a strained level of control
over the "rabble." The harsh caste system of India Above has trickled
into Calcutta Below, but without its most severe applications. Poverty
is common--as it is in most of the World Below--and the squalor even outmatches
what may be found in much of Calcutta Above. Consequently, Calcutta
Below is an extremely dangerous place to visit. It is best to find
a trusty guide, keep your eye on your purse, and a hand on your weapon.
Despite this rough edge, Calcutta is also one of the most spiritual communities
in the World Below and many travel there to seek and find spiritual renewal
Community: Very Large.
Beast: The Black Tiger of Calcutta.
Hunter describes him as "A man-eater, brilliant and bitter, the size of
a small elephant."
Description: Massive, yet sleek and quick, the Black Tiger
of Calcutta can cut a man in half with one swipe of his claws. Most
of his prey never hear or see his assault. It prowls the deep tunnels
below Calcutta, snatching up the unwary and foolhardy with a silent voracity.
Attributes: STR=8D, DEX=6D, CON=7D, KNO=2D, INS=7D, PRE=4D
Skills: Jumping-9D; Climbing-10D; Running-9D; Attack-10D;
Damage-10D; Dodge-7D; Resistance-8D; Search-9D+2; Tracking-9D; Intimidate-8D.
Magicks: The Tiger can see in the dark, walk without a sound,
and double his movement in a short sprint (maximum 5 rounds)..
The tunnels beneath Calcutta fan out in every direction, creating a spider
web-like network that plunges deep into the earth. Whereas other
Cities Below have their tunnels, intersections, caverns and chasms, Calcutta
Below's pathways actually form a radiant--almost alive--network that all
present can feel. Activities in one part of the tunnels--a burst
of joy or anger for example--will ripple through the tunnels and be felt,
perhaps in only a small and passing way, through all the inhabitants of
the City Below. Many of the residents become innured to this emotional
connection, but others remain sensitive to it and understand the interconnectivity
of all beings in Calcutta Below.
Well of the World
At the center of Calcutta Below, all tunnels converge on a gigantic cavern
known as the Well of the World. In the middle of the Well, a gleaming pool
of crystal water refracts the torch light in all directions. The
area serves as the central market and prayer district for the underdwellers.
Any can drink from the well, and no one dares befoul its waters.
No one knows how deep the well is, nor where its sources springs, but legend
has it that it extends to the very center of the earth. Others say
it is the source for all water in the world.
The winding corridors of the Serpent's Quarter house the dark side of Calcutta
Below. Tuku and his thugs control most goings-on, but there are numerous
independent dealers and grifters at work. This is where the poorest
of Calcutta Below live--the untouchables among untouchables. It is
highly dangerous, but often lucrative to venture into its depths.
Description: Fat and jolly, but with a foxy gleam in his eye,
Ramachandran is famous (or infamous) throughout Calcutta Below. He
is careful to avoid making enemies and thus makes few true friends.
Many owe him favors, and he is known to exact a high price for even the
slightest of effort on his part. Ramachandran is a survivor, pure
and simple, and understands that everything boils down to the art of bargaining.
Attributes: STR=2D+1, DEX=2+1D, CON=3D, KNO=3D, INS=4D, PRE=3D
Skills: Brawling-4D; Dodge-6D; Melee Weapon: Walking Stick-6D;
Resistance-5D; Willpower-5D; Arcana-4D; Alchemy-4D; Sub-geography-7D;
Gossip-7D; Value-8D; First Aid-5D; Search-6D; Profile-6D; Survival-5D;
Courtliness-4D+2; Bargain-8D; Persuasion-7D; Con-7D+2.
Magicks: Mending-5D; Avoidance-7D; Beastspeak: Rat-4D.
Tuku (Lord of Thugs)
Description: Carrying himself with the deadly poise of a tiger,
Tuku oversees the Thug Guild with efficiency, calculating precision, and
sharply honed suspicion. The Guild itself is an outgrowth of the
Thugee cult, a zealous group of demon worshippers who hope to incarnate
Kali and bring about the end of the world. Tuku does not care for
the religious zeal and considers himself a businessman and a player in
the deadly politics of Calcutta Below. He refuses to attach himself to
any side in a fight and has minimized the influence of the Thugee priests.
Rather, he bids out his services--and those of his followers--to those
with the deepest pockets. But what may interest Tuku in payment can
change unexpectedly; gold and gems have little meaning to him. He
has been known to hire out his men for small favors, rare recipes, or even
for no apparent cost at all. As the Thugee lord, Tuku must constantly
be aware of any plots against him by underlings seeking power. He deals
with subordination and treachery himself--usually in personal combat with
the unlucky plotter.
Attributes: STR=4D+2, DEX=5, CON=4D, KNO=3D, INS=4D, PRE=2D
Skills: Jumping-8D; Climbing-7D; Martial Arts-8D; Dodge-8D;
Melee Weapon-8D; Missile Weapons-8D; Resistance-8D; Willpower-7D; Sub-geography:
Calcutta-8D; Gossip-7D; Value-6D; First Aid-7D; Lore: Poisons-8D;
Demolitions-8D; Search-8D; Stealth-9D; Survival-7D; Profile-6D; Courtliness-4D;
Bargain-6D; Intimidate-7D; Con-7D.
Magicks: Creepy Quiet-9D; Animal Traits: Tiger (bonuses to
Attributes; Claws: STR+1D+2 dmg; slight striping visible on his skin; nightvision);
Tokyo Below is a crowded place, much like its mirror
existence above. However, like other Cities Below, this city remains
mired in medieval and archaic traditions and technology. The gizmos
that buzz and whir so commonly Above are useless Below. The community
is ruled, as much as it can be, by a number of great and notable families,
each with its own ambitions, each holding the others in check. Tokyo
Below was once ruled by an imperial family, but the old emperor inexplicable
went mad and, it is believed, killed his entire family and all of his servants
after sealing them all within the imperial castle. There are rumors
that strains of royal blood still exist in the community, but non have
stepped forward to claim the throne. The traditions and courtesies
of feudal Japan maintain a strong hold over the dwellers of Tokyo Below
and visitors would do well to mind their manners lest they find themselves
on the worrisome end of a katana.
Beast: The Krakken (Giant Squid)
Description: Few Beasts of the Underside inspire as much dread
as the Krakken of Tokyo. Like some monster from an old Godzilla movie,
the Krakken is enormous, with tentacles easily reaching one hundred feet
and gigantic eyes that have been known to paralyze men with fear.
The Krakken inhabits the deep black pools of the labyrinthine cisterns
below Tokyo, occasionally snaring the errant man or whale that finds itself
lost in those waters.
Attributes: STR=11D (+2D for each tentacle used), DEX=3D (torso),
7D (tentacle), CON=10D (torso), 7D (tentacle), KNO=3D, INS=4D, PRE=4D
Skills: Attack-11D; Damage-11D; Dodge-8D (tentacle only);
Resistance-10D; Search-4D+2; Intimidate-8D.
Notes: The Krakken can see in the dark and apparently has
an excellent sense of vibration through its tentacles, which it uses to
detect those it cannot see. Few have every actually seen the torso
of the Krakken, which it keeps hidden in the black waves, but many have
reported seeing the massive tentacles writhing up from the waters.
The tentacles may be attacked individually (no penalty for targeting).
The thick blubbery skin reduces damage by 2D however. Many say that
the giant eyes are a vulnerable point and that one lucky man managed to
harpoon one of the eyes and blind the old squid, though that hero was quickly
wrapped in furious tentacles and squeezed to death...
Edo Below (Imperial Castle)
Edo Castle, the seat of the Japanese emperor, boasts a number of secret
passageways and tunnels. But even the most knowledgeable updweller
does not know of the deep and secret tunnels that stretch for miles beneath
the old castle. Indeed, below the castle, a whole other castle has
been hewn for the emperor of Japan Below. But Edo Below has not known
an emperor for nearly a century and the golden doors have apparently sealed
themselves shut. None of Tokyo Below's inhabitants have set foot
into the castle and there exists only conjecture of what it now holds--untold
treasures, horrific ghosts, an empty void of nothingness. The infectious
madness of the last emperor, who sealed himself within the castle with
his family and servants, and the growing superstitions and legends, has
prevented any underdweller from attempting to discover the castle's contents.
Asukusa (Old City)
At the core of Tokyo Below, Asukusa is a piece of old Japan, even more
condensed and inscrutable than that Above. Old traditions are zealously
maintained: honor, sincerity, courtesy, and humility are valued above
all else. The political intrigues of Tokyo Below play out most readily
here, as the old feudal lords battle with words and agents for supremacy.
Even newer political powers, such as the Yakuzu, respect the old traditions.
Ginza (Trade District)
Like other Cities Below, Tokyo Below supports a floating market that moves
from place to place in the city Above. However, the Ginza, below
the district of the same name Above, acts as a semi-permanent marketplace.
Stalls spread in every direction and it is quite easy to become lost in
the maze. But the market can fold itself up and disappear with hardly
a moment's notice, if the sentries warn of updwellers nearby. The
Ginza market typically provides basic goods. Rare or specialty items
can usually only be found through tracking a particular merchant down or
at a floating market.
Tsukiji (Bay District)
The tunnels below Tsukiji are laid in the soft, reclaimed soil of landfill
along the oceanside of Tokyo. As such, they are typically damp and
unstable, and cave-ins are not uncommon. But these tunnels often
plunge deep into the earth, below the sea itself, and in their depths the
labyrinth of Tokyo Below winds. Within that, in a pool of black water
and blood, the Beast of Tokyo resides: it's long tentacles and gleaming
eyes leave scars, both physical and psychological, on the few that set
eyes upon it and live.
The tracks of Japan's famous Shinkansen (Bullet Train) stretch throughout
the country. Some underdwellers have managed to exploit these trains
and their tunnels to travel great distances quickly within the Japanese
continent. While most underdwellers prefer to remain in Tokyo Below,
those that occasionally stray outside the urban maze may find rapid transit--for
a price. Like all mechanized trains, the shinkansen generally rejects
underdwellers that attempt to board it. But the proper magic or contact
may permit an underdweller to catch a ride.
Niku (Bravo gang member)
Description: Niku (whose name simply means "Meat"), appears
as a teenage boy of fifteen or so. Some say he has been around much
longer than that, others explain that he is simply another version of the
same kind of boy--filling a niche left empty after the demise of a predecessor.
Regardless, Niku is completely at home and capable within the rough and
tumble world of Tokyo Below. He has connections with nearly all the
bravos and their patrons, can acquire hard to get items, and is more than
willing to jump into a fight for the right price. His cool demeanor
hardly cracks, though at times he can still show boyish enthusiasm or vulnerability
before erecting his tough-guy mask once again.
Attributes: STR=3D+1, DEX=3D+2, CON=3D, KNO=2D+2, INS=3D+1,
Skills: Climbing-6D; Martial Arts-6D; Dodge-6D; Melee Weapon-6D;
Missile Weapons-5D; Resistance-5D; Willpower-5D; Sub-geography: Tokyo-7D;
Gossip-7D; Value-6D; First Aid-4D; Streetwise-6D+2; Search-4D; Stealth-5D;
Survival-5D; Profile-4D; Bargain-5D+2; Intimidate-4D+2; Con-5D.
Magicks: Juice (Dexterity): 3D; Navigation-4D.
Old Father (Crazy old coot)
Description: Part wiseman and part court jester, Old Father
is a fixture in Tokyo Below. He usually sits in the Ginza Below and
begs for small trinkets or food in order to make his living. Many
times, the local youths hassle and mock him. Old Father has been
known to explode into sudden rants of almost religious intensity, but his
topics vary from current politics, to the inadequacy of this year's rice
crop, to the conceptual problem of really understanding the color blue.
Most dismiss him as a madman, though some find deep truths in his puzzling
words. In his lucid moments, Old Father appears to be able to know
the inner secrets of any man standing before him and will announce them
to the world. At other times, he appears to have glimpsed the future,
though he will only provide guidance in half-mumbled rhymes and puzzles.
