Fantastic Locations: Agharta & The Hollow Earth

The Unofficial Official RPG Blog Carnival

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by K.J. Davies blog and the topic is “Fantastic Locations”. There have already been a good number of solid contributions from all over the blogosphere too, so make sure to stop by his early round up and check them out. I wanted to contribute as well, but I was having trouble finding inspiration – until I ran across the entry on Agharta in Jess Nevin’s Encylopedia of Fantastic Victoriana (EFC). According to Nevin, Agharta was created by Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre in his 1885 Mission de l’Inde en Europe. Although others claim that Agharta was created earlier by Louis Jacolliot, a French Official living in India, and is a variation of the Norse Asgard. There’s a fantastic bit of information on Agharta in Lost Continents & the Hollow Earth too (Google Books Link). Nevertheless, in the EFC, Agharta is presented as an underground kingdom that exists under Tibet where travelers who manage to reach it either don’t realize they are inside the earth or forget they traveled there if they leave.

If you are not familiar with Agharta, it’s a version of the Hollow Earth Theory and there have been many variations on Agharta since d’Alveydre’s death in 1909. It was apparently a reoccurring story destination in the 1940′s Amazing Stories series as well. What amazes me, dumbfounds actually, is that there is still a belief today by some conspiracy theorists that Agharta is a real place. Nevertheless, it’s a great source of pulpy, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” steampunk fun. Check out the crazy conspiracy theory map below. How could I resist?

So, how could we begin to frame Agharta up as a fantastic location for an RPG? I’ll give it a shot and perhaps you could add in your own additions to the comments?

Agharta and the Hollow World

A Map Agharta and the Hollow World

The Environment of Agharta

Between Nevin’s description and information I found elsewhere on the web,  it seems as though Agharta could be much like our own world, with a few major exceptions.

First, since there’s a small radiant sun at the Earth’s core that shines brightly to illuminate Agharta at all times. It sits fixed in the heavens above, unmoving. There is no night. Shadows remain fixed for all time. There is only one season, which could be summer or spring. The trees of Agharta grow immensely tall and perfectly straight. The forests of Agharta are vast expanses of jungle with high canopies of tropical evergreens. The deserts of Agharta are lifeless and hard-baked under a sun that never sets.

Since there is no day or night in Agharta, or days at all for that matter, the passage of time is difficult for outsiders to measure. In fact, the native people of Aghata—humans with forked tongues according to Nevins—live for centuries and seem ageless to visitors from the surface.

Paradesa & The University of Knowledge

Within the Kingdom of Agharta is the capital city, Paradesa (also known as Shamballah). Within this vast city of millions is the University of Knowledge where “all the treasures of mankind” are kept safe from the prying hands of later generations. The Arc of the Convenant, the Breastplate of Beowulf, the Thunderbolts of Zeus, and the Sword of Atilla are but some of the relics kept safe at the University. The monarch in Paradesa, known as the Sovereign Pontiff, commands the absolute loyalty of an army of a ten thousands soldiers. His most elite guard, The Templars of Agharta, are used to protect the University and to periodically venture forth to the surface world to retrieve artifacts deemed too powerful for common men. They make the trip using airships equip to handle the arctic chills and strong winds found near the polar ice holes of Earth’s crust.

Amazing Stories, June 1947

Cover of "Amazing Stories", June 1947 - Agharta was central to "The Shaver Mysteries"

The Secret Masters

Unknown to the people of Agharta is a hidden race living within Paradesa who are not human. Aliens, perhaps, from Mars—or worse! These “Secret Masters”, as the Sovereign Pontiff calls them, telepathically control the world’s leaders and brightest scientists of the surface Earth. They are plotting for the annihilation of mankind everywhere and for the destruction of the entire Earth.

Perhaps the Sovereign Pontiff might find a few brave adventurers capable of rooting out these alien interlopers. The rewards could be… significant.

Or silly…

6 thoughts on “Fantastic Locations: Agharta & The Hollow Earth

  1. Cool resources and a fun round up of Hollow Earth. Most of the resources I’ve seen so far wern’t looking at the subject as just something fun to play with and took the suggestion way to seriously. I’m wondering what the comic Super Dinosaur will be doing with this, as there are frequent mentions of it but so far they haven’t visited.

  2. I figured this might be a popular topic — and I think I was right — so I decided to do a weekly roundup through the month. This is partly so people can see more of the posts, earlier, and partly because I frankly kind of dread the job of doing this all at the end of the month. Also, it means I actually read them now rather than later; deadlines help me.

    So far, I have read and linked to sixteen posts from eleven sites. I have also written nine posts of my own (including one non-serious one about TV Tropes), plus three meta-level posts (introduction and two weekly roundups).

    At this rate I suspect I might see a total of four or five dozen posts… I think the weekly posts are worth my time.

    • Definately Keith. This has been a great carnival. I believe later this month we’ll see some additional contributions from NMP as well from a few guest bloggers – so even more are coming!

  3. Pingback: Fantastic Locations: January 12, 2012 Roundup | Keith J Davies — In My Campaign - Keith's thoughts on RPG design and play.

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