The Below

Before my second ascension, I learned the logistical issue of feeding an army of Elves. Now, for those who pledge themselves, it is an asset. Feeding is why they fight without mercy. Feeding is why they are feared.
— Elturel, the Fallen Elf
 
The Below is a plane divided among two great deities, Elturel and the Matron of Ravens, locked in a never-ending war known to many as the Shadow Wars. A plane much darker and ominous than Erenel; this bleak, desolate place cherishes death and decay. Sinister shadows loom as necrotic and malicious energy permeates the very fabric of the bond.   The Below is made of many layers, resulting in the lay of the land changing abruptly while Demonic lords carve their likeness into the territory. You may start your day's journey on a fog blanketed mountainside where the air seems to diminish your light source. After walking a few miles, the entire landscape shifts to skies filled with plumes of rancid smoke as you skin bakes under the relentless heat. Travelers need to be wary and research not only the layer they are visiting but also its overlord. It is unknown just how many layers, and demonic overlords reside in the Below.
 

Creating The Below

The Below formed into existence following a great battle and sacrifice by the creator Al'Madoon in banishing Elturel, the Fallen Elf and freeing Erenel from his Tyranny. When Al'Madoon willingly gave the life of his being, an explosion, full of celestial force encompassing Elturel ripped open two planes. The Above formed from the love A'Madoon has for his creations and the Below from the hate and greed festering within Elturel.   Elturel fell into the Below and found himself surrounded by a plane of shadow and despair. Many Elves rejecting Al’Madoon’s love, cursed the creator and followed Elturel as he descended. His closest advisors, including the Scarlet Walker, began to bend this new homeland in their will.
 
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book of the damned by paizo

Geography

The Broken Reach

Situated between the domains of Elturel and the Matron of Ravens, The Broken Reach sees a never-ending war between the two deities vying to take control of the Below. Rampaging armies from each side fight the Shadow War without rest or respite. Crossing the Broken Reach is a death sentence for either side or those unlucky enough to find themselves caught in the middle.   On the Matron of Raven’s war front, Black Shroud Citadel stands defiant against the forces of the Fallen Elf. Across the battlefield, the Monastery of the Distressed Body fights in Elturel’s name and prevents the Matron of Raven’s forces from establishing a foothold.
 

Desiccated Garden of Silk

This spider web choked home holds a dizzying array of caves and tunnels. Countless bodies hang in the garden by silken threads of webbing forming a forest of cocoons.   If you're unlucky enough to die in the Below close to the Desiccated Garden, your body will join the Servants of the Silk. These lich-like abominations are humanoid from the waist up, but their lower portions resemble the abdomen and legs of immense spiders.   The Servants of the Silk tend to the garden, preserving corpses in a dried husk state. These "husks" are toys for the demonic arachnid Armomaru the Silken Queen. Armomaru doesn't always eat her servant's catch, most often choosing to reanimate the corpse as another Servant of the Silk or experimenting with the unfortunate corpse in unfathomable ways.

Servant of the Silk

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by AlexanderExorcist

 

Tenebrous Academy

A loose-knit organization founded by the powerful vampire lord Mordecai, Tenebrous Academy is a gothic school focused on the advancement of necromancy and blood magic. The academy has attracted a large number of students interested in these "forbidden arts."   Protected by Mordecai and his thrall of professors, students benefit from the academies teachings and extensive library. Even the Scarlet Walker is known to lend her aid when able with many Sanguis attending in the hopes of meeting her.   A swirling black mist helps protect students and prevents prying eyes from peeking into classes. Every few years, Mordecai will teleport the academy to a new location within the Below.

Natural Resources

Deep Iron

Deep Iron is iron found in a pure state (either meteoric iron or an especially rich ore) and is forged at a lower temperature to preserve its delicate properties. Is known to attract inhabitants of The Below when found on other planes.  

Devil's Bloodleaf

Only a few recorded instances of this red and yellow flower exist. This large and bold red leaf was once a popular decoration around homes and gardens, but has become one of the rarest plants in the world. It is said to give immense vitality and health to one who can properly prepare the plant.  

Fiend's Ivy

These long, red thorn covered vines can stretch up to 6 feet long with sharp thorns that extend up to an inch. It is common to find blood stains around these vines as creatures can easily trip or get caught in a bushel. The vines also seem to have a sentient quality as they relax when prey is near, and contract when captured.  

Mortflesh Powder

This dark purple powder can be found growing with moss in dark and cold environments. The powder is difficult to harvest without proper technique which may sometimes result in the harvester accidentally contacting a non-diluted version of the powder, instantly causing a de-aging process. Popular use of the Mortflesh Powder among nobles is to combine the powder with water resulting in a cream. The cream can be applied to the skin reducing the look of age from their faces.

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by Wizards of the Coast
Alternative Name(s)
The Abyss, Plane of Shadows
Type
Dimensional plane
Archways Below.jpg
by Christian Dimitrov

Defiled Archways

Archways on Erenel are doorways to pocket dimensions created by a large amount of spiritual essence left by Al'Madoon. While in the Below, Archways are tainted by the negative energy plane.   This defilement manifests into more dangerous environments when accessing the Archway, and the threat of death if you are killed while inside. Defiled Archways give off a wide spread curse to anyone who enters, though the curse typically is removed upon exiting.

True Elves

True Elf Queen.jpg
by Helga Sable
Elves who chose to descend with Elturel believe themselves to be the last remaining "True" Elves. They were once Trance touched like the rest of their kin, but after untold years in the Below, they exist in a strange state between life and death. Building civilization's across the Below, True Elves pattern their civilization on winning the favor of Elturel. They defend him and his image no matter the cost; willingly sacrificing themselves and their community if necessary.   To be a True Elf is to follow a path of evil and corruption. Fully relishing the tenets of Elturel, a True Elf will dominate those they deem weak regardless of their kin. They take great pride in administering revenge on anyone or anything that has shown disrespect. For a True Elf, there is no greater feeling than vengeance; except catching Elturel's gaze or a brief positive word with the Fallen Elf.   True Elves have black or obsidian skin with stark white or pale hair. They commonly have pale eyes sometimes resembling lilac, silvers and faded blue.


Cover image: by Eduardo Peña

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