Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Swordsof Mars: Ancient Menaces Underground

The darkness under Martian cities hides a number of secrets. Most cities are built on ruins of past cities, layers and layers of history buried under the feet of the canal city dwellers. The ruins of the past live on there, and under the ruins of abandoned cities far above the waterline of the canals. Those underground ruins are host to illegal cults, smugglers, and conspirators; enclaves of beastmen and lycanthrope sorcerers, vermin, osquips, stirges, and much worse.

But the most terrifying creatures are the remnants of old biological warfare, weapons created by the Ancients, such as the Witch Kings of Ylum. These ancient monsters are often cunning, intelligent, and malevolent, plotting inhuman plots against the descendants of their old enemies. Dopplegangers, medusas, nagas, carrion crawlers, grells, and tentacular horrors of all sorts are among the things that lurk from the ancient past under the cities, waiting to destroy the sons of man, to devour them, to bring them down.

Though others have spoken of the dungeon as a sort of Mythic Underworld, I tend to think of the spaces under Martian cities as a Malevolent Underground, where the environment is filled with rage and hatred for the creatures of light. The creatures conspire, plot, and destroy, fleeing and regrouping and concentrating into more and more dread. This is a place of horror and survival, where the deeper you go, the less you see of common human foes, and the more terrible and inhuman you find your surroundings and your foes.