From the Heavens, to the Far Deep

The World of Araea

From the irradiated wastelands of the surface to the unknown darkness of the Far Deep, the world of Araea is one of extremes. Against all odds, life has taken root beneath the ground in vast caverns and labyrinthine tunnels. The din of civilization echo in polluted and crowded pockets. The bold and the desperate brave the unexplored dark in search of glory and gold. Even after centuries of crawling through the dark, much of Araea remains shrouded in mystery... And peril.   Araea is a bleak and dangerous world, full of terror and wonder in equal measure. Mankind is not the master of this world, but children fumbling in the dark.    
Welcome to Araea.

by Jama Jurabaev


The Surface

The Surface is the land beneath the uncaring stars. It is a world of jagged mountains and wind-swept deserts, of irradiated wastelands pocketed by star-strikes and storms that rage across continents. It is a land where only the bold or crazed seek their fortune.   The Surface of Araea is a barren place. Water is scarce except in the form of massive glaciers. There are no oceans, only rivers and small lakes or toxic swamps. The most common terrain across the Surface is rocky and desolate. Much of the surface is lethally irradiated, making travel dangerous. Travelers frequently wear charms said to ward of the Blight, typically with poor results. Canyons or sinkholes sometimes break into the tunnels and caverns of the Outer Shell, allowing sunlight to bleed into the dark. These places are links to the surface, allowing the bold to explore the forbidden lands above or life to bloom in these sheltered, sunlit gardens.  
Blight   Radiation is a constant hazard on the surface. Entire continents of the planets are shrouded by lethal storms and even the most benign lands of the Surface are still tainted with poison. Called "Blight" by the denizens of Araea, it is a poorly understood and frequently fatal phenomenon.   Read more about Blight
  Despite the dangers, the Surface is not empty. Rare pockets of life thrive along the edges of the glaciers or in unrecognizable forms in the cosmic-blasted mountain peaks and irradiated valleys. Nomadic tribes of exiles and mutants eke out a terrible existence in the wastes, while strange lights in the night herald the arrival of strangers from beyond the stars. Towers of white stone have been sighted deep in the blighted wastes where no one could or should survive.   Few human structures grace the surface world. Those that do belong either to prospectors, explorers, or star-crazed cults. Greed drives them here, even among all the dangers of the Surface, and they gather in hunting camps or desperate settlements. No matter what walls they raise or lands they claim to own, humanity are only visitors here, at the mercy of the Surface's true masters.  

by Jorge Jacinto

The Surface is a cold place, with temperatures frequently plunging below freezing all year. Temperatures reach their highest point in the Season of Fire, for a brief temperate climate accompanied by sweeps of heightened radiation and blight-storms. They drop to their lowest in the Season of Dark, when much of the surface becomes encased in ice and darkness.  
The Howling Plains   A great stretch of the equator is dominated by a great, flat plain that may in some unimaginable distant past been the bottom of an ocean long since worn down by meteoric barrage and eroding winds. The storms are near-constant now, giving the plains their name. Particularly dangerous are the irradiated dust-storms, with winds that can flay the flesh from bone.

The Outer Shell

Just beneath the skin of the world, the Outer Shell goes only a few miles deep below the surface. Halfway between the true depths and the dangerous Surface, it has neither the riches nor unique ecosystem of the Inner Shell nor the blight-riddled host of terrors of the Surface. The caverns here are smaller than those deeper down, with tunnels winding for many miles between them. Like the surface, water is scarce and usually comes in the form of trickling streams or rivers from glaciers that lie above. Those who settle here do so near one of these precious sources of freshwater, sometimes forced to venture to the Above in search of ice.  
by Tom Gaineor (Unsplash)
  Other dangers make the Outer Shell a daunting place to live. Earthquakes, meteorite impacts or sudden sinkholes all threaten to crush settlements or cut them off from vital resources. Shifting patterns of radiation cause the Blight to sometimes creeps down into the tunnels or pollute their streams. Still, there are opportunities here for the daring. Most business ventures in the Outer Shell are for the rare resources that can only be found on the Surface. Danger does little to discourage these sorts of enterprises, no matter how many fail.    

