If you enter a certain pass in the mountains of the Black Raige far beyond the Steadfast, and spend a day or two in its depths going through its winding tunnels, you will appear at the underground town of Hunder. A collection of over 1000 curious explorers, stubborn miners, and hopeful merchants, who all hope to exploit the resource-rich caverns beyond. Caverns that contain kilometers of thick jungles, chambers lined with pulsing crystals, and a plethora of creatures both big and small who would do whatever it takes to kill whoever trespasses on their domain. The mountains of potential rare material, exotic creatures, and strange numenera make the caverns and the town of Hunder a beacon for anyone who hopes to make a fortune. To capitalize on this, Hunder is constantly expanding, as the locals deploy the Birthday Moles to dig through layers of rock, metal, and synth of the cavern walls.
The town of Hunder has a plethora of shops and other points of interests that attract both citizen and adventurer alike. But adventurers be wary. While the town of Hunder is welcoming to visitors, it doesnâ€™t mean all citizens look upon outsiders friendly. While some might offer nothing more than cold stares, others might see an adventurer as nothing but a disposable asset for their latest money-making scheme.Â
Dorranâ€™s Delightful Detritus
A balding man with light brown skin and a long scraggly beard, Dorran is a Wright who buys, sells and repairs the various mechanical devices found by miners and explorers in the caverns. A somewhat mad, but always insightful, inventor, he is always willing to look at anything explorers may find and see if it could be used for an interesting, and hopefully explosive, purpose.
Of special note is his guardian robot, Boris. A 10 foot tall thickly built humanoid machine made of a rough blue material, Dorran claims he built it “with some wire, a strange glowing rock, and 30 years of frustration.â€ Although Boris obediently follows Dorranâ€™s orders and doesn’t speak, it does seem to have a mind of his own. This is most evident in the apparent joy it has at any tasks involving the destruction of large objects.
The Temple of the Goddess
It is said that when the first explorers of the Black Raige discovered the cavern that would one day house Hunder, the temple was already there. A seven story tall pyramid on whose tip rested the statue of a robed woman with feathery wings and dark void where her face should be. A void that always seemed to be looking at you no matter what direction or angle you were observing it from.
A place of healing and contemplation, it houses, trains, and employs over a dozen young women handpicked by the current head of the temple, Glenessa. Most young women chosen tend to accept the offer as the valuable education they receive there wouldn’t be available anywhere else except a major city. When their term of service is done, many choose to move away from Hunder and explore the ninth world. Most becoming well known adventurers over the years.
Who is Glenessa?
When explorers first discovered the temple of the goddess, Glenessa was there to meet them. An old woman with weathered skin the color of dark bronze, her appearance hasn’t changed in the century since the town was founded. Questions about her longevity usually lead to rather a disappointed look on her part and a few unfortunate mishaps upon particularly stubborn investigators. Perhaps because of her apparent age, many treat her with high regard, seeing her as a sage or even some form of religious icon.
Despite the high regard people have for Glenessa, she remains aloof and inscrutable. On occasion she is willing to give advice or a bit of healing, but more often than not she tells people asking for aid to “solve it themselves,” berating them for depending on others to do what they could do on their own. Her inherently kind nature often shows however as more than one fatal accident over the years has been prevented due to Glenessa being in the right place at the right time to offer aid.
Zyasâ€™ Magical Meats
Zyasâ€™ Magical Meats is the closest thing to fine dining in the town of Hunder. Buying the various animal remains that cavern explorers discover in their travels, the owner, Zyas, transforms those usually poisonous corpses into delectable gourmet delicacies that are quite spectacular.
The main attraction of Zyasâ€™ Magical Meats isn’t the food however, but the Glub Glub challenge. An exciting, if occasionally life threatening, eating contest that brings significant attention to the shop and a large exchange of shins as gamblers bet to see if a contestant survives this gastro-intestinal challenge.
The Glub Glub Challange
The Glub Glub Challenge involves eating the 5 examples of the life cycle of a creature called a Glub Glub. A difficult feat when one considers the Glub Glub must be consumed alive.
- Larval Glub Glub (Level 1 Might Defense) A putty like larva contained in a hard carapace, most challengers fail at this primary stage as the larva is said to taste absolutely horrible.
