Well, we’ve made to the Hollow Earth in our Hollow Earth Expedition campaign (or have we..?) So it’s time to start working on what my version looks like. To that end, I spent the weekend digging through the Mysteries of the Hollow Earth sourcebook to see what Jeff Combos and the boys at Exile did with it. The last time i ran the game, we never got out of 1930s China, save for a short adventure on the East Coast of the US. This time I’ve committed myself to go full pulp, so Hollow Earth (or is it Venus? Or an alternate reality?) it is.
The characters had gone through an eye-like Stargate-ish artifact called the Eye of Shambala that was stored under the Potala Palace in Tibet and emerged in a setting cribbed from the Shangri-La in the Uncharted series of video games (I haven’t played them, but the visuals are great…and look to be highly influenced by the Shangri-La of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.)
A few of the things I’ve already started playing with:
Shangri-La — is this it? Or is it actually on the Surface World but only accessible through the Eye? This place looks uninhabited, which would fly in the face of the paradisiacal valley where people live long, idyllic lives.
How much dinosaur? Is the whole of the place dinosaur filled, or only certain bits?
The big one was how to incorporate Buddhist and Hindu mythology into the setting. Seems appropriate that sections of the Hollow Earth (or is it?) would have “nations” of a fashion — places where the devas and asuras ruled, places where their cousins, the Æsir and Vanir, or the Titans/Olympians might have ruled. We know the Atlanteans were around, but are these the same people as folks of Ultima Thule, or Hyperboreans? (Answer: no…and yes.)
That leads to the two races I know are going to have to get used — the Titans and the Vril-ya. The Titans don’t work for me. I see where they were going, but I’d rather go with these being the direct descendants of the creatures humans on the Surface World once called gods, but brought low by their own infighting. Perhaps a few of the old codgers are still around and ruling little fiefdoms? I also wanted to do a tie to the Mars from Revelations of Mars — and the Dheva are the link there.
The multi-armed thing works well with the Hindu angle. Perhaps the people of Mars and the Titans have a common lineage? One might be the experimental product of the other? It would also be a good reason for the animal-people of the Hollow Earth: all this is the result of the Titans or old gods playing around?
As for the Vril-ya — I’m not sure I want to use the “official” version. I think they might have to be modified to be the Atlanteans/Thule/Hyperboreans. Maybe they were caught in the crossfire of the War Between Gods?
I’m still musing on where I want to go with this, but I tend to be a sucker for using mythology in my games (the Battlestar Galactica campaign took a sharp turn into Greek myth coupled with transhumanism.) and the idea of playing with Hinduism is alluring, especially as their gods die and are reborn.