The Land Below

Everyone who has grown up under the influence of the Empire of Splendour has heard of Kiranjika, the fabled "Land Below". They all know the stories of how people escaped underground during the legendary Time of Four Suns, and how they built a great civilisation there. The rest is rumour and speculation and few believe that Kiranjika exists any more, if it ever did. No-one suspects that the Kiranjikans walk among them.

The Time of Four Suns
The history of Kiranjika begins way back in the time of legend, during a terrible civil war in heaven. The old Divine Emperor was dead, leaving his four sons to fight over his realm; each blaming the others for their father's death. The Golden Throne of Heaven was shattered and the four sun gods came together in the sky to fight. The land could not bear the heat of four suns at once; seas boiled dry, crops were burned away. The people sought refuge underground, where the survivors began the makings of what would become the nation of Kiranjika. Meanwhile, overhead the three surviving sun gods discovered that they had been tricked, put aside their differences and resolved a power-sharing agreement. But underground, the Kiranjikans continued to live assuming that the surface world was an ever-burning Conflagration.

The Great Geode
After several years of searching, living as a nomadic tribe sustained by magical food, the Kiranjikans discovered their future home - a huge crystalline cyst deep in the earth, fully eight miles across and a mile high lined with shards of amethyst. They carved and shaped homes in the crystal and the surrounding rock. They tapped water sources and they found natural sources of food to augment their magically summoned fare. Over thousands of years, the Great Cyst of Kiranjika was built upon and turned into a city the like of which had never been seen.

Kiranjikans live and think far more three-dimensionally than most surface dwellers. The floor, the walls and the ceilings of the geode have all been built upon, not to mention the delicate lacings of crystalline bridges that criss-cross the central space of the Cyst. Frequent use of spider climb spells mean that you are as likely to see people walking on the underside of a walkway as the top. Dominating the centre of Kiranjika is the Circle's Enclave, a huge crystalline downthrust like a stalagmite, isolated from all other structures. This is the home of the ruling body of Kiranjika, the Jinkarmi. Since they are all powerful wizards, they use flight or teleportation to access the Enclave.

Life in Kiranjika
Although it exists deep in the earth, Kiranjika is still part of the Central Continent, and like the majority of Central Continent civilisations it believes very strongly in the concept of everyone knowing their place in society, and sticking to it. The rulers, the Jinkarmi, are an informal council of powerful wizards who oversee most aspects of life. Ranked below them are civil administrators, law enforcers and the military, some of whom have minor magical powers but not on the scale of the Jinkarmi. Everyone else is classed below them. All citizens of Kiranjikan wear an identifying bracelet that carries sigils only visible to magical detection. These bracelets not only bear a unique identifying number but also control where the citizen may access. Parts of Kiranjika are reached through magical portals or guarded by constructs, and possessing the correct level of clearance will allow passage.

These bracelets are surrendered to the Jinkarmi upon death where they are wiped for re-use. Anyone found in Kiranjika without a bracelet is arrested, and usually executed. Prisoners are issued with a larger version that fits around the neck, and it is commonly held that these will explode if taken into forbidden areas. Kiranjikans do not use money. Instead, the identity bracelets contain details of the level of lifestyle to which the wearer is entitled (as determined by the Jinkarmi). Providers of goods and services will then serve the wearer according to his dictated needs.

Natural resources are scarce, with a few varieties of fungus being used for food and textile, and metal and stone being used for most other applications. However, the Kiranjikans make heavy use of magically created food, drink and materials, and are able to produce pretty much anything they need, if at low volumes. There is some recycling of the dead into foodstuff, known as Lifebread, a practice happily accepted by the Kiranjikans.

Two major threats face the Kiranjikans. Lava Worms are creatures of magma that tunnel through the rock of the underworld and occassionally break into Kiranjikan tunnels. They are deadly and powerful, but also fairly mindless so although their visits are destructive they are not feared as much as the Tenoko-O. These are a race of bat-like humanoids that dwell in the underworld and claim many of the Kiranjikan tunnels, and in particular the Great Cyst, as their own. Fierce savages, they strike without mercy on any Kiranjikan they can lay their hands on, and are known to take hostages and return them maimed or mutilated.