The Inner Shell

Deep into the dark and far from the sun, the Inner Shell is the most populated region of Araea. A vast subterranean world, the Inner Shell is home to caverns that stretch for miles, tunnels large enough to fit giants, mushrooms as tall as men, rivers of magma, and subterranean oceans. At the highest points of the Inner Shell, the caverns taper off, and the tunnels become smaller as they approach and merge with the Outer Shell. The opposite is true as the Inner Shell meets the Far Deep, where the caverns grow monumental in size and ever more alien.  
The Abyss   While the Inner Shell is home to countless underground lakes and rivers, the Abyss dwarfs them all. An underground ocean of titanic scope and depth, the Abyss is a world unto itself and there is life in the inky black waters.  
  Different layers of ore and rock create a rich tapestry of color and texture, painted with lichen and bioluminescent fungi that ooze pools of light in the vast darkness. Quartz and crystal, sometimes growing to enormous proportions, create great and tangled spires, while dying magma vents leave behind vaults of obsidian.   Temperature and climate vary greatly between the stretch of the Inner Shell from cold, wet, and unpleasant to unbearably hot, with everything in between. Blight is rare in the depths, though not unknown, but the pollution from cities and human filth more than make up for it.   Cities and villages have grown to fill the space in the forking, twisting tunnels and the large caverns. These settlements are sprawling, disjointed things, separated by chasm or connected through labyrinthine tunnels. But for all their size and industry, civilization remains very much a flickering light, surrounded by a vast unknown dark.  
Bio-Caves by Josh Eiten

The Far Deep

Beyond the Inner Shell and following miles of shafts or ancient magma tubes, deep into the world lies the Far Deep. It is an alien world, where titanic cthonic worms to the much-feared mind-hunting Shrikes stalk nameless lands. The caverns and tunnels of the Far Deep are the largest and most expansive, with bottomless chasms and hollow sprawls mingling with rivers of black ice and fire.   For every truth, there are ten legends about the true nature of the Far Deep and what it contains; from the birthplace of the world to a paradise to those who can push past it. Like the Surface, the Far Deep draws explorers, prospectors, and adventurers with enough coming back with wealth and glory to perpetuate the cycle.  

by Piotr Dura

The World At A Glance

The Surface

Sometimes called the Above, it is the world beyond the caverns and tunnels. The Surface is an inhospitable place, with few places for frail humans to survive. But the blighted lands are not devoid of life, home to terrifying beasts like the Mahu'ca.  

The Outer Shell

Nestled close to the Surface, the Outer Shell lies just below the skin of the world with open wounds often connecting the two.  

The Inner Shell

Miles beneath the earth and far removed from sunlight, life in Araea has taken root and infest every nook and cranny it can.   Survival is a daily struggle. No matter where, from sprawling city-state to isolated village, there is never enough for everyone.  

The Far Deep

Below even the Inner Shell's most distant tunnels, the Far Deep begins. It lies at the very deepest places known, vast and terrible. It is a place of myth and legend - as well as death.  
For all the years that humanity has spent in the deeps, most of the world remains shrouded in darkness. Civilization is a small spot on a blank map, surrounded by "here be dragons"
The Surface
Geographic Location | Feb 15, 2021

The Surface of Araea is a blight-blasted wasteland of barren deserts, frigid arctics and terrible monsters. Only the brave meet these dangers to carve fortune from the wasteland.



One of the most feared hazards of the Surface is the radiation that taints the land or spreads far and wide through furious dust-storms - the people of Araea known it as Blight. It is poorly understood, surrounded by superstition.  
by Jens Jonsson
  Blight-Trackers have spent their lives mapping where the land is tainted and learned how the dangers shift. They make maps from magnetic sand, study patterns and have through trial and murderous error gained a rudimentary understanding of Blight. This knowledge makes them an invaluable addition to any expedition that seeks to brave the Surface and they know it well when negotiating.   Read more about the Blight-Trackers  
Star-Chasing   Rarely has mortal danger done much to deter the greedy and there is no better example than the business of Star-Chasing.   Star-Chasers seek the sites of meteoric impacts to harvest the fallen celestial. Often, they're left with little more than ice, rock, or meteoric iron, but sometimes they get lucky. Some rare few come home with Starsteel and their fortunes are assured.   Read more about Star-Chaser
The Outer Shell
Geographic Location | Dec 31, 2018

The Outer Shell is the name of the caverns closest to the surface and in some cases just below, peeking up onto the sky through jagged fissures or deep shafts.


Life in the Deep

It isn't easy to survive in the underworld, where food and light are always scarce. Underground lakes and rivers hold herds of blind fish that feed off the detritus of others and are in turn hunted. Lichen and fungi support floating jellyfish and insects in every variety of prey and are preyed upon in an endless cycle. Every corpse is food, and nothing goes to waste.   As the caverns widen and grow larger, so does the life they support, while bioluminescent flora, magma vents, and glowing crystals provide both light and heat to all the things that dwell below. The greater the depths, the grander the caverns.              
The Inner Shell
Geographic Location | Jul 10, 2022

The Inner Shell lies far below the touch of sunlight, deep within the earth. Here, the caves are vast and the seat of humanity can be found in an dark ocean of wilderness.


