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It's a Jungle Out There

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Orc Knight, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

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    "Take this, you'll need it." A machete is given out.

    It's time yet again for another of my questions concerning world building. It's not something that seems to come up that often but is geared more towards action adventure and pulp stories. Got to go with all that dash and flash and running away from hungry natives. And sometimes has pirates and great lost golden cities and other such. These are of course jungles. And to think all they could hold, from lost plateau full of dinosaurs and dragons to vicious man eating flowers and even a fountain of youth that conquistadors look for.

    As they don't come up that often in regular fantasy books (Black Company being one that does get to them) and more like in the classic sword and sandal ones I go to the jungles. Eld's jungles are much like the rest of the world, massive affairs that going in unprepared is an easy way to off yourself within a days walk. Trolls and elves live in high tree cities and both give offerings to Kaas the snake god, also known as Python. Dark elves live in their own cities deep within it and fly their giant parrots around in it. Cities are ruled by great apes deep in and flocks of wyverns fly in the tree tops. It is a vibrant and colorful place and full of insects and plants ready to kill the wanderer. It also holds many mysteries and the great hidden troll city of the Emerald Deep and the City of Life, which was the start of the undead plague.

    In other jungles are the broken communities of the jungle elves trying to get by. In the Celestial lands they are under the purview of the Celestial Empire and naga are quite common. They are all still as dangerous as the largest one. And all of them have their own World Tree's within them, forming it's own ecological community within the larger one.

    So, welcome to the jungle, you're gonna die. What are your world's jungles like? If you have them.
     
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  2. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    I created my setting as a forest world with Bronze Age city states, covered in ancient ruins of lost civilizations.

    Though only the southernmost parts are tropical and that's about where the known world ends. It's where, as in honored pulp tradition, the snake people live with their Mayan temples. Or Cambodian temples. Probably both.

    One of the consequences of being a forest world with fast growing plant life is that there aren't really any roads. This confines civilization to the great rivers and the coasts where cities can be reached by ships. If you want to go deeper into the forests, taking a boat is still the best option. When you have to go by land, the default form of transportation are camel-like dinosaurs who can carry respectable loads on small forests paths.
     
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  3. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

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    Always got to have the lizard and snake peeps. I am now hitting myself for forgetting to mention them. Well, I did mention the naga. Just not the other varieties of those dino riding ones and the like. And who better to serve the snake god then them eh?
     
  4. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    main world, I have the imaginatively named 'Jungle Lands' south of the Solarian Empire. Solaria tried to conquer that region a couple times in the past, but while their legions could best the local warriors, disease killed them in droves. Eventually, they settled for a few trade cities at the fringes. Later, some of these trade towns joined with others in a successful rebellion, becoming part of the misnamed 'Free Cities,' a situation that has persisted ever since.

    The Jungle Lands are home to the 'Black States,' a loose alliance of fiefs populated by dark skinned people, who in Solaria's estimation make prime slaves. What with local feuds and misrule, Solaria doesn't even have to raid these realms, instead local potentates sell their kin into servitude. Over the past few decades, enterprising outside merchants have established a thriving trade in exotic woods and rubber (for bicycle tires). Apart from that, the Jungle Lands are a mystery to Solaria and the Free Cities - the disease thing, to which the locals are immune. The cities - several of which boast six digit populations - are little more than rumors and marks on maps.

    Fierce beasts - giant cats, huge snakes, and monstrous fire breathing 'thunder lizards' (aka wingless dragons) inhabit the jungle, and are enough of a menace to where the locals established a special warrior caste - male and female - to cull the more annoying specimens - the Monster Hunters. Monster Hunters are among the few 'foreign' fighters for whom Solaria has any respect. Odd relics brought forth by wizards and wanderers denote the presence of several sites from the era of the 'Dawn Races' or 'Ancient Aliens.' Cat-like Rachasa from the southern plains visit the Jungle Lands to test themselves against its monstrous inhabitants. There are rumors of bird-men dwelling in a city of stone spires in the Jungle Lands deepest reaches..
     
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  5. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    A feature of jungles that I’ve always liked is how they seem to wrap on themselves. So I had this idea for a huge sphere, about twenty miles in diameter from one end to the other and about two miles from top to bottom. I guess it’s more of a saucer than a sphere but whatever. It’s just a bunch of plants wrapped around each other and all the odd creatures that inhabit it. There’s also a layer of dirt held to the sphere by the massive tangles of roots.
    Also, the sphere moves at a rate of one mile per year. The roots regular uproot or die off as new roots dig slightly further on the other side of the sphere.

