Beneath the City of Baron's Point

The city beneath the city is a marvelous wonder! The stonework! The engineering! Simply fabulous! If you ever find yourself in Baron's Point, visiting the sewers is an absolute must! In fact, if it weren't for the sludge channels... and the cutthroat hideouts... and the otyugh pits, you'd agree it would be a remarkable place to live - once you get used to the stench.
— excerpt from A Gnome's Travelogue by Sneddijap Klarbynell
The city of Baron's Point is probably the most remarkable city on Cartyrion. It is by far the most cosmopolitan, with representatives of all the Folk living and interacting with one another. Gems and other riches arrive from the west in Chittiki trade caravans... exotic woods arrive from Felisea to the south... and every other trade good imaginable arrives by ship at the docks on the Inner Sea.

But many who pass through the city don't even realize that there is a second Baron's Point -- a city beneath the city. The bedrock beneath the city is laced with tunnels. Most of these were originally dug to serve as the city's sewer system. These radiate out from a number of collection pits in which the Otyughs of the city dwell and consume the waste flushed to them.

These sewer channels have become much more over the years. They are yet another network of streets, and branching off these streets are chambers that contain dwellings, shops, storerooms, and even two taverns. There is an entire urban economy in place beneath the city. The nature of the commerce that takes place below ground is questionable at best, but it is ultimately a part of what makes Baron's Point the city it is.
Alternative Name(s)
The Undercity; Baron's Bowels
Type
Underground / Subterranean
Location under
Owning Organization

Geography

The undercity of Baron's Point is carved out of the bedrock beneath the city. Since the city sits on a rocky peninsula overlooking the Inner Sea, parts of the undercity are above sea level - and some parts are below.

The network of "streets" in the undercity includes a narrow tunnel that leads to cave which opens to the sea. This cave, called Smuggler's Way, is large enough for rowboats or perhaps a small, one-masted keelboat to enter and leave.


Ecosystem

There is no "natural" ecosystem in the undercity since it was tunneled out by the Folk. However, a number of local creatures, and more than a few escaped imported ones, have made their homes here. The ecosystem can best be described as deep cavern. The only natural light is whatever shines through the small sewer grates. Most of the tunnels and side chambers are either bathed in total darkness or are lit by candles, lamps or other artificial means.

There is plenty of flowing water in the undercity, but none of it is "natural", and very little of it is potable. Since the main passageways of the undercity are actually the sewer channels of the city above, most of the water flowing through the middle of the undercity's "streets" contains raw sewage generated by the Folk in the city above. Rotten, discarded food, small dead animals, and of course a great deal of biological body waste are commonly seen floating down these channels on their way to the otyugh pits. Even the occasional body part from an unfortunate victim of violence in the city above is not a surprising site.

Because of the sewage and other decaying matter, there is a constant stench of decay and rot that permeates everything in the undercity. The residents claim that one gets used to it after a week or so. Disease festers in the undercity as well, though long-term residents appear to have either developed immunities to the myriad of fevers that can infect a first-time resident.

Flora & Fauna

The most significant fauna found in the undercity are the specimens of Otyugh that are an integral part of the sewage disposal system for the city above. These live in pits that were excavated as part of the sewer system. To the Folk living or working in the undercity, including those charged with tending the sewers around the pits, these pits represent the utmost danger. The otyughs do not distinguish between sewer worker and food.

Numerous other small wildlife can be found in the undercity. Rats and mice are ubiquitous. Cats preying upon these sometimes find their way into the undercity; some stay because the hunting is good.

Bats have found their way into the undercity as well, ostensibly through the tunnel that connects to Smuggler's Way. Most nest either in the sea cave or the tunnel; it is considered unwise to be in the tunnel as the sun touches the horizon - whether in morning or evening. These are the times when the tens of thousands of bats are either taking flight to hunt above the sea and city, or are returning from their night's hunting.

A wide variety of cave fungi have been brought into the undercity and are flourishing in recesses, side tunnels, or special cavern rooms dedicated to their growing. Some of these are sold in the city markets above. Others supplement the food of the undercity's residents. Still others are harvested for their special properties, which find their way into alchemical and magical potions and poisons.

Ecosystem Cycles

No sunlight reaches the undercity, except through the various sewer grates in the city's streets. Thus, there is no natural day/night cycle.

Warmth generated by life in the city overshadows any that may be provided by the sun's warming of the rocks above. Thus there is no true seasonal cycle in the undercity. Even when the temperatures drop in the world above and water freezes in the streets, it never freezes in the sewers.

Natural Resources

There are no mineral resources to speak of in the undercity. While it might be possible to come across the occasional raw gemstone when excavating a new tunnel or chamber, there isn't anybody in the undercity that is attempting to make a living in this manner.

History

According to the historical traditions of Baron's Point, the decision to construct a sewer system was first put forth by a consortium of sea captains, led by several of the Seafarer Dwarf ship captains who claimed that the growing stench of rotting garbage in Baron's Point was worse than the stench in the bilges of their ships. A workforce of Dwarven miners was brought in by one of these captains, and they set to work tunneling down into the bedrock, and once deep enough, creating a network of tunnels that led to common collection pits that were dug even deeper. Otyugh eggs brought from the Coldmarsh on the other side of the world were placed in these pits, and once the otyughs hatched, they began to consume all of the waste that the sewer channels flushed down to them.

When the Dwarves built the sewer channels, they knew that periodically, some Folk would need to go below to clear blockages and other problems, so the sewer channels were built with walkways above the water channel on either side. It didn't take long for some of the Chittiki, particularly those whose heritage made them most suited to a life in dark tunnels, found that they could use the passages to move around the city faster than was often possible in the streets above. (And whether it was faster or not, other segments of society in the city realized that travel in thei manner was certainly more discreet.)

Before long, small groups of Chittiki and Goblins - mostly employed by the city as sewer maintenance workers, decided to simply set up living quarters below the city. They carved small living chambers out of the rock adjacent to the sewer channels and just moved in. Over time, they were joined by other groups - many associated with the extensive Thieve's Guild in Baron's Point. And once enough of a population was present in the city below, it was only natural that some enterprising Folk decided to set up shops to cater to them. Today, there are even two taverns that can only be reached through the sewer network of Baron's Point.

It is perhaps the most poorly kept secret in Baron's Point that some of the shops that established themselves specialize in black market goods - including forbidden poisons and other similar alchemy and magic. But after one attempt by the City Watch to arrest an assassination-for-hire mercenary group known to be based in the undercity - an attempt that ended with none of the City Watchfolk ever being seen again - the City has decided that what happens beneath its streets is none of its concern.


Tourism

There have been some scientific and sociological research expeditions into the undercity. Some come to study the Folk that have chosen to live beneath Baron's Point. Others, a growing number recently, come to study the otyughs since the Baron's Point sewers provide one of the safest ways to observe the creatures relatively close-up. There have been some groups who come wishing to see the "otyugh slaves" to make a record of their terrible conditions, but the fact is that the conditions in which the otyughs live are the conditions for which they were bred to live.

Credits

Banner Image by RayMark from Pixabay

Page background cathedral Image by 5163451 on Pixabay
Page background manor house image by Josef Pichler on Pixabay
Page background hut image by PamelaAndrey15 on Pixabay
Page background forest image by Waldkunst on Pixabay
Character portraits by RPGDinosaurBob on Hero Forge®

Articles under Beneath the City of Baron's Point


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