The Omniscient Eye

How Do I Make a Hidden Underground Base?

A favorite concept in adventure fiction -- especially superheroic fiction -- is the Secret Headquarters, often concealed on a "nonexistent" floor of a well-known building or underneath some very visible (and sometimes quite famous) structure, and accessed through a trick elevator or hidden staircase. Are there real-world examples of hidden HQ complexes like this (that have later been revealed)? How would you go about getting a massive multi-level superhero complex constructed under, say, your local shopping mall without hundreds of people finding out about it?
      --Guy McLimore, Executive Editor of MicroTactix Games

Underground bases and dwellings have a long history. Some of the first major ones appear in the Cappedocia region of Turkey, where there are at least 36 underground "cities" dating back over 1,000 years. Some allow as many as 10,000 people to hide from the all too frequent invaders of the area for periods of up to 6 months. There are carved stone "doors" which can be rolled into place for security, and long (perhaps as much as several miles) tunnels connecting different areas, allowing for rear attacks and the gathering of supplies. Most have only been rediscovered in the last few decades. This area could provide a good model for pre-industrial revolution underground secret complexes (such as dwarves, gnomes etc. in fantasy games).

Most builders of modern underground bases have been governments, . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: August 27, 2004

Copyright © 2004 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to