Sunday, August 28, 2016

Subterranean Heaven

Who says mythic underworlds have to be dark and unpleasant? The underworld of Patala in Hindu cosmology is described as more luxurious than celestial heavens. It's the abode of various clans of Asuras and nagas. The sage Narada says of it in the Vishnu Purana:

"What," exclaimed the sage, "can be compared to Pátála, where the Nágas are decorated with brilliant and beautiful and pleasure-shedding jewels?"

There, its described as more like another plane in D&D terms, or at least a fairyland. The Bhagavata Purana keeps in definitely subterranean (though it does use a word for it that  cna be translated as "planet"):

"Below that world there is Pâtâla, the world of the master snakes...Most addicted to material happiness they all live with the shortest temper. They have five, seven, ten, a hundred or a thousand hoods, with on their crests fixed the most valuable gems the effulgence of which disperses the vast darkness of the caves of Pâtâla."

So a subterranean ream lit by the light of all the jewels worn and used in construction? Sounds like the sort of place adventures would want to visit. Of course, they have to contend with the material wealth loving demons, ghosts, and snakes that live there.

I don't see any reason dungeons (in the D&D sense) have to be so, well, dungeon-like. If they're opulent, but no less deadly, adventures have even more reason to go there.


Scott Anderson said...

Pleasure-shedding jewels, love it

Chris C. said...

True there's no reason they have to be all-evil any more than the surface world does.