Attributes: STR=1D+2, DEX=2D, CON=2D, KNO=4D+2, INS=2D+1,
Skills: Education-5D; Philosophy-7D; Arcana-8D; Alchemy-9D;
Profile-12D; Persuasion: Oration-6D. Old Father most likely has many
Magicks: Augury-8D (but he apparently cannot control this
skill and it simply activates from time to time); Hindsight-8D (see
previous note); Ethos-8D.
London Below is one of the largest and most developed of the undercities
of the world. It has existed in some form since the time of the Romans
and has grown considerably in the past few centuries as the dwellers of
London Above added new tunnels below their city. The vast network
of Tube tunnels, sewer pipelines, and now underground cabling have created
a vast network that few, Above or Below, fully comprehend. Like other
undercities, London Below is an extremely dangerous place, full of intrigue,
shifting alliances, monsters (both human and inhuman), and magic.
The undercity is ruled by no one, but a complex semi-feudal system of titled
families, scheming politicos, and common rabble give it an air of medieval
times. Blood feuds are common, sometimes lasting for decades.
A wise underdweller makes friends quickly, finds a nice safe niche to carve
out a livelihood, and tries to stay out of the way...
Community: Very Large.
Beast: Boar. Hunter describes
him such: "They say his hide bristles with swords and spears and
knives stuck in him by those who have tried and failed. His tusks
are razors, and his hooves are thunderbolts." It is said that if
his blood is dabbed on eyes and tongue of a person, they will be instinctively
know how to navigate through London's Labyrinth.
Description: Wild and horrible, the Beast of London is the
stuff of nightmares and urban legends. It charges and kills without
thought, without mercy. It has been slaying those who hunt it for
at least a century, maybe more. It is unclear whether the Beast can
reason, or whether its time in the Labyrinth has rendered it completely
Attributes: STR=8D, DEX=4D, CON=9D, KNO=1D, INS=4D, PRE=3D
Skills: Jumping-9D; Running-9D; Attack-9D; Damage-10D (charge);
Dodge-6D; Resistance-8D; Search-6D+2; Tracking-7D; Intimidate-7D.
Magicks: Unknown. He an sense of smell and can track
and attack targets even in the pitch black of the Labyrinth. His
thick hide reduces all damage by 2D (no effect against armor piercing weapons).
Night's Bridge (Knightsbridge)
The Thames Below is not the muddied river well-known to updwellers but
is, rather, an endless black chasm surrounded by tunnels that seem to absorb
all light that attempts to illuminate the way. Known as a particularly
nasty neighborhood, Knightsbridge Below spans this underworld Thames, providing
one of the few routes across the chasm. An all-encompassing blackness,
the "night", hangs over the bridge. It is darkness as a solid, almost
living thing--it caresses the skin with chilled wisps, sinks into the lungs
like a thick smoke, and, on occasion, devours those it entraps. Within
its darkness, all the nasties of nightmares dwell--trolls, ghouls, unnamable
things. Secret fears, subconscious, primal horrors, creep up out
of one's mind and will steal an unwary victim away into a land filled with
her own nightmares.
Deep below London, below even the dwellings of the Underside, the Labyrinth
twists and turns through earth and time. Within it, the Beast of
London rages, dragging along the weapons that still stick in its hide and
stomping on the bones of the failed hunters that have sought its hide.
The Labyrinth leads to many things: the Great Hall that houses Islington,
the fallen angel of London Below; corridors that lead to other undercities;
magical pools that restore life; ancient troves of untold treasures.
But usually the Labyrinth simply leads a visitor to madness or, if he's
lucky, to death.
The Gap Beasts
Throughout the Tube tunnels of London Below, there are niches of blackness
and void, the Gaps, that are filled with things invisible to those that
dwell Above. In these gaps, nightmarish beasts dwell, ready to extend
a tentacle or claw and ensnare an unwary passer-by. All that dwell
below would do well to "Mind the gap" when in the Tube tunnels lest he
find himself entrapped by the hideous black creates that dwell there.
Earl's Court station is the only place to catch the subway train that carries
the ancient Earl and his elderly entourage. The Earl's train looks
very much like an old subway train, except that is gutted, layered with
straw and grime, and houses a full, if somewhat ragtag and dottering royal
court. The train is in constant moving, only stopping to pick up
the rare visitor or, even more infrequently, to drop a passenger off.
It stops at any normal Tube station, but will go completely unnoticed by
any updwellers who happen to be standing there. The Earl's train
has a number of "impossible" rooms that defy physics, including the vast
stone library that holds all things lost and forgotten. Its shelves
are full of ancient grimoires and histories, abandoned toys, misplaced
car keys, forgotten mementos. Other chambers include the Earl's throne
room, ample housing for his many men, a full kitchen, a working dungeon,
and many more one would expect to find in a medieval keep.
The people of Raven's court are an ancient and independent bunch.
They have long held maintained a feud with the Earl and his court, an unpleasantness
that often flares into considerable violence. Many of London Below
would like to see a permanent peace treaty forged, but the feud is so old--its
origins forgotten--that few believe peace will ever be achieved.
The Portico Family
The Portico family is one of the most distinguished courtly families in
the Underside. All of its members share a Knack for opening things,
they each does it in their own personal way. Lord Portico is something
of an inventor and visionary, harboring a burning desire to unite the Underside
and, perhaps, to someday bring the underdwellers back into contact with
those Above. Some think Portico and his clan are arrogant or naive;
others write him off as mad. But Portico has managed to secure enough
favors, allies, and general goodwill to make his family powerful in London
Hunter (Bravo Mercenary)
Description: London Below, like all the Undercities, is rife
with Bravos of various talents and tendencies. But Hunter stands
out among them all. Lithe and beautiful, she is as deadly as she
is quick. Consumed with a burning desire to prove herself by killing
the Beasts of various undercities, Hunter continually strives to perfect
her skills and garner information or tools that will permit her to complete
her quest. She regularly rents her skills out as a mercenary, assassin
and bodyguard, commanding a high price and working only for the elite of
the World Below.
Attributes: STR=3D+2, DEX=4D, CON=3D, KNO=2D+1, INS=3D, PRE=2D
Skills: Climbing-5D+2; Jumping-6D; Martial Arts-8D+2; Dodge-8D;
Melee Weapons-8D+2; Missile Weapons-7D+2; Swimming-6D; Resistance-7D; Willpower-7D+2;
First Aid-5D; Value-6D; Gossip-6D; Sub-Geography-7D; Sub-biology: Beasts
of the Undercities-7D; Profile-5D; Search-8D; Tracking-8D; Stealth-8D;
Survival-7D+2; Command-6D; Intimidate-7D; Bargain-6D; Con-4D+1.
Magicks: Mechanophile-4D; Juice (Dexterity)-6D. Hunter
likely has other magical abilities.
Led by the prehistoric mammal, the Golden, the rats of London Below form
a cohesive and respected society. Indeed, many humans, calling themselves
the Rat-Speakers, dedicate themselves to the service of the rats.
Many rats hold titles (such of Lord Longtail or Lady Whiskers) and comport
themselves with the same courtesy and complexity as human royalty.
In the Underside, particularly in London, the rats are a political force,
often acting independent of human alliances, but with the ability to powerfully
impact any balance of power. The rats have legions of spies, scouts,
warriors and even mystics that are able to move freely through the worlds
Above and Below. Their level of communication is unparalleled, and
a kindness or slight paid to one rat may often be repaid by another, even
in a different city altogether.
The Sewer Folk
The Sewer Folk of one kind or another have long existed in London Below.
They inhabit London's deep and complex sewer system, learning its every
curve, pool, and outfall while still young children. They are masters
at scrounging for useful items in the stream of waste, often going to trade
them at the Floating Markets. With the stench of the sewer clinging
to them, Sewer Folk are often sneered upon or avoided by other underdwellers.
But they maintain amiable connections with the Rats and Rat-speakers, and
those who can find the constitution to be polite to the Sewer Folk can
often benefit from the relationship. The Sewer Folk do not speak,
at least no outside has heard them utter a word. They tend to communicate
with claps, grunts and gestures. Some say they are barbaric, but
the seem to be able to communicate more with a simple glance than most
people can with a minute of expressive speech.
Dunnikin: Oldest and wisest of the Sewer Folk, Dunnikin leads
with a fair hand and a keen eye for marketable goods. He often lead
the foraging parties into the deepest parts of the sewer, looking for any
refuse that may be traded at a Floating Market. Despite his age,
he remains fit and sharp and is well respected even by many outside of
the Folk's community.
Attributes: STR=3D, DEX=2D+1, CON=3D, KNO=2D+2, INS=3D+2,
Skills: Brawling-5D; Dodge-3D+2; Melee Weapons-4D+2; Swimming-5D;
Resistance-5D; Willpower-4D+2; First Aid-5D; Value-7D; Sub-Geography:
London-9D; Sub-biology: London Below-7D; Scrounge-9D; Profile-4D; Search-7D+2;
Survival-8D; Command: Sewer Folk-7D; Bargain-6D.
Magicks: Unknown. Dunnikin appears to have an uncanny
sense of presentiment or precognition, but this is more of a natural ability,
almost another sense, rather than a talent or spell that he activiates
Description: Aging, jolly and a bit daft, Old Bailey is well
known throughout London Below as a purveyor of information, curiosities,
and the occasional magical charm. Bailey's storehouse of knowledge
is vast, if somewhat erratic (he will often remember a joke uttered by
a drunk earl in the 1700's, but forget where he placed the hat he just
took off his head). Underdwellers seek him out when they need an
especially odd item or arcane fact. Though a shrewd businessman,
Old Bailey is also kindly and willing to help in a pinch (though some form
of repayment is always appreciated), if he takes a liking to someone.
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=2D, CON=2D+2, KNO=4D, INS=2D+2, PRE=2D+2
Skills: Brawling-3D+2; Dodge-3D+2; Melee Weapons-4D; Missile
Weapons-4D; Resistance-4D; Willpower-4D+2; First Aid-6D; Value-8D; Gossip-7D+2;
Sub-Geography-8D; Sub-biology-7D; Education-5D; Arcana-7D+2; Alchemy-7D;
Profile-5D; Search-5D; Stealth-3D; Survival-6D+2; Bargain-7D+2; Con-4D.
Magicks: Collector of Lost Thoughts-6D; Beastspeak: Pigeon-7D;
Beastspeak: Rat-6D. Old Bailey likely has other magical abilities.
Description: Standing over seven feet tall and as powerful
as a mountain, Hammersmith is a fixture at every Floating Market in London
Below. His hammer and forge have been known to smite cruel weapons
and fine jewelry on the same night, each with exquisite skill.
Attributes: STR=5D+1, DEX=2D+2, CON=4D, KNO=1D+2, INS=2D, PRE=2D
Skills: Brawling-6D; Dodge-3D+2; Melee Weapons-6D; Resistance-6D;
Craft: Blacksmith-8D; Gossip-4D; Value-4D; Sub-Geography-4D;
Search-3D; Intimidate-4D+2; Bargain-4D.
The Marquis de Carabas
Description: The famous, or infamous, Marquis de Carabas is
well known in London Below and his dealings in other European undercities
have earned him a few allies and many enemies abroad as well. The
marquis is extremely shrewd, remarkable resourceful, and more than a little
lucky. He has a tendency to collect debts in his favor. He
readily employs his uncanny knack for knowing what another person wants
and his facile methods for collecting it, and quickly turns the entire
bargain into a sizable profit for himself. The marquis is known by
many as a swindler, thief, and an assassin. He has broken hearts,
mislead trusting souls, and picked the pocket of would-be friends.
