An English Vampire in Africa

Hey folks – it’s a three day weekend in these parts, so I’m still on schedule with a post every weekend.

I was going to do a Dragon-by-Dragon today, but instead decided to write about a little B-movie I finished watching last night, the 1945 “classic” The Vampire’s Ghost. While the movie does not involve a vampire’s ghost, it is a better movie than it has a right to be, possibly because it was written by Leigh Brackett. If you don’t know who Leigh Brackett is, well go find out. She was a classic sci-fi author, and did some fine screenwriting on The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo and The Long Goodbye. The film we’re talking about today was her first such effort, and in it she brings more talent to the picture than one would expect of a low-budget Republic film.

She’s joined in this by the the villain in the piece, John Abbott. Just to maintain the Star Trek theme I’ve been on for a while, he played the lead Organian in the episode “Errand of Mercy”. In this picture, he plays the vampire, and I think he’s one of my favorites. In classic Hollywood, the Vampire didn’t usually have much depth, and was often played for shock value. Bela Lugosi’s turn as Dracula is an exception, of course.

It also helps that the movie is based loosely on “The Vampyre” written by John William Polidori in 1816. Between Polidori, Brackett and Abbott, you get a hidden nugget from the studio days of Hollywood.

In The Vampire’s Ghost, Abbott plays Webb Fallon, an English vampire who has “lived” at least since the days of the Spanish Armada. He brings a really rate matter-of-factness to his vampire portrayal – he’s not happy about his condition, but he shows no remorse for his victims, and he mostly uses his ability to hypnotize and control people to get away with it. In the film, he is now running a drinking establishment in the African town of Bakunda. As in Dracula, the movie wastes little time in revealing that the mysterious killer around Bakunda is a vampire, and that Fallon is that vampire. The natives discover it first, and the “hero” of the picture, Roy Hendrick (Charles Gordon) is soon clued in, but is hypnotized by Fallon before he can do anything about it. Strange for many such movies, the supposed hero spends most of the movie unable to do anything against the villain. The vampire really is the protagonist in the film, making all the moves and committing his villainy unrestrained until … well, I won’t give everything away.

The main point here is that, in this largely forgotten B-movie, there’s a really cool vampire depiction thanks largely to two talented people, Leigh Brackett and John Abbott, and despite the low budget and relative apathy of Republic Pictures. To tie this in to roleplaying games, the Webb Fallon vampire should give a good game master some ideas about playing a vampire in a game in a way that might surprise the players.

Check it out, if you have a mind to …

Three Villages of Cush – Preview of NOD 16

What an insane week!

I’m a day or three away from releasing NOD 16 and B1 – The Tumbled Towers, an intro module for Blood & Treasure with some pre-generated characters. B1 – The Tumbled Towers will be a free download, and probably a pretty cheap print product (cause it’s short!).

Since things are so berserk lately (it’s quarterly report time in my real job), I’m going with another Cush preview today. Enjoy!

15.41 Kaba: Kaba is a large village of 250 people set amidst large groves of butter trees, which produce a fruit favored by both humans and baboons. The village has tall stone walls with locked gates and narrow streets. During the day, people are out and about, tending the groves, hunting in the jungle, cooking their food, repairing tools, etc. As soon as the sun begins to sink, though, they lock the village gates and go inside, locking their doors and not opening them for anything. This is because a band of ghouls has found its way to their village, finding the secret places in the jungle where they have buried their dead and feeding on them. They have made incursions into the village and killed several men and women, turning them into ghouls as well, who are now obsessed with feeding on their relatives and loved ones. The village leader, a sage called Sambwa the Wise (Adept 3; 4 hp), has no idea what to do about the ghouls. The people will not allow him to dig up the bodies of their ancestors and burn them (though the newly died are burnt now, outside the village), and the graveyards are not safe to approach anyways. He has sent a few warriors out to other villages seeking help from monster slayers.

