Undercity Locations and relative size:
Upper Ward: 10%
Middle Ward: 25%
Military Ward: 10%
The Undercity is the rotten core of Avalon, a place where the watchful eye of the law is a little less vigilant. As vast as the city itself and existing mere feet beneath the ground, carved into the earth itself. In this vast 'subtropolis' the rich can indulge their every fancy, whilst the poor constantly scramble to survive against the odds. Rumours exist of things in Avalon's Undercity that go bump in the night, none so infamous as the Underdark trading post that is said to reside somewhere within. It is said that the post is manned by creatures such as Illithids, Myconids, Drow and more, but none that speak of it know its location and to many it is considered just another urban legend.
Governance of Undercity is limited to the wards in which the surface dwellers retain an interest, so far as they are concerned the Underhive is not worth their time and as such remains completely unpatrolled by the guard. Due to this, it would be impractical to perform accurate census although population in the Undercity is estimated to sit somewhere in the region of 400,000 to 700,000 individuals. The majority of these individuals reside in the Underhive, a hive of scum and villainy worse, or at the very least equal to the worst on offer in the deepest and darkest parts of the surface slums.
Perhaps the most notorious aspect of the Undercity is its link to the Underdark, cause of many a cold sweat and restless sleep. Through the Military Ward it is possible to gain access to this sea of shadows, through Beggars Gate and into Therafim's dark underbelly.
The Upper Wards of the Undercity are not much different than the surface areas for the rich and famous denizens of Avalon, well lit with a soft magical twilight and lined with cobbled pathways it is a playground for those with coin to spare. Any possible vice imaginable can and often is satisfied here, behind the closed doors of private clubs, cafes and emporiums alike. Some people even choose to take residence in the Upper Ward permanently, preferring the environs in the Undercity to the surface districts for various reasons… but so long as their coin purses bulge nobody will bat an eye to the happenings in this area unless they were to threaten the overall profitability of Avalon.
In terms of location, the Upper Ward is located beneath the merchant and upper class areas of Avalon and entered into by fanciful stone staircases kept just out of sight, but never far away. Once within the securty is still primarily handled by regular military patrols, however most residents and businesses are affluent enough to employ their owns means of protection also as their clientelle rarely enjoy disturbance or prying eyes.
The Middle Ward of the Undercity mirrors and sits directly beneath the (citizens) area of the inner city, an affluent area fit for anyone with a preference towards dim, everburning torch lit surrounds rather than living on the surface. Plenty of individuals prefer to set up their homes and businesses here and there is are strong communities of Dwarves and Gray Orcs among others. Aside from providing additional residential space, the ward is home to many a shady deal and blacked out shop window. As with the Upper Ward, this is a place for people to come to indulge themselves or get their hands on exotic merchadise which may fall into areas of questionable legality or moral gray. However unlike in the Upper Ward, not all desires can be satisfied and the further from the gilded thrones you travel the more base the pleasures you are likely to be offered.
Regular patrols keep the ward safe from most problems, at least along the patrol routes. Further out on roads leading to the edges of the ward out of the way of the inhabitants there is many a gatehouse that connects to the Military Ward seperating the goodly cityfolk from the peoples of the Underhive and the horrors of the deep. Though the Middle Ward is also the first stop of any Underdark caravan that may pass through Beggar's Gate, ready to transfer goods to one of the many waiting warehouses or up to the surface by way of sturdy stone ramps or subway style stairways.
Vanguard against the Underdark and keepers of the peace, the Military Ward divides the Underhive from the city at large by a series of fortified gates. Access into the Underhive is relatively unrestricted, however to exit from the Underhive is more closely monitored and requires proof of citizenship or a written pass issued by the appropriate authorities.
The majority of the ward is typical of a military establishment and seperate from the other wards by thick hewn stone walls. Closer to the middle ward much of the warehouses sit filled with supplies ready to be used when the time comes, then come the barracks and training areas along with a host of other auxiliary buildings. However the most prominent of all the features in the ward is Aururum Keep, commonly referred to as Beggar's Gate, accessible by a brisk five minute walk beyond the ward proper and along the underground highway out of the city leading into the Underdark.
If the upper class areas of the city exemplify the extremes of wealth, then the Underhive can be accurately described as a proper portrayal of absolute poverty, destitution, the world of the gutter rat, pickpockets, drug peddlers and more. The Underhive, for all its failings is not complete anarchy, far from it. Although crimes of all kind are rife, the general peace is kept by local gangs or whoever else is strong enough to hold a claim, each of them keen to cling onto their own slices of territory. Relationships between the different factions in the Underhive are stretched at best, although certain groups at least hold each other in high enough regard that they shy away from the mutually assured destruction that would ensue if they entered into open confrontations. Smaller gangs and individuals however, they are born and burried daily.
Any venture into the Underhive is sure to meet with peril, with surface folk particularly regarded as 'fresh meat' in this sea of sharks. Most that have any choice in the matter would rather steer clear of this place unless abolutely necessary, and it is kept secure from the rest of the city by heavily fortified gatehouses.