Mharaji

Welcome to the greatest city in the world, friend. First time? Ah, then allow me to introduce you to our fair and fine city. But I should warn you, he can be a temperamental lad. Stay close, watch your step and remember: don't look down.
  Mharaji is the largest city in the deep, a vast metropolis that spans the length of a spiraling chasm and into countless branching caverns, like fungi into the cracks in a wall. From the Crown at its very peak that connect it to the Outer Shell all the way down to the Rift at its very bottom that lead to the Far Deep, Mharaji has something for everyone. Welcome to the greatest city in the world and take care where you thread.    

Geography


 
Did warn you not to look down, friend. It's quite the drop and visitors like yourself can so easily get disoriented. Here, let me help you and we'll pass the bridge. Once we're past the Crown's end and get back into the tunnels, you should be fine.
    The city of Mharaji spans a great depth, divided roughly into four parts; the Crown, the Pavilion, the Enclave and the Vaults. The Crown sits at the very top of the chasm, a maze of branching tunnels and winding passageways that connect the city to the Outer Shell at the end of miles of cavern. Past that lies the Pavilion, a mile-long chasm before the Enclave, the city proper. There, the drop splits away into four spiraling shafts before converging again beneath the city in the Vaults and finally ends in the yawning darkness of the Rift, a miles long descent straight into the Far Deep.    

The Crown


 
I assume you came from above, friend. Then you've seen the Crown... Well, parts of them. There are enough tunnels there to keep a Kaia occupied for a lifetime. Just follow the marked path when you come and go, or you'll almost certainly get Crowned.
  Named for its many branching paths, the Crown is the highest point of Mharaji and the most trafficked entrance for merchants and visitors. Not all tunnels are used or even fully explored, with many twisting away into unknown and dangerous darkness. The most traveled paths have been expanded to accommodate travelers, and the path to the city marked with bio-luminescent fungi.   Even though it is marked and patrolled, the Crown is a dangerous place. Getting lost in its tunnels, either through accident or malice, is colloquially known in Mharaji as "getting Crowned".  
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The Pavilion


 
See how that path leads over to that opening there? That pass spirals down and opens again about twenty meters down. It makes no sense? Well, maybe not. But I'm sure you'll get used to it, friend.
  Past the Crown, the chasm widens drastically into what has been named the Pavilion. It is a mile-long chasm that have become honeycombed with tunnels over centuries of habitation. Wide sloped paths have been carved out of the chasm walls, while Hattick bridges and platforms crisscross the void between walls in a mess that only makes sense to the natives.  
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by Noah Bradley
    The Pavilion is about five hundred meters across at its widest point and less then twenty at its most narrow. Outside of the Enclave, it is the most populous part of the city and home to a large part of its agriculture. Shafts have been dug deep into the sides have turned into galleries of stores and homes, caverns widened to accommodate fungi and mushroom farms or Cave-Hatter Grooves. Elevators and other platforms constantly ferry goods and people up and down the chasm, or across it.   Garbage tunnels are everywhere, seeded with Horoi and covered with tarp to contain the stench. A popular prank played by locals is to trick a newcomer to enter one of them under pretense of it being something else, usually a tavern.   In addition to the gate through the Crown, there are two main routes that lead from the Pavilion to the caverns beyond the city's domain. Despite the tireless efforts of sappers to collapse smaller tunnels and passages, there remain countless secret routes into Mharaji.    
The Eternal House   Nestled into a crevice about half-way down the Pavilion and marked with an archway of skulls lies the Eternal House. It is a shrine to the dead and a monument to the art of the Shikei; of skulls engraved with the stories of their living days. It is home to countless heads and countless such tales, with a few broken skulls dangling from ropes near the entrance as a warning to those who would not pay the Shikei their due.   Read about the Shikei Funeral Rites  
     

The Enclave


  At the end of the Pavilion's drop, the city of Mharaji sprawls out across a massive platform surrounded by four spiraling shafts. Called the Enclave, it is the central hub and beating heart of Mharaji. Its stone and Hattick structures are build on top of one another, with older buildings becoming streets and walkways for the new.    
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by Wan Bao
   
