Tucked within the Belafos Range is the pride of dwarven civilization, known by the Dwarves as ‘the Deep Home’ and by the rest as Ravos. While most Strongholds have inconspicuous entrances, Ravos’ gateway is opulent — a true testament to dwarven craftsmanship.

The Valley of Belafos

A common legend states that when the Dwarves first burst forth from the earth it was at the highest peaks, able to view all of the surface below them and bestow upon them a sense of scale. While the earth below them was rich and warm, the surface provided them beauty they’d never seen. With this knowledge they created their grand gateway; a gesture to the surface to come and appreciate what also lay below, and a marker for those who wished to see more to return to.

If the legend was true, it was an empty gesture. So high up, there were few lived within view. The sealed mountain valley was simply too high for most to live— save some of elemental heritage or particular hardy nature. They would come to carve out another tunnel to civilization, but their origin point has given them a substantial advantage in the Miasma-covered world.

Mountain peaks cut off the tide of Miasma, while whatever forces cause it to seep from the earth seem unaffected. Routine checks of the valley are made in the event that spores may blow over the natural defenses, but this fear is rarely ever realized. The valley itself is a good port for airships and the gives the usually skylocked people of the Breath a place to set down their feet on solid earth, all while still viewing the sky. Tourism to Ravos is in high demand and they are well stocked to deal with it. Their own grounds-keeping team of Rangers and those who might call themselves druids are keen on keeping the valley as pristine and natural as possible. As such, there is no farming or logging; all of their exports come from deep within the earth.

The Deep Home of Ravos

Below, the Dwarves have taken the utmost care with their true home. In order to even reach the city, one must first descend a massive circular chamber. After nearly three miles of downward travel, the road opens into a building that serves as waystation to the city of Ravos. Passing through the doors, many are awestruck as the sheer size of the caverns.

In its creation, Ravos was dug from the edge of a deep ravine and now encompasses it entirely. Miles worth of both naturally formed cavern and hewn rock form the boundary of the city, ever expanding to suit the needs of its growing population. Massive structures are carved from both the floor and ceiling, while pillars of still natural stone act as supports. In some areas there are even molten lava flows, pouring from the walls or ceiling, acting as a dangerous form of natural lighting. Indeed, the city is quite like a labyrinth to outsiders who attempt to navigate on foot, with varying layers of city and miles of road-like hallways. There are open places of meeting, pavilions to view the caverns, and pathways that look into the depths of Ravos’ chasm, but the bustle is within the buildings.

Into the Depths, Into the Dark

When life in Ravos first began, it didn’t take long for the dwarves to consider downward expansion. Carving a path down from the edge of the ravine, they quickly hit the bottom and started to dig into new territory. They hardly dug more than a quarter of a mile before they broke into another cavern… and that they weren’t the only ones that inhabited the mountain. The monstrous inhabitants of the Underdark were less than thrilled at the intrusion, and so began a longstanding crusade against the surface.

Decades passed and the death toll only rose. Further waystations were erected to serve as a barrier between the worlds and they required constant military attention. As both sides began to grow weary of fighting, they noticed something: only the monsters were attacking. The sentients that they had seen before had fled the aggression, or watched from a distance in horror. When a common militia-dwarf questioned if they could try and make contact, the idea was initially opposed, but quickly became popular— wasn’t this sort of hospitality what they were built on?

With the message delivered, the Drow and Durgar heeded the call, bringing their people to Ravos and beginning their integration with the surface world. It seems the horrors of the Underdark were enough for even its denizens to consider fleeing. With the knowledge accrued from the people of the Underdark, the Dwarves began a project to secure enough of the subterranean tunnels to create a network between cities. In the end, only a tunnel to Arcanis was kept open, as keeping an entire network free from monsters proved to be too ambitious a plan.

When the Breath began seeping into the world, it filled the tunnels of the Underdark first. Sealing their waystation, the militia there now had to keep watch for spores and leaks instead of monsters. Eventually, the only way to hold off the tide was to imbue the doors with residuum crystals— ones that need to be changed on the regular.


Dragonriders of Masai Bucketfox