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The Crystalfen Caverns are an ancient, massive natural cave network located on the western shore of Tal'Dorei beneath Emon and extending below the Ozmit Sea.[3]

Description[]

The Crystalfen Caverns are extensive, deep, and highly dangerous. Located along the Bladeshimmer Shoreline, they were settled by creatures from the Far Realm, aberrations such as the aboleths who built the now-fallen empire with Salar as their capital. There are entrances to the cave network at various points above the surface, and adventurers have mapped some of the caverns.[3] Within the caverns are "mind-bending inscriptions".[4] Adventuring parties' attempts to chart the sprawling cavern network have met with failure due to the sheer vastness and danger of the place.[2]

Thousands of years of exposure to the psychic energies of the resident aberrations produced veins of azuremite, a blue crystal that can be refined into a potent mind-altering drug.[5] Because the aberrations and psychic phenomena, as well as the more mundane cave-ins, make the Crystalfen Caverns incredibly treacherous territory, as of 812 PD most of the people who entered the caverns did so only to mine azuremite for drug production.[3]

At least one known entrance to the caves is from the Undervault catacombs, below Emon's Cemetery District.[6][7]

History[]

Background[]

An ancient society of aboleths and other aberrations sprung up from a rift between the Far Realm and Material Plane. They conquered the subterranean caves, drove their slaves to construct Salar, and slowly pressed upward toward the surface. However, their intentions crumbled when the final battle of the Calamity sent powerful waves of magical force throughout Exandria, causing much of the underground caverns to collapse and the aboleth civilization to fall under rock and rubble. Fragments of the city still remain slowly rebuilding from the dust.[1]

Campaign One: Vox Machina[]

Vox Machina vs aboleth in Crystalfen Lake

Screenshot of an aboleth in Crystalfen Lake attacking several members of Vox Machina, by Wendy Sullivan Green from "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) at 8:24.[art 2]

On their first visit to Emon, several members of Vox Machina fell into a trap: Grog, Tiberius, Vex, Percy, and Keyleth slipped into a subterranean river system that dumped them onto an island in the middle of Crystalfen Lake, where they were attacked by a resident aboleth.

Crystalfen Caverns - Umber hulk tosses Grog from ceiling - Story of Vox Machina

Screenshot of the umber hulk tossing Grog from the ceiling of the cavern, by Wendy Sullivan Green from "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) at 9:03.[art 3]

They escaped and ended up in ancient ruins where they found the hag Trysta. In exchange for clearing out a nearby umber hulk, Trysta offered to tell them where to find an exit from the caverns. The adventurers fought the umber hulk, who nearly killed Grog by tossing him from the ceiling of the cavern to the island below.[8]

As later presented in the Vox Machina Origins Series IV comic books, the storyline was very similar but Scanlan replaced Tiberius in the group.[9]

Later events[]

As of early 812 PD, very recent excavations of the Undervaults began to break into the Crystalfen Caverns. Although the passage was quickly sealed, some members of the Gravewatchers, a guild of families that had long controlled the city's Cemetery District, began to take payment from the Clasp and others in exchange for granting occasional passage into the caverns.[10] Other excavations in the following decades also sometimes broke into the Crystalfen Caverns, and the Gravewatchers continued to allow payment for passage, but experience taught the Clasp to avoid doing its own tunneling too close to the Cemetery District. Most who ventured into the caverns were never seen again, and those who did escape tended to be traumatized.[7] Indeed, the Gravewatchers themselves had quickly come under the psychic influence of an aberrant creature of the caverns.[11]

References[]

Art:

  1. Depiction of a lizardfolk individual and an aboleth-like aberration in the Crystalfen Caverns, by Andrey Vasilchenko from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 142. This page contains unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  2. Screenshot of an aboleth in Crystalfen Lake attacking several members of Vox Machina, by Wendy Sullivan Green from "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) at 8:24. Used with permission.
  3. Screenshot of the umber hulk tossing Grog from the ceiling of the cavern, by Wendy Sullivan Green from "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) at 9:03. Used with permission.
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