- Screeching Glub Glub (Level 2 Speed Defense) A leathery lizard body whose skin is dotted with stalks tipped with screeching mouths. Many contestants find it hard to consume the creature when its various mouths are trying to do the same to them.
- Tentacled Glub Glub (Level 3 Might Defense) A ball of writhing tentacles with no discernable body, the creature actively tries to choke the contestant with its thick grasping tentacles, making swallowing rather difficult.
- Winged Glub Glub (Level 4 Speed Defense) A gaping maw and thick leathery wings, this creature immediately attacks the contestant when released. It tries to constantly nip at the contestantâ€™s face while it deftly avoids their grip.
- Brain Glub Glub (Level 5 Intelligence Defense) A floating brain dotted with screaming fanged mouths, this creature tries to paralyze the contestant with images of their most awful memories before going in for the kill.
As the contestant eats, they notice mutations forming in their body as the strange biology of the Glub Glub begins to affect them. If the contestant succeeds in the Glub Glub Challenge, they gain a random powerful mutation (Discovery, page 399) that lasts for one week. If the user fails, they gain a random harmful mutation (Discovery, page 398 ) that lasts for one week and vomits a cluster of 10 – 15 Glub Glub eggs which Zyas gathers and cultivates for a future Glub Glub Challenge. No matter the result, the player cannot attempt the Glub Glub challenge again for a week, as the Glub Glub must slowly work its way through their system.
The Coat of Arms
Normally a shop run by over two dozen owners would be chaotic, but the disembodied arms that maintain the Coat of Arms seem to find a way to make it work. The arms constantly snap their fingers and slap random surfaces to communicate with each other as they help their customers.
The shop specializes in the replacement of lost limbs. as losing limbs is a sadly common occurrence in the dangerous caverns beyond the town. They have a wide variety of appendages from different species that can offer benefits beyond normal human limits and there are more than a few explorers who intentional remove a limb for an upgraded replacement.
The Silk Cave
On the outskirts of Hunder is a large cave with walls lined with layers of thin silk that reflect light like a prism. The silk is produced by dozens of large, fat worms that crawl across its surface. The worms are cared for and fed by their protector, a tall and thin humanoid creature named Zill.
The silk can be used to craft clothing that changes color with but a thought. Desired by the rich and powerful of the steadfast, the silk is a popular commodity. However, the stock is limited, as Zill ensures that his charges arenâ€™t exploited by overly enthusiastic sellers. This doesnâ€™t stop greedy merchants from attempting to steal a few worms, but all attempts so far always fail with extremely bloody results for the would-be thieves.
Hunder Station and Jails
Justice is swift in a frontier town like Hunder, and the guards who work in Hunder Station are exemplars of that philosophy. Most low-level crime is quickly addressed with a short stint in a small jail cell and a small fine to repay the affected parties. More serious crimes are brought to the head guard, currently a no-nonsense woman named Corrin. With no capability to hold criminals for long periods of time, such crimes either lead to exile or a more permanent solution.
The station itself is a boxy two-story building with a few rooms for offices and storage. Below it is a heavily guarded basement with individual jail cells of varying quality and cleanliness. The chosen jail cell for a criminal is determined by the apparent threat of the individual, the nature of the crime, and Corrin’s mood at the time.
Who is Corrin?
Corrin, a heavily built light skinned woman with blazing red hair, is the captain of the guard and technically the highest authority in Hunder. She generally spends her time sending drunken fools and disorderly ruffians into the local prison, and occasionally hunting down any potentially dangerous monsters that appear in the area. Otherwise, she lets the townsfolk do what they wish and tends not to bother them as long as they arenâ€™t causing a disturbance.
The Breathing Room
Although the Breathing Room isn’t the only inn in Hunder, it is the most popular. Built on top of an intersection of ancient metal steam vents, the inn is constantly rumbling with the sound of what many are convinced is a slumbering beast. Jaqko, the Varjellan owner, does nothing to alleviate these rumors and even casually mentions tales he has heard of a creature sleeping beneath the town. Strangely enough, this only increases the innâ€™s popularity as adventurous visitors dare their fellows to sleep atop the head of a monster.
