Sunday, February 16, 2020

Adul-Atpah, Undercity of the Corpse

(This was all generated with Michael Raston's Infinigrad tables, for use with Esoteric Enterprises)

Adul-Atpah was one of the cthonic leviathans, those beings who sleep away the eons deep in the underworld and whose dreams seep into the stone and bone around them. Dreams that became a city of narrow streets, leprosy-grey stone veined with scab red.

The inhabitants are human, but they are not the humans who have livedunder the light of the sun for a long, long time.

An ixionic false-sun offers dim light, but the perpetual haze prevents it from ever shining particularly brightly.

I. The Gate of the Thirty-Three Heresies

A misshapen, crumbling ziggurat of red clay whose peak is forever cloaked with clouds. Its tiers and terraces are engraved with layers of bas reliefs, monsters pulled from the nightmares of Adul-Atpah. 
  • It is the primary means of entry from upper layers of the underworld and the surface. 
  • Its chambers and stairways are covered with desecrated religious iconography. By tradition, new visitors are encouraged to add their own.
  • It is infested with small, monkey-like automata made of clay powered by tiny demon liquor engines. They rove in packs and with steal anything that catches their burning eyes, which is anything that they can grab without getting caught. They have a nasty bite and will attempt to lure visitors into a sense of security with seemingly harmless antics. Their nests are troves of stolen items.

II. The Corpus

The war with the White silk Veil was short, but devastating. While the cult of was driven from the city, Adul-Atpah was killed. Now for beings such as leviathans, death is mere interruption, the city has not recovered: The central district surrounding the gate has taken on the aspects of flesh and bone and organ, as if some grand
  • Many buildings remain abandoned or half-demolished. Rubble and wreckage remains everywhere. Cleanup and repair efforts never seen to go anywhere, thwarted by the ontological fallout of Adul-Atpah's death.
  • The Dreamers of Adul-Atpah have remained here, despite the sharp decrease in their numbers and the loss of their god. The after-effects of the war destabilized them, and their untethered dreams have become chaotic and toxic to those around them. They are still nominally the chief faction of the city, but only by name.

III. The Unclaimed Quarter

A mostly-unpopulated region on the border between the Liquor Farms and the Temple District, leveled during the war and now serving as in-fill for its neighbors.
  • Nearly all maps of the city come from before the war, meaning that none of the streets here have been mapped properly and nothing is labeled with an up-to-date name. Most of the shrines here are covers for liquor-farming operations, and most farm operations are hidden temples.
  • Runoff from the liquor farms has seeped into the ground, causing native slimes and oozes to grow terribly large and uncomfortably volatile.
  • These oozes are cleaned up by egg-shaped creatures with leathery, baggy skins, too-skinny legs, and too-big mouths with too-human teeth. They're horrible and will eat and break anything that isn't an ooze that gets between them and lunch. 

IV. The Demon Liquor Farms

Demon liquor is perfectly fine in a raw state, but proper occultists and gentlebeings of taste demand the refined stuff. It's good money, great money, and so the refineries of the Czapath belch oil and smoke and fire into the shimmering clouds at all hours.
  • The excess waste of the refinery process can still be used as fuel. Terribly cheap and dirty-burning. The district is festooned with iron lamps (despite the general flammability of everything else), and the inhabitants will even mix dregs with wax or tallow for candles.
  • Most of the main thoroughfares have been overtaken by rail lines, where massive carriages ferry the components and products of the refinery process. Pedestrians will either have to catch a ride, or use the knot of side streets even more tangled than the norm of Adul-Atpah.
  • The extraction devices (read: iron maidens) used to procure fresh liquor from living demons have absorbed enough infernal energies to spring to life on their own. They demand sacrifice of fresh / new / unusual bodies and blood, and the servants they procure from themselves are more than happy to carry them to new neighborhoods.

