Some fifty years ago, numerous leaders from different races, houses, kingdoms and tribes realized the benefits of trade with the surface world, but surface merchants refused to risk lives and cargo in the underdark trading with peoples who were quicker to kill and loot than pay. These leaders set aside their strife and worked together to collaborate in the construction of a neutral city. A magnificent testament to the riches and glory of the Underdark, well-fortified and kept strictly safe by drow, illithids, imaskari, dueregar and numerous other races. Long caravans make dagnerous journeys through the Underdark from the surface to this city, but more often that not, it is decidedly worth the profit.
Though there are multiple cities and racial capitals in the underdark, this section will focus on the safe port of Barra Lanke, which rests on the shore of a massive, underground lake.
The Great Hall of the Barra Sengeren:
In the center of the City stands the most exquisite building of all: the hall of the ruling council. It is constructed entirely of white marble, inlayed with precious metals, forming runes and elaborate patterns upon its surface. Statues of councilors past and present line the street outside, as well as the wide, sweeping staircase leading up to the massive scarlet double doors.
The Merchant's District:
A vast section of the city, selling goods and services of every conceivable variety. This is also where the majority of inns, restaurants, and taverns would be located.
Heaven's Gate: One of the most popular taverns in Barra Lanke, Heaven’s Gate offers a variety of services and a large menu. It holds a great many rooms, each different in quality and opulence: ranging from nearly spartan single rooms, to grand, luxurious suites.
The Meat Market:
A special part of the Merchant’s Quarter. This large area is devoted entirely to the buying and selling of slaves. Here one may find anything from the lowest goblin laborer, to the most lusty harem girl. Here one can also find The Pits, the battle arena of the city where gladiatorial fights frequently take place. The Blue Lotus is located here.
The Temple District:
Temples to almost all underdark deities can be found here, along with shrines to select surface gods. Many believe that this is perhaps where the deepest corruption lies.
The Financial District
Beyond the Great Hall, these are the centers of power for Barra Lanke. Business and political elites work within buildings as majestic, impressive, and as intimidating as the impenetrable security found behind each wall.
Being first and foremost a trading center, Barra Lanke's main culture is that of commerce. There is some sort of transaction happening somewhere, no matter the time of day (or night, as both are irrelevant in the underdark). That is, of course, only the surface of Barra culture. Many other currents run under this larger cultural theme.
The drow struggle for supremacy even now, though they paint on the pretty facade of togetherness for the sake of business. Houses are no longer soley ruined by military coup, they are just as often destroyed in a board room or smokey back room in a tavern by one or more willing and greedy co-conspirators. Though, a nice, quiet assassination in the middle of the night is still a favorite mode of hostile take over.
Culture for the various other races is not completely stamped out, rather it's mixed into the whole of Barra Lanke. Surface religions and habits aren't banned, and so long as everyone is willing to keep the peace, there is no outward discrimination. Even the other underdark races are free to live their lives, again, so long as it does not interfere with the fragile peace that is enforced within the walls of the city.
The main religious practice of the Drow is the worship of Lloth, and while practictioners of other drow faiths are not outright persecuted, they are treated with the least courtesy possible while still being within city guidelines. Other races are allowed to practice thir religions as well, though attempts to convert others are frowned upon. The following are the most common Deities worshipped in Barra Lanke:
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Race: Drow, Chitines
Portfolio: Spiders, evil, darkness, chaos, assassins, drow
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Portfolio: Stone, stonework, mining. Underground