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Jungles and Savannas


Gandalf970
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I am running a Fantasy jungle and savannah campaign and was wondering if you have any thoughts, ideas, monsters or anything you learned from a similar campaign.  I found this neat booklet called Melvin's Minute Monsterium: Jungles and Savannas, its for DnD, but has some great information.  Any help would be appreciated.

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Well, one thing that comes to mind is from Hero's Turakian Age setting. Two prosperous city-states are separated by an expanse of jungle called the Greenmaw. It's a dangerous place full of quicksand pits, crocodiles and venomous serpents, and hostile humanoids. To foster trade between them, some adventurous merchants have learned how to navigate the dangers of the Greenmaw. Known as "Goldwalkers," they're a kind of merchant-ranger.

 

Another Hero setting book, the Valdorian Age, describes an empire whose economy is based on slavery. One dense jungle has become a refuge for escaped slaves, consisting of many small bands, but all of whom consider themselves one people, called the Free Men. Because of their shared heritage their society values freedom: each band is led by a chief elected by vote from all men and women in the band, who are also able to speak freely in band councils. Their priorities are survival, and assisting other slaves who make it to the jungle.

 

Back in the Turakian Age, the savannah called the Makari Plains are home to a species of lion-centaur called Leomachi. Their economy is based on herding cattle, with cattle-ownership being the standard of social status. Their society is strongly reminiscent of the Maasai of East Africa -- rather ironic in that for Maasai killing a lion was a rite of passage to manhood, while Leomachi are themselves part lion. (I believe there are 6E stats for them in the Bestiary.)

 

I posted some thoughts about developing a region in the Turakian world, the Ulimar Jungle: https://www.herogames.com/forums/topic/97841-the-turakian-age-is-seriously-underrated/page/9/?tab=comments#comment-2743270 . That prompted our forum colleague and game writer, Dean Shomshak, to offer more general suggestions about jungle-based adventures: https://www.herogames.com/forums/topic/97841-the-turakian-age-is-seriously-underrated/page/9/?tab=comments#comment-2743796

 

I'll see what else I can think of. ;)

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If you're wanting realism in the campaign for a savannah in an Earth-like world and it's near the equator, there's a rainy season and a dry season.

 

During the dry season, you treat travel as if you're in the desert: from watering hole to watering hole. All but the biggest rivers dry up and become a series of puddles which shrink day by day. The wildlife in the area restrict their travel and gravitate closer and closer to water sources. Predator and prey are practically shoulder to shoulder in areas which are close to water. In places which aren't close to water, there's not much of anything in the way of wildlife. If you run into a predator there, it'll be highly aggressive and desperate for food.

 

High calorie grain crops don't grow in such areas so life is hard for both man and beast.

 

In the real world, there are fish which burrow into the mud then virtually hibernate as the river dries around them into solid ground. It might be interesting to have something like giant catfish come up out of the ground to swallow a horse whole or anything else weird which you might think would freak players out. Blood sucking animals might be appropriate. 

 

Magic which can create food and water or rain would be particularly prized as would magics which could ward away aggressive predators or lure prey to hunters.

 

Oh, and if the players run into a group of homosexual lions, be sure to point out to them that it's a gay pride.

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Travel in a jungle is very slow are full of 'pitfalls'.  For instance someone might have created a road through the jungle but every year it needs to be completely cleared out.  Also if the road is nothing more than an area cleared of trees and vegetation and some leveling, with wooden bridges across the most difficult crossings, when it rains the road will become a muddy mess.  My campaign world has a large swath of jungles and mountainous jungle regions.  Most of the time people take boats as far up a river jungle as they can and only venture into the dense jungle for a day or so.

 

Someone in the party better have a good navigation and survival skill for jungles otherwise they can become hopelessly lost and potentially die because they ate the wrong thing.

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It should be obvious, but... Read up on real jungle and savannah cultures. You will get better ideas than anything we can suggest.

 

I'm rather fond of Gassire's Lute, a a West African "epic" (actually quite brief), about the fall of the city-state Wagadu and how a son of the ruling family becomes his people's first bard. Here's a bit of the introduction:

 

Four times Wagadu rose.

A great city, gleaming in the light of day.

Four times Wagadu fell,

And disappeared from human sight.

Once through vanity.

Once through dishonesty.

Once through greed.

Once through discord.

 

See? You've got the start of a tragic and epic history right there in eight lines.

 

Dean Shomshak

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

Grasslands:

 

Ants and beetles.  During the summer months, they dig in to preserve moisture and regulate temperature, digging deeper as the surface soil looses moisture.

 

The vibrations of travel will tempt them to the surface, however, and in hordes; this is how they hunt.

 

Ants and beetles.

 

Big ones.

 

 

 

That's the ticket.

 

Your aunts and the Beatles.

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