Into the Darklands
Sekamina (pronounced seh-kah-MY-nah) is the middle realm of the Darklands, below the shallow tunnels of Nar-Voth, and more well-known than deep Orv. This region consists of vast and seemingly unending underground caverns and tunnels that span continents. Found here are massive chambers, great underground rivers, and almost unfathomable lakes. Most of the entrances to Sekamina require traveling through Nar-Voth first, but there are a few deviations to this, such as Mobhad Leigh. Sekamina starts at a depth of approximately 2,000 feet and extends to about 8,000 feet.
Unlike the narrow tunnels of Nar-Voth above, Sekamina is served by numerous major tunnels that run underneath both the continents of Avistan and Garund. Many are patrolled by the major races of this layer, and this is the only way in which the otherwise warring species cooperate.
While the greatest denizens of Sekamina are now the drow, at one time the serpentfolk were the primary race that settled the region. These former servants of Ydersius had withdrawn from the surface world due to their war with Azlant and established great underground cities. Here they hibernated for several millennia, during which time other races began to inhabit Sekamina. The drow settled here prior to Earthfall, choosing to remain on Golarion rather than travel to Sovyrian to avoid the coming apocalypse. Sekamina was mostly spared from the destruction wrought by the fall of the Starstone, unlike the caverns of Nar-Voth above.
Beginning in the Age of Darkness, other races began inhabiting the great spaces of Sekamina. Ghouls from the surface established the undead civilization of Nemret Noktoria below the sands of Osirion and Thuvia, settling near large deposits of a necromantic ore called lazurite, while gugs were brought to Golarion by the Rough Beast. The aquatic race known as the skum, freed from their servitude to the aboleth by the breaking of their masters’ undersea civilization, migrated to the sunken cities, underground lakes, and oceans of Sekamina. The bizarre seugathi slowly migrated up from the deep caverns of Orv, while the svirfneblin established themselves in small groups throughout this level of the Darklands. Fleeing the destruction of their homeland, Azlanti humans came here and over the millennia, slowly devolved into creatures now known as morlocks.
Of the three levels of the Darklands, Sekamina can be considered the most densely occupied or “civilized”. The inhabitants of Nar-Voth congregate in a few large tunnels or caverns, separated by hundreds of miles of “wilderness” made up of small, hard-to-navigate passageways, while the larger Vaults of Orv are small, contained ecosystems that have little to do with one other. Sekamina may have its wilderness too, but the three great civilizations of this layer, the drow, the svirfneblin, and the ghouls, each hold sway over hundreds (or thousands) of inhabited chambers, connected by large, and well-patrolled tunnels.
- Drow: The drow of Sekamina control the largest empire in the Darklands of the Inner Sea region, which stretches under much of central Avistan from Varisia in the west, all the way to Razmiran in the east, and from under the Worldwound in the north, to under Cheliax and Andoran in the south. Its cities are places of near anarchy, barely controlled by the matriarchal 12 great noble houses filled with cruelty, decadence, and violence.
- Ghouls: A civilization of intelligent and cultured ghouls dwell in and around the city of Nemret Noktoria, found beneath the Barrier Wall mountains between Osirion and Thuvia. They are ruled by the priests of their demonic patron Kabriri and trade in slaves with the human nations above.
- Skum: The aquatic skum live in and around the large underground body of salt water called Lake Nirthran, which is located beneath much of the Inner Sea. Their numbers have always been small, but they tenaciously survive in small tribal groups in places like Temple of Ulat-Kini (located between the nations of Osirion and Qadira), and the caves of Cold Momugado, found beneath the Inner Sea south of central Cheliax.
- Svirfneblin: The svirfneblin or deep gnomes, like their surface-dwelling cousins, are exiles from the First World. They settled in Sekamina to keep a close watch on the fey of the Court of Ether in Nar-Voth above, whom they partially blamed for the gnomes exile (see Gnomish History for more details). Unlike most other Darklands races, Svirfneblin are generally friendly towards outsiders, although they are extremely protective of their settlements, making them virtually unknown to the other inhabitants of Sekamina.
Although the species listed above are the ones most commonly encountered while exploring Sekamina, there are many other races who call this level of the Darklands their home.
- Driders: Originally the result of drow fleshwarping, driders have the upper bodies of dark elves, and the lower abdomen of spiders. They are generally encountered in small, female-led tribes in the more “wilderness” areas of Sekmaina.
- Gugs: These fur-covered giants originally came from a dream dimension, pulled into the Darklands by the will of the imprisoned god Rovagug. They can be found in the lowest caverns of Sekamina, worshiping their patron with wild, bloody devotion.
- Morlocks: Debased descendants of ancient Azlanti humans, the morlocks are little more than feral monsters who live in large tribes throughout Sekamina.
- Ropers: Generally thought of as mindless monsters, ropers are actually quite intelligent and possess an advanced culture centered on the least destructive elements of the god Rovagug’s beliefs: pain and cruelty.
- Serpentfolk: These ophidian creatures fled to Sekamina following a devastating war with Azlant during the Age of Legend. Most serpentfolk still lie dormant in a magical sleep in their ancient city of Sverenagati, while others who chose to remain behind, lost their skill at magic and became more feral and savage.
- Seugathi: The worm-like seugathi are the servants of the horrifically evil neothelids, who dwell in the deep vaults of Orv.