Thoughts on Zindia

While working on a party for my Savage Tide game I was going to run for myself, I saw the illustration for Paizo’s iconic psychic character Rivani and I decided I wanted to create a character from Zindia. I did some online research, because I had no idea about Zindia until I saw some place names on Anna B. Meyer’s Greyhawk maps and dug a little deeper. I found some useful information, and some that I didn’t particularly like. I decided to try to make some content of my own.

My searches brought me to the Ratnas, and the churning of the Ocean of Milk. Since this was all in the pursuit of the Savage Tide, I thought it would be interesting if Demogorgon was one of the beings that came from the churning. Perhaps the entire race of demons came from this, or maybe just a few of the first Demon Lords. It doesn’t seem like that would be a stretch for the Zindians to believe. Perhaps Demogorgon as the first demon chose free will (Chaos) over fate and the structured reality of the multiverse (Law), thus breaking apart from the lawfully aligned asuras and devils, and perhaps starting their eternal war against each other.

Speaking of the devils, what about them? Devils have always been my favorite race of fiends, but they don’t seem to get as much love as the demons do. For Zindian purposes, they don’t necessarily correspond to the asuras presented in Bestiary 3. What if the devils were descended from the asuras who helped churn the Ocean of Milk with the devas? I compared the Danavas who were led by Bali revolting against devas to the story of the fall of Asmodeus, who rebelled against the angels. The story doesn’t quite translate 100%, but it’s a pretty close approximation for my purposes. Perhaps in Zindia Asmodeus is known as Mahabali.

Why bother with all of this? Mostly to come up with a good reason that someone from so far away would be caught up in this struggle in the first place. I’ve long thought that fantasy elements that correspond to the real world have a much more believable feel to them. They’re relatable, and as such it’s a little easier to play. Looking at the map, Jahind and Changol are actually pretty close to where the Isle of Dread is placed in Greyhawk. Traveling there by ship isn’t that much of a stretch of the imagination, and having Eshana be captured somehow by the Crimson Fleet, which has a base in the area, seemed pretty logical as well. Now I have a better idea of how someone from Zindia would get caught up in the struggle against Demogorgon. Eshana didn’t start adventuring in Sasserine like the original members of the group, but I really like the idea of her early adventuring career starting with the discovery of a shadow pearl in the Jahindi port city of Kathi. I hadn’t originally envisioned her as being from that specific city, but I did want her to be from Jahind because it was supposed to have spurned the Suel incursion much better than neighboring Changol did. Now I think the two ideas tie in perfectly together. After finding the shadow pearl and defeating the agents of Demogorgon (I need to come up with a good Zindian name for him), she set out to the East to find the source of the pearl.

Now I have a bit of a back story, but Eshana is a cleric, and I still haven’t really tried connecting the religions of Zindia to our real world counterparts, partly because I’m not as familiar with the Suel deities as I would like to be, but mostly because I’m not at all well versed in the Hindu religion. I don’t think I’d be able to do justice to the cause, but I’m going to do some research into the Hindu religion. In the meantime, though, it’s fun trying to make some of what I read make sense in the fantasy worlds of Dungeons and Dragons.

Iconic Psychic – Rivani. Artwork by Wayne Reynolds, © Paizo Publishing