V. District of Feasts

Fog-choked terraces of farmland crawl up the outer slope of the city, taking advantage of the leftover divine vitality of the city's dead patron to supply food for the entire city and regions beyond.
  • The fogs are worse here than anywhere else in the city, drifting in from the liquor farms and never dissipating. The light of the false-sun rarely penetrates the sky of this district, leaving it a place of endless night broken only by the lamplight spilling from doors and windows.
  • A constant surplus of food gives the district an atmosphere of festivity and excess, despite the constant gloom. Enter any given door and you will find a feast. They have run out of names for the foods crafted here and have fallen back upon inventing languages to fill the gap.
  • The distinct is often visited by spotted slug-like beings from deeper in the underworld, come to test their arts and sciences on the populace.

VI. The Leviathan Pits

The dream-larvae of Adul-Atpah and the godling parasites that burrowing in its flanks can be found here, where the ground has opened up into the steaming pits of primal oneiric sludge.Shoddy, leaning shacks and tenements cluster around pit lips, as if hoping to fall.
  • The pits are run by a guild of butchers who supplement the stocks of the District of Feasts with meat cut from the larvae. In terms of raw factional power they are tied with their rivals the Czapath at the peak of the city's politics.
  • The butchers are fond of publicly displaying prime cuts, aberrant organs, sarkic curiosities in glass boxes hung from eaves, poles, and windows, giving the district the alternative name of "The Street of Curious Cuts".
  • The butchers are led by the Union of Knowing Friends, masters of the empathic arts who use their skills to swell the guild's ranks and place moles in other organizations.

VII. The Dead Quarter

Death is strange in the underworld. Sometimes it doesn't stick quite right, and folks have to be careful about what they do. It can't be pushed to the side. Here, as elsewhere, the dead have been given a section of the city of their own, so they cannot be ignored. Blackened columns and markers are pushed together like a jaw with too many teeth.
  • The mausoleum-lined streets are a maze (again, even by the standards of Adul-Atpah)
  • The few plazas in the district are filled with continuous bonfires, where the dead are reduced to ash and cracked bone, the byproducts of life that can be safely interred.
  • The Lightkeepers who tend the bonfires have become so dedicated to their task of keeping the city safe that they have been consumed by a desire to increase the size of the bonfires. Bring them a gift of fuel, or they might get other ideas of how you can pay their toll.

VIII. Ironmonger District

The city's industrial center, exporting crafts and metalworks out into the underworld. Brutalist factories whose flanks bear henna-patterns of rust and bored occultists on lunch break.
  • The dead dreams of Adul-Atpah are strongest here. It's not safe to sleep in the district without aid, and the neighborhood watch must keep the nightmares at bay.
  • Do not fear the cloaked sentinels you might see on roof peaks or street corners or dead-end alleys. They are not part of the neighborhood watch. Again, do not fear them. If you had done anything that would give you reason to fear them, you would not be here.
  • The streets are filled with packs of feral dogs, who with military precision wage their war of domination against the union men and watch. A great Geyr Shepherd wearing a plumed general's cap leads them.

IX. The Market Grounds

The little city, the district of stands stalls and tents. A splash of color and noise against the rest of the city.
  • The Market Grounds are also home to the Silver Eye, the city's sole sanctioned gambling house. Here come the high-rollers, the high society of this god's corpse, to play the numbers at the market and go home with their stocks.
  • The chaos of the market is managed by the Cult of the Black Serpent, whose cannibals are branded across the face with the wyrm that eats its own tail. They are, all considered, fair in their management, and will only demand body parts as payment for high-severity infractions.
  • In the center of the Grounds, filling the fountain that once had the equestrian statue of some man who thought himself more heroic than he was, is a shuddering, oozing mass of fleshy sludge. It cannot die. You are free to try, there's a reward if you can.

X. The Temple District  

Mountains of rubbish fill up the gaps between jutting blades of rock. Where there is space, it is filled up with little temples and shrines to the gods that the city will permit. That they have been relegated to the dumping grounds in the city of the Thirty-Three heresies is not lost upon anyone.
  • The upheaval of the region is the remnants of a long-ago conflict with the Lithic Courts. Some members of the expeditionary force have remained behind, and have taken to implanting shards of themselves into those who stumble upon them and inevitably offend them, just to see what happens with such a union of alien chemistries.


  1. Instead of seven degrees of Kevin Bacon, I operate under "how many steps until I end up making this fantasy city basically just Throne." Usually this is 1.

  2. Seems like a ripe setting for The Nightmares Underneath