Cities in the Deep

The Inner Shell is home to the largest centers of population in Araea in the form of powerful city-states. Only at these depths are there enough resources to sustain a larger population - and even then, just barely. Food and water are constantly in short supply. In a year of bad harvest, even the wealthy go hungry and the poor face even worse fates.   Cities in Araea sprawl in all directions. They are noisy and chaotic: with no seasons, no day or night, there is always movement and life. Mushrooms must be harvested, metals mined, and caverns expanded. There is rarely time for rest.  
by Ubisoft - NWN
Mharaji   The greatest and most powerful of all city-states is Mharaji. Thousands of souls share the city, ranging from wealthy nobles to impoverished squatters. The city straddles a gorge that leads directly into the Far Deep, a fact that nearly saw the city destroyed in its past. Mharaji's size and wealth make it almost ungovernable, and it is a patchwork of local powers.   Read more about Mharaji
The Far Deep
Geographic Location | Feb 16, 2019

Deep Roads

The Inner Shell is not always a continuous whole. Tunnels crack and shift, entire caverns collapse or flood, the path from one point to another may no longer be as easy as it once was. City-states live and die at the whim of uncertain stone.   Travel is never a straight line and travelers are sometimes forced to go through the Far Deep to reach another part of the Inner Shell. The bold, desperate, or foolish occasionally take a route through the Far Deep to gambit to save time.
Beyond these mortal realm lie stranger places still. The Labyrinth worms its way beneath the skein of the world, a space between all spaces, with the Dark City at its heart.   On the Surface, the stars intrude on Araea's soil and celestial visitors remake the land to their liking. In those forbidden zones, another worlds is forced on Araea.   In the far-flung corners of the dark, explorers find tunnels that lead them to impossible places or through impossible journeys. Halls of spirits, monolithic dens of ancient monsters, ruins where none should be, doorways that take them halfway across the world with one step.   Everywhere, there is mystery and wonder. To those who dare, glory awaits within the darkness.
Beyond the Deep
Myth | Dec 30, 2018

The Far Deep is a distant land of strange and alien things, of mystery and legend. But what lies beyond the most distant parts of the world?

Bio-Caves by Josh Eiten


Please Login in order to comment!
8 Jul, 2018 17:50

You paint a really rich picture with this that makes me want to dive in and explore all of these locations. My only suggestion would be to try to tighten up the writing here as you move a lot of the description of those areas to their own articles.

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

8 Jul, 2018 17:51

Thank you and thank you for the feedback!   Yeah, I'll keep that in mind. Maybe chop this one up into more summary-like bits and move the details into their own articles and expand there.

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
8 Jul, 2018 17:58

I think it'd read much more smoothly, though as a disclaimer I am the sort to personality try to keep articles under 1k. The less scrolling the reader has to do the more likely they are to read it all.

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

13 Jul, 2018 11:48

Agreed. If an article is too long, people are likely to skim or skip it.   I'll probably return to this after summer camp, but until then, perhaps breaking up the block of texts with some more images might help?

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
13 Jul, 2018 14:32


Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

8 Jul, 2018 17:54

The level of detail here is amazing. A lovely, diverse, and rich world in which to build upon...well done indeed! Great use of the artwork, though I feel like something could have been done with the right-hand sidebar. I know it's always difficult to find the right 'material' to place in there to 'fill out' the article, perhaps some of the quotes and/or excerpts? Overall, a wonderful article and you should be proud!

8 Jul, 2018 18:12

Wow, thank you! :)   I'll keep that in mind, especially when combined with the comment above. Maybe put links to more detailed articles in the sidebar, or example location excerpts?

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
8 Jul, 2018 18:36

Something. I've often filled the sidebar with other graphics that I want to show, but don't necessarily 'fit' into the main body of the article. Or I place personal quotes or excerpts, or you can use it to expand on an aspect of your article. Maybe there's a region you are really excited about and you want to go into further detail that could segue into another article...having something like that in the sidebar could be handy.

13 Jul, 2018 11:51

Yeah, that's a great idea! Thanks! I'm going to see if I can find any good images or chunks of fact to populate the sidebars with.   I'm thinking starting with a sidebar intro to some of the differences in Araea compare to most worlds. No trees, no dogs, no birds as we know them. That might be a good side panel to start with and fill out with images and bits/bobs. What do you think? :)

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
8 Jul, 2018 18:43

At the risk of sounding like I'm parroting everyone else, I love the amazing amount of detail you have in your article! I can't wait to read more of your world :D

8 Jul, 2018 19:41

Thank you! That definitely encourages me to keep writing more for it! It'll be very interesting to see what parts of the world people gravitate towards! :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
2 Dec, 2018 21:19

It looks nice, I'l be reading the rest of the Araea texts soon :)

11 Feb, 2019 12:36


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
4 Dec, 2018 21:41

Really nice and informatic read, my friend! But you have some then/than-mistakes in there as well as some typos. Not much, though.   Your world reminded me on fallout at first, but I learned quickly, that yours is way more dangerous and diverse.   I will continue to read further!   Big love!