But, deep down, somewhere (awfully deep indeed), he's a good soul with
a strong sense of honor--he will not break an oath or reject a debt when
it is called against him. Folks deal with the marquis when they must,
usually at great cost to themselves, but are rarely disappointed with his
Attributes: STR=2D+1, DEX=3D, CON=3D, KNO=3D+2, INS=3D+2, PRE=2D+1
Skills: Brawling-6D+1; Dodge-6D+2; Melee Weapons-6D+1; Missile
Weapons-6D; Resistance-4D+2; Willpower-5D+2; Gossip-8D; Value-7D+2; Education-4D;
Steamworks-4D; Arcana-4D; First Aid-4D+1; Sub-Geography-6D; Sub-Geography:
London Below-8D; Scrounge-4D+1; Security-5D; Search-5D+1; Stealth-5D+2;
Survival-6D; Persuasion-6D; Con-6D+2; Intimidate-4D+2; Bargain-7D+2; Fade-5D;
Magicks: Pockets-7D; Hidden Heart-5D (usually carried on him
in a small box); Beastspeak: Rat-4D. The marquis likely knows many
other tricks and charms.
Mr. Croup & Mr. Vandemar
Description: A fox and a wolf, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar.
Two mercenaries of unknown origins that have been lurking about London
and the Continent for as long as anyone can remember. They have been
dismembering earls since at least the 16th century, and some say they were
summoned to England during the time of the Romans. These two dispatch all
of their victims--whether they be a rat that happens to be passing by,
or a royal family targeted for assassination--with the same horrifying
glee and ruthless efficiency.
Mr. Croup: Short, sneaky and chatty, Mr. Croup appears to
be the brains of the duo. He handles the business end of things,
the gathering of information, the questioning of sources and, usually,
torture of victims. He usually leaves most of the rough and tumble
to Mr. Vandemar.
Attributes: STR=4D, DEX=5D+2, CON=5D, KNO=4D+2, INS=4D+2, PRE=3D
Skills: Martial Arts-7D+1; Dodge-7D+2; Melee Weapons-8D+1;
Missile Weapons-8D; Resistance-8D+2; Willpower-5D+2; Education-6D;
Sub-Geography-5D; Sub-Geography: London Below-6D+2; Security-7D;
Torture-9D; Search-7D+1; Stealth-9D+2; Profile-7D+2; Tracking-8D+1; Persuasion-6D;
Con-7D; Intimidate-8D; Bargain-5D; Fade-5D.
Magicks: Bloodless and Painless-8D; Creepy Quiet-7D; Claws-5D;
Obsession: T'ang Dynasty porcelain crafts-10D. Mr. Croup appears
to be immortal. He may actually be a demon or some grade of the undead.
He likely has other magicks at his disposal, including some form of teleportation
Attributes: STR=5D+2, DEX=3D+2, CON=6D, KNO=1D+2, INS=4D, PRE=2D
Skills: Martial Arts-8D+2; Dodge-7D; Melee Weapons-9D; Missile
Weapons-8D; Resistance-9D; Willpower-3D+2; Sub-Geography-3D+2; Sub-Geography:
London Below-4D; Torture-4D; Search-6D+2; Stealth-4D; Tracking-6D; Intimidate-8D.
Magicks: Bloodless and Painless-8D; Juice (Strength)-5D.
Reliance: Mr. Vandemar has an extremely difficult time making decisions
without Mr. Croup's guidance. In fact, without his partner, Mr. Vandemar
has been known to suffer a kind of paralysis. If Mr. Croup is incapacitated
or otherwise removed from influencing Mr. Vandemar, the latter will forget
whatever task is at hand and attempt to assist or rejoin Mr. Croup.
Further, Mr. Vandemar appears to be rather simple minded, and is bad at
bargaining, investigating, and solving puzzles. Like Mr. Croup, Mr.
Vandemar appears to be both more and less than human--immortal (or
long-lived), impervious to most harm, and inhumanly cruel.
The Rat-Speakers (Lord Rat-Speaker)
Description: The Rat-Speakers are a small, dedicated group
of humans that serve as "the hands" of various Rat Folk in the Underside.
They speak fluent Rat and serve the Rats with an unwavering loyalty.
They often take on rat-like qualities, will kill and eat cats (part of
the ongoing war between the Rats and the Cats), and are often rewarded
with goods, information or other favors from their rat patrons. Those
new to the Underside may scoff that humans would serve rats, but those
fools usually receive a quick come-uppance. Rat-Speakers tend to
be good guides in the Underside and are often the first that a newcomer
will encounter upon entering London Below.
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=2D+2, CON=2D+1, KNO=2D, INS=3D, PRE=2D.
Skills: Brawling-4D; Dodge-4D; Running-4D; Melee Weapons-4D;
Missile Weapons-3D+1; Resistance-3D; Willpower-2D+2; Gossip-4D; Value-4D;
Sub-Geography-4D+2; Sub-biology-4D; Search-3D+2; Stealth-4D+2; Survival-4D+1;
Magicks: Beastspeak: Rat-5D.
Description: Sharp and quick, Lord Rat-Speaker organizes and
watches over the Rat-Speakers, keeping them ready to do their patrons'
bidding. He's extremely distrustful of outsiders, just as willing
to slit a throat as spare a moment for words. Despite his quick temper,
he is unfailing in his service to his rat lords and obeys them without
Attributes: STR=3D+1, DEX=3D+2, CON=3D+1, KNO=2D+2, INS=3D+2,
Skills: Brawling-6D; Dodge-6D; Running-5D; Melee Weapons-6D;
Missile Weapons-4D+2; Resistance-5D; Willpower-5D+2; Gossip-6D; Value-6D;
Sub-Geography-6D+1; Sub-biology-6D; Scrounge-4D+2; Search-5D+2; Stealth-5D+2;
Survival-6D; Bargain-6D; Command: Rat-Speakers 6D; Intimidate-5D+2.
Magicks: Beastspeak: Rat-5D.
Description: Like most 'Twixts, Lear is little known among
the populations of either London Above or Below. But he is a resourceful
man, and some, like the marquis de Carabas have had dealings with him in
the past. As such, he owes and is owed favors from both sides of
the city. Lear is often a good source of information and can act
as an agent for dealings with the Upside when an underdweller cannot perform
the action himself.
Attributes: STR=2D+1, DEX=2D, CON=3D, KNO=2D+2, INS=2D+1,
Skills: Brawling-3D+2; Dodge-2D; Running-3D+1; Melee Weapons:
Knife-4D; Security-4D+1; Gossip-4D+2; News-4D+2; Value-4D+1; Sub-Geography-3D;
Scrounge-3D+2; Stealth-4D+2; Survival-4D+2; Bargain-4D; Fade-4D+2; Perform:
Magicks: Unknown. Lear may know of some charms and tricks
that help him survive.
Serpentine and the Seven Sisters
Description: The Seven Sisters are something of a legend in
the Underside, many things to many people. Some equate them with
the Fates, others attribute particular powers, temperaments and stories
to each. They are witches, demons, wights, demigods. Some say
there are good sisters, bad sisters, sisters balancing the whole.
Others claim they are all evil clan that would control the Underside if
only they could cease their petty, sibling squabbling. They work
in concert on occasion, but most often move against each other in a giant
game of seven person chess--whimsically doing favors and dispatching agents
with little motivation other than frustrating one of their sisters.
Serpentine: Intimidating is too soft a description to describe
Serpentine. Her severe, pinched face and flashing sharp eyes are
enough to strike terror in even a hardened underdweller. She is extremely
tall, with a shock of gray hair spiking from her head, and often wears
the tattered remains of a wedding dress. She is crafty and cruel,
a callous businesswoman with little use for idealism or philanthropy.
Rumors say she will readily eat small children that stray into her realm,
while others claim that she only cultivates such stories to increase her
powers of intimidation. She is always courteous, even to her victims
and will stick to her word. Though a killer, she acts with clear
logic and deliberation, and can be bargained with in almost any case.
Attributes: STR=4D, DEX=5D, CON=5D, KNO=3D+2, INS=3D+1, PRE=4D
Skills: Martial Arts-8D; Dodge-8D; Running-6D; Melee Weapons-7D;
Missile Weapons-7D; Resistance-7D; Willpower-8D; Education-5D; Gossip-6D;
Language: Ancient-8D; Arcana-8D; Alchemy-7D; Value-7D; Sub-Geography-7D;
Sub-biology-6D; Profile-8D; Search-6D; Persuasion-4D+2; Command-6D (Command:
Magicks: Claws (STR+1D damage, reduce armor by 2D);
Serpentine likely has many offensive and defensive magicks at her disposal.
She is not a woman to be trifled with!
The Black Friars
Lead by the Abbot, the Black Friars are a fairly unique group in the Underside:
a religious order that has maintained its traditions amidst the chaos and
hardships of the world Below. Dressed in their black robes, the Friars
carry themselves with an austere confidence. They are able warriors,
keepers of mystic secrets, healers of the sick, and savers of souls.
But their traditions border on the militant and zealous, and many are put
off by their severe ways. Indeed, visitors are often not allowed
to pass into the Friar's abbey (as their underground haven is called) unless
they can pass a series of tests: often physical combat, riddles,
and trials of mind and spirit. .
Description: Blind and weak with age, the old Abbot still
leads the Friar flock with an able mind bent on furthering their mission.
He is both wise and kind, though he will ruthlessly enforce the traditions
the Friars hold dear. He believes their duties are holy and just
and indoctrinates his brothers with these same ideals. The Abbot
can be trusted with secrets and sought in need, but he will avoid entangling
himself or his brothers in any scheme or mission outside of their sacred
Attributes: STR=1D, DEX=1D, CON=2D, KNO=5D, INS=4D, PRE=3D+2.
Skills: Education-6D; Philosophy-6D; Arcana-7D; Arcana: Christian
mysticism-9D; Alchemy-7D; Profile-7D+2; Command: Black Friars-9D; Persuasion-7D+2.
Magicks: Unknown. The Abbot has a create deal of knowledge
and likely knows a number of charms and tricks. Since he is well
guarded by younger, more able Friars, he rarely has a need to reveal the
depths of his abilities.
Typical Black Friars: STR=3+2D, DEX=3D+2, CON=3D, KNO=3D, INS=2D+2,
PRE=2D. Brawling-5D; Melee Weapons: Blunt-5D; Missile Weapons-5D;
Dodge-4D+2; Running-4D; Willpower-4D+2; Resistance-4D+2; Education-4D;
Philosophy-4D; Aracana-3D+2; Alchemy-3D+2; Search-4D; Persuasion-3D+1.
There are many among the Black Friars with unusually high attributes (similar
to player characters) and magical abilities.
The idea of salvation from below is ennumerated several
times in the book, namely in Valjean's sanctuary in the convent and his
descent into the sewers with Marius.
Much like its sister above, Paris Below is a rival for its London counterpart.
Paris' tunnels are, perhaps, even more extensive and ancient than those
beneath London. And they are filled with quite similar personalities
and dangers. Indeed, there is a fair bit of trade and transactions
between the two cities. However, while London Below is a mix of feudal
loyalties and anarchy, Paris Below adheres to a more rigid social structure.
The Queen of Paris Below, Colette de Reneaux, has managed to maintain order
and demand fealty from the Parisian underdwellers. Her family line
traces back to the first rulers of Paris Below, and through a vast network
of soldiers, spies, and assassins the de Reneaux clan remains firmly entrenched.
A fair number of dukes, marquis, counts, barons and other courtiers can
be found in Paris Below as well. Many scheme for a larger piece of
the political pie, others just scramble for a bit of Queen Colette's praise
and favor. Despite her rule, the Queen has not managed to tame the
dangerous rabble found in the Left Bank and has initiated a more active
line of sentries to keep those outcasts from seeping across the Seine.
--G. Worth in an analysis of Victor Hugo's
(available at http://www.geocities.com/Paris/LeftBank/9640/)
Community: Very Large.
Description: It is fitting that the Beast of this magical
city is itself a magical being. Created centuries ago by a mad alchemist,
the Gargoyle of Paris roams its deepest tunnels. What is seeks remains
a mystery, one whose answer likely died with the Gargoyle's creator.
It has been known to stand rigid for years, letting some who have unfortunately
stumbled upon it go without harm without, in fact, moving at all.
Some say it has never killed unprovoked, while others claim it is a thing
of the Devil and will slay any who happen upon it in an animated state.
