Built at the foot of the largest Temple of Gallena built in dedication to the goddess Gallena in the Underdark, Mulvar’s Outpost is actually the term used to refer to the town, but over the centuries that the two have co-existed, its meaning has stretched to mean both the temple and community beneath it.
Mulvar’s Outpost is a mixed-species community with a resident population of most humanoid species native to the Underdark, along with a smaller number of species normally found resident much closer to the surface. Of particular note is the large community of Deep Gnomes that are found in the town, thought to be the largest population of Deep Gnomes outside of their single-species settlements. Most of the people in the town work in the industry catering to the many pilgrims who come to the town to visit the Temple of Gallena, or work directly for the Temple as cleaners, porters and servants. On average, the population of Mulvar’s Outpost tends to be wealthier that in most other places in the Underdark, primarily because the visiting pilgrims bring in so much gold to the community. In addition, because the amount of primary sector jobs is very limited, the population size of those who would normally find such work in such sectors can only get so high before people have to move away to find work in agriculture or industry, which therefore keeps the size of this group small and thereby raises the average income of the town.
As the town has sprung up around the temple dedicated to Gallena that was founded around the sacred spring said to have miraculously appeared when a group of Deep Gnome refugees were dying of thirst, having been forced to flee their homes following an attack by slavers. As a result, since its founding, the town has been run as a theocracy, with a council of priests and priestesses appointed by the temple seeing to the day to day running of Mulvar’s Outpost. This does mean that the town’s inhabitants, who do not directly serve or originate from the temple are completely disenfranchised, but as Gallena is a deity dedicated to the preservation of life and the protection of the helpless, Mulvar Outpost’s governing theocratic council almost always runs the town in adherence to these tenets, much to the relief of the other inhabitants.
Unusually for a settlement within the Underdark, Mulvar’s Outpost does not have any walls or an other fortifications to speak of. Whilst its natural position at the end of a cavern which branches off a more major tunnel to the north does give it a naturally fortified position, as it can only be approached from one direction, on the face of it there is nothing to stop anyone from walking into the town. However, the fact that the town is centred around and run by the clergy of the largest Temple of Gallena to exist in the Underdark gives it a supernatural form of defence, the protection of the Goddess Gallena herself. When the settlement is threatened in anyway, a wall of divine energy appears before the town, sealing if off from those who would wish it or its inhabitants harm, a divine intervention that is sadly called upon more than any would like, given the much more lawless state of the Underdark compared to the surface world. In addition, the town is protected by a cohort of soldiers who have sworn themselves to protecting the sacred site at the heart of Mulvar’s Outpost, and who live a monastic life dedicated to discipline and training. It is often said that were the guardians of the Temple of Gallena to march out to war, few would be able to stand against them, but their oaths forbid them from straying out of sight of Mulvar’s Outpost.
Industry & Trade
As it is built around a religious institution, the Temple of Gallena, rather than having been deliberately established around a natural resource, the town is primarily known as a pilgrimage site, rather than as a commercial or industrial hub. As a result, much of the town’s income is derived from the many inns and lodging houses that are located there, as well as levies on third party trading activities that take place within the market at Mulvar’s Outpost. However, the fortunate situation of the town near rich veins of marble means that the people of Mulvar’s Outpost have a valuable resource that is mined and exported to other parts of the Underdark and very occasionally to the Empire of Turelion on the surface world as well. In addition, some limited farming activity takes place in the tunnels and caves that branch off the cavern in which the town is situated, mostly revolving around the cultivation of edible fungi, lichens and mosses and the rearing of creatures native to, or tolerant of the conditions in the Underdark, as is the case in most communities beneath the surface of the Material Plane.
Whilst there is no officially constructed road leading to the cavern in which the town stands, as is the norm for most places in the Underdark, once one reaches the cavern there is a road, carefully constructed out of marble slabs that leads right up to Mulvar’s Outpost, and which links up with the other marble paved roads that wind their way through the town. Great pains have also been taken to provide light for the town as well, with small orbs of magical illumination having been placed at regular intervals along the roads, which helps to reflect the brilliance of the white marble walls and silver roofs of the town’s buildings. Fresh water is provided by the holy spring within the Temple of Gallena that flows down from the ridge, through the town and to its limits, after which it disappears back into the ground again. However, there is no sewer network to speak of, as the rock upon which Mulvar’s Outpost is built is too hard and would be too laborious to tunnel through. Instead, a network of cesspits have been excavated into the rock floor, which are regularly emptied and their contents deposited into a tunnel that is thought to lead down into the Middle Underdark, around the area of the Lake of Tears.
The town of Mulvar’s Outpost itself was originally founded several decades after the establishment of the monastic community of the Temple of Gallena was constructed on the ridge overlooking the current town. The town derives its name from an enterprising soul, Mulvar Quicksilver, a Deep Gnome who realised that the number of pilgrims wishing to visit the sacred site to Gallena far outstripped the amount of rooms that the temple and monastery had at their disposal for guests. To capitalise on this, he built a tavern, named Mulvar’s Outpost after himself to cater for pilgrims. Slowly, but surely other enterprising folk joined him in his attempt to make profit from the pilgrims, but the name Mulvar’s Outpost continued to be used to refer to the whole of the growing settlement, in homage to its rather self-centred founder. Eventually, long after Mulvar’s death the inns and lodging houses in the town had become so notorious for trying to swindle as much money as possible from the faithful to Gallena, that it is said that the goddess herself intervened and gave instructions to the temple guard to move into the town and take control. After the remarkably bloodless coup, Gallena further communicated to her clergy that they should see to the governance of the town, to ensure that protection of the innocent and fairness was guaranteed for all who would come to Mulvar’s Outpost wishing to visit her sacred site, and arrangement that has remained ever since.
The presence of the Temple of Gallena in the town makes Mulvar’s Outpost a key site of pilgrimage to those who are dedicated to her, but the town’s situation on one of the routes to the Duergar city The Brass Keep also means that the town is a key rest stop for trading caravans traversing the north-eastern section of the Upper Underdark.
Taking their example from the Temple of Gallena, the buildings of Mulvar’s Outpost are constructed from white marble, easily accessibly thanks to the rich veins of the stone that run through and behind the tunnel in which the town is situated. Many of the buildings have been intricately carved with symbols linked to the goddess; flowing water, fountains, fish and doves primary amongst them, and most of the buildings have been fitted with burnished silver roofs, paid for by the temple for the beautification of the town. All of this combined has given Mulvar’s Outpost a reputation as being one of the most beautiful settlements in the whole of the Underdark.
The town is situated at the end of a Cavern that slopes down to one of the larger tunnels of the Underdark to the north. The land upon which the town is built has been deliberately levelled so that all of Mulvar’s Outpost’s constituent buildings could be built on the same level, save for the Temple of Gallena which has been built onto a rock shelf that projects above the rest of the town. Water is provided to the town via a spring that emerges on the rock shelf on which the temple has been constructed, around which a fountain has been constructed, with the excess water flowing off the edge of the rock shelf as a waterfall and then flowing through the rest of the town. Unusually, the stream disappears back beneath the ground at Mulvar’s Outpost’s town limits, one of the many reasons that the stream is believed to be a divine gift from the goddess Gallena.
The Sanctuary of Gallena / Refugees’ Rest
Mulvars / Gallenites