Kain Darkwind's Savage Tide
Knowledge Geography DC 30 (In full)
The innumerable dangers of the Amedio Jungle have kept its secrets well, yet strange rumors and legends continue to draw adventurers and explorers to its shores. A wealth of natural resources and manmade treasures is here for the taking, though the Amedio Jungle is also home to savage peoples, ferocious monsters, poisonous plants, virulent diseases, and the dangerous ruins of at least four fallen cultures. No roads cross the Amedio Jungle, and few allies will welcome outsiders who make their way there. It is an exotic, barbaric region separated from the civilized world by mountain and sea, an unforgiving land that repays error and conceit with anonymous, horrific death.
It is not commonly known that the Amedio Jungle extends south into Lower Oerik for well over 300 leagues, bordered the whole way on the west by the mighty Hellfurnances mountain range, effectively cutting the region off from the rest of the continent. The jungle is further surrounded by the Azure Sea to the north, the Densac Gulf to the west, and the vast, island-dotted Vohoun Ocean to the south. The jungle ends with a small pocket of tall-grass savanna about 200 miles in diameter, near the equator of Oerth, where a little-known human kingdom is said to exist. A number of islands lie just off the eastern central Amedio coast, each about the size of the Olman Islands—100 miles across at most.
The Amedio Jungle is a tropical rainforest of astounding richness and resilience. Winds blow over the Amedio from the seas to the south and east, bringing with them great thunderstorms and heavy rainfall almost every afternoon from Gozran to Lamashan. This half-year period is the monsoon season, which is then followed by a relatively dry period during which rain falls one or two days a week. Daily temperatures during either season run between 85 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, with extremes about 10-15 degrees beyond either end. Temperatures are lower along the northernmost peninsula of the Amedio (called “the Hook” on maps from the Sea Princes) and the Olman Isles, averaging 75-95 degrees. Ground fog is often present in jungle clearings in the morning. Even after the fog clears, heat waves, thick swarms of insects, and a light haze from the humidity obscure vision over long distances and muffle distant sounds.
The air is always humid and hot, day or night. Metallic armor is extremely uncomfortable to wear; heavy padding worn beneath such armor can induce heatstroke, exhaustion, and dehydration. The padding and most clothing brought into the region also become mildewed and foul without regular washing and airing out. Ferrous armor, weapons, and tools are subject to severe rusting in a few days unless carefully oiled and cared for. Insects, rats, and other vermin in this region are known to carry horrifying diseases that spread rapidly, cause excruciating pain and debilities, and claim many lives. Most natives of the Amedio have developed some immunity to local plagues, which kill many unprepared outsiders.
The monsoon season brings with it the most dangerous form of weather: tropical storms of up to hurricane strength that blast pathways of destruction through the jungle at least once every other year. Such damage is swiftly regrown, however, and within five years no trace of a storm’s passing will be visible even from the air. A rarer danger comes with volcanic eruptions to the west in the Hellfurnaces. Though most of the ash falls westward over the Sea of Dust, occasionally hot ash and poisonous vapors drop from the sky over the Amedio, withering several hundred square miles of greenery at random and slaying many creatures as well. (The large freshwater lake in the northern Amedio is subject to an especially vile form of ashfall with magical side effects, it is reported.)
The huge freshwater lake, which has yet to be fully explored, stands out in aerial views of the jungle. This feature is known as Storm Lake on some maps, but recently it was tentatively renamed Matreyus Lake, after an explorer. Many smaller, unmapped lakes, ponds, and wetlands dot the Amedio. A dozen or more rivers wind their way through the rainforest from the lower slopes of the Hellfurnaces, often ending in wide, stinking swamps as they empty into the sea. Treacherous quicksand pits and small, foul swamps are often encountered in lowlands. Some rivers and a few shallow lakes are invisible from the air, as trees have grown entirely across them.
The Amedio coast itself is sandy but narrow, barely a hundred feet wide in most places, with offshore rocks and reefs claiming a few careless boats and ships every decade. The coast is subject to the same tides as elsewhere around the Flanaess. Fog is known to form along the coasts on some mornings, creating grave dangers for ships as it hides reefs, pirates, and monsters from view. Certain creatures of the deeps venture ashore in thick fog, retreating to the sea as the fog pulls back or burns off.
Until a decade ago, the only information available about the Amedio Jungle came from slavers and explorers of the Sea Princes, and even that information was not entirely reliable. Exaggerated tales and deliberate lies obscured the truth with great efficiency.
In 575 CY, however, three fugitives from the southern Flanaess, fleeing bounty hunters from Onnwal, crossed into the northern end of the Amedio Jungle and there discovered the ruins of a great city, later found to have been called Tamoachan. The fugitives survived in the ruined city for several weeks before hailing a ship of the Sea Princes and bribing its captain and crew with certain treasures they had found. They were put off-ship in Gradsul, where they told the harrowing tale of their exploits to disbelieving Keoish officials. It was here, too, that the bounty hunters caught up with the trio and demanded that they be turned over for justice in Onnwal.