And here we are. Whatever you're looking for, you'll find it here my friend. The city of Mharaji. Grand, isn't it?
  Most of Mharaji's population live in the Enclave or in the shanty-town just outside it, and its structures range from several floors tall towers of opulence to a lean-to squatting in their shadow. In general, the further one gets from the city's center, the less impressive and more haphazard the buildings become.    
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by Nurk Hular
    Like with the Pavilion, there are tunnels here that connect the Enclave to the cave systems outside the city. Three are recognized and heavily fortified, but smugglers and thieves make good use of smaller, hidden pathways.    

The Vaults


 
No? The Enclave did not have what you were after? That's most rare, friend. Whatever it is you seek, it must be very precious.   Well... I guess that leaves the Dungeon- forgive me, I mean the Vaults. Yes, the city continues ever-downwards. Come; I know a way.
  The Enclave's four shaft come together far underneath the city to form a second chasm, though more narrow. Much of the city's heavy industry lies here, beneath Mharaji. The chasm is filled with smog and noise, with temperatures becoming nearly unbearable inside the forge-caverns and furnace grottos. This unpleasant environment and the many prison-gangs forced to labor here are the reasons for its second name as the Dungeon.    
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    The Vaults are always busy. The tunnels are always expanding, looking for new sources of coal or metal. Its forges never sleep and its furnaces never cool.  

End of the Line

  At the very bottom of the Vault, the chasm becomes a sheer drop that quickly fades into abyssal darkness. This is the Rift, a shaft that goes straight down to the Far Deep. The maw of the Rift is circled with fortifications and guard posts called the Ring, always keeping watch down in the dark.   This is where the brave and the desperate descend into the Far Deep in search of wealth and glory. Many find only death, but that does little to deter those who come after.    
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Down there? You want to descend into the Far Deep? I-..   I can see it in your eyes that you cannot be swayed. Whatever it is you are seeking, I hope you do not let the search consume you, my friend. Be careful and may good fortune carry you to the depths and back.
   

Government


    In name, the city-state of Mharaji is ruled by an council of oligarchs, the leaders of powerful organizations within the city. In reality, their rule only truly extends across the Enclave. Beyond that, rule of Mharaji devolves to a patchwork of pseudo-feudal fiefdoms run by local guilds, strongmen or even criminal organizations.   The city is too vast and too busy to control from the Enclave, but as long as trade and taxes continue to flow to the Council's coffers, they are content to let these factions play off against one another.   Far from being one unified governing body, each member of the Council has their own interests and their own agendas. They're united only in that they all benefit when the city runs smoothly and beyond that, the backstabbing and intrigue is epidemic.    
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There's no laws set in place for who can be on the Council or how one gets there. Only by accumulating enough power and wealth can someone stake such a claim and force the Council to deal with them as equals. And few things can unite the feuding council members quite as fast as an upstart.
   

The Council

  There are currently six Council members, two which have joined the Council within the last century.    

Saitahi

  An venerable house of merchants and fortune-seekers, the Saitahi have been a part of Mharaji for as long as anyone can remember. They have deep roots in the industries of the Pavilion and in the Enclave. But time have begun to turn their fortune. After a failed expedition left them stranded in the deep dark, the patriarch of the Saitahi have begun to show signs of the dreaded Desolation.   Already, the others smell blood in the dark and have begun to circle.    

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The Rua'ni Company

  One of two recent additions to the Council, the Rua'ni are not merchants but mercenaries. For centuries, Mharaji have depended on warriors for hire to fight their wars and quell their riots.   Lead by the feared warrior Kaikori, the Rua'ni have managed to more or less consolidate the various mercenary factions into enough of a cohesive group to make demands as one, rather then many.          

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The Toruban

  Lead by the charismatic cult-leader Ahra, the Toruban draw their fortune from a mix entertainment and religious fervor. Ahra rules over as many as half of the cities brothels and taverns, theaters and pit fights. As a sponsor and patron of the Saen-Kaw games, Ahra is popular despite his many quirk and oddities. But when the doors to his personal estate close shut, few dare to ask what goes on behind the silken curtains and quiet chanting.    

