Khalan Region

Who knew mushrooms could get so angry?  
— Sodai, famous Kaia-Tene
    A vast Far Deep region of incredible fecundity, the Khalan region is infested with a thriving, alien ecosystem with mushrooms large as houses and acrid bogs. Nearly all of the stone of the caverns are covered in fungal growth or mutant lichen, all the way to the dangling strands of growth that hang from the mile-high ceiling.   Despite the abundance of life, all but one attempts to settle the region have met with failure; the bones of the would-be pioneers lost in the fungal undergrowth.    
by Alyn Spiller


  Khalan is extensive, stretching through at least three nearly continuous caverns. Of those, almost nothing is known of the third with Kaia explorers having only just breached the fungal maze that separates it from the other two. No one knows how large the region truly is. The ceiling disappears into darkness above and attempts to map the spore-shrouded land are incomplete and inaccurate.   The first cavern is named Kotahi and contains most of the known paths from through the Tangle and the Inner Shell. The second is named Rua and is home to the Shoals that connect the region to the bordering Far Deep region. The third, Toru, is cloaked in darkness and mystery. Reaching it requires passing through the rest of Khalan first, a daunting task in itself.  
The smell. That's what I remember, more then the sickly yellow clouds or the monumental spires of mushrom. That awful, damp smell.  
— Sodai, famous Kaia-Tene

The Tangle

        A maze of tunnels covered in thick fungal growth and abnormally thick grasping moss, the Tangle is the gate that leads to the Khalan region proper. In some places, the fungi has grown all the way to the ceiling and created dense walls. These walls range from thin veils to several meters deep. Every inch of the tunnels are covered in this fungi, with scattered patches of mushroom breaking out of the damp undergrowth. It is a damp, drafty labyrinth with very little to guide a traveler.   Even if the fungi itself is harmless, getting lost is a hazard that have ended more than a few expeditions before they could even reach their goal.  
Scab   Patches of bone-like growths scar the Tangle. Hard but hollow, these slowly growing structures are home to the parasitic polyps that made them. They range in color from a bleached white to a deep, brilliant purple with the bioluminescence from the polyps winking in the darkness to attract prey. The Scab is one such patch, larger than any other, with spires of coral-like growths sprouting from the ground like teeth.   The coral of the Scab is poisonous to touch, causing blisters and numbing weakness. Some enterprising Kaia harvest the coral to craft dangerous, venomous weapons.

The Slough

  The moss and rock lowlands known as the Slough cover the stretch between the Tangle and the rest of Khalan, and snakes between the different thickets of the Weald. The lichen here grows ankle deep, divided by naked rock or petrified, dead moss. Like the tangle, it is wet and unpleasant with even the rocky grounds being slick and damp. Ravines dig furrows into the stone where beasts nests or flora sprouts out from like weed, while great overhangs jut out above.    

    The land is jagged, broken up by sharp rising crags and scarred with deep chasms and fissures. Run-off from the Weald gather in those depressions, forming everything from shallow ponds to deep, murky trenches. Drinking the water without first treating it is ill-advised, but the wildlife in the Slough and Weald alike migrate between these deposits of water.  
Not all ponds are filled with water. Some are filled with dangerous chemicals or acid. Despite this, they are not without life and hold some of the strangest flora and fauna in all of the Slough.

The Weald

  From towering mushrooms taller than a man to densely packed underbrush of colorful toadstools, the Weald is a wild and vast expanse dominated by mycelium. The densely packed groves hold mushrooms of great variety, with many that can be found nowhere else. The Weald is broken up by bogs and marshlands, with thick layers of decaying vegetable matter covering the surface of the water. It is easy to step into what look like a solid patch of fungal floor, only to sink into fetid and parasite-infested waters.    
    Some part or another of the Weald is always covered by a dense shroud of spore released by the mushrooms of the Weald. If the conditions are right, wind from deeper within the tunnels from the shoals with stir the clouds and cause the spores to roll across the landscape like a wall. High above, luminescent fungi and dangling glow-worm pulse with uneven light. Those who have seen the Surface compare it to the cosmic landscape above, naming it the Constellation.    

