Great Dismal Delve

The delve itself is a maddening maze of passages, memorized by the dao but confusing to the traveler. The dao and their slave races live here in dark splendor, eagerly mining gems for trade. Slaves, often the losers in bets and bargains made with the dao, build and rebuild passages, fend off elemental attacks, and are otherwise slowly worked to death by their uncaring masters. Glowing crystals line the Great Dismal Delve, and
great vaults are set with them in star patterns unlike any seen on the Material Plane. Food is grown here as well, mostly luminous fungus that thrives in the darker areas. This smelly, bad-tasting food primarily feeds the slaves. The dao themselves eat and drink only for the sensation
and can survive as easily on rocks as on anything else. Some have such strange tastes that they willingly consume rare gems, thinking them delicacies.

The Great Dismal Delve spans a number of large, natural caverns that are tectonically unstable. Earthquakes are frequent occurrences, which keeps the slaves busy within the continent-wide Delve. The connections and passages of the Great Dismal Delve link up with a bewildering array of portals leading to other Inner Planes, the subterranean reaches of some of the Outer Planes, and the deepest dungeons of the Material Plane. It is rumored that somewhere within the Great Dismal Delve is a freestanding gate to almost every secret location within the D&D cosmology. The dao encourage this rumor and make their passages available to planar travelers who crave secrecy in their comings and goings. The only thing keeping the Great Dismal Delve from being more a popular destination is the dao’s own devious nature. The dao assume that everyone else is as untrustworthy as they are, and they keep a long list of grudges against anyone, deity or mortal, who looks at them sideways. As a result, many of the most
powerful beings avoid the Great Dismal Delve.

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