Travel in Style   Whenever Ahra visits the streets of the Enclave, it is always a public spectacle with dancers and drummers following in his wake.   He travels in one of the rare Quicksilver Spheres, a semi-sentient orb of liquid metal, made to his own exacting specifications.   Read about Quicksilver Spheres


  Out of all the Council members, it is Ahra that engages the most with the populace of the city. The cult he commands provide bread and entertainment for the masses, lead the faithful in processions throughout the city, and make sure the Golden Skull Stadium is always in the best of state.   The others watch him. The more popular he grows with the common folk, the more of the Council unite against him.  

   

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Daitau

  Family first have been the Daitau motto from the beginning. Even now, familial connection to the Daitau lineage by birth or marriage is vital if one wishes to get anywhere in their organization. With a focus on heavy industry and mining, the Daitau are the least powerful and wealthy of the Council, and this suits them fine. It makes them less of a target to the never-ending intrigue of the Enclave and leaves them free to pursue other.. More important ventures.   While the others consider them unimaginative, the Daitau often use their position as a tie-breaker on votes to leverage favors and bribes.    

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Go'rim Conglomerate

  A loose aggregate of smaller guilds and businesses that have banded together, the Go-rim are upstarts - a fact the rest of the Council never fail to remind them off. But their rise have been meteoric, suspiciously so to many. Even as they claw their way towards the top over the bodies of their rivals, more and more begin watch them closely. They seem to have an uncanny ability to predict what trouble will come their way and dark rumors swirl around the conglomerate merchant house.   Time will tell if they are able to survive their success.    

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Rokonoh

  Everyone knows that the Rokonoh play on both sides of the law. Everyone knows they control bands of thieves and brigands, that their own shipment can travel through the most hazardous routes without a scratch. Everyone knows, but no one can do a damn thing about it.   Despite their esteemed age and position on the Council and in the city, the Rokonoh are despised by the others and have an openly antagonistic relationship with almost all of the others. They've long been the most wealthy and the most powerful, but they are beginning to come up against the limits of their reach. Greedy eyes watch them from the shadows, waiting for the first sign of weakness.    

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The Others

 
The Council is a dangerous mix of greed and mutual disdain, where alliances and trust are made on a temporary basis and only to block the plots of another. Each watch the other, each engaged in an endless cloak-and-dagger dance of intrigue. But they are not the only powers in Mharaji.
  Outside the Enclave, the reach of the Council end quickly and rather then spend the resources to enforce the rule of law themselves, responsibility are passed to local powers. Mharaji is a mad quilt of tiny fiefdoms, ranging from entire mines and villages to single streets. The contest for control never ends, frequently spilling out into brawls and sabotage.   Predators thrive in this chaos. Crime and corruption is rampant in Mharaji, with criminal gangs running everything from brothels to gambling dens throughout he Pavilion, selling contraband and narcotics to the workers of the Vaults. More often then not, these gangs and fiefdom-foremen run the day-to-day life of Mharaji, but only as long as the city continues to operate.   The Council is more then happy to expend the resources to make sure those who stray learn the error of their ways, usually fatally.  
The Corpse-Walkers   The most notorious criminal syndicate of Mharaji are the infamous Corpse-Walkers. With dread occult secrets, they wield terror like a blade. They are perhaps not the largest criminal organization in the city, but they are by far the most feared. Everyone has a story about a corpse-walker and everyone has seen their mark. Everyone knows; you are as good to them dead as you are alive.  
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  Read about the Corpse-Walkers
    Religious mania holds its own place of power in the dark corners of the city. Secretive cults gather in basements and empty tunnels, while the mad prophet shouts his screed some street-corners. Faith holds power over people and some chants are answered by things in the darkness.  