Attributes: STR=7D, DEX=3D, CON=11D, KNO=Unknown, INS=4D,
Skills: Flying-5D; Jumping-7D+2; Climbing-8D; Running-4D;
Attack-7D+2; Damage-8D+2; Dodge-4D; Resistance-10D; Search-5D+2; Tracking-5D+2;
Magicks: Stone Skin-Reduce all damage by 3D, including armor
piercing; he also appears to be impervious to flame, cold, and most acids
as well; Nightvision (perfect); Claws-ArmorPiercing reduce armor by 2D.
Paris's underground system rivals, and in many ways surpasses that of London.
When Paris Above was modernized in the 19th century, a complex system of
tunnels and sewers was also built to accomodate the city's growth.
Today, most dwellers Above have little concept of the vastness of the network
of tunnels that lies beneath them. With the addition of the Metro
and modern cabling efforts, the tunnels have expanded considerably in the
20th century. The underdwellers of Paris make ample use of this network.
The Right Bank (La Rive Droite)
The Royal Houses and the Rabble: A large proportion of the
Parisian underdwellers inhabit the Right Bank. It's tunnels tend
to be a bit more direct and safer and most of the Floating Markets of Paris
take place in the grand buildings found north of the Seine. More
importantly (for some), this is where Queen Colette and her entourage of
syncophants and scheming courtiers reside. The Queen maintains an
air of forced dignity in the compromised surroundings of Paris Below.
Her gowns tend to be tattered, her make-up severe and almost clownish,
and her arrogance bordering on madness. The rabble of Paris Below
generally ignore her rantings, though she has an ample armed guard and
maintains strict control through a network of spies and informants.
The Left Bank (La Rive Gauche)
The untouchables: Above, the Left Bank is considered the bohemian
quarter--the zone of artists, immigrants, impoverished students.
At least it was in the early part of the 20th century, when such folk could
afford to live there. Now it is like most of Paris Above--expensive
and full of boutiques mainly aimed at the tourist trade. However,
it still retains some of its bohemian flair. Below, the Left Bank
has taken a much darker turn. It has become the refuge of outcasts
of all sorts--renegades against the hierarchy of the French Underside,
untouchables, monsters in flesh and mind. The inhabitants of the
Left Bank occasionally band together and make forays into the more affluent
Rive Droite, looting what they can until driven back into the shadows.
The residents of the Right Bank see them as filth and killers, while the
Left Bank dwellers call their adversaries elitist and imperial. Those
who have attempted to unify both sides have only been met with derision
and open hostility.
Black Bridge (Le Pont Noir)
The Black Bridge is of such legendary, horrific reputation that even the
Queen's sentries refuse to guard it. As such, it is the only unwatched
passage between the Left and Right Banks of the Seine Below. Though
the river is hardly more than 200 meters wide at the Bridge's point, those
who have crossed Le Pont Noir describe a trial that lasted hours, even
days. Some say it is yet another similarity with London Below and
its nightmarish Knightsbridge. But the Pont Noir is more than a dweller
for nightmares and secret monsters: it is first a bridge into Some
Other Place, an entirely different world or dimension according to some
rumors. Those who enter this Other Place must navigate its varied
landscapes--mountains, seas, deserts, jungles--to come out on the other
side of the Bridge.
The army of ghosts: Above, Les Invalides is the immense hospital
that Napolean built for his troops (now a museum). Below, the twisted
corridors and open caverns have become inhabited by the ghosts, half-dead,
and time-lost soldiers that once inhabited the hospital. It is not
uncommon to see a young French soldier, still bleeding from a wound, standing
sentry at one of the entrances to the area. All of these lost souls,
alive and dead, await orders from some commander, but none can remember
his name nor reason why it is they are there. They are muddled, believing
they are still in some pitched war above, sometime even hearing gunfire
and cannon shot. They will attack those they deem enemies of France but
assist those who are allies (it helps to speak French and to not speak
The Banlieu ("suburbs")
No one much likes to travel to the outer tunnels and into les Banlieu,
or suburbs of the Underside. Indeed, these outer areas are permeated
with a feeling of pointlessness and boredom. Those who venture into
them generally feel their energy and intelligence sapped away (GM's may
require periodic Willpower tests for players to remain focused).
The inhabitants of the Banlieu tend to to move about in a soporific, almost
zombified state. They speak little and have a glazed look in their
eyes, hardly managing to complete more than the most basic of tasks.
The Hallowed Grounds: Few know that the great cathedral above
sits atop a deep, winding network of tunnels, secret passages and even
a hidden cathedral that rivals the one Above. Many underdwellers
attend mass at the underground cathedral, one of the few of its kind in
the Underside. Overseen by the kindly and absent-minded Bishop Loiseux,
the cathedral is seen as neutral ground and the prohibition against violence
is as strong as it is in the Floating Markets. Loiseux does his best
to navigate the dangerous waters of Paris Below's political system, but
he lacks the intelligence and willpower to avoid becoming a pawn. Only
his assistant, Father Marcus, keeps him from becoming torn apart by the
politics. But Marcus is cold and calculating and some say he dabbles
in dark magic and eyes the Bishop's char for his own. It may only
be a matter of time before some kind of coup occurs.
Description: A tall, lean, rangy white man with a shock of
messy brown hair, some fairly ragged clothes, and a general unkept appearence.
He roams freely through much of Paris Below, though he is most often found
in the Left Bank.
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=3D, CON=3D, KNO=3D, INS=4D, PRE=3D
Skills: Brawling-7D, Missile Weapons-Crossbow-7D, Dodge-7D,
Running-5D, Resistance-5D, Willpower-7D, Sub-geography-9D, Sub-biology-6D,
Gossip-8D, First Aid-6D, Value-8D, Search-6D, Profile-8D, Survival-7D,
Magicks: Pockets-8D, Beastspeak-Pigeon-5D, Beastspeak-Rat-7D,
Description: A beautiful, middle-aged woman with a somewhat
remote demeanor. Always beautifully dressed and coldly radiant.
She is a rival of mad Queen Colette's, or so the Queen believes.
Some say it is only femine jealousy, while others say the feud runs much
deeper and is more dangerous. La Comptess is cautious to never insult
the Queen--directly, at least--and careful cultivates favor with other
courtiers in order to secure some degree of safety for herself. The
Comptess' true motivations and goals remain a mystery.
Attributes: STR=1D+2, DEX=2D, CON=3D, KNO=4D+1, INS=3+2D,
Skills: Willpower-8D, Gossip-10D, Value-8D, Profile-8D,
Courtliness-10D, Persuasion-7D, Intimidate-7D, Con-6D, Bargain-7D
Magicks: Sources: the Comptess somehow learns nearly
all of the gossip of Paris Below even as it begins. While she doesn't
know who starts the gossip or even if it's true, she can use her formidable
intelligence and deductive powers to make very accurate guesses.
Description: A somewhat plump, perpetually young pre-teen
boy (appears 10-12 years old). He always looks like he's been out
playing--hair tousled, clothes dirty (without being as ragged as many in
Paris Below). Meaulnes is a bit shy and standoffish, but he can come around
to those he decides to trust. He seems to appear and disappear with
ease, and those around him have the sense of experiencing a waking dream,
or of actually living within their own nostalgia for their childhood..
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=3D, CON=3D, KNO=3D, INS=3D, PRE=2D+2
Skills: Brawling-4D, Dodge-5D, Running-6D, Resistance-4D,
Sub-geography-9D, Sub-biology-6D, Gossip-5D, Search-6D, Fade-8D
Magicks: Dreamtime Aura: Meaulnes seems to carry
with him a piece of the Dreaming--it seems to surround him at all times.
The laws of physics--time, gravity, entropy--appear to function somewhat
differently. Further, those around him experience a wave of nostalgia
and the lingering feeling of lucid dreaming. While this may appear
to have little practical effect in the day-to-day struggle of the Underside,
it has helped Meaulnes survive and is likely the source of his apparent
Description: A squat, extremely strong hunchback with a horribly
ugly face. Modo is reclusive and unintelligible (he has no tongue
and cannot speak), but he is not a true monster. In fact, he is both
brave and loyal to those he trusts and loves.
Attributes: STR=5D+2, DEX=4D+2, CON=6D, KNO=1D+2, INS=3D,
Skills: Jumping 8D, Brawling-8D, Dodge-7D, Running-5D, Resistance-7D,
Willpower-7D, Sub-geography-5D, First Aid-3D, Survival-Underworld-7D, Search-6D,
Intimidate-6D (8D if they've never seen his face before).
Magicks: Juice: Strength-6D, Lovesick (for Esmeralda, a beautiful
gypsy in the upworld, who continues to be reincarnated as different women
across the years)-4D.
The Troglodytes ("Les Trogs")
Description: Les Trogs are a small cadre of underdwellers
that have banded together for mutual protection and assistance. They
remain aloof of most underdwellers, making their homes in deep tunnels
and caves, often hidden by secret doors and mechanisms (they take their
name from the term troglodyte). However, unlike their monstrous
namesake, the Trogs are actually extremely technologically saavy.
While they must still work within the technological limitations of the
Underside, they, perhap more than anyone in the underworld, push the limits
of what is possible. The Trogs keep their technological secrets very
close and involve themselves with the affairs of others only when necessary.
Typical Attributes: STR=2D+1, DEX=3D, CON=3D, KNOW=3D+1, INS=2D,
Typical Skills: Brawling-4D, Dodge-4D, Melee Weapons-4D+1,
Missile Weapons-4D+1, Resistance-4D, Willpower-3D, Jury-Rig-4D, Steamworks-4D,Sub-geography:
Paris-5D, Sub-biology: Paris-4D, Education-4D+1, Tracking-3D, Search-3D,
Survival-4D+2, Bargain-3D, Fade-3D.
Leader: General Gilles.
Description: General Gilles is a small, lean man with a shock
of black hair atop his head, a long, crooked nose, and small, alert eyes.
Some (behind his back) say he resembles a ferret. He is extremely
clever, though his arrogance can sometimes put off even close advisors.
He keeps strict order with the ranks of the Trogs, carefully nurturing
new recruits and supervising their training. Though they complain
about him often, the Trogs admire Gilles and gladly do his bidding.
Attributes: STR=2D+1, DEX=3D, CON=3D, KNO=4D, INS=2D, PRE=3D+2
Skills: Brawling-5D, Dodge-6D, Melee Weapons-5D, Missle Weapons-6D,
Willpower-6D, Resistance-5D, Sciences-7D, Steamworks-8D, Value-7D, Education-6D,
Search-5D, Survival-5D, Command-7D, Command: Trogs-9D, Intimidate-5D.
Rome Below is one of the oldest undercities in all of the world.
In the West, it rivals those found in Athens and Cairo. As one would
expect, the mixtures of cultures, races and timelines is complicated to
the point of defying description. Roman soldiers mingle with punk
rock runaways, ageless gods haggle with hippy dealers for some decent ambrosia,
gladiators now fight with tire irons and brass knuckles...you get the picture.
The underside is truly immense. It is a bewildering complex of old
and new tunnels, dizzying catacombs, massive caverns and little niches.
There are pockets of lost pasts, potential futures, and ignored presents.
Rome Below truly has everything an underdweller might seek, if one can
survive long enough to find it.
Community: Very Large.
Description: Some say that the Beast of Rome is of the same
bloodline as those wolves that raised Romulus and Remus, who went on to
found the great city Above. But this Beast has no love for the humans
that now intrude upon its territories. It is a voracious and clever
killer, actively seeking prey, toying with it, and killing without mercy.
Its lonely howls can echo through the catacombs, blend into the subterranean
winds and chilling even the bravest soul.
Attributes: STR=7D, DEX=5D+2, CON=7D+2, KNO=3D+2, INS=7D,
Skills: Jumping-8D; Running-8D+2; Attack-8D; Damage-8D (claws);
Dodge-8D; Resistance-7D; Search-9D; Tracking-9D+2; Intimidate-8D.
