The Underlands

Beneath the surface of Eem dwells entire civilizations and subterranean regions, as diverse and expansive as the world above. The Underlands have their own rich history, much of which is entirely unknown to Overlanders. From the deepest depths of the Shar, wherein Dweorgs scour for precious stones, to the ruddy Middle-Route Maw beneath the Used T’be Forest where Boggarts hollow their dungeons, as far southeast as the dusty, tunnel-world of Shrym, and as far north as the haunted Tombs of Ur.

The Underlands are ruled by several, underworldly nations. Boggarts of course, always expanding their unground industry and bureaucracies in search of profits, the Dweorgs, secretive in their darkest of places, entirely disinterested in the machinations of the world above, though far from immune to its events, and the Shrym, a skittish but inventive rodent folk famed for their inventiveness. These three civilizations live, for the most part, without incident–though in the past, great conflicts have rocked the very core of their world, and literally.

Not long after the Dungeon Era began, Boggarts and Goblins encroached aggressively into the domains of both the Dweorgs and Shrym. This sudden expansion was generally handled via profit sharing contracts, as well as friendly investment opportunities to the communities most affected by reckless undermining and subterranean pollution by way of Goblin digging machines. And so, though it might be expected that Boggarts grew too big for the breeches, in reality it was the Shrym and the Dweorgs who didn’t see eye to eye. And thus began the War of the Shimmering Shar, a massive conflict.

As Boggart expansion grew, the Dweorgs bargained for the right to explore newly opened tunnel networks throughout the Underlands. And though unclaimed by any nation, many were located beneath Shrym under lands. But a war would not be sparked by annexation, the war was sparked by the accidental draining of the subterranean lake known as the Shimmer of Shar, Shrym’s primary water source in a dusty land, and the epicenter of a vast river network that reached all the way to old Ryloch.

The draining of the Shimmer was an act of war and within days Shrym mechanized brigades, armed to the teeth with fire hurlers and bombards, drove out the Dweorg surveyors and into the darkest deepest Shar. However, the swift Shyrm victory was not to last. From beneath, bubbling like the somber rage of a volcano, the Dweorgs returned with their thundering bells and stone-splitter hammers. War continued for five years, until a shaky peace was achieved by Goblin brokers and the favorable appearance of another solitary, albeit powerful underlander, an old, knobby dragon called Gargamug–who with his gravitas, demanded peace and quiet and for all the racket to settle down so he could get to sleep.

To this day, Shrym and Dweorg societies are distrustful of each other, though there are no outward hostilities. Boggarts have so industrialized the Underlands that the denizens have for the most part been pacified by a strong economy, readily available resources, and the constant reminder of a grumpy dragon with a desire for quiet.