 

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The Order of the Tome   Not all howls into the darkness are uttered in ignorance. Some know exactly what they call for. The Order of the Tome hides itself deep within the Enclave, concealing themselves with ordinary lives. But they hold a fragment of the Key of the Black Star, a grimoire of forbidden secrets. They read from it as scripture, and follow the rites scrawled on its pages.   Read about the Key of the Black Star

 

Defences


Mharaji has a standing army that is supplemented by almost twice its number in mercenaries. In times of active conflict, the last number swells dramatically. Mharaji possesses formidable fortifications, most notably the Portal at the Crown and the Ring that guards the Drop. Both are armed with defensive siege-weapons suitable for firing into the tunnels, mainly ballista and similar types of weapon. If they know an attack is coming, Mharaji's defenders will usually seed the approach with Siege-Weed, a highly aggressive type of fungi-vine with finger-long barbs.   Mharaji soldier double as peacekeepers, guards and the occasional pest exterminator. There are always some dangerous beast prowling the tunnels and it falls to the common soldier to attempt to drive them off. Should they be unable, they will hire specialists to deal with problem, usually adventurers or Kaia.  

Equipment

  A typical Mharaji soldier will be armed and armored for defensive warfare. In most cases, they are lightly armored in Hattick gambeson, sometimes reinforced. It is light and sturdy, allowing them better mobility in the winding tunnels and labyrinth of bridges when they might have to crawl up a slope, through a gap or otherwise traverse difficult and dangerous terrain.   While on guard or peacekeeping duty, they are armed with heavy clubs either made out of Hattick and reinforced by metal, or metal.  
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Tools of the trade
  When armed for war, Mharaji arms their soldiers with a short spear, one or two javelins and a stabbing short sword as a sidearm. Archers trade the spear and javelins for a crossbow.   Mharaji does employ heavier armor and weapon on specialized troops called Tunnel Guard. They are elite, professional troops and specialize in holding the line against superior number of foes, particularly during sieges or in narrow tunnels and caverns. They wear plate armor and wield shields with stabbing swords or large, two-handed pole-arm.  
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by Bryan Syme
A typical Mharaji soldier on the left, a Tunnel Guard on the right
    The mercenaries bring whatever weapons their particular company happens to specialize in and those in charge of Mharaji's defense always have to juggle who does what and where.    

Peace and War

  As a general rule, Mharaji has not been a particularly aggressive city-state and have engaged in few full-scale wars. Most of its battles have been either defensive or smaller in scale, skirmishes and punitive raids. Those types of military actions are almost always left to the hands of mercenaries.   War is expensive, messy and chaotic in the caverns. The Council has never had much taste for it and that doesn't appear to have changed even with the two new additions to it.  
The Mad Mutant's Crusade   One of Mharaji's more famous wars have been the war of the Exiled King, when the Exiled of the surface gathered in great numbers under one banner and smashed their way back into the underworld that had been denied them. While not directly endangered by the rampage of looting and killing, Mharaji knew trouble when they saw it.   A great number of Mharaji mercenaries were lent to fight the crusade, though they were the first to withdraw once the horde has been dispersed and the Mad Mutant slain.   Read about the Exiled King

 

Culture


  Mharaji has always been a place of trade and travelers, a melting pot of many different meeting cultures and the city thrives in its diversity. Mharaji citizens pride themselves on valuing merit and the city have picked up whatever works best from any number of different places. It is not uncommon to find two vastly different styles of food, dress or language even on the same street. Despite the occasional tension or clash of old tradition that goes against the rest, the average Mharaji embrace this fact. After all, their favorite Saen-Kaw champion comes from very far away.  
The Iron Maiden   One of the most popular and infamous entertainers of Mharaji is the Iron Maiden, Tawai'ni. She is a Rake, an expert in witty banter and amusing insult whose quips have been likened to having the impact of a ballista bolt. While she meticulously follows the culture of proper insults, she can't help herself from targeting the wealthy and powerful. More then once, she has hovered on the edge of facing Surface Exile after one barb too many.   Read about Insults in Araea
  For the common folk, popular entertainment include any number of taverns, brothels and opium dens, with the Saen-Kaw games beating them all in terms of popularity. Theaters and art galleries are generally the domain of the merchant class but remain popular enough to see regular patronage. The Spar of Rakes is another form of more entertainment, popular throughout the city.  
Search hard enough and you can find anything here.

