Sun Hollow Settlement in Kelbonnar | World Anvil

Sun Hollow

Beneath the surface of Kelbonnar, right on the boundary between the world above and the Underdark proper, lies the trading hub of Sun Hollow. Compared to the cities above ground and many of those deeper into the Underdark, the town is little more than an outpost that acts as a place traders can buy and sell goods part way through their journeys, and where they can rest in relative safety from the many vicious denizens of the deep.   The town takes its name from the fact that at midday, sunlight filters down from the world above and can just about cast a feeble glow onto the town, not enough to provide much light, but enough to remind the people there of the lands under the rule of the Empire of Turelion above them.


As it relatively close to the surface world, only a couple of miles beneath the ground, and as it has direct access to the world above, Sun Hollow has one of the largest concentrations of Humans, Halflings, Gnomes and Elves amongst its population of all of the settlements, towns and cities of the Underdark. In addition, whilst there are species native to Underdark, such as Drow and Duergar that dwell in Sun Hollow, they make up a much smaller percentage of the population than in other areas of the Underdark, and such individuals tend to be estranged from their native communities.   On the whole, the population of Sun Hollow are poor, with what little wealth that exists in the town being in the hands of a handful of people, with the vast majority having to scrape a living by working as porters and small traders.


Sun Hollow is governed as a direct democracy, where everyone who owns property in the town is eligible to vote when matters are thought to require a consultation of the town, with a simple majority vote carrying the matter at hand forward. As there is no written constitution for the town detailing, when, where and how often the townsfolk should get together to consider business, town meetings tend to be called sporadically, generally when there is a crisis that requires immediate action.   The fact that only those who own property in the town can vote during the infrequent occasions town meetings are called, means that most of the populace are disenfranchised, even though most people who live in rented property were born and raised in Sun Hollow.


In terms of defensive structures, the northern and southern borders of the town are naturally defended by the rock walls of the tunnel that Sun Hollow is located in, making approach from either direction impossible, save for creatures that would be able to cut their way through many metres of solid rock.   The western border of the town is defended by a low dry stone wall, about six feet in height, which snakes across that side of the town. It is neither a stable, nor in fact easily defensible position, but its primary purpose is to deter people or creatures, which would most likely have travelled down the tunnel from the surface, from attacking the town.   The eastern border of the town, is by far the most defensible of Sun Hollow’s boundaries, as it is a sheer rock cliff, over 100ft high, with access to the town from below only being provided by a single set of stone steps cut into the rock face. Where the stairs reach the level of the town, a small dry-stone construction tower has been built, to restrict access from the stairs to the town through a gate, which can be closed against would be attackers.   In terms of a defensive force, Sun Hollow has no dedicated militia or guard, but is instead defended by its citizens, who take turns filling the roles of town watch on rotation, with around 20 acting as the guard at any one time. The guard are equipped with very basic weapons that belong to the town, but in reality, much like Sun Hollow’s defensive infrastructure, they are only there to act as a deterrent, rather than being a serious defensive proposition.

Industry & Trade

Sun Hollow has no dedicated centres of industry and it instead survives as a trading hub, catering to both the mercantile traffic travelling to and from the surface world and the Upper Underdark, and to passing trade moving through the nearby tunnels and passages. Most of the businesses in the town are dedicated to either the buying and selling of goods, or to catering for the merchant caravans that rest there.


The town has little infrastructure to speak of save for the relatively organised network of streets that wind through it, a happy coincidence of having to construct the town on terraces, which naturally limited where buildings could and could not be placed. Fresh water to the town is provided by the river that flows through it and off the side of the cliff at its eastern boundary, but the rock on which the town is built was far too hard to excavate any kind of sewage system in, so most waste is dumped into the lower reaches of the river, to be washed away deeper into the Underdark.

Guilds and Factions

As it is a key trading post that connects the Upper Underdark with the surface world and the Empire of Turelion above, the Bloody Wolves maintain a base of operations in the town, which has naturally become a focal point for people either looking to hire mercenaries or guides to help see their passage and the passage of their goods safely through the Underdark’s dangerous, labyrinthine passages, or for people looking to be hired.   In addition, Sun Hollow’s strategic location also means that the Imperial Inquisition are thought to have a safe-house in the town, from which they launch covert missions and excursions into the Underdark, to gather intelligence on the regions denizens for the information of the Imperial Court.


Whilst Sun Hollow was not created with any intention of being a desirable location for tourists to visit, the odd group of curious sightseers do occasionally turn up from time to time. More often than not, these groups are comprised of curious nobles from the Empire of Turelion, interested to see for themselves if the legends surrounding the Underdark, collectively know on the surface as Death’s Endless Passages, are true. In general, these groups rarely stray far from the town, and generally do not stay for long, the lack of interesting diversions and the generally unfriendly attitude of the locals helping to speed them on their way.


The lack of available building material means that all of the buildings of Sun Hollow are constructed from roughly hewn stone blocks, most of which were left over from the rubble extracted during the excavation of the terraces that the town was built on, or which have been subsequently hacked from the sides of the tunnel. The irregular nature of these stones means that almost all of the buildings are a single story high, with most not wanting to risk adding additional stories, lest they risk the collapse of their homes.   A few buildings, including the local tavern The Radiant and the base of the Bloody Wolves in the town have been strengthened with the addition of wooden beams and supports brought down from the surface world, and have even had wooden stories added to their stone cores, at great expense to whoever paid for their construction.


The town is located in a sloping tunnel that descends roughly from the west down to the east, which has been cut over many thousands of years by flow of a small, unnamed river that originates in the surface world in the area of the Toaya Peke wetlands in Ultaru Province. The slope of the tunnel that the town is situated in means that there is little naturally occurring flat land available for building upon, so terraces have been carved into the soft limestone rock to create a more stable surface to build upon.   The eastern border of the town is sharply demarcated by a steep cliff that descends over 100ft down into a larger cavern space beyond, which provides routes deeper into the Underdark to the north west and south east. Set into the eastern wall of this next cavern, directly opposite the shelf on which Sun Hollow is situated, is the Temple of Hella, the focal point for religious life in the town. Access to the larger cavern, and the nearby temple, are provided by stone steps that have painstakingly been cut from the cliff face. These steps have been constructed so that they are wide enough and shallow enough to allow the passage of beasts of burden both to and from Sun Hollow.
Alternative Name(s)
Gateway to the Depths
Inhabitant Demonym
Location under

Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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