The Living Catacombs of Elutheria

Also called the "Underhalls," and the "Crypts of the Undercity;" this underground dungeon labyrinth of 33 different levels, stretches deep below the city of Atharavon, where it connects to an Underdark city called Shadowport.

Elven legend speaks of a powerful elven wizard named Kenarfin who once came to dwell in the ancient city of Elutheria. Scholarly research indicates that while Finarfen dwelt within the elven city, he became one of the founding members of the "Synfari;" a council of wise and powerful wizards.

During his time on the council, Kenarfin is said to have devised many powerful spells, perfected many processes and crafted many magical items. But, his greatest and most controversial creation was a labyrinth of underground chambers and passages called the "Living Catacombs." This vast dungeon, which began under Kenarfin's tower, stretched down thirty-three levels underground.

After completing much of the dungeon, Kenarfin suddenly broke off all contact with his fellow elves and left Elutheria forever. Accompanied by his seven apprentices, Kenarfin made his new home in the massive catacombs he had created. To expand his massive labyrinth of passages, Kenarfin summoned and enslaved all manner of creatures from other planes.

Sadly, Kenarfin’s dealings with those summoned servitors changed him forever. The more he avoided contact with other elves, and dealt with these strange extra-planar creatures, the more obsessed he became. He grew grim; given to long silences, sudden rages, and erratic behavior. All Kenarfin seemed to care about was creating more rooms, additional laboratories, and long passages beneath his tower.

This work went on for centuries. As Kenarfin dug ever deeper, the tunnels eventually broke into the lost dwarven city of Nekrum Feyr; the capital of an underground dwarf-hold called "Tor-Kazon." Nekrum Feyr had once been home to the Delarkyn Clan, but by the time of Kenarfin's arrival, the dwarven halls had already been abandoned for centuries.

Unlike other dwarven cities, the halls of Nekrum Feyr were large and spacious—built to the scale of tall men, rather than the shorter dwarves. These ancient, dwarven halls had once guarded a Tilvium-mine called "Ironhold." The rich Tilvium deposits drew the attention of the dwarves, and later funded the construction of their city which was built around the mines.

But, this rich supply of Tilvium eventually drew the attention of the dwarves' most hated enemies; the Dark-Elves. After repeated assaults, the entire Delarkyn clan was wiped out, and the Halls of Nekrum Feyr and the mines of Ironhold were captured by the Drow.

By the time of Kenarfin's arrival in Ironhold, the Tilvium mines had long run out, but the Drow still maintained a presence there. In a series of bloody skirmishes and pitched battles, Kenarfin and his armies of summoned creatures eradicated the last remnants of the Dark-Elves. His seven apprentices often wrote in their diaries of their Master’s increasingly dangerous expeditions against his enemies.

Once the dark-elves were defeated, Kenarfin abandoned his tower permanently and took up residence in the ruins of Nekrum-Feyr. In a wicked ruse, Kenarfin invited his apprentices to "test" the traps and secrets of the vast dungeon he had created.


Only one apprentice survived her foray into Kenarfin's Catacombs; a female Elven wizard named Jhesyra. Angered over the deaths of her cohorts, she returned to the surface, then travelled west to Antharë and wrote a journal about her experiences. From Jhesyra's writings, sages gained what little is known today about Kenarfin 's dungeons.

After the destruction of Elutheria in the War of Wrath, a new human settlement grew up over the ruins and directly over the entrance to Kenarfin ’s dungeon. This small human settlement gradually became the great Amari city of Atharavon.

It wasn’t long before intrepid adventurers discovered the ruins of Kenarfin’s tower, and then the hidden entrance to the dungeons beneath it. As time passed, a number of expeditions were undertaken by adventurers to explore his subterranean lair. The vast majority of these expeditions met with disaster.

Kenarfin’s preoccupation with his underground stronghold allegedly affected his mind, for he used the halls and numerous magical gates to give free rein to his rather curious hobbies of roaming various planes and collecting strange monsters. He then enlisted these monsters to further defend the upper levels of his halls and abandoned them as a grisly killing ground for hapless intruders.

Kenarfin then moved his own dwelling and laboratories far deeper into the vast and endless darkness. Deep in the bowels of the Underdark, in the 33rd and lowest level of his dungeon, Finarfen dabbled in dark magics that gave him immortality, but at the price of madness.

Late in his life, Kenarfin also created several clones, of himself to continue his work relatively unmolested. Roaming the halls of the Catacombs, he amused himself by watching parties of adventurers fall prey to both his summoned monsters and his clever traps.

