Deep under the earth lies the Vardray Discontinuity. It was discovered in ancient times by the sage and wizard, Vardray. His writings have been lost to us, but Pliny the Alder, the great elven scholar and encyclopedist, has preserved excerpts of Vardray's work in his Gazetteer of Arcane Geography. Pliny lived in late antiquity and some of his works have not been passed down to us. Fortunately, we do have a number of reliable and complete copies of his Gazetteer of Arcane Geography.
Pliny on the Vardray Discontinuity
In his Gazetteer of Arcane Geography, Pliny records the following with regards to the Vardray Discontinuity.
The mighty elven wizard Vardray is the first to describe what is now known to sages and scholars as the Vardray Discontinuity. How Vardray discovered the discontinuity is shrouded in mystery, but many stories come to us of Vardray’s unique and creative laboratory spells and his renown courage as an explorer.
Vardray, in his Observations from the Field: Volume 2, writes:
And it came to pass that I learned of an odd and major arcane feature in the eastern mountains. The dwarves, in the Elder Days, named these mountains, Dragonfang. I have found that there is a very narrow zone that separates an upper region of the earth’s volume from the deeper region below this narrow zone of separation.
Above this separation zone [now known as the Vardray Discontinuity—Pliny], the rock and soil contain very little magic. This is the earth—the rock, stones and soil—that we see around us every day. I call this the Mundane Zone. However, below this zone of separation lies a region permeated by magic and wonder. I call this the Deep Zone.
This Deep Zone is permeated by a magical energy such that certain kinds of plants are able to draw sustenance from it much like our trees, grasses, vines and crops draw life from the sun. In turn, these plants support a wide variety of other creatures. Indeed, I have learned of races living in the Deep Zone and raise crops of Deep Zone plants for food and trade. Stories of these societies can be found among the dwarves.
The material of our universe is somehow altered in this Deep Zone so that has the most amazing and wondrous properties. I have discovered some of these properties during my investigations. Firstly, in the Deep Zone, the material of our universe is stretched thin, for lack of the better term. There are places where powerful creatures find it easy to pass from their home plane to our plane of Aarde and back again. This, of course, makes the Deep Zone both interesting and dangerous.
The Deep Zone also features areas where the laws of geometry do not match the geometry of our surface world. For example, there are many areas where careful mapping would tell a Deep Zone traveler that their destination is 2 days distant, when in fact, the destination is 5 days distant. Goblin traders from the Deep Zone have told me that special maps are required to navigate between locations in the Deep Zone. The goblins, keeping these maps to themselves, have become masters of Deep Zone trade.
The goblins have also told me of cities and lands that lie outside of our dimension, yet have access or a portal via the Deep Zone. These cities and lands are part of our plane, the plane of Aarde, yet they are not. The goblins’ descriptions of these lands are beyond belief, but I would not be surprised if they contain much truth.
Much to the delight of dwarves, great riches can be mined in the Deep Zone below the eastern mountains [Dragonfang]. Dwarven history is filled with the establishment of mines and cities in and above the Deep Zone in the eastern mountains [Dragonfang]. The stories of these settlements have the same sad plot, the discovery and extraction of obscene amounts of metals and gems of all sorts followed by horrible and complete disaster from below. As I noted above, the Deep Zone is a dangerous place.
In terms of geography, the Deep Zone lies closest to the surface in areas of the eastern mountains [Dragonfang]. The narrow zone that separates the Deep Zone from the Mundane Zone plunges deeper into the earth as one moves west away from the mountains towards more civilized lands. In fact, I was unable to determine any evidence that the Deep Zone exists beneath our own settled lands to the west. On the other hand, my preliminary work in the laboratory and field indicates that the Deep Zone does exist beneath the wild land to the east of the eastern mountains [Dragonfang]. The Deep Zone lies deeper below the surface of the wild land than it does in the eastern mountains [Dragonfang] but it is clearly there below the surface. I believe that the existence of the Deep Zone beneath the wild land might be the reason the wild land is so wild.I, Pliny, have in my own humble travels come across interesting settlements and history in the Dragonfang. For example, there is a settlement of humans who have dedicated themselves to understanding the fundamental fabric of the universe by studying the elements and energies. I believe that they have found this easier by living in close proximity to the Deep Zone. There are also dark and ancient tales of kobolds abiding in the Deep Zone and master the magic of the elements and energies for malevolent purposes. Fortunately for us today, kobolds have lost both the knowledge and interest in such dangerous magic. I have written more about this in other writings.
The World of Montporte
The Montporte Region: History and Geography
The Deep Dark: That Which Lies Beneath the Montporte Dungeon
Montporte Cosmological Notes: On the Planes
Montporte Cosmological Notes: On the Elements
Montporte Cosmological Notes: On the Energies
Goblins (Fey)--Montporte Dungeon Campaign Critter
Peoples, Tribes, and Gangs in the Montporte Dungeon
Little Larry the Kobold (an NPC's story)
|The town of Montporte and surrounding area
|The Montporte region