    I’m not sure how it’s water system works since jungles need a lot of moisture. I guess I could just say “magic” and call it a day.
     
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  6. Faye

    Faye Acolyte

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    Interesting! My world does not yet have a jungle in it. Though if it did, I image it would feel very South American in aesthetic. I love the visuals of ancient ruins and trinkets of gold and topaz. And bugs. One too many nature documentaries means I would propbaby include a plethora of giant , exotic bugs in said jungle. Perhaps event make some large enough for the locals to ride..? Hm.
     
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  7. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

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    Okay, first of all, the title of this threat made me think of this song:


    Secondly, I do have jungles in my flintlock fantasy story setting - more than one kind on more than one planet and more than one plane of the multiverse, in fact. Some of them do contain dinosaurs, though the people of my setting refer to them as "drakes." (I'm going with the old-school interpretations of how most dinosaurs looked, so no feathery features, just scales, and I'm throwing on things like horns and other things to make them look more dragon-like.) Enormous insects are another feature of some of my jungles, and these will also be inspired by prehistoric creatures. Actually, I just realized I'll be using a lot of my jungles to feature extinct animals in my stories, but I'm also going to have a few civilizations living in my jungles as well.

    One of the races in my story setting that are more commonly encountered in jungles are a species presently called Amanitans. They're a bit like the Mychonids from D&D, though I'm trying to take my mushroom people in a different direction. There's a lot I still haven't worked out about the Amanitans, but I do know that they tend to be very cute, have a friendly disposition towards just about everyone who isn't trying to kill them, are surprisingly durable (blades tend to just bounce off them rather than cut them and blunt force is equally useless,) and have a variety of different spores they use for offensive and defensive purposes. I don't think spores are involved in reproduction, though, but I'm not sure how they do reproduce. Anyway, Amanitans are very fond of jungles, especially dense jungles with thick tree canopies. I'm thinking they build settlements among the branches to make it harder for other creatures to reach them.

    Another feature of my jungles are reptilian, or rather, semi-reptilian races. Lizardfolk, snake people, that sort of thing. Again, still a lot I'm still figuring out about these guys. Except for a few that are actually Eldritch Races, most of them were originally some other kind of humanoid that got transformed during a period called the Divine War, so I know they're not actually cold-blooded, though they don't handle cooler climates very well at all. They will have scales and resemble snakes and lizards to varying degrees. Where I'm having difficulty is deciding if they're actually mammalian or not and if they should lay eggs or give birth to live young. Since there are reptiles that give birth to live young, that last part doesn't seem too out of line with the concept of lizard people, but the mammalian part certainly does. (Yet I see so many artists depicting lizardfolk with breasts, so maybe I'm overthinking this.)

    Jungles in my story setting are going to be a recurring kind of landscape. My main character travels a lot, especially by boat, and visits plenty of islands that are covered in jungles. So, she'll be finding all kinds of interesting things in them. I may have entire stories about her set inside jungles, probably stories where she finds ancient ruins to explore and deals with strange cults worshiping eldritch deities and stuff like that. I am open to suggestions on things to include, of course, but I also like helping other people figure out what to do with their jungles and other settings.
     
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  8. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

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    Oh, I completely forgot! I also have a jungle-dwelling race of snake-like people called the Shudrazz. They're serpents from the waist down, have a humanoid torso, and a head like a cobra's. I'm giving them more than two arms, but I'm not sure if they should have four or six of them in all. (Or maybe one sex has four and the other has six? Hmmm.) Anyway, they're an Eldritch Race, which means they're a sapient form of Abomination (a creature that should not exist that was created by an evil and insane deity that wanted to disrupt the natural order.) Shudrazz are xenophobic in the extreme, tactical geniuses, and kill any group of people they do not think worthy of enslaving. Fortunately, they are cold blooded, so jungles and hot deserts are where they primarily live. Jungles seem to be their preference, since they have more food and materials available to them than they would have in deserts. I know they build cities, though I don't want their cities to be too much like Aztec or Mayan cultures, since that's a bit obvious, in my opinion. Anyway, just thought I'd mention this other jungle-dwelling group.
     