Industry


  Mharaji draws its fortune from many different fields. The tunnels of the Vault burrow deep into the earth to find metals and precious gems, while wide open caverns in the Pavilion grow orchards of fungi and mushrooms. All of this feeds the network of trade and commerce that Mharaji sits at the center of, with goods and raw material flowing in and out of the city daily.    

Agriculture

  Mushrooms and fungi are staples of the Mharaji, farmed in the Pavilion or in smaller gardens in the Enclave. Further away from the city and throughout the branching Crown, small villages and ranches dot particularly lively or fertile caves. Cave-fish, salamanders and jellyfish are caught from underground streams and lakes, while ranchers cultivate herds of spiders, beetles and centipedes for consumption or processing. Others hunt the dark caves for things to sell for meat, hide or domestication.  
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  Orchards of Cave-Capped Hatters are common and provide the city with a steady flow of Hattick from its mushroom-tanneries. Mharaji is known for a particular strain of the Cave-Capped Hatter called Shard-Blooded for the almost crystalline patterns on the Hattick once they have been treated. The tanneries are further away from the city and from any supply of water to try and prevent both the terrible stench and contamination from reaching people.  
Luck-Bug Burrito   While the Rik-thei is associated with luck and generally left alone due to their propensity for hunting and eating worst pest, that hasn't stopped people from trying to eat them. The winged-spiders are sold as pets in their more approachable juvenile form and ground up as food-gruel once they reach adulthood.   Read about the Rik-thei
   

Mining

  The Forges of the Vaults are always hungry and the digging never really stops. The honeycomb of mining shafts and tunnels reach far beyond the city, following the veins of ore. Any number of things come out of the Vaults, from weapons to statues, from copper and gold. Prospectors and miners work daily to make sure the forges are never still.  
 
Mole-Man Madness   Some have found a way to sell myth rather then metal.   Once nearly destroyed by a powerful quake and the strange creature that followed, the village of Gimaers now makes a living off of the myth of the Mole-Men and the Dreadnought Gang. These rodent-like creatures have been part of Araea folklore for as long as anyone can remember and even if no one has been found yet, scores of hopeful hunters flock to the most famous sighting in Gimaers.   Read about the Dreadnought Gang (and Mole-Men)
   

Trade

  Between its connection to the Outer Shell through the Crown and reach all the way to the Far Deep through the distant Drop, Mharaji is in an envious position. Travel through the city can cut a journey of months down to weeks, while the ever-expanding trade-tunnels are relatively easy and safe to pass.  


Almost every kind of goods pass through the Crown or through the Enclave, with one notable exception: slaves. The practice has been outlawed in Mharaji for well over a century by Council decree as much as popular opinion.   Visitors who claim ownership of the servants that come with them can expect a rough greeting from the people of Mharaji as one of the few things that put a newcomer immediately on the wrong foot.      

The Secret Trade   But just because it is outlawed doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. The Rokonoh merchants in particular chafe at this restriction and are known to collaborate with the infamous Slaver's Gate of Alazeta to smuggle prisoners and people out of the city of Mharaji and off to the Maw.   Read about the Slaver's Gate


Guilds and Factions


  Countless merchant houses and mercenary companies make their home in Mharaji. Criminal gangs form and disintegrate, while Kaia disappear into the dark only to be reformed by fresh blood.   Of particular note are the Seekers, a guild of Kaia who have been in the city for ages. As of late, their fortunes have turned for the better and they have grown to become the largest guild of explorers in the Deep.  
The Kaia   Kaia are explorers and survivalists, able to go deep into the unknown dark without fear and find new trails, new caverns and new dangers. It is perilous work, but the Kaia would have it no other way.   Read about the Kaia
 
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by Randis Albion

History


  Mharaji was first founded by prospector and merchants from the city-state of ancient Netehiri. At first, only the Crown saw human settlement and the lower tunnels were still unexplored and dangerous. The settlement grew slowly, serving mainly as a waypoint for travellers and was considered a backwater by the rulers back in Netehiri. This changed when the Kaia explorers found a path through the Crown into the Outer Shell.   Suddenly, Mharaji was important.  

