Proper Name: Hellade, the Realm of Swords

Ruler: “The Four-Headed Eel”, a council led by four rulers, each with a different area of power.

Government: Nihilist Tyranny. Crime syndicates, legitimized by the establishment of a trade portal, rule Hellade and maintain basic government services. Rule extends through a web of underbosses which are constantly shifting.

Resources: Eels and Shellfish; Forced Labor; Prisons; Mercenaries and Precious Metals.

Population: 38,000—Dwarf 26%, Human 21%, Mixed Breed 10%, Orc 8%, Demon Blood 7%, Lizardfolk 6%, Minotaur 4%; Gnoll 4%, Elemental 4%, All Others 3% or less

Languages: Common, Dwarf, Orc, Demonic, Holespeak

Overview: Hellade is more commonly known as “The Hole”. It is a maze of tunnels and islands in a lake of horrors. It is ruled by an organized crime syndicate which splits power between four organizations: The Bargefighters, who organize gladiatorial games and slaves; The Guilds, which control to the gambling and entertainment houses within the city; The Excavators, which control the mining and forced labor; and the Firemakers, who control farming, fishing, brewing and alchemical operations in the city.

Hellade is a prison for many other kingdoms, who sentence their worse offenders to either the mining pits or gladiatorial arenas of Hellade instead of killing them. Hellade also has the portal closest to the Bay of Souls, and many pass through the city in hopes of saving those taken from them before they pass to the next world. A number of guides – including fiends – are available for hire, if the price is right.

History: Before the deities were banished, a great and prosperous Dwarven thanedom known as Barakzadd mined itself deep into its mountain, finding vein after vein of minerals. Less than a century before the deities were banished, a mountain of ore fell from the sky and destroyed the thanedom, creating a crater on the shore of Black Eel Bay, exposing many of its collapsed tunnels to surface. Some believe the Dwarves had angered the deities by digging too deep, while others believe the Dwarves prayed for more ore, and it was delivered to them.

Within months, looters arrived to recover what they could of the fallen kingdom, ignoring the tragedy and loss of life. The Dwarves that remained fought fiercely to protect their homeland, but could not maintain their lairs from rampaging beasts without the aid of the looters. An uneasy truce existed in Hellade for over 500 years before the Apatheic Plague cemented their government. With the help of Elves from Far’Telor and fiends from Esseargon, the fledgling warlords organized their “government”, providing unique services that other cities and kingdoms would consider taboo.

Hellade is currently filled with sunken passages and hidden corridors, many of which are filled with treasure to this day. A number of islands lie in the center of the lagoon formed by the meteor’s crater, and fighting schools rest on isolated barges on the lagoon. Slavery is illegal in Hellade, and the government does not use the term – those doing forced labor are either prisoners or debtors officially, and any may pay their price owed to be released.

Rumors: There are many possible adventuring stories in Hellade, ranging from the freeing (or capturing) of prisoners; intrigue in a gambling house; exploration of the mining tunnels; or even training and competition in the Gladiatorial Barges. The bottom of the Lagoon is filled with undead dwarves and worse, but the geography and protective magics prevent them from attacking the surface. Hellade is also a common launching point for expeditions to the Bay of Souls.