- "You may be right, Grey Seer Thanquol. I will report your words to my master. They will decide what to do next... By the way, Grey Seer Thanquol, until this matter is resolved, you are the guest of my clan. We will see to your safety. We will make sure your needs are met. You are... after all... a very special guest. I am sure you understand my meaning..."
- —Izak Grottle, former Ambassador of Clan Moulder[2a]
The cages of Hell Pit
|Location||Old World, Troll Country|
|Allegiance||Clan Moulder, Council of Thirteen|
|Industry||Warpstone mining, war beast breeding, slave trading and commerce|
Hell Pit is perhaps one of the most horrific of all Skaven strongholds within the northern reaches of the Under-Empire. This mighty stronghold of the Skaven lies to the far north, in the blasted wasteland known as Troll Country, where the infernal breeding pits of Clan Moulder can be found. This bulgingly overpopulated stronghold is burrowed into the walls and floor of a ragged chasm in a snowy mountainside on the northern spur of the Worlds Edge Mountains. Volcanic pools at the bottom of the ravine raise a greyish plume of noxious steam and the foul stench is legendary.[1a]
Worse than the olfactory assault, however, is the dreadful cacophony of howls, screams, snarls, and shrieks that clamor out of the frozen chasm. Not without good reason is this place known as Hell Pit. The only assault on Hell Pit to gain headway occurred during the Great War against Chaos. Warrior tribes and war herds of Beastmen allied in an attempt to raze Clan Moulder's capital. The Chaos armies forced their way inside the warrens, laying waste to the first three circles in a blaze of blood and ruin. The minions of the Dark Gods were halted, as innumerable Giant Rats were driven forward by Packmasters to bog down the foe. The invaders were eventually surrounded and wiped out when Throt the Unclean led an entire army of rabid Rat Ogres, many of them especially augmented, to completely clear out the tunnels and warrens.[1a]
- "For I cannot forget the revulsion I felt upon seeing those flayed bodies rotting in the sunlight on the morrow, nor can I repress the memory of the rat-things beneath the gibbous moon the eve before. That these creatures wrought such horror before my very eyes, willingly and with relish, is far less frightening to me now than the fact that nobody else will believe my tale"
- —Harad van Holste, Merchant[3a]
The Stronghold itself is a multi-layered city, similar in ways to the Dwarfen fortress-cities within the peaks of the Worlds Edge Mountains. Indeed, this city is like a twisted parody of the Dwarf's grand halls and plazas of white stone. The thick city walls house part of the Clan's military, and are where most dealings are made between Moulder and potential customers. The massive city gates resemble a titanic rat's head, with countless red eyes peering out of the windows and murder hole as a sign of the stronghold's occupation.[2a]
Within the city itself, Hell Pit is made of living flesh. The wealthy and influential members of the Clan residing within the "Tower of Moulder" often have shifting, pulsing chairs and rugs that crawl and slither along the ground. Huge towers, like the tusk of an enormous beast, dominate the center of the crater. From their peaks emerged clouds of glowing smoke; cobalt, scarlet, vermilion, and all manner of other toxic shades. The huge cloud of pollution that eternally hovers above the crater sometimes descends upon the city streets in a thick, noxious fog.[2a]
Amongst the towers lay other buildings, tents of decaying leather, thrown over the massive skeletons of failed experiments; a loathsome shanty-town raised amongst the rot and fumes. These are the barracks within which the slaves and soldiers of the Clans dwelt. Here and there, amidst the wide streets are glowing lakes of tainted water, contaminated by warpstone and generations of filth. Carved within the crater walls are innumerable tunnels, an endless labyrinth of passageways and caves to provide burrows and laboratories for the Clan's numerous inhabitants. In the sky above, one might glimpse flickering, bat-like shapes, just one more breed of Moulder's twisted creations.[2a]
It is through these corrupted and vile creatures that Clan Moulder gains its power and its wealth. By selling their vicious monsters to the other Clans, they gain wealth and influence beyond those even of Eschen and Pestilens. However, the best and most ferocious creatures are kept to defend the city against the forces of Chaos, Greenskins, and other Skaven Clans that would dare lay seige are to this horrific city. The massive Rat Ogres, the tireless Wolf-Rats, and the nightmarish Hell Pit Abomination are only a few of the more successful creations of Moulder.[2a]
The Nine Circles of HellEdit
The great labyrinthine tunnels of Hell Pit spiral in nine expansive circles, each worming and twisting like a great intestinal tract, each overburdened with numbers of preposterous proportions, and each full of mutated beasts that defy description. To perpetuate their crossbreeding, flesh-bonding crimes against nature, Clan Moulder requires constantly toiling slaves and captured creatures in staggering multitudes. The great circles of Hell Pit are riddled with unholy laboratories, breeding pits, flesh distilleries, gladiatorial arenas, and skin forges that allow Clan Moulder to continue seeking new, more stable breeds of fighting beasts to sell or hire out to the other clans.[1a]
The Lower DepthsEdit
The most revolting section of Hell Pit lies deep within the bowels of the city, where all the uncontrollable experiments are kept, the sickly and the weak cast down into that rancid abyss, forced to fight for survival in a bloated, decaying realm. Snarls, moans, roars and shrieks drift up from these levels, where monstrosities beyond counting struggle and die amongst piles of those who came before. The rising vapors are so foul that few could ever bring themselves to approach the edge of these pits, but if one possessed the fortitude, they would behold a sickening hellscape of pallid, swollen flesh and the misbegotten things that crawl amongst the ruin, tearing at each other and themselves in agony and feral hunger.[1a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 15
- 2: Gotrek and Felix: Dragonslayer (Novel) by William King
- 2a: Chapter 10: "Encounters on the Road"
- 3: Children of the Horned Rat (2nd Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
- 3a: pg. 66