Random Encounters04/21/2003

The Crawling Jungle

Hazards of the Crawling Jungle

Although large numbers of dangerous monsters and cultists lurk in the Crawling Jungle, other often more subtle dangers in the jungle can spell doom for unwary adventurers or explorers. The jungle's environs are maintained by the presence of the N'gharl Seed, regardless of the surrounding terrain. Temperatures in the jungle hover at nearly 95° F, and as a result the place is usually surrounded by a thick fog that provides partial concealment (20% miss chance) to anything within. This fog generally penetrates a mile into the jungle.

Additionally, the jungle is swimming in disease. Natives of the jungle, including the Cultists of the Ravenous Maw, have become acclimated to these conditions and need not fear contracting disease simply from being in the jungle (although they can still become diseased via other vectors). Every day an intruder remains inside the Crawling Jungle, she is exposed to 1d4-1 diseases, with a result of 0 indicating that she makes it through the day without being exposed at all. For each disease she is exposed to, roll 1d8 and consult the following table to see what saving throws she must make to avoid becoming ill.

Roll Exposed to . . .
1 Blinding sickness
2 Cackle fever
3 Filth fever
4 Mindfire
5 Red ache
6 Slimy doom
7 Boreworms
8 Hatefrenzy

The last two diseases are unique to the Crawling Jungle. They, and two other hazards unique to this realm, are detailed below.

Boreworms: Boreworms are actually a parasitic infection rather than a disease, but their effects are just as debilitating as any sickness. These microscopic parasites infest the roots and limbs of certain types of plants found in the Crawling Jungle, and they infest a living host when exposed skin brushes against them. Someone exposed to boreworms must make a Fortitude save (DC 15) or become infested with the parasites. Unless the victim is cured via magical means (such as a remove disease), he can be later infested if he continues to wear the same clothing and equipment he wore when he first came in contact with the infestation. Soaking infested equipment in alcohol or oil kills the boreworms. Once the infestation sets in, the boreworms begin burrowing through the victim's bones, leaving them brittle and fragile. Boreworms have an incubation period of 1d4 days and deal 1d4 points of temporary Constitution damage per day. As long as the boreworms remain in the victim's body, this ability damage is permanent.

Hatefrenzy: Tiny biting flies that have fed upon the dead bodies of fiendish monsters spread this terrible disease. A character exposed to hatefrenzy must make a Fortitude save (DC 18) to avoid infection. This is a magical disease, and successful saves do not allow the character to recover. Only magical healing can save the character. Hatefrenzy has an incubation period of 1 day. When the disease sets in, it begins to eat away at portions of the victim's brain that govern personality and emotion, causing 1d6 points of temporary Charisma damage per day. A victim of hatefrenzy becomes more and more antagonistic and insane with anger, and she eventually collapses into a nightmare-filled coma. Worse, as long as someone is suffering Charisma damage from hatefrenzy, she loses the ability to discern friend from foe in combat. Those affected by this disease attack the closest target in combat and continue fighting until incapacitated or until no further targets are in sight.

Disease Infection DC Incubation Damage
Boreworms Contact 15 1d4 days 1d4 Con
Hatefrenzy Injury 18 1 day 1d6 Cha

Green Fog: Magic green fog manifests sporadically in the Crawling Jungle in circular patches with a radius of 2d20 x 100 feet. The fog is thick and provides partial concealment (30% miss chance) to anything within it. It has additional effects on good- and evil-aligned creatures caught within it. Good creatures caught in green fog must make a Fortitude save (DC 15) each minute or suffer 1d4 points of temporary Strength damage as the fog seeps into the body and eats away at the victim's muscles. A creature with a 0 Strength score instead suffers 1d4 points of temporary Constitution damage on each failed saving throw. Evil creatures exposed to green fog are fortified by the evil mist and gain a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength and Constitution as long as they remain in the fog. A patch of green fog can be dispersed by strong winds and disperses naturally after 3d10 minutes.

Vile Foliage: The vines, trees, and undergrowth of the Crawling Jungle consist entirely of unnatural plant life that has been corrupted by foul energies from the Abyss. To casual observation, these plants seem to be normal tropical plants, but close inspection reveals intricate networks of red veins in the trunks and leaves. While these plants gain some nourishment from photosynthesis, the bulk of their nutrients come from absorbing blood spilled on their roots. Most of the plants have no offensive capabilities; they must depend wholly on the violent nature of the jungle's inhabitants to provide blood. Nonetheless, they are capable of limited movement. All intruders in the Crawling Jungle are constantly poked, prodded, tripped, and menaced by writhing vines and grasping roots. This incurs a constant -2 circumstance penalty on all Dexterity-based skill checks, ranged attack rolls, and Reflex saving throws. Creatures native to the jungle are not hindered by the foliage; in fact, the plants part easily and willingly for all such creatures as if they possessed the woodland stride druid ability. Intruder druids with the woodland stride ability are still hindered by this foliage, since it is magical in nature.

Introducing Hazards of the Crawling Jungle to Your Campaign

  • Although these hazards normally occur only in the Crawling Jungle, it's possible that displaced Cultists of the Ravenous Maw have developed spells or magic items that duplicate the effects temporarily. Perhaps one group of cultists have preserved and bottled green fog and use them like potions to enhance their Strength and Constitution for 1 minute intervals per dose. These hazards can also be incorporated easily into traps that protect lairs of such cultists.

  • An adventuring party recently returned from an expedition to the Crawling Jungle, but unknown to them they have all caught hatefrenzy. The disease quickly spreads through the area, causing riots. The PCs must track down the source of these riots and stop the plague before it destroys the city.

  • An NPC druid comes across a small patch of vile foliage that has mysteriously sprung up in her domain. Horrified by the plants, she tries to uproot them before they can spread and finds a strange sphere buried in the ground below the plants. Upon touching the sphere, she becomes possessed by the demonic spirit imprisoned in the sphere and quickly becomes a terrible menace to the surrounding environs.

Bringing the Parts Together

Adventurers who find themselves in the Crawling Jungle for extended periods quickly encounter the terrible hazards presented above.

Coming in Part 3 of the Crawling Jungle
Take a look at details on the terrible Cultists of the Ravenous
Maw in the next part of The Crawling Jungle!

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