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The Spike

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The hundreds of levels extending below Absalom Station’s radial plane—often collectively referred to as “Downside”—are simultaneously its most crucial and least appreciated. Here, sandwiched between other heavy industry in the station’s gritty underbelly, the vast machines in charge of the station’s life support and defenses chug away, some only partially understood by the engineers who maintain them. The poorest classes of Absalom Station’s citizenry live here, gradually trickling down and away from the light and wealth of the upper levels to build slums in former access corridors or venture into the half-explored Ghost Levels, discovered abandoned at the end of the Gap. Monsters of all sorts hunt in the depths of the Spike, from simple criminals to bizarre creatures with no apparent reason to be on the station at all, creating whole ecosystems in the gloom. Politicians occasionally champion purging and resettling everything below the lowest official neighborhoods, but they are inevitably dissuaded by scholars and experts in both science and magic who posit that the Ghost Levels and their bizarre ecosystems may contain keys to the station’s function or destiny—not to mention mysterious treasures that expeditions into the unmapped levels occasionally bring back.