A land is reigned by a circle of powerful men who control every aspect of the citizen's life. This cabal changes members often. In reality, the spectres of a small necromantic covent possess and control the people in power. Since they simply possess the bodies, they can leave when old age overcomes their shells and possess a new up-and-coming noble.
Darklings are a kind of Halflings living in the sewer of medium to large cities.
Even though they smell badly and are quite dirty, Darklings are friendly and clever.
They try to limit the knowledge about their existence to only a small number of trustworthy persons, including player characters.
Darklings trade in information. Money, weapons and magical items have no value for them. This is why they hide beneath the sewer grates, listening to all that is said in the city above.