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  #1  
Old 12-27-2011, 03:45 AM
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Designing a Phaerimm/Beholder-Ruled Underdark City

Hi, I am designing an Underdark city, and was wondering what cool ideas people might have regarding what to put in it. I hope this is the correct forum.

First, this is a powerful game. I won't get into the details as that's not necessary, but we're at 15th level Gestalt. The party will be a mind flayer and three doppelgangers.

The idea of this city is that it's ruled by a single, massively powerful Phaerimm. It has taken control of the legions of Beholders that built the city, including their Hive Mother. The Phaerimm remains in the shadows, out of the public eye.

It torments the Beholders by having them perform various menial functions- such as cleaning the sewers and fertilizing the mushroom fields.

The city is located in an area of high Faezress. Planar magic is greatly impeded in this area. Only portals provide instantaneous transportation, and those are tricky/dangerous to build and use.

Some things I'm sure I want to put in are:
  • A host of dominated spellcasters eternally crafting items in a massive Tower (where the Phaerimm lives), that reaches up through a planar breach (this is the source of cash for the area).
  • A massive Colosseum, where PCs can go watch/participate in battles (I'm sure they will enjoy this).
  • A filthy, nasty 'farm' level where the worst-off Beholders are forced to fertilize mushrooms and offal.
  • A 'warrens' level where the desperate lesser creatures (orcs, trolls, grimlocks, orogs, goblins, poor drow and duergar, etc) form gangs and beat on each other.
  • Some kind of 'temple' area. Not sure what to do with this at all yet.
  • Something to do with the Githyanki. One PC is a Mind Flayer: I'd like to start to work this angle.
  • Something cool with undead. Not sure where to go with this, either.
  • I'd really like to do justice to the drow and duergar in this realm, without giving them huge numbers and presence.

So, what I would appreciate is anyone's advice, and most especially something players have enjoyed in exotic locations such as this one.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:45 PM
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There's an example in FR campaign setting. Ooltul.

I'll be thinking about this because I've already been thinking about it.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:44 AM
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I did notice, and was inspired by, the FR city of Ooltul. I even gave my own creation a vaguely similar name.

I think the key to the place is that the Phaerimm at the top loves nothing more than to torment the creatures beneath him. Each inhabitant of the city should have its own particular torment.
  • Beholders with eyes put out, used as balls in various games
  • Cursed items abound in the shops
  • Drow slaves carrying orcs on sedan chairs
  • Poisonous food frequently encountered
  • Mindless undead ambushes
  • Random powerful good-aligned creatures getting gated into the streets
  • Loads of illusory money
  • Spellbook-attacking monsters frequently encountered
  • Drow matron forced to clean sewage with bare hands

I really want to get some kind of idea for the Githyanki, Drow, and Duergar in this city, but apart from the above I'm still blank. Maybe the Githyanki control one of the few portals that still works well...
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:23 PM
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Have you looked at any of the old 2ed Spelljammer materials, re: Beholders?
If you're interested in making the city really feel like it was built by Beholders, there's lots of morsels in those books and on the web about how they build their fortresses and ships.

But maybe the most notable thing you'll find in pretty much any Beholder architecture, for pretty damn good reason, is lots and lots of vertical shafts.

For the Gith, I've seen the materials in this trio of Paizo mags (Dragon 100, Dungeon 309, Polyhedron 159) used pretty effectively. Its more recent than most material on the Githyanki, and is pretty loaded with new ideas.
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:09 AM
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Thanks, that is most helpful.

The players are now all in the city, and I have found it relatively simple to run. It would be crazy to try it over the table, but in play by post one can get away with higher level antics than usual.

I did incorporate a very vertical, top- down architectural theme.
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