Thursday, October 21, 2010

Green Hell


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.


Unknown said...

Do the jungles include giant gorilla, dinosaurs, lost temples and locals who make a bundle off leading rich white people into the jungles... and leaving them there?

Trey said...

@GC - Your answers in order: no, maybe, yes, and probably. What might clarify things for you if you though of this less as the summation of all pulp jungles, but rather as the summation of a particular pulp jungle (i.e. the one with piranha, not the one with gorillas). ;)

Dan said...

Ah yes, the New World jungle rather than the Old World jungle (which presumably does exist in Ebon-land). Great work as usual. The invitation to exploration is electric and just the kind of mystery that weird tales are built on.

I forget if you've mentioned it, but does the green hell contain rumours of a city made of gold?

One of my favourite Fortean stories from South America is the legend of a gigantic horned snake. The weird thing? Fossils which suggest such a creature once existed have actually been found.

bliss_infinte said...

I hope my players work their way down to the jungles for some 'fun' times! Alas, it's a sandbox so who knows?

Harald said...

There's nothing like escaping up an uncharted river, with a hideous, cursed idol in your pack, mad with malaric fever, with head-hunting savages hot on your heals.

Trey said...

@Dan - Indeed Ebon-land does have jungles, as do the lands south of Yian and various islands in the South Tranquil Ocean. Jungles all around! I haven't mentioned a gold city yet, but those numerous exist--as do tales of Akakor and connected underground cities.

So much great fodder for gaming in South America!

@Bliss - Players! They never gi where you want them to. ;)

@Harald - You call that archeology?! ;)