Today, no one knows Kenarfin's ultimate fate. Many who have ventured deep into the Catacombs believe the wizard is still alive, others believe he perished long ago. Some say he watches from the walls, walks the lowest levels, and is ever amused by the deaths of intruders.

Rumor has it, sometimes, the wizard aids explorers who are lost by providing a single lit torch, or a dagger clattering down from overhead; often accompanied by a human skull as a grim warning. He indulges the whims of his cruel humor by playing tricks, and manipulating explorers like puppets.

Atharavon; the City Above

When the first Amari settlers arrived, Atharavon was no more than a human town in the midst of massive, Elven ruins. Ethnic Amari soon settled here, because the site was a perfect, natural harbor on the coast of Dragon Sound, and an easy stop along the trade routes to both the east and west.

As the centuries progressed, Atharavon grew beyond a simple settlement and became a great human city in its own right. With it grew the tales and legends of the ancient dungeons under the city. The Catacombs became known as a place of horrors; a vast labyrinth holding many terrible monsters and traps. The burgeoning city swallowed up and built over the ruins of the old elvish city; its citizens now tunneled beneath the surface for its sewers, hidden ways, and castle dungeons.

In many places, the growing city met the older, darker catacombs and avoided or embraced their presence. The rumors spread, and they directly led to the Catacombs becoming infamous across Corwyn and the (probably false) claim as the deepest dungeon of the world.

One of the first to walk the Catacombs and emerge to tell the tale was a warrior named Durnan. He was the first to discover the hidden entrance to the catacombs beneath the ruins of Kenarfin’s tower, long since shattered by wizard battles and other fell magic, and he was the first to survive and return.

Upon his return to the surface, Durnan built an inn over the entrance, which he named; The Yawning Portal. It was a good spot for trade close to the Atharavon harbor, and Durnan made a good living outfitting and provisioning those who journeyed down to explore the depths.

He encouraged local priests of Aleyssia to heal those who dared the dangers of the Catacombs in exchange for large donations to their temples. Durnan spoke of riches and dangers, both in large measure, and of the vast size of the underhalls. Many others, for whatever reasons of their own perhaps they became bored or desperate for riches, adventured on bets or were hiding from foes or authorities went down the long shaft in The Yawning Portal.

Criminals once lived in the dungeon willingly; in fact, the Black Hand Thieves’ Guild of Atharavon once maintained its citadel on an entire level of the Catacombs; thick with traps, guardians, secret passages, and peep-holes. The Guild was later driven out of the city, and its former citadel abandoned.


Tales of the Catacombs

Late at night, when the lamps are flickering low and the wine is running out, taverns in Atharavon resound with wild tales of how various bands of adventurers ventured down into the Catacombs, and what befell them there.

Nearly everyone has a story about what happened to the great Company of the Grey Griffon or how someone’s great-uncle barely escaped the embrace of a demon they encountered within the halls of the Catacombs. The best tales, of course, are those that end with the safe return of adventurers laden with gems, gold coins, magical swords, and grand suits of armor.

Few adventuring groups emerge relatively unscathed from the depths. More common, by far, are the harrowing tales of those who went in and never came out, those who are found dead, or the poor lost souls driven mad in the depths. A silent toast is often raised in memory of the less fortunate: “Pray to your gods, brave adventurers, that ye end up not among them.”


The Lords of Atharavon ignore many of the dangers and troubles of those who explore the Catacombs, worrying less about dungeon explorers and more about the city and the rogues within its limits. They also turn a blind eye to a wretched, seedy community located in the depths below the Catacombs; the city of Shadowport.

Via ship, access is granted via a cavern located along the coast, about two miles from Atharavon. A ship enters the cavern, then goes thru a magical portal created by Finarfen, which teleports it into the subterranean "Purple Pool." That pool leads downward to the underground Krandar River.

Many unscrupulous captains use Shadowport to smuggle cargo to and from various Underdark settlements. Amari law forbids slavery inside Atharavon, but turns a blind eye when unsavory and troublesome folk are smuggled in or out by this route.

Rumors of a city in the depths of the earth always whirl about Atharavon, and the name Shadowport even appears in many tavern drinking-songs. Most simply regard the place as a legendary pirates’ port, filled with debauchery and danger. Most citizens of Atharavon know nothing of this nest of vipers beneath their city. Unless directly shown that the place exists, most folk cannot believe that the fabled pirate’s haven of Shadowport lies literally beneath their feet.