Campaign of the Month: August 2021
City of Splendors. Dungeon of Madness.
The Dungeon Level
- The first level of Undermountain, well-traveled by adventurers.
- Only well-hidden treasure still remains.
- The Entry Well is the main entrance, but there are others.
- The Xanathar’s goblin tribes control most of this level.
- Downshadow frontier village in the southernmost cavern, run by the Doom Raiders Company.
- Ancient elven obelisks support the Melairshield.
The uppermost level of Undermountain is most commonly called the Dungeon Level, mainly because over the years the Lords of Waterdeep sentenced dangerous criminals to be shut away in its halls, in exile to live amongst monsters and traps held therein. While this barbaric practice is rare these days, the name holds.
Historically, it has also been called the Thieves’ Level, out of city-wide belief that it was ruled by the Shadow Thieves of Waterdeep, and is populated by criminals and assassins laying in wait to plunder the city above. Some sages call this sprawling complex the Temple Level in honor of the many temples to dark gods constructed over the years.
It is far and away, the most explored level of Undermountain. Many a tipsy young noble or visitor has been lowered down the well from the Yawning Portal with a lantern or torch in one hand and a weapon ready in the other, to look around fearfully—and venture as far as they dare. As a result, all residents of the city knows a little of what the Dungeon Level looks like, and they have heard of the messages scorched onto the stone walls near the Entry Well.
History of the Dungeon Level
It was once the uppermost of the dwarven halls of Melairbode, where the realm of the dwarves met the catacombs of the ancient elven capital of Aelinthaldaar. Many chambers still hold traces of elven and dwarven architecture, a symbol of the trade that once flourished between the two nations.
After the fall of the elves and dwarves, these chambers were long used by the Lords of Waterdeep as a dumping ground for criminals, the insane, and other undesirables, hence the common name. It’s also known as the Temple Level, for the many temples of dark gods constructed here over the years, as well as the Tomb Level, for the many lords and kings that were interred here as well.
As explorers of Undermountain often visit this level, its features are common tavern-talk of Waterdeep. The walls are damaged, and the rooms looted, scarred in graffiti, and stained by tribes of savage goblins and avaricious adventurers.
The Entry Well. If you want to see adventurers descend into the depths, or perhaps glimpse some returning with wondrous treasures, visit the Yawning Portal Inn in the Castle Ward. Built atop the ruins of Halaster’s Hold, the Yawning Portal contains the only publicly known entrance into Undermountain: a large well that drops down into Undermountain’s Dungeon Level. .
Hall of Pillars. Leading from the Entry Well is a long hallway decorated with etchings of demons on the North and South walls. This hallway leads to the Hall of Pillars, a well-known Undermountain landmark.
Hall of Mirrors. Niches are set into the walls on either side of this hallway. Mirrors hang in each niche, the frames bearing ornate carvings of ghoulish faces and demonic forms.
Ancient Elven Obelisks. Three ancient obelisks help ward the elven Melairshield above Undermountain.
The Bone Throne. This chamber can be found northwest of the Entry Well. There is a large throne made of bones on a dias in the southern side of the room.
Chamber of the Well. A deep pit in the center of this circular room pulls any who near into its depths, and shoots them back out into the room.
Dead Man’s Throne. This throne can be found southwest of the Entry Well. Though there were feet-bones at the feet of the throne as though somebody was sitting on it, the rest of the skeleton floats above the throne. The skull always faced onlookers.
Hall of the Three Lords. Standing atop stone plinths in the middle of the chamber, facing east, are three 6-foot-tall statues depicting male Waterdavian nobles clad in decorative plate armor.
Hall of Heroes. A corridor with forty inward facing granite statues of dwarven warriors.
Hall of a Hundred Candles. This room, or more a corridor, was south of the Entry Well. Along the hall are scores of floating candles. The hall holds a gate to Muiral’s Gauntlet.
Throne of the Minotaur. On the ceiling of this room is an upside-down stone throne, seated upon which is a mummified minotaur with gems embedded in its eyes
Map Room. Near the stairs down to the Goblin Market and the second level of Undermountain is a large room with a fresco showing a cutaway diagram of the dungeon.
Downshadow. Downshadow is the name commonly used to refer to the southern section of the Dungeon Level in Undermountain, an unofficial district of the city that has grown in the last century.
Other areas of the Dungeon Level spoken about in local taverns include the Cavern of Eyes, the Falling Stair, the Grim Statue, the Hall of Sleeping Kings, the House of Pain, the Lanceboard Room, the Sundered Throne, the Temple of Gulkulath, and the Temple of the All-Seeing One.
Adventurers. Companies of adventurers frequently travel down the Entry Well to seek the treasure and glory of Undermountain. The Adventurer’s League and the Yawning Portal partner to fill the dungeon with fresh cannon fodder.
Agents of the Eye. Bandits, smugglers, and various goblin tribes pledged to the Xanathar control much of the Dungeon Level, using secret tunnels imto the sewers to smuggle illicit goods and slaves.
The Black Network. Based out of their garrison in Downshadow, the Zhentarim make infrequent assaults into the dungeons.
Cult of the Dead Three. The cultists raise undead that they mark with their symbol, a skull with a knife through it. It’s believed they have a temple in the northern chambers of the Dungeon Level.
Scaly Doom. A cult of lizardfolk dedicated to a dark reptilian god.