While the sleeping accommodations are fine, that canâ€™t be said about the food that Jaqko offers his guest. Fancying himself quite the chef, Jaqko tries to bring Variellan cuisine to the mostly human populace of Hundor. On his good days, his food is merely tolerable. On his worst…
The Hidden Release
With so many people facing dangers beyond counting in the depths of the caverns, it makes sense for some of them to need a place to relax. Thankfully Sabo, the androgenous and lithe fair skinned proprietor of the Hidden Release, has more than a few options to help them relieve their stress.
For those interested in physical comfort, Sabo employs numerous individuals of various genders to cater to whatever desire they may have. All highly trained in various techniques and cyphers for the discerning guest.
For more intellectual pursuits, there are debates, literature readings and even games. One of the most popular games is Whims, a complicated board game that has a mind of its own, originally discovered in the Beyond.
Wear for Taste
Those looking to expand their clothing options will want to visit Wear for Taste. Run by Zyban, an imposing 7 foot tall, muscular, and spectacularly dressed dark skinned man,Â it houses a plethora of clothing options from casual to excessively formal. Whatever the user may desire, Zyban will have something for them.
Zybanâ€™s almost magical ability with cloth cannot be denied and many wonder why such a skilled tailor would choose not to sell his wares at a major city. When asked, Zyban simply smiles before saying â€œ I know a good thing when I see it.â€ Whether that means Zyban expects the town to become a city in its own right, or something else entirely, no one knows for sure.
The Cavern Beyond
Creatures encountered so far: Cragworm (Discovery, page 230), Margr (Discovery, page 240), Anhedon (Destiny, page 253), Esculant (Destiny, page 261)
Estimated to be tens of kilometers long and full of both treasures and dangers, most of the caverns beyond the town are still unexplored. Of those places that have been scouted, there are quite a few interesting points for the explorer to investigate.
The Crystal Chambers – Housing large glowing crystals that are several stories high, itâ€™s been recently discovered that these objects enhance certain Nano techniques. Because of this, a small operation has begun mining the strange substance and there is talk of a possible trade deal between the operations head, a small green skinned human woman named Cylinda, and the Aeon priesthood.
The Gas Geysers -Â At first glance, the area looks like a flat and empty cavern stretching for over 3 kilometers. However, at random large pillars will burst from the ground spewing dark green gasses that will actively pursue any living creature within 20 meters before eventually dissipating. The gas isnâ€™t harmful but it will elicit an extreme emotion in anyone who inhales it.
Random Gas Effect table
The Beastâ€™s Caves – Mostly unexplored, the thick jungles that make up the Beastâ€™s Caves are brimming with lethal creatures who all seem hellbent on wiping out any humanoids they encounter. Whatâ€™s worse, the beasts seem to be slowly evolving over time and many believe the jungle is adapting to remove its human interlopers
Worker Arms Level 1
Once attached to a humanoid in a previous life, worker arms are now disembodied limbs who only crave to work in shops and help in menial tasks. Although they are unable to speak, they are intelligent and can learn and eventually write in the local language. Although such writings tend to be constrained to receipts and work order forms.
No one knows how worker arms are created but the source of their limbs is well known. At some point, a lone worker arm will enter a shop and within its grasp will be held a written contract. The contract stating that for a lifetime of service on the worker arms part, it will have all rights to the shop owners arms upon his or her death. Once agreed, the worker arm will work diligently work for the owner till the ownerâ€™s natural death.
Motive: Get work done
Environment: Any shop
Damage Inflicted: 2
Modifications: Level 5 at menial tasks.
Combat: Worker arms generally don’t fight and prefer to simply get their assigned tasks done. When forced, they will often call out to nearby arms to help them in combat. When 3 worker arms are in close proximity, they assist each other in combat, turning them into a level 3 creature with 6 health and causing 4 damage on a successful hit.
Interaction: Worker arms are generally found in shops as helpful assistants to shop owners. The only price for their services is a small place to rest, a constant flow of work, and all rights to the shop owners arms if they meet an untimely end.
