9 minutes ago
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The jungles of Asciana’s Grand Cinnamon River basin are a popular setting for pulp adventure mags found on any newsstand in the City. The stories may be fiction, but the adventures are real. The continent of Asciana was once home to an advanced civilization, perhaps a culture related to either Mu or Meropis. Tales say that ancient cities--and ancient treasures--may have been swallowed by the jungle and await rediscovery. More than one would-be adventurer has been lost in this “green hell” searching for these legends.
It’s a place of exotic dangers. Natural dangers include giant snakes, river sharks, piranhas, and even carnivorous plants. Then there are the intelligent threats. The hostile (sometimes headhunting) Native tribes, and the reptilian caimen-- somewhat smaller and more nimble relatives of the northern gatormen--are well known.
There are also more mysterious, lesser understood threats. Forrester and Randon’s 5877 expedition reported the existence of xenophobic mushroom people, dubbed myconids, which zealously defend their territory against intruders. The mutated plants and animals they used in their defense were viewed by the expedition as examples of powerful thaumaturgy, but later scientists reviewing their accounts have suggested that the myconids may actually employ an advanced biological technology. The expedition was lucky to escape with their lives, and were unable to bring back any specimens for study.
Even more enigmatic are the creatures hinted at by the tragic Wilmarth expedition. The information is fragmented, gathered as it was by necromantic communication undertaken by Wilmarth’s widow--a process hindered by the manner of his death. In any case, if the murmurings of Wilmarth’s traumatized and shrunken head are to be believed, there are intelligent (and malevolent) stingrays found in remote tributaries of the Cinnamon which exert a supernatural influence over nearby human tribes.
Whatever the reality of these rumors, the ultimate truth is clear--the Ascianan jungle is a dangerous place, indeed.