The fugitives were questioned and released in Gradsul after investigation by local priests showed them to be blameless in warrants brought against them in their home countries; two have since gone their separate ways. (The tireless bounty hunters were promptly paid off and hired anew by the lord of Gradsul to pursue other fugitives.) However, the third former fugitive, an Olman Island barbarian named Rhialle, stayed on and led four subsequent expeditions back into the Amedio Jungle. The first three journeys were made in 578, 579, and 580-581 CY, funded and staffed by Huris Sellark, the younger brother of the lord of Gradsul, who was more interested in selling exotic trinkets for exorbitant prices than any scholarly examination of the region’s cultures and wildlife.
The last and most famous of these voyages was funded by a merchant house by the name of Meravanchi and made in the company of the famed explorer Tibarian Matreyus, also of Gradsul, in 582-584 CY. The expedition was in many ways a complete success, reaching the much-rumored freshwater lake deep in the jungle and uncovering many old ruins. It also proved to be the most disastrous expedition into the Amedio, with 34 of the 54 expedition members dying of disease, animal or plant attacks, hostile natives, or various traps or curses. The Greyhawk Wars also occurred during this time, and the expedition was saved at its end only by sacrificing a portion of its magical devices to flee the forces of the Brotherhood. The 20 who survived included Rhialle and Tibarian, along with the young representative of the sponsoring family, Manthalay Meravanchi. However, Tibarian had completely lost his memory, a deficit that required a spell from the temple of Rao in Gradsul.
Examination of the many artifacts and detailed notes brought out by the Matreyus expedition, tucked safely away in a that Matreyus wisely kept folded up inside his false right leg, reveals a wealth of knowledge about the Olman people and the Suloise Amedians, and additionally reveals much about the nonhuman (perhaps “inhuman” was a better word) races that ruled long before the Hepmonaland Olman beached their great ships on these shores. Divinations on these materials continues unabated at the Matreyus estate at Northending Wood, a village three leagues north of Gradsul. This estate remains the best source of information on the Amedio Jungle, with the most accurate word coming from Tibarian Matreyus, the Olman scout Rhialle, and the sages Svorjer Deol, Hodd of Dyvers, and Klemba the Gray.
Aneuku River (DC 18): This river runs past a Xamaclan mine and the city itself before emptying into the Volhoun.
Atikula River (DC 15): Daughter of the Xatalati, it is difficult to cross due to high numbers of carnivorous fish that live in it.
Bodal River (DC 12): This river’s original Olman name has been forgotten. IT is unusually warm due to underground lava at its source.
Exolatl River (DC 15): This river overruns its banks every monsoon season and has been known to flood a small mine nearby. This flooding causes minor course changes nearly every time.
Havekihu River (DC 12): This narrow river is faster and cooler than the Bodal.
Lopi River (DC 16): This short fast river drains into the southern portion of Matreyus Lake. It is considered a holy river by the Amedian tribes.
Talat River (DC 18): A daughter of the Aneku, it is much slower than its parent, creating intermittent swamps along its length.
Xatalati River (DC 15): This river defines the border between the northern half of the Amedio, which is predominantly Suel, and the southern half, which is predominantly Olman.
Hellfurnaces (DC 3): The equatorial Hellfurnaces are even more volcanic than their northern brothers, with six major active volcanoes known, as well as a dozen smaller ones. The mountains contain many evil things that enjoy warm climes, such as red dragons and fire giants, the former served by fire drakes and the latter by hell hounds. Manticores are common in the lower reaches. The whole range is riddled with passage ways that conceal many evil subterranean creatures.
Chetanicatla Mire (DC 18): The soft ground surrounding Chetanicatla has caused larger creatures to migrate from the region, leaving it a haven for smaller creatures and fliers of all sorts. The ground is oddly solid about a yard below the surface, so most large structures and plants have only sunk slightly.
Polahecu Grassland (DC 20): The high grass of this plain feeds and conceals herds of wild and domesticated animals as well as countless smaller creatures such as rodents, anteaters, lizards and birds. The grass also allows predators to stalk their prey, although most of these predators are mundane and those dangerous to man have been eliminated. Small sections of the grassland have been cleared by the people of Xamaclan to grow maize and squash.
Storm/Matreyus Lake (DC 14): The north side of this lake is the former Olman city of Elatalhuihle, later discovered by Suel. Trees line the shore and produce useful or valuable materials. The lake is inhabited by giant clams whose pearls command good prices, as does the plumage of the brilliantly colored birds. Gigantic ancient statues of stylized human faces and upper torsos dot the shoreline, most erect, but some fallen and overgrown by vegetation, poisonous and disease bearing animals lurk near the statues and other dark creatures haunt the half dark of dusk and dawn.
One of the Hellfurnaces volcanos erupts every few decades, and the resulting debris blows onto the lake by a quirk of wind currents; this ash hovers over the lake for days at a time and summons evil things. During these times the dead walk the nearby jungle and vampiric mists seek to drain the living of their blood; great bolts of lightning strike the ground and the statues, leaving the latter unharmed and destroying anything in proximity, while acidic rain falls from the volcanic clouds. The Amedian tribes of the south shore consider this place to be full of evil spirits and never come here.
Knowledge Geography DCs
Base DC is cognizant that said entity exists.
DC +5 is aware of its general direction and estimated distance from Sasserine.
DC +10 is aware of major information regarding the entity.
DC +15 is aware of minor information regarding the entity.
DC +20 is aware of most known information regarding the entity.
(DCs are high for this area due to the massive lack of civilized exploration into the jungle and beyond.)