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Basic Information

Nestled somewhere in the mountains of Tibet, lies the valley of Shangri-La; a peaceful valley of serene harmony. It's a happy land, isolated from the rest of civilization, whose inhabitants are seemingly immortal.

The place was created by author James Hilton in his 1933 novel Lost Horizon. It tells the story of a group of travelers whose airplane goes down in the Himalayas and who find refuge in the lamasary of Shangri-La. Hilton based his story on the mystic city of Shambhala from Tibetian Buddhist lore. It is believed that he modeled his tibetian utopia after the Hunza valley in northern Pakistan, which Hilton visited shortly before writing the book.

The novel became very popular in the 1930s and Franklin Delano Roosevelt named the presidential retreat, now called Camp David, "Shangri-La" after it.


Game and Story Use

  • Adventure seed: Oasis in the Ice
  • The PC's have heard legends of a land of immortality up in the mountains and mount a quest to find it.
  • Or perhaps they arrive there by accident, as the characters in Lost Horizon did.
    • Do they want to stay there, or escape?
    • Perhaps they need to protect the valley from unscrupulous NPCs who want to exploit it.
      • Hey, we're talking about PC's here. They probably want to exploit the valley themselves!
  • Traditionally, if you can leave Shangri-La, you can never go back - but may spend the rest of your life pining for it. Shades of faerie about that…
    • Alternatively, it may be one of those places that degenerates quickly once the bubble has been popped … returning PCs may find the place a ruined shadow of its former self. Perhaps because of some fairly mundane disease or pest that they brought with them…
    • They may also be hunted by people seeking the truth behind the legend - or forces of evil looking to overrun the place.
    • Again, like Faerie, PCs may find that the "immortality" is due to disconnection from the time stream - it may be hundreds of years later when they emerge…
  • For those that like their horrific twists consider going the Laundry Files or other Cthulhu-mythos route, where the alternate reality accessible high in the Himalayas is very much not a paradise by normal people's standards … rumours to the contrary may have been started as bait.
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