  9. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    From my backyard, I can practically drive a Titlist into temperate rainforest, so that's what I write. I bowhunt this terrain from September through the first of January, so my characters spend a lot of time in there.

    [​IMG]
    Seriously. This is what it looks like across the street from Malik Manor.
    The true rainforest starts about 45 minutes west of here, but you get the idea.

    I write sunless, freezing, impenetrable jungles: trees glistening with running water, rain spouting from the canopy, and the understory choked with devil's club and stinging nettles over knee-deep loam like quicksand, crisscrossed with thousands of ankle-busting baby-vine tripwires above and below the surface. Write what you know.

    The temperate rainforest just west of here looks like this:

    [​IMG]
    I can drive for an hour and be sitting here with my notebook. No joke.

    The forests in my world have trails and small roads cut into them between towns and outposts and maintained at tremendous expense, and no one ventures far off them. You literally can't. On foot off the trails, you can cross two hundred yards in an hour if you hurry. Your horse will get about thirty feet before it either breaks a leg or falls into a mudhole and goes full Artax.

    My jungles are cold, dangerously beautiful and wholly unforgiving; hence the Falconsrealm saying: "The mountains care not."
     
  10. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

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    Wow, this stuff is gorgeous! I need to have my characters go through some places like these!
     
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  11. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    The four rainforests on the Olympic Peninsula are the Hoh, the Bogachiel, the Queets, and the Quinault. Easily Google-able. There are a gazillion pics of them, and they're all wonderful story fodder.

    It's some of the most amazing terrain I've ever seen; being out in it is absolutely otherworldly. I don't see how anyone can live out here and not write fantasy.
     
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  12. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

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    I am adding those to my writing reference bookmarks! Thank you for mentioning their names! I'm sure they'll give me a ton of ideas for my stories.
     
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  13. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    The woods I grew up in bear a strong resemblance to the terrain surrounding 'Malik Manor.' As kids, my friends and I literally hacked paths through the foliage with machetes and axes. A couple times, Dad latched onto a Cat for a day or three and dozed atv trails through the wilderness - all of which became thoroughly overgrown inside of a decade. (and that was with occasional use)

    Though I dwell in the fringes of suburbia now, my walks take me along utility easements and old roads that clip the edge of said forest. Some of those tracks proceed for miles into the forest without really going anywhere.
     
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  14. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

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    I admit to missing out on the Pacific Northwest rain forests and other more northerly ones. The tropics have always fascinated me more, what with growing up in the north woods of Minnesota. Which while neat in it's own way, it's not always as fantastic when you live in it. Still very pretty stuff.
     
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  15. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    As an added bonus, there are no venomous snakes in our rainforests up here. We do have plenty of other things in the forest that can kill you, but you generally see them coming.
     
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  16. Red Star

    Red Star Scribe

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    Since my book is based on antiquity, my jungles are going to be far away, dark and unknowable. The legends that will come from them will probably involve ruined Lovecraftian cities haunted by abominations and giant snakes. Gotta have giant snakes.
     
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  17. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

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    Stunning photo Malik but surely there's a green filter in that. A bit of time lapse too, perhaps?
     
  18. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    probably not. both pics could just as easily have been taken in my area.
     
  19. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    The level of technology in my work in progress is akin to that of the 1930s. The rainforests are modelled loosely on the rainforests found on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It's thick, impenetrable and populated by creatures that aren't afraid of humanoids. Perhaps the most feared are the fananga 'o e 'akau. An adult is the size of the palm of your hand but they carry weapons with very powerful poisons they make from various poisonous plants and they are very fast flyers. A small handful of people, mostly hermits and criminals, do live in the jungles. If those humanoids in the jungle prove themselves useful to the fananga 'o e 'akau they will be left alone. In very rare cases the fananga 'o e 'akau might even protect them from other creatures in the jungle.
     
  20. D. Gray Warrior

    D. Gray Warrior Troubadour

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    I have a tropical island setting loosely based on the Caribbean, but I'm thinking about revamping into an entire continent with a primarily tropical climate.

    I plan for there to be a large sprawling empire on it, but I need to think through the logistics as it is poor in metals.

    I have a very simple magic system in place based on shaman animism and magic tattoos that function like armor, but also can automatically heal cuts and wounds.

    I'm toying with adding magitek or biomancy so the empire can have some things that resemble modern tech while lacking most metals.
     
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