Traveling Through a Central American Rainforest
Rainforests are breathtaking, beautiful, wondrous – and actively hostile to human life. The conquistadors called them the ‘green hell’. Here, then, is a table on which to roll to better evoke the experience of traveling through one. This was designed with a Central American lowland rainforest in mind, but it’s not too much work to adapt it to any jungle.
1: You catch botfly. A maggot is now growing in a small chamber just under your skin. Every so often, it rolls over and the spines on its body tear at the walls of the chamber, bringing in fresh blood for it to drink. Having botfly deals no damage and does not put you at risk for disease, but it is uncomfortable and at times painful. After a few months, the maggot grows large enough to burst from its chamber and drops to the forest floor.
2-3: You tried taking shelter form the rain under the leaf of an elephant ear plant, but you jostled it. It dumped water all over you, soaking you clear through.
4: Your boots get stuck in the mud. Someone has to come along and pull you free.
5-6: It’s hot. It’s just so absurdly, godawful hot. You have to sit down and take a breather.
7-8: Sweat-drinking bees get tangled in your hair. In their panic to escape, they bite at your scalp.
9-11: This stretch of mud is particularly treacherous. Roll reflexes. If you fail, you slip and fall on your face.
12-14: You trip on a root. Roll reflexes. If you succeed, you catch yourself with a couple awkward hops. If you fail, you land heavily on your side.
15-17: You step on a wet leaf lying on a slick rock. It shoots out form under you. Roll reflexes. If you fail, you land hard on your butt.
18-20: You slip and fall down the bank of a stream. Roll reflexes. If you fail, you grab a branch and catch yourself – but the branch is covered in painful stinging ants. If you pass the check, you suppress the reflex and drop into the water. Getting wet is better than whatever might be on that branch.
21-23: You slip and fall down an incline. Roll reflexes. If you fail, you grab a bush and catch yourself – but the bush is covered in thorns, and now your hand is leaking blood from a dozen punctures. If you pass the check, you suppress the reflex and slide down the hill a few feet. Getting a bruised bottom is better than whatever might be in that bush.
24-26: Your shoes got wet this morning and between the puddles and the muggy air, they haven’t dried out all day. Roll fortitude. If you fail, you develop some nasty blisters on your feet. -5 feet of movement.
27-29: You’re badly dehydrated. Roll fortitude. If you fail, you collapse and your companions have to rehydrate you. If you succeed, you stay on your feet long enough to rehydrate yourself.
30-31: While stepping away from the party to relieve yourself, you lost your bearings. Roll outdoorsman. If you succeed, you find your way back without incident. If you fail, you go the wrong way trying to get back and get into trouble. Roll again on the table.
32-34: There was a spider in your shirt when you got dressed this morning. Roll notice. If you fail, you didn’t spot it, and it bites you on your breast when you get dressed.
35-36: There was a scorpion in your boot when you got dressed this morning. Roll strength. If you fail, you weren’t vigorous enough shaking out your boots, and the scorpion stings you right between your two biggest toes.
37-38: An army ant colony bivouacked in your clothes last night. Roll notice. If you fail, you didn’t spot the colony, and when you slip on your pants, the ants swarm across your thighs and genitals, biting and stinging furiously.
39-40: You hear a loud cracking overhead. Roll reflexes. If you pass, you dodge the falling branch.
41: You’re stung by an enormous wasp. Roll fortitude. If you fail, the pain is so bad you collapse, and someone has to carry you for 1d12 hours.
42: While stepping away from the party to relieve yourself, you encounter a venomous snake. It’s bleeding from where it was just attacked by a bird, and it’s in a foul mood. Roll outdoorsman to back away from the snake safely without getting bitten.
43: There’s a snake under the log you’re stepping over. Roll reflexes. If you pass, you spot it just in time and avoid stepping on it. If you fail, you step on the snake and it twists around and bites you. Unless you’re wearing snake boots or leg armor, seek medical attention immediately.
44: You find a swollen tick on your leg. Roll fortitude to avoid disease.
45: You find a swollen leech on your calf. Roll fortitude to avoid disease.
46: You develop a nasty rash in a sensitive spot. Roll fortitude to keep it from getting infected.
47-48: You drank some bad water. Roll fortitude to avoid disease.
49: You didn’t realize that fruit had parasitic worms in it until you were almost done. Roll fortitude to avoid disease.
50: You feel queasy, and you don’t have the slightest idea of the cause. Roll Fortitude to avoid disease.
51-52: A troop of white-faced capuchin monkeys follows you, curious.
53-54: A troop of howler monkeys hoots at you as you pass.
55: A slender spider monkey munches on a yellow fruit, juice running down its hairy chin.
56-57: A herd of peccaries flees from you, crashing through the underbrush.
58-59: A red and blue poison dart frog.
60: An iridescent blue bird.
61: A black and white bird.
62: A yellow bird with a long bill.
63: A green bird with long red tail feathers.
64: A white bird with a short beak.
65: A red bird with a curved beak.
66: The most beautiful flower you’ve ever seen.
67: A poacher’s camp. The ashes in the campfire are cold.
68: An overgrown airstrip in the middle of the forest.
69: A tapir startles at your presence, and gallops away down a stream.
70: A dead agouti. Flies of a thousand colors swarm around its eyes, mouth, and nostrils.
71: A peccary carcass, mostly eaten and crawling with maggots.
72: A mud wallow used by animals, currently empty.
73: A drapery of lianas conceals a branch covered in magnificent orchids.
74: A long black snake hisses at you before slithering away into the underbrush.
75-79: A mottled brown viper, curled up and not bothering anyone.
80: An empty bird’s nest lying on the ground where it fell out of a tree.
81: A jaguar, glimpsed from afar.
82: A harpy eagle, juking dexterously through the canopy.
83: A scrap of blood-soaked leather.
84-85: A giant turtle, basking in the sun by the side of a stream.
86: An unexpected vista that opens onto a breathtaking view of the valley below.
87: An unexpected vista that opens onto an orange sunset.
88-89: A blasted tree, struck by lightning.
90-91: A particularly adventuresome rodent comes to investigate you.
92-93: A brilliant blue butterfly.
94-98: A termite nest clinging to a tree trunk.
99: An anteater.
100: A crab calmly walking through the forest.