Magicks: Claws-Reduce armor by 1D; Sense of Smell-will recognize
and remember everyone by their scent; Thick Hide-Reduce all damage by 1D
(no effect against armor piercing).
The Old Forum
The Buried City: while bits and pieces of ancient Rome remain
above ground and open to tourism, much of the old city has been buried,
forgotten or lost with time. Other parts have been hidden by the
underdwellers of Rome, keeping pieces of the old world for themselves rather
than losing them to modernization. Much of Rome Below is constructed
of the old brick and marble buildings, replete with beautiful statues,
intricate columns, and prized reliefs. Royal, wealthy families,
and the powerful undead tend to populate these old palaces.
The Heart of the Church: The center of Catholicism perched
Above only hints at the vast complex Below. For centuries, the Church
rulers have dug out tunnels and secret store rooms beneath their sovereign
lands. There are few, if any, people alive who know of all the secret
passageways, libraries and treasure troves found here. Within those
rooms are kept the most powerful artifacts and magicks known or unknown
on Earth. There are histories and atlases of other worlds; grimoires
written in long dead languages; magical items so powerful that their keepers
dare not even speak their name. Rumor and hyperbole also surround
the Heart, with many of the underdwellers claiming that the Church has
imprisoned various demons and heretics there over the centuries--all alive
and raging to be free. Regardless, the area is securely guarded by
the Eleven, an ancient order tracing its roots back to the original Apostles
(the Pope is the 12th Apostle, and though he knows of the Underside, he
has few if any dealings with it). Ageless and mighty, these paladins
guard all known tunnels into the Heart, refusing entry to all but a select
few. One has to wonder what is guarded the secret tunnels...
The Arenas: The Romans build large tunnels and caverns below
the real Coliseum in they could store equipment, animals, and slaves.
Some chambers were large enough to serve as gladiator training arenas.
A number of underdwellers have taken to using them for their own gladitorial
games, usually a test of combat for two young Bravos. They are also
used to resolve disputes between two parties, each choosing to fight or
selecting a champion, and the winner being considered "in the right."
Not all the combats are fatal though, of course, they are extremely dangerous.
There's always a wager to be placed for the gambling sorts. Further,
criminals or other misfits are sometimes thrown into an arena against one
of the bizarre creates that inhabits the Underside.
The Twisting City: Without a doubt, the tunnels of Rome Below
are the most well built and extensive in the world. Citizens have
been working on them for thousands of years and there is likely no one
who knows their entire extent. The Catacombs are filled with twists,
turns, giant caverns, pockets of lost time, secret doors, dangerous traps,
indescribable beasts, and primordial magicks. The old Catacombs connect
and re-connect with more recent tunnels in numerous places. It is
possible to get into every single part of Rome Above through these tunnels,
and many lead well out into the countryside.
The Watery Transport: The Aqueducts supplement the vast network
of the earthen catacombs. Built in Roman times to carry water into
the city and remove waste, they are still a functioning sewer system (side
by side with the more recent sewer tunnels). There are a number of
folk who make a living as ferrymen along the waters, transporting their
passengers at a much increased speeed. There are rumors of horrible,
tentacled beasts dwelling within the waters, and it is true that the occasional
ferryman fails to make it home at night.
Giambetta (Criminal King)
Description: Fat and devious, Giambetta is a pivotal figure
in Rome Below. Indeed, his connections spread throughout the underside
of Europe. He is tapped into the gossip mills of Prague Below, can
have someone's kneecaps broken in Berlin, will smuggle in an ancient artificact
from the tunnels below Athens. Giambetta manages his empire with
a clever ue of 'Twixts to serve as agents in the Upside, skilled assassins
and thieves of otherworldly powers, and maintaining a grip of fear over
many in the local population. Though he is a thief and a liar, he
is not without a sense of honor and will uphold his word in nearly any
Attributes: STR=3D+2, DEX=2D+1, CON=3D+2, KNO=3D, INS=3D, PRE=2D+1
Skills: Brawling-8D; Dodge-6D+2; Melee Weapons-7D+1; Missile
Weapons-7D; Resistance-6D; Willpower-7D+2; Gossip-8D; Value-8D; Education-4D;
Steamworks-3D+2; Arcana-3D+1; Sub-Geography-5D+1; Security-7D; Search-6D+1;
Stealth-5D+2; Survival-5D; Profile-6D; Persuasion-5D; Con-5D+2; Intimidate-6D+2;
Bargain-6D+2; Command-6D+2; Command: Underlings-8D+2.
Magicks: Elsewhere-7D. Every assassination attempt against
Giambetta has been unsuccessful and he seems preternaturally gifted
at avoiding danger. The Elsewhere Knack doesn't manifest itself as
manifesation, but rather a subtle restructuring of reality to negate the
danger--for example, a crossbow will jam and not fire, a plate of poisoned
food will be dropped before served to him, etc. It is still not clear
whether this is actually a Knack or some other magick at work.
Description: Sophia is a reclusive genius inhabiting some
of the deeper caverns of Rome Below. A reknowned scientist and inventor,
Sophia has skills that are sought by many throughout the underside.
She is a master Steamworks engineer and is studying the "scientific" origins
of Knacks and other powers. Sophia is still fairly young (in her
twenties) and inherited the lab from her almost equally brilliant father.
She does not like to leave her caverns and will resist doing so.
This apprehension is a mixture of dedication to her work and fear of the
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=2D+2, CON=2D+1, KNO=5D, INS=2D, PRE=2D
Skills: Willpower-4D+2; Gossip-3D; Value-5D+2; Education-7D;
Steamworks-7D+2; Arcana-5D; First Aid-5D+1; Sciences-6D; Medicine-4D;
Scrounge-6D+1; Security-5D; Search-3D+1; Bargain-4D+2; Fade-5D.
Magicks: Mechanophile-6D; Hacker Genius-7D (ability to put
together machines that otherwise wouldn't work for anyone else).
The Old Gods (Mars, Pluto, Venus, Mercury, etc.)
Description: In their old incarnations, they ruled the Mediterranean.
There still exists temples and artwork dedicated to their greatness.
But these are different times. No one believes in the Old Pantheon
any longer. And as the people's faith diminished, so did the powers
of the gods. Now, Mars (Ares) works as a trainer for up and
coming Bravos. Mercury ekes out a living with a competent network
of spies and delivery boys. Venus (Aphrodite) sells love in all its
forms and devices. Saturn (Neptune) give swimming lessons.
You get the picture. The old gods tend to be fairly grumpy and unhappy
about their lot in life (imagine being a god, and then having to haggle
over just a bit of Ambrosia). They continue their bickering ways,
forming alliances against one another and attempting to use mortals as
pawns. Some take a liking to certain mortals, however, and will be
amenable to a trade of goods, information or favors.
Community: Very Large.
Description: Imagine a snake 50 feet long, mouth as wide as
a small truck, rushing towards you through a dark, narrow tunnel.
That is the last thing most men see when they happen upon the Asp of Cairo
in its underground lair. Some say the Beast has dwelt there since
being summoned by an ancient, mad pharoh who used it to guard his most
powerful magical grimoires. Regardless, few have attempted to challenge
it and seek out the legendary texts.
Attributes: STR=9D, DEX=5D+2, CON=8D, KNO=1D+2, INS=6D, PRE=5D
Skills: Jumping-10D; Climbing-11D; Running-10D; Attack-7D+2;
Damage-10D (bite); Dodge-6D; Resistance-9D; Search-5D+2; Intimidate-9D.
Magicks: Armored Scales-Reduce all damage by 2D (1D against
armor piercing weapons); Venom-7D (on a successful bite attack, the snake
may inject a victim with deadly venom. The victim must make a Resistance
roll against the venom once per minute to avoid death. The antidote's
formula is a closely held secret of the Order of the Snake.)
The Discarded City: As Cairo Above has expanded, a sprawling
pile of discarded waste has festered and grown on its outskirts.
Over time, a large community has come to inhabit the vast range of refuse.
Folks carve out caves in settled piles of garbage, setting up home and
shop. Most scrounge through the endless piles for useful items or
edible food. The Cairo Dump is one of the few places in the Upside
where underdwellers may pass and be readily seen (likely because the inhabitants
of the Dump are themselves ignored and invisible to most updwellers).
All manner of items may be found there (you'd be surprised what folks throw
away), but it is strongly recommended that newcomers secure a guide.
There are substantiated stories of cannibalism in some parts of the dump
where food is rare. And the Dump has become so large and complicated,
it is easy to become lost among the towers of waste.
City of the Dead: Deep below the sands and streets of Cairo,
the ancient City of the Dead may be found. The residents of Cairo
Below shy away from all of the tunnels that are even rumored to lead to
the Necropolis, believing that to enter its gates is to join the world
of the dead and never return. Others claim these are wives' tales
and that the city retains innumerable treasures and secrets just waiting
to be rediscovered. But to get the Necropolis, one must pass over
the Bridge of Kings, down the Sub-Nile and into the catacombs in which
the Asp of Cairo slithers. Few manage to make it past the first step
of the journey!
Bridge of Kings
Stone Gods: This is the only Bridge known to pass over the
Sub-Nile to the Island of the Sun, where the ferry of the Sub-Nile may
be boarded. It is lined with statues of long dead kings and gods,
usually appearing as half-men, half-animals. The statues are said
to come to life and challenge any who would dare pass the span without
the blessings of the gods. Those few who come to the bridge, usually
bring with them generous gifts for the stone gods, offering them up to
secure their blessings. On occasion, the supplicant is allowed to
pass without trouble...but that is the exception rather than the rule!
The Sister River: The vast underground river flows, more or
less, in the same line as its sister river above. Only this river
is filled with foul, demonic beasts, pieces of the afterlife broken loose
as flotsam, and deadly currents and other perils. Few brave its waters
and even fewer survive. Only the stodgy old ferrymen of the Island
of the Sun seem to be able to navigate its waters with any real chance
for success. Some say it is because the old men have made a deal
with a dark god that controls the waters of the Sub-Nile. The ferrymen
themselves just like to say that they know what they're doing...
The Serpent's Tongue
Description: Part cult, part guardian of Cairo Below's mysteries,
the Serpent's Tongue is a secrete society of priests, warriors, and magicians.
Its members live and work among the other underdwellers, maintaining their
secret affiliation. But members of the Tongue bear first and foremost
loyalty to their order and the other members. They work covertly
to gather information, sway public opinion, assassinate enemies, and acquire
wealth. The Serpent Tongue has secret chambers and it is rumored
that ancient texts and artifacts are guarded there. If the identify
of a member is discovered to an outsider, the member must either kill the
outsider or himself before the information spreads. Magicians within
the Tongue know some of the blackest magicks of the underside, specializing
in spells of the dead.
Kamen (Sleoping God-king)
Description: The Sleeping King of Egypt Below, Kamen resides
in an ornate sarcophogas in a chamber deep below the Valley of Kings near
Cairo. It is said that he continues to rule Cairo Below, coming to
his servants in their dreams and directing their actions when necessary.
Kamen has also been known to appear in the dreams of multiple sleepers
on the same night, at the same time, and performing the same actions.
Some say that he can even kill through dreams. Legend has it
that one day he will rise to unite the Above and the Below and restore
the great dynasties of Egypt's pharohs. Others say he is merely a
man trapped in a sleeping state by some ancient magick. The route
to his chamber is guarded by magickal beasts, puzzles, and traps and few
even know its location.
Attributes: STR=4D, DEX=4, CON=5D, KNO=5D, INS=3D, PRE=4D
Skills: Unknown. In the Dreaming, Kamen seems to be
nearly all-knowing and all powerful. He can read minds, change shape,
cause and heal damage, and reshape the structure of the dream.
Magicks: Dreamwalking-12D. Likely has other magicks
at his disposal.
Description: Half-rat, half-man, Rungri is one of the most
able survivors in Cairo Below. Like the rest of his rat-like brethren,
he mainly ekes out his existence in the darkest corners of the Dump.
