The faeren are an extremely short sub-race of humans that live underground in secret mounds called "barrows." Their males are chubby, but muscular, and are all capable of growing vast beards, looking similar to Tolkien's dwarves. Their women are regarded as beautiful and fair, usually sport long hair, and can be compared to Tolkien's elves. They have remarkable hair-growing abilities, hence their men having enormous beards and their women having hair that typically reaches to the floor. They have advanced technology, a little higher than what humans have today, except for the advent of the internet and digital devices.

I am wondering if it is possible for a people like this to be able to survive and have a large social and economical infrastructure living underground for many years without leaving to the surface?

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    $\begingroup$ A lot of these details seem irrelevant... How would their hair factor into their ability to live underground? $\endgroup$
    – jtb
    Mar 12, 2023 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ See also Homo Floriensis Not sure if they lived underground. $\endgroup$ Mar 14, 2023 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ I like Baxter's Coalescent which talks about a race of humans who do start living underground, eusocially. They develop instinctive behaviors to deal with the relative lack of ventilation and temperature management, and perhaps a few biological adaptations as well (more tolerant of higher CO2 levels in the tunnels). However, they still must procure resources for the surface, primarily food. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Mar 14, 2023 at 20:50

2 Answers 2



Humans have lived underground for millions of years, but only in fits and starts. Our cave-painting ancestors left behind handprints and hunting scenes. In Tunisia, many people still live in what the The Atlantic calls “crater-like homes,” with rooms built into the Earth, and a central circular patio open to the sky. And in the “dugout” village of Coober Pedy, Australia, locals pray in a subterranean cathedral and visitors sleep in sediment-streaked hotel rooms. (Source)

That article lists some of the issues that would need to be resolved to successfully live practically everyday as a society underground. They include:

  • Providing sufficient artificial light to operate practical underground farms. Even if you allow for natural underground foods, e.g. fungus, an entire society would need more. But, your society it advanced enough to deal with both lighting and powering the lights.

  • Humans need Vitamin-D. Natural sunlight encourages the body to produce Vitamin-D. However, as the article points out, at least one group solved the problem by eating Vitamin-D rich foods.

  • However, sunlight is also necessary for human psychology. But, once again, your society has plenty of lights, even to the point of making artificial skies. The article also suggests that your people will substantially favor plant life, meaning that their underground architecture will favor lots of greenery and growing things.

  • A strong community will also be needed. We're an open-sky kind of people and psychologically tend to have trouble when kept indoors too long. Folks who serve on submarines or the ISS are screened for the proper psychology to survive that. Yes, your society will likely have big rooms with lots of light, but it's suggested in the article that your people's psychology will be different from the above-ground dwellers. They'll likely be adventurous and, I believe, gregarious.

I recommend reading the article, it contains links to additional information that would also be illuminating.


So long as they have food, water and all the nutrients they need, and a compelling motivation to stay underground, sure.

Humans irl can get water underground, but the food is a bit lacking, and most of all, we really like not being underground, so we would need some very strong motivation


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