The End of Bondage

  As the colony grew in size and importance, so did their parent-city's grip on power in it. Local leaders were replaced by envoys from Netehiri and taxes raised to pay for the great works of construction and exploration. This was the time where the Portal fortress was carved from the stone at the peak of the Crown and the trade-tunnels first began to take form.   But with every new levy and every new tax, tensions begun to simmer in the city. It did not take long for resentment to give way to anger, then open hostility.   Things came to a head with the demolition of the original city. It had become a haphazard shanty-town with no planning and no sanitation. Outbreaks of ravaging disease was common place and people would frequently dump their garbage down the shaft or on the streets. Graft and crime had grown to a point where the city had little way of dealing with them. The decision was taken to level the slum-like town and build a new city center. This is what would eventually become the Enclave.   Order was brutally enforced. Mercenaries were brought in to quell riots and dissenters were enslaved or exiled to the Surface.    
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    But to those who lost their homes, this was the last time they would accept the abuse of Netehiri's envoys. Soon after, the city exploded into violent uprising that saw the forces of Netehiri driven from the city three separate times. Mharaji stood at a precipice between freedom and disaster, but fortune favored them when the Shattering robbed Netehiri's envoys of all strength to continue the fight.    
The Shattering   Netehiri was a city-state of ancient times, commanding great wealth and power. It was brought low by a cataclysm that has come to be known as the Shattering of Netehiri. Little remain of the once great jewel of the deep or its legendary magma-forges. Now, it lies broken across the surface wasteland.   Read about the Shattering of Netehiri
   
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Aftermath by Adam Burn
   

The Great Expansion

  Freedom from the shackles of their parent-city meant it was no longer shielded by the might of its arms. In the early centuries of Mharaji was drenched in blood and chaos, with raids and threats of conquest a constant from their neighbors. Rule of the city changed hands frequently. This ended when the Council formed, a body of the most powerful families and organizations in the burgeoning city. By pooling their wealth for great works of fortifications and legions of mercenaries, they were able to cave out a modicum of peace for themselves.   With peace came prosperity, as the city grew at an explosive rate. The Vaults had already been partially explored, but this was when the Kaia first delved deep and found the Drop, an entry straight into the Far Deep.  
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by Finnian MacManus
   

Present Day

  Since then, Mharaji has largely thrived and expanded with the occasional setback. Mad cults and rampaging monsters have caused their share of trouble to go with the endless dance of intrigue and betrayal in the city's courts and bazaars. The Council has seen members fade into obscurity and new ones rise to prominence.  
To Strike the Sun   One of the more infamous turns in Mharaji's history was the mad-prophet Davik's crusade to kill the sun. His crusade passed through the city and found more followers in the desperate poverty of its slum. In the end, the Council furnished him with supplies to continue his journey, to quickly get him out of the city and hasten his doom.   Read about Sun-Striking Crusade
  Through war and disaster, the city has endured and grown into the largest city in the Araea and a beating heart of trade and activity in the deep.    

Adventure Awaits!


 
My friend!   I didn't expect to see you return from the Far Deep.. Well, at all! Welcome back to Mharaji! I see you have found what, or who, you were looking for. This calls for the finest bottle of mushroom-wine my humble purse can afford! As we say in Mharaji: the first to greet you to the city will be there to greet you every time you return.   Come, let us head inside. Your next adventure can wait at least until after dinner, I'm sure.
  Mharaji is a hub for adventurers and explorers. It is the starting point of the adventure Journey to Netehiri, an expedition that begins here in the city and takes the adventurers all the way to the corpse of the ancient city.   Cannibal-cultists and irradiated winds stand between the brave and their goal, but what is adventure without a hint of madness?   Take the first step of the Journey  

