The Underworld of Hades
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The Underworld was once ruled over by Vulcan’s uncle, Hades, but he sleeps in his immortal tomb. What is to be done with it now? Who will refurbish its sepulchral halls, sweep away the corpse dust that coat its tenebrous terraces, and reawaken the dead that once walked its cheerless cloisters? Who else but the mortals of earth, those same souls who have turned their backs on Olympus and the old Gods, who have found new gods to worship, virtual gods of silicon science. But what choice does Vulcan have? He must sell all to mankind, for only they can rebuild hell itself.
And what is to be found in Hades?
Bone chilling winds sweep across desolate plains, carrying the despairing moans of lost souls to every corner of the realm of the dead. Swamps fester in the pale nacreous glow that rises up from the decaying earth, tombs litter the landscape like broken teeth, shadows walk the land, muttering in the darkness.
It is home to the Spirits of the Dead and….. other things.
There are also bloated swamps, full of Mangrave trees, and the drowned dead. Flies feast on sunken corpses, twisted beasts feed on the fetid fruits of that land, and gigantic snakes feed upon them in turn, dominating the interiors. Some swamps, left untended for so long, are choked with slime. Swamp spiders spin their webs out of the glutinous putrefying slime, making their webs particularly sticky and difficult to get out of.
The rivers of Hades, the Acheron and the Styx, flow like arteries of black blood, across the land. In places, bayous have formed where the rivers widen. Black Bayous. Riverside dens and watery graves line the dark, oleaginous lakes, punts and flat bottomed boats ply the waters, manned by the souls of those drowned at seas.
Some say Hydras live in the Bayous, their many heads arguing amongst themselves over the spoils of harvested souls, and the fruits of putrefaction and decay.
Away from the rivers of hell, lie the Plains of Howling Darkness, home to lost souls, wandering in the miasmic shadows, who wail and groan, shambling aimlessly, lamenting their fate in the pale, decaying light, hence the name.
Level 1 Vulcanite
Ashes fall like rain.
Mysterious sink holes, ash-filled wells and rune-written trapdoors in the ground lead to subterranean crypts and caverns where vampire Lamias lurk, ready to burst forth and drain the souls of the unwary.
Elsewhere, crumbling towers rise up out of the plains like broken teeth. Lost souls are drawn to them, climbing up the stairwells to emit their cries of wailing despair across the land, filling all who come there with a fearful melancholy. Other towers have been turned into the nests of the Strix, a blood-drinking bat-like bird with razor sharp beaks of bronze.
At the centre of hell lies the Necropolis, the City of the Dead, the capital of Hades. At its centre a single, tomb-smothered hill, rises up over the city like a gravestone. Upon its peak is the now empty Palace of the Dead, where Hades once ruled. Round and about its foothills, tomb complexes spread outward like the suburbs of a living city. Statues of the long dead seem to stalk its streets like thieves in the night, their deeds in life long forgotten.
In its glory, the river Acheron flowed through the city, like some kind of sepulchral Venice of the dead. Funereal Barges of Silver and Ebony floated along the canals of dark water, manned by shades and souls.
Can the Royal Necropolis be restored to its former glory? Can the plains and swamps of hades be renewed? Can Hades be rebuilt? It is up to mortal men and women to decide, to rebuild Hades in their own image, should they so decide.