Vala Juranid, also known as Hell’s Basement, is a vast canyon surrounded by burning, uninhabitable deserts for as far as one can imagine. The canyon is miles across in some places, mere hundreds of feet in others, and nearly a mile deep. At its base a river courses through from east to west. Along that river five towns carve out a living, mostly farming, mining and trading among themselves. A long road travels west to the outside world, but no one has traveled it in many years.
Other beings also call the canyon home, the winged aarakocra roost high up the canyon walls and prey on those below, the inhuman genasi abide in the realms of sand and stone, and other less human creatures make their abodes thought the canyon. Venturing beyond the lights of the towns is left to the few most adventurous people, and fewer still return. Within the canyons there is life, without death. The people have explored most every side canyon looking for a better life, all but one.
One canyon is forbidden. Siq Baatune, gateway to the Abyss. Its narrowest point is walled off, an enormous gate barred with a holy relic, it’s surface covered in carve runes keeps what is within from those who live without.
It is said the canyon is a microcosm of the vast world beyond, humans, dwarves, elves, goblins, most every kind of humanoid even the unliving nabon makes homes there, but few know how, or why it was settled. The canyon has been this way for generations. The five towns under the protection of the ancient gods has endured, until now.