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Developer Blog: What's Lurking in the Underdark?

By Andy (StrumSlinger) | Mon 05 Oct 2015 10:12:03 AM PDT

The next Neverwinter expansion Underdark takes you back to the dangerous and mysterious realm hidden underneath the surface world of Faerûn. It is a vast network of underground tunnels, home to a host of evil beings driven deep into the caverns at the end of the age of demons.

This isn’t the first time adventurers in Neverwinter have experienced this deadly realm. The adventure zone of Rothé Valley featured an incursion of drow slavers from the Underdark. The Whispering Caverns area of the Underdark is filled with drow, duergar, and a mind flayer enclave. And of course, the Fiery Pit area of fabled Gauntlgrym was recently seized by the Elemental Evil cult known as the Cult of the Eternal Flame.

The Underdark is vast, its network of caverns are spread underneath all of Faerûn. Because of the immensity of these caverns and the dangers they pose, most of the Underdark is largely unexplored. Whole civilizations have risen and fallen here, with the surface world unaware of their passing.

Exploration of the Underdark is risky, and those unprepared meet a grisly fate. But for those who learn the ways of this realm find a wealth of dark beauty.  The ambient magical energy of the Underdark known as faerzress provides a dim ambient illumination, lighting up giant fungus growths. Vast underground lakes and waterfalls shimmer with icy coldness, hiding its watery denizens beneath its surface.

Yet many races claim the Underdark as their own. The dark elves known as the drow have carved out an empire for themselves here, their city of Menzoberranzan being the birthplace of the renegade drow hero, Drizzt Do’Urden. Other races including beholders, derro, duergar, dwarves, mind flayers, kuo-toa, and svirfneblin have also carved out niches on this realm, claiming the riches of the Underdark for themselves.Conflict between them is frequent, based on territory disputes, slave raids, resource battles, and simple xenophobic purges of the other races.

Recent events have caused many of the races to cease hostilities in face of a greater threat. Gromph Baenre, drow Archmage of Menzoberranzan cast a spell that ignited the faerzress and opened portals to the Abyss. Demon lords and their minions were pulled from the Abyss into the Underdark where they started a campaign of destruction and madness. Many Underdark dwellers were forced to flee from the demonic incursion. News of the invasion soon reached the surface world, where many factions gathered their forces and entered the Underdark to try and stem the tide. Even some of the legendary Companions have entered the fray. Bruenor Battlehammer, Regis, and Drizzt Do’Urden seek to stop the madness and corruption being spread by Demogorgon, the Demon Prince.

Join the Companions in their quest to stop the demonic invasion and push back Demogorgon to the Abyss! Prepare yourself for the upcoming Neverwinter: Underdark!

Randy “Arkayne” Mosiondz

Senior Content Designer and Loremaster on Neverwinter

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