Monday, March 9, 2015

The World of Eave: Nuulsav'dum, The City of the Dead

Nuul'vasdum was once one of the greatest of dwarven cities in ages past.  It survived the Dawn War, a bastion of good and set about rebuilding their part of the world.  However, it did not last.  It became to decadent, and like all great empires of the past, feel to its own hubris.  The last king thought that he could overcome death and become immortal like the gods he revered.  His actions proved the be the fatal pin in what was his house of cards.  King Kharak Aasulve the Battlehammer of Moridan, was the final king of Nuulvas'dum and in his final act of insanity, on his deathbed he enacted his final protocol and shut himself in his chamber with his clerics, mages and smiths.  What came out thirteen days later was a powerful mummy lord wrapping in metal bands of admantine and bronze.  Soon his city and all its great works were for naught as the massive deephold died from the civil war that erupted between the old king and the new.  King Kharak's own son Brendek the Bold lead the people in fighting his father.  For five years they battled for control of the deephold until Brendek was struck down by his own father.  The remaining dwarves fled Nuulvas'dum and the name became associated with death and a common curse among the dwarves.

Over the years the rift to negative plane grew and lessened, the undead became attracted to the dead dwarven deephold.  Among them was Erikol Wros, a lich of incredible power who had just lost his lair when it became overrun by adventurers.  He entered into a tentative alliance with the mad king.  They called forth all known allies and set to create a city of the dead.  They have started with Brendek himself created in the form of a deathknight to forever guard their city, becoming the Lord Commander of Army.  His will finally broke.  He is a sad dwarf making do the only way he can.  Secretly he is trying to break his curse, end his father's life and bring down Nuulvas'dum, erasing it from existence.

The roster has changed over the centuries since the founding the Dead City.  The King still rules and his son still commands the army.  Erikol still does his eternal research greatly increasing the size of the planar rift between the prime material and the negative plane.  An ancient vampire, Lord Akartrin has taken up the mantle of slaver.  He and his brides (of both male and female vampires) search for slaves far and wide to feed the eternal hunger, such as Erikol's phylactery.

A cabal of three necromancers have taken up residence here.  There is Olaf the Heartrender, an old man who is going crazy trying to become a lich himself.  Little does he know that Erikol is sabotaging his attempts because he does not like the old man, but he is a bit too powerful to take on directly.  It is mainly due to his main apprentice Guldram.  He is a tall and handsome man who is fast overtaking his master in skill and power  He is also a sadist of the first degree though one would not believe it for he is a charming man.  Then there is Chant Ramka, a tiefling woman who is very gaunt and very pale of skin and hair, and is as evil as they come.  She is no one's apprentice having to scrape for everything she ever had.  She escaped from the slave pits of the Emaan Empire when she was younger and despises the Empire.  She would like to burn the empire to the ground but settles (for now) to take any and all Emaan slaves that Lord Akartrin brings to Nuulvas'dum.

Skavasta is an ancient and malevolent wraith of great power.  He alone has retained a semblance of who he is and has peddled that knowledge into something greater in undeath.  He was a spy and now that he is a wraith he is master of secrets and the spymaster of the dread city.

It did not take long for the Cult of Orcus to open a church in Nuulvas'dum.  The current high priestess in charge is Peogli Rotworm.  She is a fat, corpulent woman who goes around being carried by a palanquin that is carried aloft by eight powerful zombies.  Fat, naked and gray of skin, she looks like Orcus when she wears her mighty head dress, a smaller form of Orcus anyway.  She is an ugly woman who still commands great respect.  It is the center of all worship of Orcus on two continents and aspirants make a pilgrimage there to the main church. 

The Bonecrafters are a guild of craftsmen who make beautiful, if not macabre, pieces of art out of the skin and bones of the dead.  Using the ancient mummification processes, they have even learned to harden the skin and bones to make armor and weapons.  There is a secret guild within a guild however as some of the Bonecrafters are also thieves of skill and daring.  The head  of the guild is a half-elf man by the named of Jolic the Wizened, so named for the his body is horribly withered due to the fact that he was caught by Erikol were he wasn’t supposed to be.  He wants to bring down Erikol and he has a plan to destroy the lich for good.  Jolic has been hidden away for years plotting his revenge.

One might think that it is a charnel house, that no one alive could live here.  The city is divided into three sections.  The lower city is home to low, living caste of workers and slaves.  It is home to the living.  The Bonecrafthers are here as are many of the slaves for sale.  There is the high city were the wealthy live.  The High Tabernacle of Orcus dots the peak and the screams and moans can be heard day and night from its halls.  Then there is the under city where most of the undead citizens live, out of the light of the sun.  The under city is the main dwarven city that lies within the mountain.  The King holds court here in a pageant of old, hoary times.  Many of the dead dwarves go through what they have done in life, endlessly mining or forging or clearing away rubble from collapses in the deephold.  All the while Erikol works on increasing the fissure to the negative plane and open a gate to the dead plane and cover the world in enteral darkness and despair.