The Calling Mines are a brutal place. Guarded by elite members of the Hexpools army most of the prisoners are forced to slave away in the underground with no hope of ever regaining their freedom. Officially, the United Kingdom of Ahlissa has repatriated all prisoners of war captured during the Greyhawk Wars. Thus Ahlissan officials have determined that any remaining in the mines will never gain their freedom. Their escape could prove embarrassing for the fledgling nation and its Overking.
The mines contribute much mineral wealth to the Province of Ahlissa and therefore the mines are vital to Ahlissa’s continued post-war recovery. These mines have been in use for centuries and although deep they also spread out for scores of miles in all directions.
Most of the miners are slaves. A handful of Sunndian dwarves and gnomes and a few other unfortunates make up a small contingent of foreigners also incarcerated here. The mines are named for the eerie, faint voices that assail the miners in the deeper shafts. Not all who work in the mines hear the voices (and indeed there seems to be no reason why some are singled out) and all who hear the voices hear something different. Some hear the mournful moaning of a ghost, the insane chattering of insane spirits or the entreaties of the svirfnebli promising escape and freedom. Many die in the mines, victims of accidents, the brutality of the guards or from the depravations of the occasional monster wandering up from the darkness below. The mines claim as many minds as bodies though; the unending toil and harsh conditions breaking the spirit of even the bravest and most charismatic slaves. Much magic and many treasures are rumored to lie below the mines, waiting discovery by the questing picks of the slaves and their overseers. The true nature and motivations of the mysterious voices are unknown, although many fanciful rumors circulate amongst the guards and inmates.