16.26 Nameless Village: On a hill overlooking the lazy Jamba River there is a village (pop. 230) surrounded by a palisade. All of the buildings in the village are narrow towers built of limestone quarried in the middle of town. The people of this nameless village are squat, thick, grey-skinned humanoids with toothless mouths who communicate with sign language and a clicking sound they make with their thick tongues against the roof of the mouth. The people are accomplished sculptors and surprisingly agile for their build.

The village supports several sculptors, a master mason and an inn. The inn has been built into an empty quarry, with people sleeping in deep, narrow alcoves dug into the walls. The innkeeper serves palm wine in crystal decanters and slugs and snails spiced with ground pepper. The town’s main protectors are a quartet of 1st level fighting-men armed with spears and falchions. The village has no apparent leader.

The village’s treasury contains a silver falchion, four golden-brown capes (worth 5 gp each), eleven tiny ivory flutes (worth 20 gp each), a pair of copper gauntlets with only three fingers (worth 100 gp), a brass-capped bone cane (worth 200 gp) and a lead (triple weight, AC 14) cuirass bearing the symbol of Atum.

18.02 Chimpanzees: A tribe of 100 intelligent chimpanzees dwells here in a collection of odd huts reminscent of the mud-nests of the termites, though larger. Each hut ranges in height from 15 to 30 feet, and can only be entered from above. Between the huts there are pens for the chimpanzee’s dogs – some for riding, others kept for food. The warriors of the tribe (there are 40) carry shields and wield long gnarled clubs. The chimpanzees are led by a grizzled male called Bobo, who smokes a long, iron pipe and wears a tattered purple cloak. A diamond stick pin worth 500 gp is hidden in the hem of the cloak.

Soggy Goddesses, Mighty Baobabs and Ghostly Apes – Cush Preview

A few more previews from Cush – I’ve been remiss about posting these lately. NOD 16 should be out by the end of the month – I’m just putting on the finishing touches now.

09.21 Goddess: A 20 ft. tall statue of a Hindi-style goddess lies belly-up in the river here. The statue is tilted, so that its face peers out at the north bank of the river. 1d8 crocodiles sun themselves on the statue, which is missing its arms and legs and looks to be very ancient. A secret door in the statue’s navel can be unscrewed, leading to a crawlspace that ends in the statues head. Inside the head there is a golden orb studded with gems (5,000 gp). The statue is all that remains of a stone golem destroyed a milennia ago during a war between Kolos and distant city-states of Ende.

11.04 Mufo: Mufo is a large town (pop. 4500) that receives some caravan traffic between Ophir and the Carnelian Coast, and also acts as a trade center for the local region. The city is surrounded by walls of reddish stone that are studded with bronze spikes. The front gates are thick, dark oak, heavily glazed, that are bound in bronze. The walls are anchored by five stout towers, about 30 feet tall. The walls and towers are patrolled by the town’s 45 guardsmen (men-at-arms; leather armor, shield, spear, light crossbow). The town is known for its green tile roofs, that sparkle like emeralds in the sun and help to camouflage the town from above, hemmed in as it is by the surrounding jungle.

Mufo is governed by a council of wealthy men and women, the head of which is Kanda, a rather famous merchant who once adventured throughout Cush, Pwenet and the Carnelian Coast and who now commands several caravans who ply the same area. Other members of the council are the monster trainer Mbando and the infamous duelist Muamba the Snake, who runs a a fencing academy.

Mufo has two ghettos, one of Ophirian traders, craftsmen (especially weavers) and adventurers who traveled down with the caravans from Ophir, the other of gnomes who have quit their traditional forest home and now make a living as wood-carvers and fortune tellers. The Ophirians of Mufu number about 250, the gnomes about 180. Both are treated reasonably well, though the gnomes are considered dishonest schemers by the locals, and the Ophirians are considered to be greedy.

11.27 Baobab the Mighty: A baobab tree that covers much of this hex has lived long enough that it has achieved sentience and a sort of godhood among plants. The forest creatures of bow to it as they pass along their way, and the beasts that dwell within its branches serve as a sort of priesthood. Key among them are a tribe of 30 monkeys who gather the sap (which can apparently neutralize poison, who knew?) and allow it to ferment, making a crude spirit that grants them low intelligence for the period of 1 month, before they must drink of the sap once again. The tree desires nothing but peace and tranquility in its domain, and a complete absence of fire.