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Welcome to Araea

  In the world of Araea, life exists not under a radiant sun but deep beneath a blighted surface, in endless caverns and labyrinthine tunnels. Here, among the mushroom and fungi, human civilization has clawed its way into place. Cities nest along chasms and sprawl out in expansive grottos, sharing their world with strange predators, mad cults and alien terrors that predate them.   On the Surface, scattered tribes of banished outlaws struggle to survive amidst an irradiated wasteland. In the Far Deep, explorers try to pierce the darkness and see what lurks in the deepest corners of the cavernous world.   Read the introduction to Araea                

Trade and Travel

  The caverns of Araea can form unpredictable routes. Trade between distance cities are hindered by fissures and crawling slopes. While some city-states in the Inner Shell lucky enough to have wide open caverns connecting one to another, others have to get creative.   Expanding the tunnels between towns is a never-ending task, while merchants use crawling insect-like beasts to carry heavy loads up and down the winding tunnels. Despite these difficulties and dangers, trade ties the city-states together and profit to those who brave the dark in search of coin.  
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by Jun Osone
     

Sewers and Sanitation

  As the city grows, so does the mountains of garbage.   Water is almost always short in Mharaji and there is no sluices or channels that can carry garbage or waste. Mharaji employs legions of carrier that go from home to home or business and business, collecting waste and garbage in buckets and wheelbarrows to take to dump tunnels.  
Filth-Eating Fungi   Horoi are small, white fungal pods that feast on sewage and waste to create relatively clean water and useful mulch. Without it, the city would likely have drowned in its own filth ages ago.   The Horoi are a common sight throughout Mharaji, dotting every dump tunnel and heap of trash.   Read about the Horoi    
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Population

  Mharaji is home to about half a million citizens at any given time, concentrated largely in the Pavilion and the Enclave before spreading out across the countless branching caverns along the length of the chasm. Besides those who live and work in the city, there's estimated to be roughly around a hundred thousand or so visitors that come and go.   These range from merchants to Kaia to transient and vagabonds. Many make the journey to Mharaji to seek their fortune in the city or beyond, and so Mharaji never lacks a fresh visitor.                  

The Golden Skull Stadium

 
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by Miguel Eins
  The Enclave has many landmarks, from the Obsidian Tomb to the Garden of Unearthly Pleasures. But few are as known or as popular as the Golden Skull Stadium, where the city comes to watch games of Saen-Kaw.   Nothing else tie the city together as much as the games, from the wealthiest merchant to the poorest beggar.   Everyone has a thought on Saen-Kaw and the champion team, the Red Scorpions, are hugely popular. Whenever they play, the stadium fill to capacity and people crowd around just to hear the results.   Read about Saen-Kaw    
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by Master Bo
                                                                 

Death in the Dungeon

  Work in the Vaults is dangerous business. Molten metal, choking smog and the ever-present danger of falling all claim life or injury almost every day. But as the workers in the Vault like to say; "there's always a worse way to die".   That way usually refers to the Heza Parasite, a fungi-animal that infect sleeping animalr or workers and take root inside of them. In all the ways one can perish in the Dungeon, slow consumption by a Heza is the most feared.   Read about the Heza  
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A Heza Wormling              

The Dunes

  The Far Deep are filled with wonders and terrors, with things utterly alien to the caverns above. The Dunes is one such place that lie not far from the Drop. It is a desert in the deep, made out of crystal and quartz grain, shining with a light that lures the adventurous into its depths to be lost and devoured. No one is sure what the light is, or why its pulse seem so much like the beat of a heart.   Read about the Dunes      
The Dunes
               
 
  Sounds of the city
 
   
   





 





 





 





 





 

 
Desolation   Dreadful Darkness   One of the most feared afflictions in the deep is Desolation, an sickness of the self that roots those trapped in isolation and roots in the darkest corners of their mind. As it spreads, the infected begins to find his very soul and identity being gnawed away by insidious darkness.   Soon, the infected will lose track of what are his own thoughts and what are whispers from the shadows.   Read about Desolation  
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Whispering Secrets   The swift rise to fortune of the Go'rim Conglomerate have given rise to dark rumors. Central to these is that their leaders have somehow found the fabled VerĂ°andi; a severed human head that drink blood and speak secrets. So far, it remains just a rumor but for every ploy foiled by uncanny foresight, more and more begin to wonder as to the source of their success.   Read about the VerĂ°andi
 