Flora and Fauna

  Life thrives in Khalan. Unfortunately for humanity, little of it make the caverns hospitable for them. Parasites burrow into mycelium and feed on the mushroom, while predator and prey race in the toadstool underbrush. Insects are everywhere in the Weald, while the still water of the bogs hold lurking dangers.         But not all of Khalan is so hostile. Many of the mushroom are edible, medicinal or rare variants of the Cave-Capped Hatter. The soil here is fecund like nowhere else in the caverns and such promise continues to draw explorers and settlers to the region. Every now and then, there is an attempt to establish a permanent settlement along the edge of the Weald, but none last. Others, more prudent minds, form temporary shelters to harvest what they can and leave before the dangers overwhelm them.    
The Titan   Colossal beyond any of the other in the Weald, the Titan is a mushroom of prodigious size that slowly strides across the wild in some instinctive pattern. The colossus is blind to all around it, lashing out only when attacked or annoyed, but is otherwise content to wander. On occasion, it will root itself back into the soil and become an impassive monument in the Weald.
The Far Deep   Endless miles beneath the Surface of the world lie the Far Deep. The caverns of the Far Deep are enormous and the life there alien. From titanic wandering mushroom to spirits of stone and shadows, the Far Deep is a place of wonder and terror in equal degrees.   While the Far Deep holds more and larger life than found anywhere else, few places can match the Khalan's ferocious vitality.   Read More About The Far Deep

Reaching Khalan

  The only way from the Inner Shell to the Khalan region proper is through the Tangle. At least six different paths from the Inner Shell open into the Tangle, many miles apart. The other path is through the Shoals and the black waters from the bordering Far Deep ocean of Korawa.   Unlike many regions of the Far Deep, travel to Khalan is relatively easy (if unpleasant). The real trouble begins once the traveler reaches her destination.    
The wealth of life in Khalan has always attracted the dreams of those who wish to get away from the sparse, hungry tunnels above. Ever so often, expeditions travel to the region with the intent of building a new home among the mushroom.   So far, all such attempts have been unsuccessful and the very abundance of life that draws pioneers there have proven very hostile to their presence.
by Valaan


  The Tangle is not empty. The damp, fungi-covered passages hold a startling variety of life that makes a home and often meal out of the fungi. While many are not hostile to humans, enough are for them to be a constant threat to any explorers who attempt to make their way through the Tangle. There are groves deep in the maze that are like worlds onto themselves, home to sights not yet seen by any human eyes.          
The Gutter   Shrouded with heavy smog and marked with strikingly colorful sprouts of rock and large terraced pools, the Gutter is one of the largest sulfur flats in Khalan. It borders the Weald, ringed by petrified mushrooms that have been choked and stained by the near constant emissions of sulfurous smoke from the vents.  


  Whether through the predation of parasites or ravages of disease, some parts of the Weald are dead. Petrified stalks and brittle patches of dried fungi form the Deadlands of the Wyld. Most are in time consumed again by the ever-growing Weald, and new lands of calcified mushrooms emerge elsewhere.   To the explorer, the Deadlands can offer a refuge from the clouds of spore and wild beasts, as long as what killed the life there has moved on.    

The Shoal

  The black waters of the Far Deep meet the Weald along the distant reach of Rua to create the Shoals. Fungal pods the size of boats float on the ocean tides, feeding the beasts beneath the waves and infesting their flesh with spores in turn. The Shoals are a dangerous place, teeming with life and turbulent weather.   There might be no other place in the deeps like the shoal, or the long fungal beach where sea-creatures find respite from the wave or gnaw on the roots of the Weald.    


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AshWolf Forever
Ashleigh D.J. Cutler
18 Sep, 2018 21:47

Holy crap is this detailed and well illustrated. Thank you very much for breaking it up with headers as honestly, I'd go insane trying to take this all in without them. Wow. So many mushrooms, caves and... well, I'd be tempted to explore it.   "The Shoal The black waters of the @ Awatekai..." I don't think you meant to have the @ symbol there.   I enjoyed the idea of a location that is so openly hostile to human inhabitation as this is. It doesn't look like you need it, but do you plan to expand on the sections? Give them their own articles?

19 Sep, 2018 07:51

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it! :D I might add some more explicitly stated resources, so people have even more reason to go there. I'm not sure yet.   Yeah, that's my attempt at using the todo feature and messing it up. I'll fix that. :)   "but do you plan to expand on the sections? Give them their own articles?"   Maybe, yeah. It kind of depends on popular demand and what else needs to be written. I might not expand them as much as give specific locations inside it their articles: like the Titan. Plus write more about what nasty critters live there etc. :)

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
AshWolf Forever
Ashleigh D.J. Cutler
19 Sep, 2018 16:11

You're welcome :)   I figured it was something like that.   I love articles like this, this in depth. It's impressive.