But Rungri's knowledge and talents extend much further. He knows
the secret passageways through the city itself, has contacts with Twixts
and underdwellers, and is owed favors by more than a few. Rungri
excels at spreading rumor and innuendo, using it to his advantage, and
turning one ally against another. He will simultaneously offer himself
up as peace maker and weapons dealer. He distrusts humans, given
the way they treat his kind. But, he also seems to spare little love
for his own kind as well, believing they permit themselves to be persecuted.
However, deep down, Rungri has an honorable heart and it may, someday,
show itself with an act of selflessness or heroism.
Attributes: STR=3D+2, DEX=4D+2, CON=3D+2, KNO=3D, INS=3D, PRE=3D
Skills: Brawling-5D; Climbing-6D; Jumping-6D; Dodge-6D+2;
Resistance-5D; Swimming-4D; Willpower-4D+2; Gossip-6D; Value-6D;
Sub-geography: Cairo Below-8D; Sub-biology-6D; Scrounge-6D; Security-6D;
Search-5D; Profile-5D; Bargain-6D+2; Fade-5D.
Magicks: Rat Qualities--+1D Dex (included above); +2D Search
with the sense of smell; Prehensile Tail; Beastspeak: Rat-5D; Evasion-5D.
Community: Very Large.
Beast: The blind, white Alligator-King.
Description: Hunter describes him as "thirty feet long, fat
from sewage and fierce in battle . . . His eyes were like huge pearls in
the darkness." The Alligator King has unnatural intelligence and
ferocity, reportedly eating anything that happens too close to his gaping
jaw. His thick hide is pocked with the blows of weapons, burns of
various pollutants and chemicals swirling in the sewage, and the ravages
Attributes: STR=11D, DEX=4D+2, CON=9D, KNO=3D+2, INS=4D+2,
Skills: Attack-9D+2; Damage-12D (bite), 11D (tail swipe, automatically
knocks a victim back 2D6 meters); Dodge-6D; Resistance-9D; Search-5D; Intimidate-9D.
Magicks: Armored Scales-Reduce all damage by 3D (2D against
armor piercing weapons); Motion Sensitivity-7D (though blind, the King
is extremely sensitive to sounds and motion nearby and can strike with
deadly precision); Massive Jaws: Armored Piercing (reduce armor by
2D against his bite attack).
The Woods: Central Park is immense and mysterious even to
those that dwell in the city Above. But the the underdwellers, all
of its deep, dark secrets may be discovered (usually to the chagrin of
the underdweller). The woods are filled with shadows, ancient secrets,
and forgotten niches. Only the most foolhardy would venture into
these wilds unarmed and without a guide. Many an underdweller has
wandered a bit too far off a path and been devoured by some nightmarish
unknown. It is not uncommon to come across all types of mystical
beasts and magical beings in the woods. Even the residents of the
Park shy away from the darkest, most dangerous sections in the North Woods.
There, nightmares and monsters lurk behind every twisted trunk and slime-covered
stone. Some say a dark demon rules the North Woods, others a fallen
god. One local scholar opines that the tenebrous ruler of the North
Woods has not separate identity from the Woods or the City itself, but
is, instead, the incarnation of its worst attributes--fear, rage, violence.
Whoever--or whatever--rules the Woods, it seems clear that its domain is
spreading and threatens to engulf more and more of New York Below.
The Deepest Underside: "Down Town" in New York is not actually
the streets in the south of the city but is, rather, the deepest parts
of the tunnels below the city. Carved out of earth, butteressed with
materials stolen from the city Above, the tunnels house innumerable underdwellers
and lead to unknown dangers. This is one of the most dangerous areas
of New York Below, where the poorest of the poor must live and where the
darkest criminals seek refuge.
The Inferno: Like many parts of the Underside, New York's
neighborhoods take on a nature that almost literally translates the area
Above. Hell's Kitchen is actually a piece of Hell, or some place
quite like it. It burns without devouring, chills without freezing,
tortures without offering the final, welcome release of death. It
is populated by all manner of demons--tricksters, tempters, and those that
would consume both flesh and soul. Some are for hire, others exist
only to perpetuate the rebellion against the Heavenly Hosts. The
Kitchen is a source of black magicks, terrible mercenaries, and arcane
secrets. All who enter must pay a price, and it is said that no one
leaves with an untainted soul.
Description: Tall, thin, and pale, Lord Chelsea has also earned
the nickname "Old Blueblood" among many of the underdwellers. His regal
air and Victorian affectations strike a sharp contrast to the New World
anarchy that runs rampant in New York Below. Despite his separate
nature, Lord Chelsea is one of the single most powerful men in New York
Below. His vast wealth, unfailing ingenuity, and uncanny ability
to predict an opponent's actions have permitted him to maintain a strong
hand in the politics of the city, making him many allies and enemies in
the process. Chelsea fervently hopes to install some great sense
of order in the Underside, firmly believing in Victorian ideals of enlightenment
and education for all. This occasionally leads him to make somewhat
naive attempts at bettering the life of those below, even against their
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=2D, CON=2D+1, KNO=4D, INS=2D+2, PRE=2D+2
Skills: Resistance-3D; Willpower-7D; Arcana-5D; Alchemy-6D;
Education-7D; Value-6D+2; Sub-geography-5D; Sub-biology-6D; First Aid-5D;
Medicine-4D; Steamworks-5D; Sciences-5D; Search-4D; Profile-4D+2; Persuasion-4D;
Intimidate-4D; Courtliness-6D; Command-4D..
Magicks: Unknown. Though it is not Foresight, Lord Chelsea's
ability to second guess his opponents is formidable (treat as a Knack at
7D). Chelsea also probably knows some other, common magicks, though
he may prefer to use scientific methods over magickal ones.
The Green Witch
Description: Nearly every account says that the Green Witch
has existed since before Manhattan, even before the first Native Americans
set foot on the island. She is part of the firmament of the place,
wild as its wilderness and yet as civil as the modern metropolis that steams
above. Like whatever presence that grows in the North Woods, the
Green Witch is an incarnation of the place's spirit--only she represents
the creativity, strength, and progress that flourishes there. Not
surprisingly, the Green Witch is found below New York's Greenwich neighborhood,
usually in a cavern that is lush with vegetation and refreshed with a clear,
clean stream from an unknown source. She remains neutral in the events
around her, but may help those in need, particular those seeking to protect
or maintain the balance of all energies in the City.
Attributes: STR=2D+1, DEX=2D+2, CON=3D, KNO=7D, INS=9D, PRE=7D
Skills: Unknown. The Green Witch appears to be extremely
knowledgeable about events in the New York Above and Below, can read the
hearts and minds of those before her, can heal wounds, provide directions
to secret passages, and has been known to drive hardened soldiers to cower
before her if she is enraged. None has ever engaged her in combat,
though it is assumed that her magicks are strong and her life force is
Description: The Warriors are, for lack of a better term,
a street gang that roams the tunnels below New York. There are a
few other gangs, but the Warriors have managed to diminish or wipe out
nearly all of their competition. Despite this dominance, the Warriors
do not have extensive power throughout New York Below. They run the
labyrinths of a few neighborhoods and are indeed a force to be reckoned
with, but they are checked by the forces of Lord Chelsea, their competing
gangs, and the other underdwellers who do not take kindly to anyone who
attempts to control their way of life. Still, the underdweller than
wanders into the wrong tunnel run by the Warriors without the proper writ
of acceptance had better be good at bribing, lying, or fighting if he plans
to survive the encounter.
Typical Warrior member STR=3D+2, DEX=3D, CON=2D+2, KNO=2D, INS=2D, PRE=2D
Skills: Brawling-5D; Dodge-5D; Running-4D; Melee Weapons-5D;
Missile Weapons-4D+2; Throwing-4D+2; Willpower-3D; Resistance-4D; Sub-Geography:
NY Below-4D+2; Scrounge-4D; Tactics-4D; Value-3D+2; Streetwise-4D+2; Stealth-4D;
Search-4D; Con-3D+1; Intimidate-4D+2.
Magicks: Many of the Warriors have Knacks, usually involving
C.H.U.D.'s ("Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers")
Description: Deep in the tunnels of Down Town, some underdwellers
have slipped into a bestial, feral existence. They have formed tight
packs, moving through the tunnels like hyenas, picking off the stragglers
and the weak, and feeding upon them. All the underdwellers of New
York Below fear and avoid the C.H.U.D.'s and occasionally mercenaries are
hired to thin their ranks or drive them from hunting too close to populated
areas. If the C.H.U.D.'s have retained any of their human feelings
and ability to communicate, it seems those abilities have been deeply repressed
or overridden by the voracious hunger.
Typical C.H.U.D.: STR=3D+1, DEX=3D+1, CON=3D+2, KNO=1D+1, INS=3D, PRE=1D
Skills: Brawling-5D; Dodge-4D+2; Climbing-4D; Jumping-4D;
Resistance-5D; Search-4D; Tracking-5D; Intimidate-4D+2.
Magicks: None known.
The Angel of Death
"I can't hurt you, lost angel."
The words come out of the tunnel's blackness without warning when I
stumble into a cavelike recess.
"But I can hurt those you care about," he says silkily. "Some
of me is within you," he says, shielding his eyes with his left forearm
as though there is a flood of light that I don't see. "Not enough
for me to hurt you. But enough for me to hurt others close to you.
You have a fascination with the darkness of my tunnels. The evil
within it. And it is evil," he says with cool force, a fine layer
from fury. "Everything down here is pure evil."
"You have left the world o fairness and good. Goodness can no
longer reach you down here. You are no longer safe," he says, now
looking at the ground. Then he hisses. "Leave, little lost
angel, before the tunnels swallow you and you are one of mine."
--An account from Jennifer Toth, in The Mole People,
p. 165, 168
Description: Nearly everyone in New York Below knows of the
Angel of Death, as he calls himself. He's neither short nor tall,
built onto a slim frame, with bright, bloodshot eyes. By all accounts,
he is mad. But many are convinced that he is some devil--perhaps
Satan himself--incarnate. His small cave, referred to as "Satan's
Den" may be found below Grand Central, though nearly everyone attempts
to avoid it. His powers of intimidation protect him from physical
danger, and some are even driven to serve him.
Attributes: STR=3D, DEX=3D, CON=3D, KNO=3D, INS=2D+1, PRE=3D+2
Skills: Brawling-4D; Melee Weapons-4D; Dodge-4; Resistance-4D;
Willpower-6D; Arcana-5D; Scrounge-5D; Search-6D; Profile-6D;
Survival-6D+2; Stealth-5D; Fade-5D; Persuasion-4D; Intimidate-6D.
Magicks: Unease-6D. The Angel of Death gives off a "creepy
vibe" that makes even the most confident sort uncomfortable and slightly
afraid. Some say it is because he is mad and unpredictable, because
he believes in his supernatural powers of evil. Others claim that
he really has the power to curse you to injury or harm the ones you love.
Regardless, those around the Angel must make a Willpower roll against his
Unease Knack or feel an overwhelming desire to leave him alone and avoid
him--even stopping any aggression or pursuit of him if the Willpower roll
Description: Mad as a porridge-knife, Mad Hettie has the appearence
and general demeanor of a aging streetperson. But she's been alive
for centuries and knows a thing or two about getting by and how the real
world works. Though she is neither an underdweller nor a 'Twixt,
Hettie interacts with underdwellers as if she were one of them. Hettie
appears to split her time between London, New York, and a few other major
cities in Europe.
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=2D+1, CON=2D+2, KNO=3D+2, INS=3D+2, PRE=3D+2
Skills: Melee Weapons-3D; Dodge-3D+2; Resistance-4D; Willpower-6D+2;
Gossip-5D; Value-5D+2; Arcana-7D; Alchemy-6D+2, First Aid-5D; Sub-Geography-4D+2;
Geography-5D; Scrounge-5D+2; Search-6D+1; Profile-6D+2; Survival-7D; Stealth-6D+2;
Bargain-6D+2; Fade-5D; Persuasion-4D; Intimidate-4D+2.
Magicks: Hidden Heart-7D, Augury-8D, Avoidance-8D, Fluster-7D.
Hettie certainly knows a number of other tricks and charms.
