In the Dark
Dusteris is an alternate material plane based on the Underdark as it appears in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Dusteris is identical to the Material Plane in terms of alignment, gravity, magic, and time. It is also infinite, but it does have a highest point (e.g. there is a point where it does not go any higher [no surface] but it goes on infinitly downward). Dusteris is one layer, but it is divided into four levels:
- The Upperdark is the realm of the dwarves and is also called the Dwarven Kingdom. While there is a true dwarven king who technically rules all the dwarven clans, each clan is, for the most part, left to govern themselves and their local area as they see fit. There are also a large non-dwarven population (mostly human) that lives in the numerous villages, towns, and cities that are scattered all throughout the Upperdark. All settlements are also allowed to govern themselves, even though they are within dwarven territory, as long as they maintain good relations with local dwarven clans. As the dwarves do rely on non-dwarven settlements for trade, local clans often extend their protection to whatever town or city lies in their domain and an act of aggression toward that settlement will be taken as an act of aggression towards that clan and its allies.
- The Middark is a buffer between the Dwarven Kingdom in the Upperdark and the Drow Empire in the Lowerdark. The Middark is often considered a no-man’s-land and a haven for those who are enemies of both dwarves and drow. When conflicts arise between the two super-powers in Dusteris its here that they are fought out. There are a few dwarven settlements in the upper reaches and a few drow outposts in the lower, but the Middark is home mostly to races like illithids, quaggoths, chitines, and other minor and monstrous races. The race with the largest presence in the Middark by far is the duergar, but they are not numerous or organized enough to lay claim to an area as large as either the dwarves or the drow and are threats to either only locally.
- The Lowerdark is the home of the Drow Empire. While it is not an empire in a traditional sense, as each city functions as an independent state and there is no centralized governance, the drow are the only group with any real power in the region and cities do maintain tenuous allancies and can work toward a common goal or against a common enemy. Drow nature always asserts itself, however, and cities are constantly breaking old allancies and forging new ones so its almost impossible to tell which cities are allied together at any one time. Drow cities are also constantly fighting with each other, but in less sublte ways than all out war. Complicated webs of intrigue and rumor are spun throughout and connect many differet cities and result in poisoning, kidnappings, murders, thefts, assassinations and their subsequent relatiations. Feuds between Houses can span hundreds of years, stretch across multiple generations, and link cities thousands of miles apart. These feuds are usually one of the main causes of an allaince breaking down and tend to be the reason that the drow cannot band together long enough or in a large enough group to mount an all out assult on the Mid or Upperdark.
- The Deep lies beneath the Drow Empire and marks the begining of the unknown. Dwarven forays to the Deep have been few and have turned up little information of any use and if the drow have any knowledge of the Deep’s secrets they are not sharing. Stories and rumors exist of ancient magic and powerful artifacts hidden in this unexplored region, but there is nothing to substantiate any of these claims.