Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Hidden Underground Kingdom
As a gamer I've explored my share of virtual dungeons, caves, and mysterious bits of the so-called "underdark." Here's a real-life one, discovered by a Vietnamese farmer in 1991. First of all, it floors me that the Earth still has unexplored regions (though it's entirely possible the cave had been "discovered" before). Now that British scientists have explored the place, we know it's about five kilometers long and 150 meters wide (that's my favorite kind of gaming dungeon - no boring "right or left?" decisions). Anyway, folks are visiting and camping there now, but the exoticism doesn't seem to have worn off. The ancient Greeks, and others, viewed such caves as portals to the Underworld. It's as natural a connection as I can think of. What fantasy setting doesn't have its version of the so-called "Underdark?" For real-world inspiration, I don't think it gets too much better than this. Unless, of course, they find some coiled Vietnamese dragon guarding a gong that wakes the dead. Or something. Check it out!