When one first enters the city of Xeka’Helnir they are often surprised by the sheer contrast. After days or weeks underground and with only the light they brought with them the city normally catches them by surprise. The ancient drow city is located a mile underground the continent of Milvar and just north of the Darkmist Mountains.
They enter a cavern whose arching roof lies eighty or a hundred feet above their heads, with sparkling flickers of light like stars above them. Ahead of them is a vast cavern, with cramped streets snaking through the city, outlined by the dim lights of gas-lit lamp posts. Pillars rise through the air, dotted with open window frames, each obviously inhabited by dozens. Strange, gothic palaces are scattered around the center of the caverns, and shops and foundries surround the streets, cramped as they might be. Dark-skinned drow dominate, ranging from the large Soldier caste to the slender, elegantly dressed Royal caste. But other races pass through as well, merchants of every race. Humans, elves, dwarves and even the rare hobgoblin, kobold or dark elf walk the streets.
Every building is strange, yet beautiful in its own way. Each is carved of stone, with strange vaulting ceilings and roofs that are reminiscent of the surface world. Most doors are simply screen mesh, few of which have locks. The lights only barely illuminate the main streets, giving just enough light to show color and to allow other races to navigate much of the city. The inhabitants of Xeka’Helnir are oddly polite to outsiders, but those who come to know them learn the truth of things. The drow are polite to all, but especially to their enemies. Their society is designed around avoiding conflict with each other, and they become more relaxed with those they have come to know well. Their enemies do not deserve such things.
Within these lamp-lit halls is where intrigue abounds. Matriarchs and their daughters speak to their rivals in soft, hushed voices. Long, flowing gowns and corsets are common, while the tighter clothing of a duelist is widely worn as well. Within the halls of Xeka'Helnir one can find most anything one desires, if they look deeply enough.
This is the city of Xeka'Helnir, a city and society of my own devising. There are many aspects to the setting, but the most important follow.Details:
There are eight races that live across Milvar, any of which can be found in Xeka'Helnir at any given time. The ones that should be looked at most heavily are the Drow, Dark Elves and Sidhe. A word of warning, these are not
the chaotic, evil assassin drow of many other settings. Playing them as such will merely get such characters killed or executed. You have been warned. Information on the races is found Here
Details of Xeka'Helnir can be found Here
. I should note that all of the links I am giving are to a Wiki designed primarily for a System based game, which we will not be using.Characters:
Many characters are appropriate for the game, however, many are not. The society of Xeka'Helnir is very open to many things, but murder is the greatest crime that may be committed within the city. Duels to satisfaction, however, are very common, and a great number of drow specialize in dueling. Magi are known as well, as are assassins, thought the latter virtually never actually kill another. Most often assassins are contracted to show that they could
have killed an adversary. Please keep characters to the following limitations.
- No murderers or outcastes, please, it makes it hard to include such characters. Unless, of course, you build in a way to include such a character easily.
- Characters should not be overpowering. The head of a small family trying to work their way up the ranks to the Royal caste is good. An archmage or the son of the head of one of the major families is not.
- Other races beyond drow are more than welcome, however, see the description of the plot to see how you may be viewed.
- While this is a Gaslamp/Victoriana setting, magic is a common skill, and clockworks and such are relatively primitive. Thus, no clockwork automatons or the like, please.
Xeka'Helnir has been doing well in recent years. Trade has been increasing, the magi have learned to create a number of additional crops with their mystical rituals, and other races seem to be contemplating even greater relations with the great city. Thus it is somewhat worrying that now, only weeks into the trade season, a rash of murders like none that have been seen before have hit the city.
Nearly a dozen drow shopkeepers and young nobles have been murdered in the past month, as well as a trio of surface dwellers. A recent earthquake to the south has kept many visitors in the city while investigators check the tunnels to the surface, and there have been a number of disappearances. A few of the individuals that disappeared have reappeared again, only as victims of the same murderer, with their eyes put out and any link to find the individual's spirit for questioning strangely severed. More worrying, the bodies have been somewhat changed, as if the one behind the murders has been using fleshcrafting to change them to his bidding. Nevertheless, the nobles of the city have continued to meet at their parties, even as the gray-suited Guardians have increased their patrolling of the streets.
As drow society makes murdering others almost unthinkable, much of the suspicion of whom might be behind such is falling on outsiders and those not from the city. More than a few of these individuals have found themselves being watched, though some worry that instead of observers, it might be the murderer staking out his next victim. Who knows for certain?
This is the game concept. If you are interested...just indicate such, if you would.