Haseo Yamazaki
19 Sep, 2018 01:48

O_O I think I would die instantly I tried living here. This world's Harorao Region makes Fallout 4 (Hardcode mode) look like a trip to Disney Land. The vivid detail of each part coupled with the little quotes here and there give me shivers down my spine worse that Freddie Kruger. I truly love this article. I think this article might make think twice about eating mushrooms ever again. Though I do have one question:  

The Shoal The black waters of the @Awatekai meet the Weald along the distant reach of Rua to create the Shoals.
is the @ a typo or was there something special about Awatekai you're wanting reading to take notice of?

19 Sep, 2018 07:54

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!   Yeah, that's my attempt at using the todo feature and messing it up. I'll fix that. :)

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
19 Sep, 2018 02:41

Jebus friggen christ. As always my friend this is an amazing peice. You took your world which brought up everything I loved about Metro and Lovecraftian natures and suddenly turned it upside down into a fantastic alien horror world ala Subnautica.   If this was in a game, I'd play it in a heartbeat (though I may have shit my pants doing it)   I do want to ask, is there any idea how this place was formed? Are there people looking into it? It sounds like colonization is a struggle cause of the monsters and inherent danger. I'd be super curious to see where they go from then on. There hasn't been a single sort of outpost established? I think it'd be cool to have one little sort of pass where humanity holds some ground but never expands. A hub of sorts.

Check out my worldbuilding in the Ethnis Universe!
19 Sep, 2018 08:31

<3   I'm glad you enjoyed it!! It was a fun region to write about. I was worried it was too trope-y standard, so I tried to mix in some weirder elements and biomes like sulfur flats and cave-swamps and stuff. A game eh? That gives me some ideas.... :D   There's been a few outposts, but they tend to get devoured in time. Temporary hunting lodges etc have had more success. But maybe putting down a semi-permanent place just outside the Tangle could be interesting!   And there's little idea, but theories: they range from creation myth to pseudo-science. Much of the world is still completely unexplored. Not just the Far Deep, but even the Inner/Outer Shells are far from mapped out. So there's large swaths of map that's just a blank page with "here be dragons" scrawled on it. I guess the most common creation myth is that there is something life-giving at the bottom at the Far Deep or beyond it, which is why things get more lively the deeper down you go (kind of a reversal of how we have it on Earth).   I like the idea of a hub though (even if it is just "currently not-eaten-by-mushrooms"), so I'll add something like that! :)

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
19 Sep, 2018 14:25

It really reminds me of stage 1 colonization of Ethnis if you managed to read that trivia.   Prospectors, treasure hunters, and researchers would go to recovered and unsettled worlds to drop on them and research them alone.   A noticible case I had for a stage 1 drop was a sort of elevated platform above the surface of the planet, in which people could either jump from or take elevators down. So perhaps in the Harorao region there is a elevated plateau or cliff that people use to descend into the region? A good excuse to keep it above the fungus and defendable from all the horrors below.

Check out my worldbuilding in the Ethnis Universe!
19 Sep, 2018 15:17

The Deadlands are another good fit for that, as well! Gotta go out to get food, though, which creatives an incentive cycle :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
22 Mar, 2019 22:20

you even go into smells and stuff. I have to start remembering that sort of thing

12 Feb, 2020 14:53

It helps put people right there in the place, I think. Boots on the ground.

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
16 Jul, 2019 10:24

In the beginning you say that all but one attempt to settle failed. So there's one permanent settlement surviving here? Looking forwards to learning about it a lot! :3

16 Jul, 2019 10:30

Here you go, buddy!  

Settlement | Apr 25, 2019

A tale of avarice and industry, and many, many mushrooms.

  :D   Time will tell how long they survive for... Unless some PCs can show up and help out.

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
16 Jul, 2019 18:35

Nice! Thanks! (Don't forget to link that together sooner or later)

16 Jun, 2020 19:37

The image of The Titan striding through the caves kind of gives me chills, not going to lie.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
16 Jun, 2020 21:51

Big floofy mushroomy giant, shrouded in flesh-rotting spores... :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
19 Oct, 2020 16:17

I would be really interested to read about the most successful attempts at permanent habitation. I know the article makes it clear the environment is quite inhospitable, but humanity is nothing if not foolish when it comes to finding ways to make a success out of slim odds.   That said, thanks for sharing your articles with me, taking lots of notes, hoping to break ground on an article later tonight.

19 Oct, 2020 16:18

Just found the bones article, looks like you already beat me to it!