 









































       

She is always watching

  As terrible as the Corpse-Walker are, they are met by an implacable foe: the Shrike. A seemingly immortal vigilante, she hunts the scum of Mharaji through the shadows, leaving bloody corpses in her wake. No matter how many times it seem like she has been struck down, she returns again and again, butcher-blades ready and hungry for vengeance.   Read the truth about the Shrike  
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Pick Beats Blade

  Another vital part of Mharaji's defenses are its Sappers, specialist engineers who know what keeps a tunnel up and how to bring it crashing down.   They close gaps, cause cave-ins to block routes and then clear them back out again once the battle is won. The Sappers maintain the fortifications and in times of peace work tirelessly to expand the caves for new homes, new frields of crops or better routes of travel.   It is also the Sappers who seed tunnels with vicious fungi and mushroom-things for enemies to blunder into, a duty that is more often then not assigned as a punishment.  
Sapper likes to say that swords win fights but pickaxes wins wars.
 






























 

The Shaavat

  It is hard to talk about culture in Mharaji without mentioning the Shaavat. These dyes are painting onto celebrants for marriage ceremonies in elaborate patterns that can cover the hands and arms entirely.   Marriage in Mharaji are community events, where everyone comes together to celebrate and drink, and drink, and drink some more.   Read about Marriage in Araea  
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Cave-Capper Hatter

  The treated fungi-flesh called Hattick is one of the most common building materials in the deep, used to fashion everything from the planks of buildings to the shaft of weapons. It comes from the Cave-Capper Hatter mushroom, grown in large orchards with vaulted ceilings and then treated in a mixture of chemicals to harden it.  
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Ivory Rose, the Kaia-Kotiro

  The current leader of the Seekers is Ivory Rose, an eccentric but brilliant inventor and explorer who has come to claim the title of Kaia-Kotiro after their last leader was lost to Desolation. Though popular, many worry about her tendency for getting into trouble.   Read about the Kaia-Kotiro and the Seekers  

























 
 
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  Early Mharaji Settlement
 























 

The Tomb

  Today, Netehiri is little more then a dismembered remnant of what the city once was. The cataclysm that brought its end also threw it from the depths to rot beneath the sun on the Surface. Cannibal-cultists and desperate Exiled nestle in its corpse, while the city waits for adventurers to claim its lost wealth.   Read about the Tomb of Netehiri  


























 
Important Discoveries   This was the time when the first Gar'ro'dah was found and brought back to the city. These strange rock-like creatures evoked intense curiosity from the Kaia and the merchant-caste of Mharaji.   The practice of keeping the Gar'ro'dah as exotic pets started soon after and an entire industry have since emerged around it.   Read about the Gar'ro'dah
Characters in Location

Articles under Mharaji



Cover image: by Ubisoft - NWN

Comments

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29 Jul, 2018 16:24

Thanks for the guided tour through your largest city. I really enjoy the approach you've taken with this article and the amount of detail and illustrations is simply... wow. Great job!

29 Jul, 2018 17:54

Thank you! <3   This article was a ton of work. I wanted to add a reference to every other prompt and tie them all together in one thing, but that was definitely hard mode. So I'm glad (and relieved!) to hear you enjoyed it! :D

29 Jul, 2018 16:28

Thank God for the images and quotes! I love your approach to your articles! So much detail and information.

29 Jul, 2018 17:54

Thank you! <3

29 Jul, 2018 18:51

Holy actual fuck, Qu. This is awesome. I don't have the time to properly give this a read through right now, but the formatting and images are beautiful, and the adventure hook is very cleverly done. I'm not surprised this took you so long, wow!

30 Jul, 2018 07:46

Thank you! <3   I'm glad you enjoyed the read, and I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it once you've had time to read it. I realize the sheer size of it might put some people off of doing that, but.. I guess I got carried away. XD

30 Jul, 2018 15:41

Just.... WOW. This is one amazing article!

30 Jul, 2018 17:29

<3 Thank you!!