Writing an "Ultimate Underdark" Campaign


First Post
Hey all!

For the campaign after my current, we are delving into the Underdark! It's not a setting we've done much with, so I want to hit every trope and make it an iconic adventure. I've been binging some Underdark sourcebooks, I'm planning on leaning on the following:

-I want to use some of the NPCs from "Out of the Abyss", and start the campaign with the PCs captured by the Drow and making their escape. We've done a lot with demon lords, though, so I don't really plan on using their main plot. I do like the general idea of characters trying to escape the Underdark, leaning of some kind of plan, and then having to go back in better equipped.

-I want to use a lot of the creatures from "Veins of the Earth" to capture the weirdness of the lower levels.

-I'm a huge fan of the environments presented in the 4e Underdark book, I'm going to lean on that sourcebook quite a bit for most of the exploration.

I'm still figuring out the main plot, but I do like the idea of Lolth as a "Final Boss", and a climax set in the Demonweb pits. Or I might have the high tier be about Lolth in opposition to Torog, where the PCs pick a side.

Anybody have any great Underdark experiences or resources to share? Has anyone used Lolth to drive a metaplot?

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Have you read/run any of the Adventurers League expeditions from that season? Several have good fodder for an Underdark campaign. I’ve run 3-16, Assault on Maerimydra, a couple of times as an excellent final boss fight.


Track down a copy of the 3.5 Forgotten Realms module City of Spider Queen. Awesome adventure.

There have also been some great Underdark adventures from Dungeon magazine: Khazefryn (#81), Divisions of the Mind (also in issue 81), and Spiral of Manzessine (#94) to name a few. The Chasm Bridge (actually in Dragon #131) is a fun side trek while wandering through the Underdark.


Get your hands on the 2e menzoberranzan setting. It describes drow much less rainbow snowflake fairytale like than the oota. It also gives several ideas on adventure hooks in the underdark. A good approach is to let the pcs encounter the different cultures of the ud, drow duergar kuotoa aboleth etc. Like it is also done in oota. Read the first drizzt books but also the war of spiders or so trilogy to get a feel for the stletting

I really like the concept of the duergar, but I've never been fond of how their society's been portrayed officially.

What I did in my homebrew was make them "the evil dwarves" by pushing dwarven militancy, but also their dour nature, up to eleven. My duergar society is "gray" in every sense of the word. Everything isn't just function over form, but function instead of form. They have literally no concept of art, beauty, or aesthetics. No music. No flavor. No humor. There's some trade in surface art, spices, etc., but it's more about a mild curiosity and a desire to understand other cultures purely to assess how threatening they are, or whether they're worth the effort to raid.

This includes, of course, placing no value on the sanctity of life. They're still evil; it's just a banal, almost machine-like militaristic evil.

The duergar take joy only in military accomplishment and victory, or in the creation of goods that are solid and functional without unnecessary flourish. That's it.

It made for a far more memorable and distinctive experience, for my players, than just another "evil and nasty" poor echo of the drow.

(I'm also happy to share my homebrew take on the derro and the mind flayers, but only if you found the duergar one helpful. Don't want to turn this thread into "Ari's Underdark." ;) )

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
(I'm also happy to share my homebrew take on the derro and the mind flayers, but only if you found the duergar one helpful. Don't want to turn this thread into "Ari's Underdark." ;) )

Not to hijack the thread, but I'd like to hear about your take on them. I'm getting ready to create my first homebrewed world, and I'd like to see if its possible to keep some races by modifying them instead of just creating my own races.


Lowcountry Low Roller
Spent the last year running a high level remix of OotA and I think my biggest issue is the lack of socially interesting places to visit. It’s a very “quiet” campaign area IMHO. Very hard to run into plausible interesting characters because of the lack of civilization. OK if that’s what your party enjoys, but for my group is been a bit relentless. We’ve made it to Mantol Derith which is offering some relief, but it’s hard going. Fortunately we’re almost done with the campaign...

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