12.36 Nettles: This hex is filled with many large patches of grass topped with tiny, stinging nettles. There is a 4 in 6 chance of any given adventurer being painfully stung and suffering a -1 penalty to all rolls for 1d4 days or until the bathing in urine.

14.30 Ghost Apes: Ghostly white apes crawl through the trees of this hex, leaving icy finger and foot prints whereever they go. The apes are true ghosts (treat as spectres), and their haunting howls and calls put people at ill ease and force animals to pass a saving throw each hour or flee in fear. The ghost apes only rarely attack travelers, having a 20% chance of attacking (in a group of 1d6+1), the chance increasing to 35% if there are spell casters present, and 55% if they are divine spell casters.

Quicksand, Evil Gnomes and Pearl Trees – Cush II

03.31 Quicksand: Adventurers moving through this hex have a 2 in 6 chance of stepping into a pit filled with quicksand. The trees surrounding the quicksand are inhabited by a race of talking monkeys, who will cast bets (using cowrie shells) on whether the unfortunates will live or die. They will not render aid unless they are somehow tricked into it. If attacked, they flee into the forest; from that point on, random monster encounters occur on the roll of 1-2 on 1d6.

[Because a jungle without quicksand is just bogus]

05.13 Gingi Tribe: The Gingi are a tribe of lizardmen (pop. 331) descended from the lizard kings of old. They have faces that resemble the gallimimus and green scales with yellow stripes. The tribe has 200 spear-armed warriors. Their village is surrounded by a ditch and palisade. The ditch is filled with humanoid and animal bones, and skulls are attached to the tops of the walls by leather thongs. The wall is guarded by 8 elite warriors (3 HD) armed with blowguns and poisoned (sleep) darts. Water for the village is drawn from a deep well.

The village consists of huts made of woven vines covered in dried mud and a large, octagonal wooden house. The house is occupied by the tribe’s chief Jumbaba, his harem of six females and his fifteen hatchlings. The tribe’s treasure consists of 4,000 gp taken from an exhausted (and heavily laden) party of adventurers two months ago.

06.34 Pearl Tree: A large tree resembling a baobab grows here. In the late summer the tree will be filled with large, prickly, yellow fruits with delicious pink flesh. There is a 1% chance that those someone eating a fruit (roll once for the entire party) will find a perfect, pinkish pearl (100 gp) at the center instead of a pit. Fruit that is opened up but not consumed will cause the person wasting it to be cursed by the tree’s guardian spirit. The pits can be used to make fire seeds (as the druid spell) by knowledgable wise women.

08.03 Gingdaja Village: The small village of Gingdaja (pop. 300) is inhabited by a clan of wicked gnomes led by a council of elders that consists of Zangdok, Pukulga and Jajujh. The village is surrounded by a short picket of sharpened stakes, all of them meticulously carved into whimsical animal shapes. The people live in clusters of huts surrounding a wooden shrine.

The gnomes of Gingdaja were created by Azba, their patron deity. They are lithe and agile, and their scholars are well versed in elemental magic. In place of a normal gnome’s innate spells, the Gingdajans can cast create water, endure elements and magic stone each once per day.

Gingdaja has a small tavern run by Momwi, a retired slinger. The tavern is a long, narrow lean-to that serves a light, frothy ale made from roots and a powerful liquor made from tree fungus, as well as a hearty mushroom stew. The village also has a blacksmith named Pukdaja, a healer named Zuljujh and a monkey-trainer named Keshu. The village’s temple is a one-room, wooden structure surrounded by a yard edged by white stones. The shrine is tended by Zagu, a priest of Azba.

Azba is a goddess of chance and gambling. She appears as a tall crone with lemon-yellow skin and large, round, red eyes. She carries a simple hammer that randomly blesses or curses those it strikes in combat. The gnomes believe that Azba embodies the vital forces of the universe (i.e. chaos). They also believe that she dwells in the cave in [0802]. They throw their old and infirm in the cave as sacrifices to Azba.

