An Introduction to German Pellucidar

Map of northern Pellucidar (in the Hollow Earth) showing the boundaries of the German colony. A modification of an original map by Bruce Wood.

Since late 2022, almost all of the Weird World War II battles I’ve fought or GM’d have been part of a notional Hollow Earth campaign set in the 1940s of an alternate timeline festooned with antediluvean empires, psychics, dinosaurs, flying saucers, vampires, talking apes, and two-fisted pulp adventure. Much more will be said about this fantastical campaign world on Splendor of Fire in the future, but for now, let’s look at the primary arena for most of these games: the interior earth colony of German Pellucidar.

The Imperial German colony of Neuschwabenland und Hohlwelt is the full name of the territory that consists of the German Antarctic claim and its connected (via the southern1 polar Symmes Hole) Pellucidarian colony. Of the two, the Antarctic claim is of greater strategic importance due to its oil production. However, the colonies in Pellucidar have a far larger permanent population and are strategically necessary to defending the Antarctic claim, besides producing badly needed resources including rubber, chromite, and high grade iron ore.

Germany’s colony is the inner world’s most extensive, not counting the nominal American protectorate over Atvatabar. In any event, it has the highest population of surface worlders, with many German pioneers having taken gilak wives — not the least of whom is Duke Frederich Wilhelm von Horst —  and the first generation of German-Gilaks coming of age. These relationships have been a prickly matter with the native male gilaks, who not only now suffer from a smaller supply of mates (few German women have emigrated), but are also seen as less desirable mates by their own women. What might have been the cause of endless rebellion has instead been harnessed to the advantage of the resourceful and warlike Germans. Von Horst has trained the warriors of Lo-Har into a formidable colonial auxiliary force, supplying them with last generation’s arms and letting them run wild on their ancient Gilak rivals across the mountains, taking what brides they may. This policy has, so far, greatly enlarged the original German colony and pacified (or eliminated!) the primitive tribes along the margins.

The Gilak city of Lo-Har is the cultural center and official capital of the territory, , and thus their settlement efforts put them into immediate conflict with the reptilian Horibs. The reptile-men came close to exterminating the early colony, but the arrival of surface world military forces rapidly put them to rout, destroying the largest Horib camps. These campaigns devolved into brutal guerilla actions farther into the forests which the Germans found hard to sustain. Turning to the lessons of the Americans in dealing with their own natives, the Neuschwabenland und Hohlwelt colony pursued a policy of divide and conquer, supporting rival tribes and factions amongst the Horibs, and bribing significant numbers of them to join as scouts. These rifle-and-hatchet bearing lizardman auxiliaries, mounted on their ravenous Gorobors and other prehistoric mounts, are perhaps the most feared wing of the German colonial force.

  1. In the original Edgar Rice Burroughs stories, Tarzan and his vacuum dirigible expedition reach Pellucidar via the northern polar opening, but I’m revising this to the south pole for two reasons. First, it makes more sense in light of primary world German Antarctic claims in the 1930s, and second, the inner world continent of Atvatabar claims chronological seniority on being closer to the northern polar opening. ↩︎

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