Friday, December 10, 2010

1990 The Atlas of the DC Universe: Themyscira

Paul Kupperberg wrote this directory of DC Comics locales in the past, present, and future as a supplement to the Mayfair Games roleplaying line...

Themyscira, also known as Paradise Island, is the home of the Amazons. It exists somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, in the area known as the Bermuda Triangle. Themyscira is protected from the sight of man by a perpetual blanket of clouds and fog. It is believed that Themyscira is actually situated in a small dimension of its own, adjacent to both the Earth and Olympian dimensions (see entries under EARTH DIMENSION, MOUNT OLYMPUS).

Named for the walled city in ancient Greece that was their original home, Themyscira was settled centuries ago, after the warrior race of Amazon women had been seduced and humiliated by the man-god Heracles and his troops. Placed in bondage by men, they were finally freed by the goddess Athena in exchange for their renunciation of their warlike ways and their rededication to the ways of the Earth-goddess Gaea. Queen Hippolyte accepted Athena's conditions, while her sister, Antiope, refused, renouncing her Amazon heri­tage and taking her followers from Themyscira forever.

Hippolyte and the remaining Amazons were sent by Athena and the other goddesses to an uncharted island, beneath which an unspeakable evil had been imprisoned. In exchange for an agreement to act as jailers to this evil for all eternity, the souls of the Amazons would be purified once again, and they would be granted immortality as long as no man ever set foot upon the island. The sea-god Poseidon parted the waters of the Aegean Sea so that the Amazons could walk to their new home.

Their island home had been declared a paradise, and the Amazons built a new city where they could live and house their art and history. Great halls of justice serve as icons to the glory of the gods and an offshore island as a great center of medicine and healing. While the Amazons developed their new civilization on the island, the unknown evil remained imprisoned below. It was kept at bay by giant battlements and Amazon guards, many of whom died over the centuries in the battle to keep it contained.

Over the centuries, the Amazons kept their vow to Athena, keeping Themyscira free from man's influence. They remained hidden from man's view and knowledge until a military jet piloted by Colonel Steve Trevor crashed just off of Themyscira's shores. At first, this seemed to be a random accident, but it was learned that the plane had been sent to destroy the island as part of the war-god Ares' scheme to conquer the world. The Amazons were forced to send their chosen representative back to Man's World with Trevor to oppose Ares' master plan. This representative was Hippolyte's daughter, Diana, who has since become known as Wonder Woman. Game statistics for Princess Diana are located on page 47 of the Background IRoster Book, while Queen Hippolyte's are on page 24 of that book.
Among Themyscira's main features are:

  • The Coliseum, where the Amazons test, hone, and display their skills and prowess.
  • The Royal Palace, located at the center of the island on Themyscira's highest elevation, overlooking the rest of the island. The Palace, a grand and regal structure, is home to Queen Hippolyte.
  • The Senate Chamber, where the Amazon representatives meet to discuss important issues of the day and create policy for the Amazon society.
  • The Temple of the Oracle, adjacent to the Royal Palace and Menalippe's sanctuary, where the Amazon priestess consults with the Olympian gods (see entry under MOUNT OLYMPUS).
  • The Statue of Artemis, which was created in honor of the goddess who championed their cause. The statue is located in a clearing in the woods and was constructed as the highest, most visible feature on the island.
  • The Temple of Hades was built to honor the god of the dead, whom the immortal Amazons do not fear. En­shrined within the Temple are relics of the Amazons who have died.
  • The Island of Healing, located on a small island chain near the main­ land. This is a tranquil, serene place where pure waters flow and healing herbs grow in abundance.

Because of the enchanted nature of Themyscira, technological equipment does not work there. Indeed, the island's magics are so powerful that even airplanes or ships passing by the island fail. This phenomenon is re­sponsible for the legend of the Ber­muda Triangle, or Devil's Triangle, where humans and their vessels have been rumored to disappear, to be lost forever.

Themyscira has only recently been opened to visitors from the outside world. For more information on Para­dise Island, consult Strangers In Paradise, the Wonder Woman sourcebook.

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