08.27 Ape Boy: A cave system here is inhabited by a clan of thirty carnivorous apes and an adopted human boy they call Gargan. The apes are led by a massive male called Jorak (30 hp). In the deepest cavern of their lair, secreted there by an unknown party, there is a treasure. It consists of 80,000 cp in a dozen small chests, a golden yellow topaz (700 gp), a white pearl that has been delicately carved to hold the silhouette of a woman (80 gp) a cylindrical chunk of polished coral (60 gp) and a vial of phosphorescent liquid in a pewter flask. The liquid removes paralysis but causes intense hunger (double ration consumption for 1d6 days; -1 penalty to all rolls on less than double rations due to hunger pangs).

African Expeditions – Henchmen and Supplies in 1910

In my quest for Africa-related illustration, I’ve delved into a couple old books found at Project Gutenberg. Besides a few usable illustrations, I also found a few interesting tidbits from the age of safaris, when the process for going out into the wilderness wasn’t too different from what it might be like in a game of D&D.

What follows comes from a book called In Africa, Hunting Adventures in the Big Game Country by John T. McCutcheon.

For an African expedition involving four “adventurers”, there were the following “henchmen”
Cook, toto and head man

(1) Head-man: Runs the camp and the other henchmen; paid $25/month

(8) Gunbearers: Carry gun and other key equipment, skin beasts and collect trophies; fire weapons when the boss is down; paid $25/month.
(4) Askaris: Native guards, keep up fires, scare away animals; $5/month.
(1) Cook: $13/month
(4) Tent Boys: Personal servants of the “adventurers”; wait on tables, do washing, make sure water is boiled and purified, fill water bottles; $7/month
(80) Porters: Carry camp from place to place, each carrying 60 lb. on head, then set up camp, get firewood, carry what game is shot by the “adventurers”; $3/month
(4) Saises: Grooms, one for each mule or horse; $4/month
(20) “Totos”: Means “little boy”, they are not hired, but come along as stowaways, carry small loads and help brighten the camp; paid food and lodging.

Gun bearer, askari, tent boy, porter

By my count, that would be something like a sergeant-at-arms, 12 men-at-arms, one specialist (the cook) and 108 “torchbearers”. The total cost is $542 per month.

It was required by law that each porter be provided with, at minimum, a water bottle, blanket and sweater. Uniforms, water bottles, shoes and blankets were provided for all others.

They had 20 tents for the entire expedition – if you assume one tent per adventurer, then you’re looking at an average of seven or eight people per tent – probably more in some tents, since the head-man and cook probably got their own tents.

Supplies for a 6 month trip into the wilderness were as follows:

