Into the Darklands
Nar-Voth (pronounced nar-VOTH) is the uppermost region of the Darklands, loosely defined as descending from the surface of Golarion to a depth of about 2000 feet. This region consists of countless interconnected cave networks, some of which are connected to one another through lengthy, twisting passages. While the caverns are immense and span great distances, they do not span the length of entire continents. For a cave system to be considered part of Nar-Voth, there must be a passage leading down to Sekamina, where such vast systems can be found. When surface-dwelling races talk about the Darklands, they are generally referring to Nar-Voth, as this is the only section most of them have visited, and the region from which most of the Darklands races seen on the surface originate.
Quest for Sky
The massive earthquakes that shook the surface of Golarion after Earthfall also caused tremendous upheaval in Nar-Voth. Massive cave systems collapsed, many of them inhabited by orcs and dwarves, two races which had lived there since time immemorial. The dwarves saw these earthquakes as a sign from their god Torag, and initiated a massive migration towards the surface known as the Quest for Sky. Over the course of the centuries, the stout folk continued their war with the orcs, driving the bestial creatures ahead of them until the great majority no longer dwelled in Nar-Voth.
Those Left Behind
Some of the dwarven brethren chose to stay behind in their great underground cities, refusing to give up their ancestral homelands; the descendants of these dwarves became the duergar over the following millennia. After most of the tribes of orcs and dwarves had abandoned their ancient caverns, many of the surface’s wilder inhabitants migrated down to fill them; they included the troglodytes, the vegepygmies, and the dark fey. Some humans did the same, fleeing the devastation on the surface. Exposure to strange substances and pacts with dark powers eventually transformed them into entirely distinct races, including the mongrelmen, morlocks, and the dark folk.
The derro had always existed in Nar-Voth, but also took advantage of the power vacuum left by the absence of the dwarves and orcs, seizing much of the former’s territories.
Many creatures that dwell in Nar-Voth are relatively isolated and tribal, and are generally found in small groups. However, a number of ‘civilized’ races such as the duergar, mongrelmen, troglodytes, vegepygmies, and derro occupy certain systems in large numbers. These races occasionally ascend to the surface to raid, which is why most of Nar-Voth’s larger cities are located beneath or near major surface population centers. Two examples include the duergar city of Fellstrok near the orc capital of Urgir, and the derro enclave of Corgunbier, located beneath the Taldan port of Cassomir. There are also a fair amount of species found both in Nar-Voth and on the surface, such as dwarves, orcs, goblins, and trolls.
- Derro: These insane, blue-skinned humanoids usually dwell under major surface cities, and conduct nightly raids into them in search of victims for their bizarre and sadistic experiments.
- Duergar: A sub-race of dwarves, twisted by millennia of hardship and toil, the duergar are servants to the evil dwarven deity Droskar. Claiming to have been abandoned by their lesser cousins during the Quest for Sky, they are now among the most ardent slavers in Nar-Voth.
- Troglodytes: These reptilian inhabitants of Nar-Voth are among the Darklands’ layer most numerous. Due to their love of infighting and lack of social cohesion, they have never presented a large threat to the other local races, and generally work as mercenaries for them.
- Vegepygmies: Vegepygmies are plant-like humanoids who were created relatively recently by the sporecrafters of the drow House Udrinor. They quickly outgrew their master’s control during a short-lived war known as the Stalking Death, and fled Sekamina for the relatively less-dangerous caverns of Nar-Voth.
Scattered amongst the great sprawling cave complexes are a number of systems which function as population centers for some of the inhabitants of Nar-Voth. In particular, the duergar occupy a number of abandoned pre-existing dwarven cities.
- Corgunbier: City of the derro, located beneath the Taldan city of Cassomir
- The Court of Ether: Dark fey city beneath Andoran
- Fellstrok: Ruined dwarf city recently reclaimed by duergar located beneath the orc capital of Urgir
- Gakenbode: Mongrelman haven below the Barrier Wall Mountains
- Hagegraf: Well-known fortress city of the duergar
- Krba: Ruined dwarf city, now home to derro and morlocks
- Kmlin-Bru: Derro city beneath the Dread Dungeons of Galtcreed
Places of Interest
- Bloodcleft: a shaft beneath the Pyramid of Kamaria that has a floor of razor-sharp rock
- Diepkamer: secret fortress of the Seven Partiarchs of the duergar
- The Endless Gulf: a mile-wide rift that leads down to Sekamina
- Kuvhoshik: a system of caves inhabited by many tribes of troglodytes
- The Long Walk: the main trade route in Nar-Voth
- The Midnight Jungle: a fungus jungle infested with vegepygmies
- The Zolurket Mines: cursed dwarven platinum mines.
- Vlamkamer: amethyst mine and kobold lair outside of Hagegraf.