New Orleans Below shares much of the chaotic diversity and history
of its sister city Above. It is a vibrant and bristling community,
full of colorful and dangerous characters. Its smallish size creates
a close-knit feel, and most everyone knows at least a bit of everyone else's
business. New Orleans Below is probably the most mystical of the
undercities in North America, as much of the voodoo and Creole supersitions
Above have filtered down to the City Below. New Orleans Below is
a friendly enough place, welcoming to strangers, indulgent of most every
vice, and eager for news of other cities. However, it is also an
extremely dangerous place of shifting alliances, scheming opportunists,
and potent black magic. Newcomers had best tread lightly.
Community: Small to Medium.
Beast: Feral Vampire.
The Bayou Dwellers: Beyond and back, outside the city
above's limits, a sub-population of New Orlean's underdwellers exist in
near autonomy from their brethren. There, they follow traditions
long abandoned, abolished or forgotten in either the world above or the
more urban underdwellers. Slavery, voodoo, native mysticism, and
amalgams of all flourish. Few outsiders manage to find their way
past the beasts that populate the swampy Backwaters; fewer still manage
to survive their more human inhabitants. But it is in the Backwaters,
perhaps more than any other place in New Orleans Below, that dwellers may
find powerful magicks, long-lived historians, and solutions to the most
The Labyrinth of New Orleans: The tunnels beneath the city's
largest and oldest cemetary are by far the most complex, populated and
dangerous in New Orleans Below. They serve as the hub of the city's
underworld, twisting into large complexes, living quarters, dead end tunnels,
and decades long past. Some dead-end in musty crypts (where the occupants
are not always quite dead), secret temples of the blackest arts, and darkest
niches even most underdwellers work to avoid. In their deepest depths,
the city's beast dwells, where it supposedly can change the structure of
tunnels and confuse travelers to lure them into its hungry clutches.
Centre Ville (The Latin Quarter):
The Population Center: Above and Below in New Orlean's Latin
Quarter, the populations come to buy, sell, entertain, and discover.
As the main hub of commerce, the Centre Ville is both accessible and well-guarded
by those interested in maintaining a semblance of peace and commerce in
New Orleans Below. Idle passers-by and troublemakers may miss the
entrances altogether. And those who break the Centre Ville Rules
(No Fighting, No Stealing, No Bad Mojo) tend to find justice swift and
The Slave Quarter
The Winding Neighborhoods: Not far through the tunnels from
the Centre Ville, the subterranean version of the city's old slave quarter
still houses a substantial population. Many claim it was the first
part of New Orleans Below to take shape, since slaves often passed without
notice from the World Above (and, ironically, often found life more accomodating
Below). Aside from the standard scenes of domesticity in the underworld,
travelers to the area may find a great number of services: Eyeball oracles,
voodoo priests, willing Brave mercenaries.
The Underground Railroad
The Secret Source: The "Underground Railroad" that helped
some slaves escape the clutches of their Southern masters took on, at some
point, a very literal manifestation. The railroad tunnel from below
New Orleans, stretches north, branching, twisting, and, some would say,
continually shifting and expanding. None have reported its end point.
The tunnel seems almost alive, as does the driverless train that steams--without
fuel--along the tracks. These days, the train arrives when it deems
appropriate, and speeds off at its own whim. Some say it can be bargained
with, cajoled, even bribed to take on passengers to far off cities, locked
away secret chambers, and, perhaps, times gone by.
Rampling (Local Historian)
Description: An extremely thin, fierce-looking woman who appears
to be in her middle-age, Rampling has become something of New Orlean Below's
unofficial historian and scribe. She can be counted on to know the
reasons behind the great feuds, the names of past heroes and rogues, and
the comings and goings of notable persons in the undercity. She has
Attributes: STR=1D+2, DEX=2D+2, CON=3D+2, KNO=4D+2, INS=4D,
Skills: Resistance-4D, Willpower-6D+2, Sub-geography-7D, Sub-biology-6D,
First Aid-5D, Scholarship-History-7D; Scholarship-History-New Orleans Below-11D,
Value-7D, Arcana-6D, Alchemy-5D, Search-5D, Profile-5D, Bargain-4D, Con-5D,
Magicks: Unknown. Some say Rampling is ageless--perhaps
either immortal or already dead. Her ability to gather and recall
knowledge is also preternatural.
Mama Fast (Oracle and Healer)
Description: Mama Fast is a grand, broad old woman with sparkling,
intelligent eyes, a quick, flashing smile that still melts the hearts of
men and boys, and an intuition keen she often knows what someone wants
before the person can reckon it for themselves. She takes her name
from her ability to size a new person up, guess their secret motivations
and fears, and slip them some safe advice even before they manage to mumble
out a greeting. Mama Fast is kindly, but her jolly demeanor hides
knowledge of dark voodoo magicks and an understanding of what it takes
to survive in the World Below. She has employed more than a little
of that knowledge in her ongoing feud with Christian the White.
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=2D, CON=2D, KNO=3D, INS=6D, PRE=3D
Skills: Resistance-6D, Willpower-9D, Sub-geography-8D, Sub-biology-6D,
First Aid-8D, Medicine (Healing)-6D, Arcana-6D, Arcana-Voodoo and Animism-9D,
Alchemy-Voodoo-8D, Value-7D, Language-Ancient-7D, Search-6D, Profile-10D,
Con-8D, Command-7D. Mama Fast probably has many more skills than
those listed here.
Magicks: Augury-10D, Hindsight-8D, Healing-7D, Seance-6D.
Gripner (Dealer of Curiosities)
Description: Gripner is a lean, cagey old man with as keen
a nose for business as any in the World Below. He has long given
up hawking normal wares and services and only participates in a deal that
provides special challenges or piques his very unique sense of curiousity.
Because of this, Gripner has squandered whatever riches he once had on
deals that others would consider insane (and impossible): trafficking in
fresh dinosour eggs, arranging a trip to Limbo, attaining the services
of a dead musician for a wedding. It is entirely impossible to predict
what deal will catch Gripner's interest and, likewise, what he will have
to offer on any given day.
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=2D+2, CON=2D+1, KNO=3D+2, INS=4D,
Skills: Dodge-5D, Melee Weapon-Knife-6D, Missile Weapon-Crossbow-7D,
Resistance-6D, Willpower-7D, Sub-geography-8D, Sub-biology-6D, Arcana-4D,
Alchemy-Voodoo-4D, Value-10D, Steamworks-5D, Business-11D, Navigation-7D,
Search-6D, Profile-7D, Con-9D, Persuasion-7D.
Christian the White (Faction Zealot)
Description: Christian the White is a tall, imperious-looking
white man, with shining blond hair and sparkling blue eyes. Like
some of his aryan bretheren above, he believes strongly in notions of racial
purity, morality and an amalgam of Christian and Aryan mythology.
He has managed to carve out a small niche for himself in the relatively
tolerant World Below, claiming to have not "fallen between the cracks"
to arrive there, but, rather, having journeyed there on a mission from
God to save the pure blood whites living Below and maintain their genetic
and moral superiority. As you might imagine, Christian the White
did not come to New Orleans to make friends and his zealotry--sometimes
erupting in violence--has created rifts in the underdweller community.
Christian has amassed enough followers, however, to make him a player in
the happenings below.
Attributes: STR=3D+2, DEX=3D+2, CON=3D, KNO=2D, INS=2D, PRE=3D
Skills: Brawling-6D, Dodge-7D, Melee Weapon-8D, Missile Weapon-8D,
Run-7D, Resistance-6D, Willpower-7D, Sub-geography-4D, Scholarship-Aryan
History-5D, Arcana-Christian-Aryan Mythology-5D, Value-7D, Tactics-7D,
Business-4D, Search-5D, Profile-4D, Con-4D, Command-6D, Command-Aryan Followers-10D,
Magicks: Juice (Strength)-7D, Hidden Heart-5D.
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Rio also hosts a substantial underpopulation beneath its sunny streets.
As the largest metropolitan area in South America, Rio has ample tunnels,
nooks and shadows to house underdwellers. Like the city above, Rio
Below is a somewhat colorful and chaotic place (especially when compared
to other Undercities). Its inhabitants have developed somewhat primitive
tribal units, often quite adversary to one another. They often practice
many of the magicks associated with South American and Carribean natives,
including forms of animism, voodoo, and Catholic mysticism.
Beast: Rio's Beast is an ancestral
rodent, indemic to South America, that grew to the site of a rhinoceros.
It's fur has become blackened and matted with the soil and blood of its
travels through Rio's winding catacombs. It is rumored that its organs
would provide the necessary for extremely powerful magics, including a
spell to raise the dead. It has been seen wallowing the mud of the
Amazon Below, far inland.
The Deep Mines
The Sparkling Tunnels: Brazil is famous for many of the precious
minerals its soils produce (often at a high human cost). The dwellers
below are typically masters at finding rare minerals and gems--the likes
of which have never been seen Above. Because precious metals and
gems have little value below, these miners focus more on odd and magical
items. Some dig years before finding anything of real value.
Many of the tunnels have been abandoned, for mining purposes at least,
and some residents have formed small communities therein. In other,
dark and forgotten tunnels, beasts of unknown origins have taken up residence.
Some say they have been put there to guard the mine's contents.
The Underground Amazon
The River of Life: Deep below the Amazon Above, a sister river
flows like the River Styx. Filled with all kinds of life never seen
in the world above, lined with lush vegetation and reaching into the depths
of the continent and, many say, back into Time itself. The Amazon
is both life and death to the dwellers below. It provides food and
water, but has been known to suddenly swell and flood tunnels for miles,
drowning the inhabitants.
Germania ("Hermania") de la Rocha
Description: A plump old woman of untold age, Germania serves
as a kind of spiritual leader and advisor to the underdwellers of Rio.
She is revered by nearly all of its residents, even by those who fear or
despise her. Germania is generally quite cheerful and kindly, rarely
showing a stern face or harsh word.
Attributes: STR=1D+1, DEX=1D+2, CON=2D+2, KNO=5D, INS=6D,
Skills: Resistance-4D, Willpower-9D, Sub-geography-7D, Sub-biology-6D,
First Aid-9D, Medicine (Healing)-5D, Search-6D, Profile-8D. Germania
probably has many more skills than those listed here.
Magicks: Pockets-8D, Augury-10D, Hindsight-8D, Other Form-Serpent-8D,
Healing-7D, Mending-8D, Channeling-8D, Seance-9D.
Description: Young and charismatic, Che is the first real
leader to appear in Rio Below for a long while. He tends to be headstrong,
even arrogant, and will often commit himself to idealistic and nearly impossible
feats. He hopes to some day unite the various tribal factions, and
that goal alone is making him dangerous enemies. He has attracted
a good number of followers and so far managed to remain on peaceful terms
with the tribal leaders. However, it is apparent that if continues
to seek this goal he will be marked for banishment or, more likely, death.
Attributes: STR=3D, DEX=3D+2, CON=3D, KNO=2D+1, INS=2D, PRE=4D.
Skills: Brawling-7D, Melee Weapons-6D, Missile Weapons-6D,
Dodge-7D, Run-5D, Throw-Spear-6D, Resistance-5D, Willpower-6D, Tactics-6D,
Sub-geography-6D, Sub-biology-4D, Search-5D, Survival-6D, Command-6D, Persuasion-6D,
Magicks: Unknown for certain. It is rumored that he
has Juice (4D).
San Francisco, sitting on a large bay on America's West Coast, serves
as home to a large and diverse population of both up- and underdwellers.
Unlike many other cities with a large underdweller population, San Francisco
lacks a large number of tunnels and subterranean caverns. The unstable
land upon which the city is built has precluded much digging. There
are a few mass transit tunnels (the BART subway system stretching into
the East Bay and limited local trains), but most of the other tunnels have
been built in secret by underdwellers over the years. Because of
this, the "underdwellers" of the city often spend a great deal of time
above ground, co-existing in parallel with the oblivious updwellers.