TWENTY CASES (RED BAND)
    Two tins imperial cheese.
    One pound Ceylon tea.
    One three-quarter pound tin ground coffee.
    One four-pound tin granulated sugar.
    Two tins ox tongue.
    One tin oxford sausage.
    Two tins sardines.
    Two tins kippered herrings.
    Three tins deviled ham (Underwood’s).
    Two tins jam (assorted).
    Two tins marmalade (Dundee).
    Three half-pound tins butter.
    Three half-pound tins dripping.
    Ten half-pound tins ideal milk.
    Two tins small captain biscuit.
    Two tins baked beans, Heinz (tomato sauce).
    One half-pound tin salt.
    One two-pound tin chocolate (Army and Navy).
    Two parchment skins pea soup.
    One one and one-half pound tin Scotch oatmeal.
TWENTY CASES (BLUE BAND)
    Two tins baked beans (Heinz) (tomato sauce).
    One tin bologna sausage.
    One tin sardines.
    One tin sardines, smoked.
    Two one-pound tins camp, pie.
    Five tins jam, assorted.
    Two tins marmalade (Dundee).
    Five half-pound tins butter.
    Three half-pound tins dripping.
    Ten half-pound tins ideal milk.
    Two tins imperial cheese.
    One one and one-quarter pound tin Ceylon tea.
    One three-quarter pound tin ground coffee.
    One four pound tin granulated sugar.
    One quarter-pound tin cocoa.
    Two tins camp biscuit.
    One half-pound tin salt.
    One one and one-half tin Scotch oatmeal.
    One one-pound tin lentils.
    One tin mixed vegetables (dried).
    One two-pound tin German prunes.
    Six soup squares.
    One ounce W. pepper.
    Two sponge cloths.
    One-half quire kitchen paper.
    One two-pound tin chocolate (Army and Navy).
SIXTEEN CASES (GREEN BAND)
    Three fourteen-pound tins self-raising flour.
    Two cases (black band) containing fifteen bottles lime juice (plain) Montserrat.
    Two cases, each containing one dozen Scotch whisky.
    Two cases (red and blue band) thirty pounds bacon, well packed in salt.
    Two cases (yellow and black band) five ten-pound tins plaster of Paris for making casts of animals.
    One case (red and green band) fifty pounds sperm candles—large size (carriage).
    Four folding lanterns.
The following items to be equally divided into as many lots as necessary to make sixty-pound cases:
    Eight Edam cheeses.
    Twenty tins bovril.
    Twenty two-pound tins sultana raisins.
    Ten two-pound tins currants.
    Ten one-pound tins macaroni.
    Thirty tins Underwood deviled ham.
    Eighty tablets carbolic soap.
    Eighty packets toilet paper.
    Ten bottles Enos’ fruit salt.
    Twenty one-pound tins plum pudding.
    Six tins curry powder.
    Twenty one-pound tins yellow Dubbin.
    Six one-pound tins veterinary vaseline.
    Six one-pound tins powdered sugar.
    Six tin openers.
    Twelve tins asparagus tips.
    Twelve tins black mushrooms.
    Six large bottles Pond’s extract.
    Twelve ten-yard spools zinc oxide surgeon’s tape one inch wide.
    Two small bottles Worcestershire sauce.
In addition to the foregoing we added the following equipment of table ware:
    Eight white enamel soup plates—light weight.
    Eight white enamel dinner plates—light weight.
    Three white enamel vegetable dishes—medium size.
    Six one-pint cups.
    Eight knives and forks.
    Twelve teaspoons.
    Six soup spoons.
    Six large table-spoons.
    One carving knife and fork.
    Six white enamel oatmeal dishes.
As our tent equipment and some of the miscellanies necessary to our expedition, the subjoined articles were procured:
    Four double roof ridge tents 10 by 8—4 feet walls, in valises.
    One extra fly of above size, with poles, ropes, etc, complete.
    Five ground sheets for above, one foot larger each way, i.e., 11 by 9.
    Four mosquito nets for one-half tents, 9 feet long.
    Four circular canvas baths.
    Twelve green, round-bottom bags 43 by 30.
    Four hold-all bags with padlocks.
    Two fifty-yard coils 1 1-4 Manila rope.
    One pair wood blocks for 1 1-4 brass sheaves, strapped with tails.
    Four four-quart tin water bottles.
    Two eight-quart Uganda water bottles.
    Four large canvas water buckets.
    One gross No. 1 circlets.
    One punch and die.

This does not include medical and surgery supplies or rifles.

Personal supplies were as follows:

    Two suits—coat and breeches—gabardine or khaki.
    One belt.
    Two knives—one hunting-knife, one jack-knife.
    Three pair cloth putties.
    Three flannel shirts (I actually only used two).
    Six suits summer flannels, merino, long drawers.
    Three pair Abercrombie lightest shoes (one pair rubber soles).
    Three colored silk handkerchiefs.
    Two face towels—two bath towels.
    Three khaki cartridge holders to put on shirts to hold big cartridges, one for each shirt.
    One pair long trousers to put on at night, khaki.
    Two suits flannel pajamas.
    Eight pair socks (I used gray Jaeger socks, fine).
    One light west sweater.
    One Mackinaw coat (not absolutely necessary).
    One rubber coat.
    One pair mosquito boots (Lawn and Alder, London).
    Soft leather top boots for evening wear in camp.
    Five leather pockets to hold cartridges to go on belt.
    Three whetstones (one for self and two for gunbearers).
    One helmet (we used Gyppy pattern Army and Navy stores).
    One double terai hat, brown (Army and Navy stores).
    One six-_or_eight-foot pocket tape of steel to measure horns.
    One compass.
    One diary.
    Writing materials.
    Toilet articles.