The Savaunt
The savaunt are a sub-race of the Kiranjikans, created by centuries of magical breeding by the Jinkarmi. Each savaunt can cast one spell, and one spell only. They are otherwise mentally sub-normal, although by no means the brainless idiots that many Kirnajikans think them to be. Different castes of savaunt have been bred to perform different tasks, which they do so obeditiantly at the behest of the Jinkarmi. Some examples of savaunt caste, just a small selection of the many hundreds, are:

  • Fabricants: These savaunt know the spell fabricate and are the mainstay of Kiranjikan industry.
  • Translocants: These can cast teleport and are used by the Jinkarmi and other Kiranjikans as a means of rapid transport.
  • Provendants: Perhaps one of the most important castes of savaunt, these are able to cast create food and water, keeping the population alive.
  • Least Fendant: These have been bred to defend against the dreaded lava worms that infest the underworld. Since lava worms can be driven off by cold, Least Fendants cast ray of frost
  • Greater Fendant: The most powerful, and rare, of the savaunts bred to fight against lava worms, Greater Fendants can cast cone of cold.
  • Anaudant: These are bred to defend against the tenoko-o, who use echolocation to perceive the world. Anaudants can cast deafness to negate this ability.
  • Herald: When the Jinkarmi want to make an announcement they tend to do so by illusory figments that all can see. Heralds can cast persistent image.
  • Judicant: These savaunt work with the judicial system, dealing out punishment. They can cast mark of justice.
  • Lithicants: Important for the building and maintainance of Kiranjika, the lithicants can cast stone shape.
  • Censants: These savaunt are responsible for creation of the identity bracelets worn by all Kiranjikans. They can cast a spell known as greater arcane mark.

Using Kiranjika
Unlike underground nations typically found in fantasy settings, the people of Kiranjika are not inherently evil, nor actively hostile to surface life. Most of the population know nothing of the surface world, believing it to be a burning wasteland that they call The Conflagration.

However, the ruling class of the Jinkarmi know of the surface world, and in fact sometimes visit it in order to gain new materials, luxury items for their own use, and occassionally new breeding stock for savaunts. One way of introducing Kiranjika to surface-dwelling player characters is to start off with them investigating strange disappearances, or mysterious merchants. Many Jinkarmi visiting the surface will have some magical item to transport them home, or perhaps a translocant savaunt, which savvy players can use to pursue their prey.

Whether they teleport in, or take the long way through miles of tunnels, outsiders in Kiranjika face a strange, ordered world at war with dangerous foes. Perhaps they take sides in the Kiranjika-Tenoko-O conflict, or perhaps their mere presence threatens to destroy Kiranjikan civilisation. The gamesmaster can use elements of dystopian settings such as those seen in Brave New World, Logan's Run or Zardoz, to name but some, as inspiration for such a campaign.

Creating a Savaunt
Savaunt all have the following characteristics:
Same as humans except for

  • -6 Intelligence
They all belong to the "savaunt" NPC Class which has the following characteristics:
  • BAB equal to half Hit Dice
  • Good Will save
  • 2 + Intelligence bonus skill points (x4 at 1st level). Class skills are Concentration, Craft (any), Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft and Use Magic Device.
  • Savaunt know one spell, granted to them by the Jinkarmi. Their spell may be of any level, but they must possess a Wisdom score of 10 plus the spell's level in order to cast it. The saving throw for their spell, if there is one, is Wisdom-based. To find out how many times a savaunt may cast his spell, find the equivalent wizard level and total all the spells per day of all levels. For example, a 1st level wizard may cast three 0th and one 1st. A 1st level savaunt can therefore cast 3+1=4 spell levels. A 1st level savaunt with a 1st level spell could cast it four times per day. If he had a 2nd spell he could cast it twice per day, a 3rd or 4th level spell once per day, and could not cast a 5th level or higher spell.
  • Savaunt have no proficiency with weapons, armour or shields.
Note that savaunt with high level spells are rare, mainly because they will need to be of a high level themselves before they can cast the spell. Assume that the Jinkarmi use some magical form of raising the experience level of a savaunt.

The Nekome
The nekome is a common weapon amongst Kiranjikan infantry. It resembles a spear stuck through the middle of a large shield, a weapon developed for tunnel fighting to provide offensive ability and cover at the same time. Native Kiranjikans treat it as a two-handed martial weapon but to anyone else it is an exotic weapon. Unlike a spiked shield, a nekome can be used for attack and defence in the same round.

CostDamage (M)CriticalWeightType
Nekome (Attack)4000 yen (40 gp)1d8320 lb.Piercing
Shield BonusMaximum Dex BonusArmour Check PenaltyArcane Spell Failure Chance
Nekome (Defence)2-215%

Greater Arcane Mark
Level: Sor/Wiz 1
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: 0 ft.
Effect: Inscription, which must fit within 1 sq. ft.
Duration: Permanent
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

As arcane mark, except that the mark may include up to 100 characters. This spell is used by censant savaunts to create the identification bracelets worn by all Kiranjikans.

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The Kiranjikans
The people of Kiranjika are humans, albeit adapated over the centuries to their life underground. They tend to be quite short, averaging 5' 4" for men and 5" for women, with a slender, wiry build. Their skin is pallid, but their hair is predominantly dark. Blue eyes are most common, but all colours can be found including distinctive violet shades. Roughly 10% of the population express full albinism.

In game terms, Kiranjikans use the same statistics as humans, with the following additions:

Low-Light Vision: Kiranjikans can see twice as far as normal in dim light.

Light Sensitivity: Kiranjikans are dazzled in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.