Level 144
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Gothic%20Ruins

A typical example of a ruined outpost on Level 144 under optimal weather conditions.

Level 144 is the 145th Level of the Backrooms, and is primarily comprised of a mud-drenched plain subject to permanent rainfall.

Description:

Level 144 is perpetually overcast by dark storm clouds. Rainfall is continuous, but variable. Lightning however is nearly constant, and presents a serious risk whenever one is exposed to the elements.

The ground of Level 144 is almost entirely mud which is impossible to traverse on foot. Attempting to do so has invariably resulted in individuals sinking to their deaths. It is believed that the vast majority of wanderers who have no-clipped into Level 144 have manifested upon the mud plains, and perished shortly thereafter.

Travel in Level 144 is limited to a series of elevated, stone causeways. On average, these causeways are approximately 15 meters high and 1.5 meters in width, though they do exhibit significant variation in their physical dimensions. These causeways serve the purpose of interconnecting a number of ruins, believed to have originally been used as outposts by an unknown defunct colony. The causeways seldom follow linear routes, and it's common to find that a causeway's been broken or is otherwise non-transversable, requiring that wanderers double back.

Travel should only be attempted during the brief windows of light rain and little wind, as the causeways are narrow, slippery and lack any sort of railing, making it easy to fall to one's death. As the weather changes sporadically, and there is always at least several miles between outposts, travel is always risky. The causeways have also been heavily eroded by the rain and are highly uneven. Even an instant's inattention can result in a fatal slip, so caution must always be taken when walking the causeways.

Unless the Effulgentines have noticed you. Then run.

The ruins themselves vary in size, construction, and degree of deterioration, but most will still have rooms where wanderers can take shelter. Unfortunately, molds and other fungi thrive in the damp conditions of Level 144, and virtually every structure within Level 144 is infested with them. These fungi are not edible, and many of them are toxic to consume or inhale.

Skeletal remains are also commonly found within the ruins. On occasion, these will belong to modern wanderers, but most often they appear to belong to members of older factions that once used and possibly even built the outposts and causeways. Due to extensive water and mold damage, nothing of archaeological value has ever been recovered from the ruins. Attempts to leave maps or messages for future wanderers is likewise futile.

Virtually everyone who ends up on Level 144 does so by accident, as it's completely inhospitable with nothing of value to offer. That said, if you have the luxury of making preparations, you will want to bring multiple sets of warm, waterproof clothing, sleeping bags, flashlights, weapons, and as much food as you can. While the rain is safe to drink, it should only be consumed when caught straight from the air, as any sitting water is almost certainly contaminated by fungi. If possible, you should also bring a high filtration respirator mask with you. Otherwise, make do with what you have and do your best to minimize your exposure to the mold.

Other than lightning, the only indigenous source of light on Level 144 is the Effulgentines.

Entities:

The dominant Entities on Level 144 are the Effulgentines. From a distance, and in the rain, they can be mistaken for light posts. They are, however, colossal humanoid entities, typically exceeding twenty meters in height. They have large, flat feet that allow them to stride across the mudflats without sinking. Their hands are similarly elongated, though it's not clear if this serves a distinct purpose or is merely a vestigial aspect of their development. Their withered bodies are covered in indigo, fish-like scales and are heavily infected with the same molds that infest the ruins. They have almost perfectly spherical heads that are completely hollow on the inside and sit atop long, flexible necks. The front-facing portions of their heads are missing, and they possess the ability to generate intense beams of light at will from these orifices.

EffulgentineArt

An artistic depiction of an Effulgentine, created by a wanderer who escaped Level 144.

At all points within Level 144, multiple Effulgentines can be spotted in all directions. It is believed that Effulgentines spend the majority of their lives standing still, moving their heads in alternating 360 degree turns in a manner reminiscent of a lighthouse. They typically stand alone, though small groups clustering together is not unheard of. They produce vocalizations which have been compared to whale song performed by a foghorn. These calls carry for miles, and Effulgentines have been observed responding to each other's calls, suggesting at least rudimentary social intelligence.

Effulgentines can occasionally be spotted striding across the mud plains, however, when they do so they always point their heads downwards and cast their light beams back and forth, as though they were searching for something. Effulgentines only ever turn their lights off when they are pursuing human prey and wish to avoid detection.

The vast majority of the time, Effulgentines will not react to humans crossing the causeways. They will, however, become predatory at seemingly random times, either chasing humans down or lying in wait to snatch them off the causeways. They've even been known to wait outside of outposts for weeks on end, in order to capture hiding humans when they finally make their move.

If captured, a human will be unceremoniously tossed into the Effulgentine's glowing maw. It is not clear if they are swallowed whole or if the light somehow disintegrates them.

At close range, both the light and noise produced by an Effulgentine can be enough to stun a human being. They're also easily capable of outrunning humans, and possess the necessary size and strength to toss them around like rag dolls. However, they appear either unable or unwilling to destroy the ruins in order to obtain prey, so the outposts serve as shelter from the Effulgentines as well as the weather.

Typically the only time there are survivors from an Effulgentine attack is when a single Effulgentine attacks a group of humans, as they appear to lose interest after two or three kills at most.

Other Entities from Level 144 are more apocryphal, and their existence has yet to be official confirmed by M.E.G. expeditions. Some wanderers have reported bulges of various sizes moving just beneath the surface, and even breaching it on occasion. Testimony as to the size, appearance, and behaviour of these creatures has varied wildly, however. Wanderers are therefore advised to regard any inconsistencies in the mud plain as potential unknown Entities and act accordingly.

Entities from elsewhere in the Backrooms appear to no-clip into Level 144 no less frequently than humans, and ruins are commonly inhabited by non-indigenous Entities. As outposts offer the only source of shelter on Level 144, wanderers may be forced to choose between engaging hostile Entities or succumbing to exposure.

Entrances And Exits:

It is believed that all the ruined outposts once held exits to Level 144. Unfortunately, fewer than ten percent of outposts still possess functioning exits. This means that the average wanderer who no-clips into Level 144 will have to visit approximately a dozen outposts before finding a way out. Due to the rarity of clement weather, this journey can often take weeks, and if a wanderer is ill-prepared, dying from starvation or exposure will be a much of a threat as the Effulgentines.

Fortunately, all exits also function as entrances and appear to be stable. This resulted in the M.E.G. attempting to establish a base through one of the known doorways. In the short-term, the fungi were the largest challenge they faced. However, the Effulgentines soon became aware of the M.E.G.'s presence and laid siege to the outpost. This prevented all entrance and egress, precluding further exploration or offers of aid to other wanderers. Eventually, the challenges of inhabiting Level 144 proved too much to justify a solely observational base, and the outpost was abandoned.


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