How often to PC’s bring changes of clothes with them on adventures? 

Hell Is, Like, Sooooo Last Month – Welcome to Cush

Okay, I haven’t officially published the last piece of the Hellcrawl (about 1 more week and it’s live), but I’ve already moved on to … Cush! The next hexcrawl project is Cush and Pwenet, pieces of an Africa-themed chunk of Nod. I’m quite excited about this one – probably a good bit of art to commission (which means I’m losing money on this baby), but there isn’t much Africa-themed RPG stuff out there, and it’s a pretty rich vein to mine for adventure. Anyhow – what follows is a quick look at the different geographical regions to be covered and the full Map J12 – the eastern half will be covered in NOD 16, the western half in NOD 18, and NOD 17 will cover the city-state of Ixum. Enjoy!

Side Note: I’m now on the hunt for public domain images I can use for the Cush-crawl. This isn’t easy, as much of the pre-1920’s Africa illustrations are either a bit on the racist side (or waaaaay on the racist side) or are a bit dry and boring. If anybody out there knows of some good stuff (I’ll be scouring Wikipedia and Project Gutenberg), let me know. Thanks!

Click to enlarge – or don’t, it’s up to you

HISTORY
During the Pandiluvian Age, the jungle portions of Map J12 were under water, while the Jamba Highlands constituted a chain of islands the connected to the large archipelago of the modern Wyvern Coast. The savanna of Pwenet was a land of salt marshes and grassland. The so-called elder things built small fortresses in these shallow waters to protect their larger cities in the depths. These fortresses were built with a cyclopean, luminous green stones that were fitted without mortar. Although they were hunted for sport, some mermaids established themselves in sea caves and placid island lagoons.

When the waters receeded, the swampy grasslands became a savanna and the Cush basin became a dismal, tropical swamp. It was here that the lizard men, former servants of the elder things, established themselves in walled city-states, often surrounding the citadels of their former masters. Humans from the highlands were enslaved and put to work building defenses, for the lizard kings were constantly at war with one another, their society on its inevitable march to savagery.

As the waters continued to recede and Cush became a rain forest. The savage lizard men were eventually defeated by the more numerous and clever humans and driven into the coastal swamps or into the underworld. Freed from slavery, the humans established themselves in the homes of their former masters and took up where they left off. But unlike the lizard kings, who spent centuries locked in a stalemate, one human city-state, Kolos, soon brought the others to ruin.

Kolos was ruled by an exiled Atlantean who became fascinated with the alien gods of the lizard men, especially the one they called Mictlantecuhtli. Mictlantecuhtli called out to the Atlantean from the Abyss and bound him to his service with dark, unspeakable pacts. In time, the Atlantean, now known as Kolos, would destroy his city-state in a bid for godhood.

With Kolos fallen and soon swallowed by the jungles, its tributary port, Zinj, assumed the mantle of leadership in the region. But Zinj was tiny compared to the Kolos, and its interest lied in sea trade, not the fetid jungles. Except for a brief period as a subject of the zebra-striped people of the Zebrides, Zinj has remained an independent kingdom for centuries, even briefly lording it over the purple kings of Ophir after they lost their key trade partner in the invoked destruction of the Nabu.

The tribesmen of the savanna land called Pwenet also flourished during the Silver Age. They built villages and towns of adobe and kept massive herds of cattle. They even swept over the Nabu empire and held it for a few decades before decadence and in-fighting aided the Nabu in reclaiming their sovereignty.

GEOGRAPHY
Map J12 is dominated by a hot, steamy jungle in the west and the rolling grasslands of Pwenet in the east. These two regions are divided by the Jamba Highlands, a small mountain range that feeds the Jamba River. The Adze Marsh runs for many miles along the Jamba River.

