Temple Of Zanack Khan

Nature: Astral Location, a Temenos Realm / Abyssal Intrusion
First Encountered: (I really can't remember, but I think it was during year 4. Anyone else recall roughly when this was?)

Description: A sprawling, mist-shrouded complex in the Temenos, nestled in the crack between two high cliffs, the peaks of which cannot be seen. A single road of broken, sharp shale leads to the Temple’s gates. Its architecture is a fantasy mishmash of Asian and Byzantine forms, from onion domes to pagodas atop high ledges. The Temple is made of marble, ebony and large, carved blocks of just about every precious gem imaginable. Silks of all colors billow here in the soft wind that blows both inside and outside of the Temple.

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The perspective between the various spires and towers growing from the main dome Temple seems… unsettling. It’s like switching between 3D glasses and one’s normal vision too quickly; some people get headaches. The difference here is that the brain’s perceptual processes can never adjust to the strange, Abyssal geometries of the Temple. Headaches can occur, but these can be alleviated by focusing on one section of the Temple at a time, letting the rest of the vista become hazy in one’s perception. The image seems to take on a painterly quality, with colors and misty hues unknown outside of liquid pigments.

The Temple is, predictably, impossible to map. Its exterior and interior spaces arise as needed, congealing out of the mists. (…)

Info: When the cabal were trying to find the astral realm of Xanadu, through repeated attempts which continually failed to lead them to their intended destination, they eventually arrived at this place. It was very hospitable, and the characters entered and looked around in search of information. Research later revealed it to be the Temenos-representation of a short story written by a man called Richard Chislak. It appeared in the May 1933 issue of the pulp magazine "Thrilling Oriental Tales", although the story has never been reprinted.

There the public was introduced to the dread Temple of Zanak Khan, which existed not in mundane geography but beyond the “Wall of Mists” separating dream from flesh. The tale is a bizarre indulgence in every conceivable Orientalist cliché, with a repulsive dose of colonialist attitudes toward Asians and their “decadent, tired, pre-evolved” civilization. Richard Chislak is largely unremembered, a forgotten name even to most chroniclers of the weird tales of the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s.

As it turned out, the Temple of Zanack Khan happened to be an abyssal phenomenon of some kind, which infected the minds of those who went there. It lured victims into repeated visits through temptations of food, drugs and sexual gratification, and for each time someone indulged the Temple grew to have a stronger hold over them. Apparently it would eventually erode their capacity for social interaction, and possibly even their perspective on life, but the cabal managed to free themselves from its influence well before that happened.

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