They merge with the city's homeless and transient populations--folks pushing
shopping carts, kids begging for change down on the Haight, old haggard
men trying to catch a nap in Golden Gate Park. They are just as invisible
as the populations of the other Undercities, only they happen to see the
sun a bit more.
San Francisco's underpopulation is also less structured than that in
other regions. There are numerous notable figures, some attracting
the fealty of followers, but by and large there's a somewhat chaotic feel
to the community. Alliances are nearly always temporary, fitting
the need and mood of the moment. That said, the underdwellers themselves
tend to be a bit less factional than those in other cities, often helping
one another out without extracting too high a price. As with all
the other undercities, San Francisco Below is an extremely dangerous place,
full of danger and magic (much of it colored by Chinese and local Native
Community: Very Large.
Beast: San Francisco's Beast appears
as a massive, hoary Grizzly Bear. Like his more mundane kin, he is
extremely intelligent, adaptable and a brutal fighter. He dwells
in the subterranean caverns created by the San Andreas Fault which runs
below the Bay. No one is sure how old this Beast is, but it rumored
that his predecessor was killed in 1906, when a devestating earth quake
nearly destroyed the city. It is unclear whether the Beast's death
caused the earthquake or whether it was killed for causing it.
The Prison: ghosts still roam the empty halls, no more able
to escape the stone walls and bars then they were when living. Thieves,
rapists and murders, the lost souls still retain much of their twisted
ways and demonic personalities. They know much of the spiritual underworld,
usually the darker rumors and blackest secrets.
The Cormorant Colony: on the rough rocks of the island, a
large colony of Brandts Cormorant makes nests and raises young every year.
These wise seabirds hold much knowledge, passed from parent to chick, regarding
the wilds and the sea. The Cormorant King rules over them all, as
he has done for millenia. Like other cormorant colonies, the Alcatraz
site is crammed full of birds, extremely loud and raucous, and quite smelly.
Visitors will often be met with fear or aggression unless the visitor makes
it known that he seeks the King.
A major part of San Francisco Below consists of the backyards of numerous
homes. Large Victorian-style homes were built up with their facades
right on the street, leaving room for sizeable backyards. In the
aggregate, these yards create fairly wide-open spaces within each city
block. Many clever underdwellers know how to use these backyards
to quickly travel from one part of the city to another. There are
also often old, forgotten sheds from decades gone by that underdwellers
will sometimes inhabit.
Tunnels: Chinatown is home the largest number of secret tunnels
in the city. Built mainly by Chinese immigrants in the latter half
of the 19th century, these tunnels often lead to large underground chambers,
dark pools full of danger and mystery, and even below the ocean itself.
Some say that the right tunnel will give you a short cut right into Beijing
Magic: Chinatown also has the largest magical resources in
San Francisco Below. It is quite possible to find an Arcanist or
Eyeball and procure their services. There are regular markets comprised
of only Chinatown dwellers. Also, it appears that there are some
among the updwellers who can see and deal with underdwellers (though they
may not always deal fairly...).
Hidden Worlds: San Francisco Above is famous for its fog.
In the World Below, it is more than a mere weather event. When the
Fog creeps into the City, the very nature of San Francisco Below can change.
Lost Souls, demons and other creepies become more bold. Whole neighborhoods
take on a more gothic, dangerous feel. It is possible, too, that
certain pathways, when followed in a Fog, will lead to other times and
places. Just be sure you know how to get home.
Golden Gate Park
Wild Lands: The Park sits firmly in the middle of the city's
largest residential zones and stretches for miles to the ocean. Within
its boundaries, nearly anything associated with pre-developed California
may be found: thick, scrubby hills; deep, dark forests; running streams;
whole Indian tribes still living their lives as normal; even Grizzly Bears.
What one finds in the Park is often dependent upon the entrance taken.
Street Urchins: The Haight attracts youth like no other place
in the city. They come from all over the world and then fall between
the cracks, often well on their way to becoming an underdweller before
arriving in San Francisco. Lost, hungry, tired and desperate, they
make their living as they can--often begging during the day and evening
and finding a place to sleep in the nearby park at night. Many of
these youths are 'Twixts, able to interact with the updwellers and underdwellers
alike, but unable to every truly belong. As such, they make good
contacts for when someone needs something done in the World Above, and
there are a fair number that may be hired as Bravos, thieves and assassins.
The Rabble: Mission Street's underpopulation is probably the
largest and most diverse of that in the City. There are numerous
immigrants from all over the world (both Below and Above) and a fairly
steady flow of updwellers who have "fallen through the cracks." Because
of its size, the Mission offers a wide range of services and products,
as well as some of the greatest dangers in the City. Many underdwellers
have tried to wrest control over the residents, but none has succeeded,
with the slight exception of the Chairman (see below).
The Burning: The Marina is the one zone in the City that underdwellers
cannot seem to access. In fact, they are actively repelled as they
approach (will take stunning damage of the character's Constitution score
+1D). Obviously, someone knows of the underdwellers and has wrought
some magic to keep them away from the pristine homes and boutiques of the
neighborhood. Even 'Twixts experience nausea and frequent hassling
from police when they show up in the neighborhood. There are many
rumors as to what is hidden in the Marina to require such a shield and,
perhaps more importantly, who would have the power to create it.
The Black Market: The Tenderloin Above is the most dangerous
part of San Francisco. Filled with the poor, desperate and often
addicted, the neighborhood itself is often run down and full of homeless.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the Tenderloin Below is even more dark
and dangerous. Few underdwellers will go there, and when they do,
only if they too are extremely desperate. If they can afford it,
they arrive with at least a couple of Bravos to watch their backs.
But, as with all dangerous places, the Tenderloin also offers some of what
others cannot. There, one may find reagents for the blackest magicks,
information on demons whose names go unspoken, and hire services that would
make most shudder to think of.
Chairman of Mission Street
Description: The Chairman runs the undercity in the Mission
district with the iron fist, yet megolmanical flair, of a revolutionary
Communist leader. He rejects the notions of the East Coast and European
hierarchies, though, of course he has set up his own hierarchy on the West
Coast. He has numerous followers, many of whom adhere to his orders with
Language: English, Ratspeak (5D), Pigeonspeak (5D).
Attributes: STR=2D+1, DEX=2D, CON=3D, KNO=3D, INS=3D+2, PRE=4D.
Skills: Brawling-6D, Melee Weapons-7D, Dodge-7D, Missile Weapons-6D,
Resistance-5D, Willpower-7D, Streetwise-9D, Sub-geography: San Francisco-10D,
Sub-biology: San Francisco-7D, Tactics-8D,
Magicks: Beastspeak: Ratspeak (5), Pigeonspeak (5); Avoidance
(5D); Suggestion (6D); Fluster (5D).
The Cormorant King
Description: An ancient, hoary cormorant who stands about
5 feet tall (taller than his kin), is covered in rough brown feathers,
has shining blue skin patches on either side of his head, and mesmerizing
Language: Bird-Cormorant. Can understand English (and
probably every other language). If a character who does not speak
Cormorant asks the King a question, and the King decides to answer, the
character will "know" the answer without hearing words or understanding
how he came to have that knowledge.
Attributes: STR=2D, DEX=2D,CON=7D; KNO=8D; INS=7D; PRE=8D.
Skills: Unknown. He seems to know a lot--a whole lot--about
history, past civilizations, ancient artifacts (especially those lost at
sea), and other even more arcane lore. He also has a very commanding
Magicks: Unknown. It is rumored that he has a Pacifistic
Bubble around him (STR=10D) which prevents anyone from attacking him or
his nearby kin. He obviously has communication abilities as well.
Description: Shrunken and bent with centuries of age, the
wise Empress Han rules over San Francisco's Chinatown Below like a stern
mother bear would her cub. Nearly everyone in San Francisco Below
fear her wrath, and nearly all owe her a favor of one sort or another.
Aside from a fair number of skilled troops, the Empress also employs a
vast array of spies, informants and assassins. Further, Chinatown
sits atop the most extensive tunnel system in the City, nearly every inch
controlled by Han. Very little happens in the undercity without her
Language: English. Numerous Chinese dialects.
She probably knows many others.
Abilities: STR=1D+1, Dex=1D+2, Con=3D, KNO=6D, INS=7D, PRE=7D.
Skills: the Empress probably has many more skills than those
listed: Resistance 8D, Willpower-9D, Streetwise-9D, Tactics-6D, Sciences-6D,
Arcana-9D, Profile-9D, Search-7D, Command-8D, Command-Imperial Guard-12D,
Magicks: Warping (9D); Avoidance (9D), Harm (8D), Augery (9D),
and probably many more.
Description: Fat and jolly, this old rake hides a dangerous
mean streak under his exuberant persona. Falstaff is both clever
and cowardly, often manipulating events to his own advantage without ever
taking a risk himself. He has managed to capture the loyalty of many
of the Haight's youths, often employing them as thieves and bravos for
his schemes. They regularly give him a 40% take on what they have
managed to beg or a steal (he finds ways of transfering upworld cash into
useful stock down below). Falstaff is always game for a plan that
will bring mutal benefit, and he can find almost anything, but don't be
surprised if the terms of the deal change when he sees fit.
Language: English, Ratspeak (6D), Pigeonspeak (7D).
Attributes: STR=3D+2, DEX=2D, CON=3D+1, KNO=3D, INS=2D+2,
Skills: Brawling-5D, Melee Weapons-5D, Dodge-7D, Missile Weapons-8D,
Resistance-6D, Willpower-8D, Streetwise-9D, Sub-geography: San Francisco-9D,
Sub-biology: San Francisco-6D, Tactics-5D, Value-9D, Search-6D, Profile-7D,
Command-6D, Command: Street Urchins-9D, Persuasion-8D, Con-8D.
Magicks: Elsewhere-7D, Beastspeak: Ratspeak (6)d, Pigeonspeak
(7D); Suggestion (7D); Mending (6D).
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Description: The Sisters have a dual existence in San Francisco.
Above, they are a transvestite, transgender and gay activist group, with
a heavy dose of humor thrown in. They exist mainly to ruffle the
feathers of the uptight and too-straight. Below, the Sisters have
developed a deep committment to helping the less fortunate (or even less
fortunate) of the World Below. The Convent provides haven and healing
to those who need it. While they cannot feed nor house all
that come to their doors, they can provide some temporary services.
Further, some of the Sisters have become quite skilled at combat and will
act to defend a victim of violence.
Lanugage: English. Members of the Sisterhood speak all of
the languages that are found in San Francisco Below, and probably some
Typical Attributes: STR=2D+1, DEX=2D+2, CON=3D, KNOW=2D+2,
Typical Skills: Brawling-4D, Dodge-4D, Melee Weapons-4D+1,
Missile Weapons-4D+1, Resistance-4D, Willpower-3D, First Aid-5D, Sub-geography:
SF-4D, Sub-biology: SF-4D, Value-3D+2, Alchemy-3D, Education-3D+2, Search-3D,
Leader: Holy Mother Catherine of the Blessed Thong.
Description: Mother Catherine, formally Bill Jenkins investment
banker, has served as the head of the Sisterhood Below for nearly ten years.
In that time, she has brought a new level of discipline and committment
to the order. Mother Catherine is firm, confident and often serious,
but she has a strong sense of humor and nearly endless compassion.
She will not take sides in a dispute, nor commit members of her order to
unnecessarily dangerous missions, but she will act as she sees fit to help
the most people within her means.
Attributes: STR=3D+1, DEX=3D, CON=3D, KNO=4D, INS=2D, PRE=2D+2
Skills: Brawling-5D, Dodge-7D, Melee Weapons-6D, Missle Weapons-7D,
Willpower-9D, Resistance-6D, First Aid-8D, Medicine-4D, Alchemy-7D, Arcana-6D,
Value-7D, Education-6D, Search-5D, Profile-7D, Command-7D, Command: Sisterhood-9D,
Magicks: Healing (7D), Mending (7D), Augury (5D), and probably
The book Neverwhere is copyright Neil Gaiman, the TV series was copyright
to the BBC, and the gaming system is copyright West End Games. This
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