A powerful necromantic kingdom called Kolos once dominated Cush and made war with the Nabu Empire to the north. While the fall of the Nabu Empire is well documented, the disappearance of Kolos is far more mysterious, and many adventurers have entered the jungles intent on finding that lost city-state and plundering its vaults. To date, none have succeeded in returning to civilization with their lives, let alone any riches.

Map J12 has no city-states of its own. The nearest city-states are Zinj (Map I12) and Ophir (Map J11), both coastal ports. It does have a multitude of villages and supports many sentient cultures, including human tribesmen, pygmys, lizardmen and gnolls.

Adze Marsh & Jamba River
The Adze Marsh, named for one of its more dangerous inhabitants is a vast wetland composed of flat lands, lagoons and copses of trees. The area floods in the Spring, hiding much of the flat land and making the entire swamp a virtual lake.

Cush
The jungle of Cush consists of a gently sloping plain between the Tonaduhna and Jamba Rivers. It is a traditional rain forest. The trees are thick and grow close enough together to blot out the sun. Beneath the canopy live a myriad of insects and reptilian carnivores as well as pygmy deer, elephant, and the dreaded leopard. Cush is valued for its exotic hardwoods (teak, mahogany, ebony and darkwood), orchids and fauna.

AMAZONS: The amazons of Cush are related to their more northern cousins. Like their cousins, they live in a matriarchical society. Unlike their cousins, they allow their menfolk to live in their villages and work as craftsmen, farmers and fishermen. Men and amazons live in separate halves of the village.

The amazons of Cush wear little or no armor, with the heaviest armored warriors (the nobility and their elites) wearing leather armor cured from the hides of mystical beasts (5% chance of dragonhide leather armor). Cushite amazon warriors carry spears, throwing irons and shields.

BERSERKERS: The berserkers of the jungle are cannibals. They appear as normal humans, but with teeth sharpened to points and hungry, feral looks in their eyes. The cannibals of Cush live in small hunting groups of 10 to 20 warriors led by a 3rd to 6th level chief and two 2nd level sub-chiefs. They wear no armor, but 50% of the berserkers carry a shield. Cannibals are armed with nets, battle axes, hand axes or short swords.

GHOULS: The ancient city-state of Kolos fell in a cataclysm of dark sorcery, tainting the surrounding land with necromantic energies. Over the next few months the peasants and knights of Kolos, deprived of their city-state, perished. Those who survived did so on the flesh of their fallen neighbors, and thus became ghouls. These ghouls, known for their dull black skin and pot bellies, still haunt the ruins of the jungle basin. They are extremely aggressive (as they’ve been starving for centuries) and are quite resistant to turning (turn as 4 HD undead). About 1% of ruins contain a ghoul able to summon a vrock demon (25% chance of success).

TRIBESMEN: The tribesmen of Cush know the secret of working iron and mine and smelt surface deposits from sacred out-croppings guarded by traps and summoned cacodaemons. Their witchdoctors are expert brewers of poison, so most warriors go into combat with poisoned darts (poison I) fired from blowguns.

The tribesmen are also privy, it is said, to the location of ancient gold mines secreted deep in the jungle and guarded by forgotten curses and fell magical beasts.

Each tribe consists of 3d10 x 10 warriors and additional non-combatants equal to 5 times the number of warriors. For every ten warriors in the tribe there is one “Big Man” with 1d4 character levels, usually in the fighter class. The tribe is ruled by a 6th to 10th level chief and witchdoctor (usually an adept, but 10% chance of being a 4th to 7th level druid or cleric). The chief is accompanied by 1d6+6 2nd level fighter bodyguards.

All tribesmen have a very fluid fighting style, giving them a base AC of 11. Tribesmen typically wield spears and blowguns, but might also carry hand axes, short swords, daggers and short bows. Leader types might carry battle axes or long swords.