Loot: 1-2 oddities
Birthday Moles Level 2
A little over a 1 meter tall and 2 meters long, birthday moles are brown furred creatures with curved claws ideal for digging and a tentacled snout many have labeled as cute.Â Used primarily as diggers by their human masters, they also have the strange ability to know the date of birth of any creature they come across. When they detect someoneâ€™s birthday, the birthday mole moves towards them and honks the total number of years that creature has lived. Attempts to disrupt this ability have proven fruitless and generally produces annoyed honks from the birthday mole.
Motive: Dig tunnels and celebrate birthdays
Damage Inflicted: 3
Modifications: Perception level 10 versus other creatures if its the creatures birthday.
Combat: When forced, the Birthday Mole will attack with its sharp curved claws. These claws, able to cleave through rock and metal, negate one point of physical armor.
Interaction: Birthday moles are generally friendly creatures that desire to be close to humans. They can become agitated however if people prevent them from honking when in close proximity to people who are in the midst of a birthday.
Loot: 2-3 oddities.
Zill Level 5
At first glance, Zill appears as a tall humanoid entirely clad in tarnished mismatched armor. On closer inspection, it seems his joints don’t bend the right way and his neck twists at odd angles. In truth, within the armor is a creature composed entirely of bundles of thick silk strings. Silk that he constantly keeps refreshed from the silk produced by the worms in the cavern he inhabits.
Zill canâ€™t say if he was created to protect the silk worms or simply burst into existence due to a strange Numenera accident, but either way, he could care less. He loves the silk worms like they are his own children and protects them with every fiber of his being. Many a greedy merchant has had the misfortune of finding themselves entangled in his silk bindings while trying to steal one.
Damage Inflicted: 4
Binding Silk: Action. All creatures in short range must roll to avoid the silk strings bursting from Zillâ€™s armor. If they fail, they find themselves slowed as all of their physical actions are hindered by one step until they can try to break free on their next turn. If they fail again on the next turn, they are hindered by two steps. If they fail again on the third turn, they cannot move and cannot perform any actions that require the use of speed or might.
Silk Cave Healing: If Zill is fighting in the Silk Cave, he automatically regains 2 health each turn as his body uses the surrounding silk to heal himself.
Loot: 2-3 cyphers
In the Ninth World, the game of Whims, short for Whims of Battle or Whims of Fate depending on your philosophy, is played on a hexagonal board painted with an equal number of black and white hexagonal tiles. Each player has a number of figures on the board with differing rules that I can assure you are both simple to learn but also very deep. What makes it unique however is that occasionally a random figure on the board will move on its own, forcing both players to adapt to the changed circumstances.
Sadly, in our more mundane world, the game of Whims is impossible for various technological and metaphysical reasons. Thus, here are the rules for your players to play Whims at their gaming table. Each player has three 10-sided dice, and three tokens.
The goal of Whims is to have your three dice show a higher total score than your opponent. In order to improve your chances of rolling high, you may use a token to re-roll one of your dice. Before anyone starts rolling, players may use Effort from their Intelligence pool to gain one extra token per level of effort used.
When itâ€™s time to roll the dice, each player rolls in secret and combines their dice together to get a total. You may choose to use your tokens to reroll any one die, but you must keep the new roll. You can reroll as many dice as you have tokens.
When all players are satisfied with their results, they reveal their dice. The player with the highest total number wins the round. If both players have an equal total, itâ€™s a tie. At the start of the next round, each player once again starts with three tokens – any extra tokens gained through Effort in the previous round are lost. The first player to win two rounds wins the game.
NPCs start each round with tokens equal to their skill in Whims; an average player starts with three tokens while a grandmaster starts with nine.
Jesus Ariel Rodriguez is a programmer and writer who has a passion not only for game design but also storytelling. When he isnâ€™t working at his day job as a software support specialist or working on the website, he designs games as a hobby and has participated in various game design competitions as a way to improve his skills. The ultimate goal hopefully being the chance to work on unique and interesting gaming projects in the future. Jesus is the founder of Fandible, audio editor, and website admin. He is also the primary storyteller for the group, with some of his most popular games including Unhallowed Metropolis, Warhammer 40K, and Atomic Robo.
Jesusâ€™ Twitter handle: @Arvandus
Layout & Art: William Coffing
Editing: Angela Craft
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