11 Feb, 2019 12:15

Thank you <3

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
5 Mar, 2019 05:58

I like how you've adapted the hollow earth theory to this world. I thought you could elaborate a little more on the dangerous of living underground, just as you emphasized the radiation of the surface world. Likewise a good use of pictures and links, but the mostly grey writing on a dark background made it a struggle to read. Was this colour choice meant to simulate how difficult it is to get around in your world?

5 Mar, 2019 13:50

THanks for the comment!   But no, that's not a color choice. Could you perhaps take a screenshot of how the text looks for you, please? It looks pretty good on my end, so I wonder if it may be a difference between screen setups, or if it's the same and I'm just not seeing it. :)

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
5 Mar, 2019 13:59

You may be right. I opened it in chrome and it was a lot more readable.

6 Mar, 2019 12:06

If I would have to describe the article in one word is, awesome. Great detail, interesting places, great wording and well much much more, a job well done here dude. I am kinda wondering what resources are there to be found on the surface that gives a good reason for people like blight trackers to traverse it

11 Jun, 2019 13:19

It varies a lot: meteorites that crash on the planet carry metals, while some of the critters are edible or otherwise useful. Other places are significant in themselves: lakes of chemicals, or obsidian from volcanic eruptions, and so on. Stuff like Starmetal or the Pahu Worms.   Wealth, food or weird stuff, essentially!

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
R. Dylon Elder
6 Mar, 2019 19:46

Ok so first off I found one error here.   " Different layers of ore and rock create an rich tapestry"   A rich tapestry I think :)   Now to the article. I've read this one before I do believe. The layout is pretty good. lot of article blocks though that can be a little intimidating. This seems to be an intro to the geographic regions, yeah? I think just using links would be alot better, not that its bad. As I've cone to know more about this world it got far less overwhelming but part of me sees these blocks and it kind of has a correlation to adds on a blog post. That is essentially what they are so its not a big deal but it can break immersion a tad. That's just me tho. Youve done it on many articles with no hiccups like this so it could just be the day for me XD. The prose was just fine, and did draw me in. I didnt skim too much either though I had a few moments wherein did simply because I was somewhat familiar with the topic of the section already.   Not too long but in the last person on WA to make a statement on length.   I am curious as to why you made this article when you already have an introduction. It's a lot of info so that's probably why but I was curious. The things that really make ne wanna read more are the mysteries particularly the far deep, which is my question. What riches and good in particular are achieved and brought back. What could justify the cycle of such dangerous delves?

11 Jun, 2019 13:29

Thank you for the feedback! :D   And I actually wrote this article before I wrote my other one. This was the first article written for Summer Camp. I decided to make another one to talk more generally about the setting, but didn't want to have one article that was over 3000 words. So I split it in two!

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
26 Apr, 2021 12:29

The layout is awesome! I didn't skip anything because the article is not too long and the descriptions are excellent! Everything feels so frightening but alluring at the same time. You know that dangerous thing are going to surprise you, but you want to take the risk anyway.

28 Apr, 2021 09:00

Thank you, I'm glad you like it :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
5 Aug, 2021 19:01

What a great introduction to this world, I feel like I have a much better grasp of Araea now. Ought to be helpful if you continue updating ^^ Thanks for sharing it!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
5 Aug, 2021 19:14

Thanks for reading it <3

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
5 Aug, 2021 19:49

Wow, this is such a gorgeous-looking article! The world is grim but also beautiful in a terrifying manner. I hope to explore more of this world soon!:)

5 Aug, 2021 20:17

Thank you! :D   Have fun! It's.. Pretty extensive at this point xD

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
5 Aug, 2021 21:01

Sounds good to me! It means you love this world and won't abandon it anytime soon. :D

29 Aug, 2021 20:20

I've noticed a theme with you and stars (and the moon). What do you have against the sky, Q?!!?   I love Araea. This was such a fun read.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
2 Sep, 2021 08:26

The sky is evil, I swear!   Thank you :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
5 Dec, 2021 21:36

Love how it gave an overview of the worlds geographic layout and sparking an intense interest to know more about all the different parts of the world!

5 Dec, 2021 21:41

Thank you! :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
6 Dec, 2021 06:55

I’m loving the sound of your world and how expansive it is! Can’t wait to read more.

6 Dec, 2021 07:32

Thank you! :D I hope you have fun reading more and hope to hear what you think of it <3

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
27 Mar, 2022 19:02

Wow, I really love the new threads for your world!. I had to un-like to re-like here.

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