VEGEPYGMIES: These strange plant beings are approximately 3 feet in height with rust-colored skin. They are primitive in nature with a chittering language incompre-hensible to non-plant men. Vegepygmies are usually encountered in small hunting bands. Vegepygmy tribes number from 1d4 x 30.
Vegepygmy warriors usually carry spears and throwing darts covered with a rust-colored mold. The mold deals no extra damage, but does begin to grow on the flesh of those hit by the darts who fail a saving throw. After the first day, the mold begins dealing 1 point of constitution damage each day as it produces enzymes which begin liquifying the host’s body. When the host is reduced to 0 constitution, he is little more than a pile of mush, upon which several “infant” mold men begin to grow. Once the mold begins to grow, it can only be destroyed with fire or a remove disease spell.

Jamba Highlands
The Jamba Highlands are a group of snow-capped mountains and their foothills that rise above the jungle of Cush and the grasslands of Pwenet. The tribesmen believe they are the abode of their gods. This belief is bolstered by the strange, white gorillas that seem to guard the passes that lead through the mountains.

The highlands feature a plethora of simians and avians. Old stories claim that the mountains are rich in precious stones and metals, but they are far enough away from civilization that nobody has made a serious attempt to mine them.

Pwenet Grasslands
Pwenet is a land of rolling hills with scattered copses of aromatic trees and a few rocky outcroppings. Large herds of ruminants travel from watering hole to watering hole while being stalked by giant centaurs, lions and even more fantastic predators. Pwenet is said to hold both a fountain of youth and the source of the River Ish, thus making it a popular destination for explorers.

A few merchant-adventurers from Ibis travel to Pwenet once a year to trade manufactured goods for aromatic resins, ivory, darkwood and wild animals. Otherwise, the region is untouched by the people of Lemuria and the Motherlands.

Though not the most numerous, the giant centaurs of Pwenet are the region’s most prominent folk of the hills. Pwenet is also home to many tribes of gnolls and humans. The largest tribes, human and gnoll both, provide most of the region’s drama as chiefs and witch-doctors jockey for power and recognition.

Oft told tales tell of when the tribes of Pwenet united under Jobo the Great and conquered the cities of Nabu. The people of Pwenet believe that history is a cycle and that they will once again conquer the outside world when a great leader united them.

CENTAURS: The centaurs of Pwenet look like a cross between humans and giraffes rather than humans and horses. Pwenet’s centaurs are larger and stronger than normal centaurs, but also more calm and level-headed. They carry large shields and pikes.
 DWARFS: The dwarfs of Pwenet are only distantly related to the dwarfs of Antilia and Thule. They have pitch-black skin and eyes and small beards of wiry, black hair. Like other dwarfs, they dwell under-ground in burrows protected by all manner of traps. The natives of Pwenet call them the utu.

The utu have different abilities than other dwarves. Their eyes allow them to see in the brightest light and blackest darkness, including magical darkness. Their skin is as hard as granite and provides them a natural armor class of 14. Utu characters have a +1 bonus to constitution and a -1 penalty to intelligence. The utu carry shields and swords made of darkwood studded with shards of jade.

Utu dwarves worship Khnum, the divine potter, creator of the universe. Khnum’s clerics are curious about the universe and spend most of their time recording their observations on clay tablets. Where other dwarfs are expert at the forge, the utu are experts working with wood and clay. Their pottery is valued by the people of Ibis.

The utu are learned in the art of conjuring spirits, from whom they obtain most of their knowledge. All non-player character utu clerics can use the spell contact other plane once per month, when the stars are aligned.

Once every century a lucky cleric is able to make contact with Khnum himself to deliver a great prophecy to all the peoples of Pwenet. On these occaisions the dwarves sound their drums and blow long horns made from hollowed darkwood trees to call all the tribes to hear the prophecy. All the great chiefs of Pwenet heed this call and travel to the appointed place with their retinues, sworn by tradition to observe a full week of peace while the ceremonial dances are performed, lineages are recited and finally the prophecy is pronounced. The coming of the current princess of the Quiet Folk, avatar of the great earth mother, was pronounced at the last convocation, and the next prophecy is due to come in the very near future.